The primary attraction at the fair, year after year, remains Rolex. Positioned prominently at the main entrance, the brand’s elaborate, multi-story booth draws in attendees who, fueled by cappuccinos, promptly stream through it the moment the doors open, eager to capture snapshots of the new watches displayed in glass showcases. This year was no exception, with one watch in particular garnering attention as everyone vied to capture the first in-real-life shot. Here’s a concise overview of that coveted piece, alongside Rolex’s other captivating releases for 2024.

One standout from last year’s Watches & Wonders was an all-gold rendition of the GMT-Master II featuring a black-and-grey bezel. Apparently, Rolex shared the admiration, as they are reintroducing the color combination on a more relaxed stainless steel case. With Rolex, every move seems meticulously calculated years in advance. It’s akin to playing chess while they navigate Herman Hesse’s Glass Bead Game. Introducing the black-and-grey bezel on a gold case last year imparted a sense of luxury. Now, that same allure graces a steel watch, maintaining its distinctiveness. It’s high time we christened this combination with a fitting nickname.

The dressed-down GMT represents somewhat of an anomaly for Rolex, a brand predominantly associated with producing watches tailored to the most affluent collectors.

Despite being renowned for its utilitarian sports watches, Rolex has demonstrated in recent years an aptitude for embracing enjoyment. The brand’s inaugural Rainbow Daytona in 2012 enamored collectors and the industry alike with its audacious, colorful gem-setting, while unconventional creations such as the „Puzzle Dial” Day-Date garnered acclaim from high-profile collectors upon their debut last year. This year, Rolex unveils several new Daytonas more suited to the podium than the racetrack.

Rolex introduces two new iterations of the Daytona featuring stone dials, cleverly utilizing contrasting black and white mother-of-pearl to recreate the immensely popular „Panda” and „Reverse Panda” dial configurations. The bezel is adorned with 36 diamonds, with an additional eight serving as hour indices.

Last year witnessed the debut of a new family of watches from Rolex, dubbed the 1908. These are refined, elegant dress watches, previously available in white or yellow gold with either black or white dials. Even Roger Federer sported one at the Met Gala! Admittedly, it wasn’t the design I anticipated from the Crown, known for its iconic and genre-defining sports watches like the Submariner, GMT, Explorer, and Daytona.

However, it took just one year and a significant new color for Rolex to convert me into a 1908 enthusiast. The latest iteration boasts a striking, icy blue dial that injects a sense of informality into the tuxedo-ready dress watch. While last year’s dials were sleek, this year’s iteration features a rice-grain pattern that exudes vibrancy. Crafted from platinum, the case, typically paired with this dial color by Rolex, epitomizes sophistication. This is the new face of Rolex: integrating emojis into its date window, presenting stone-dial Daytonas, and reimagining its dress watch in glacier blue.

For 2024, Rolex elevates the Deepsea and introduces two versions of the Sky-Dweller in gold. Let’s begin with the Deepsea: Launched in 2008 as the more rugged sibling to the Sea-Dweller, the Deepsea was conceived to accompany divers to unprecedented depths while wearing a fake Rolex watch. Over the years, it has continued to embody this ethos. The unveiling of a full yellow gold edition is unexpected – more likely to garner 10,000 likes on Instagram than descend 10,000 meters underwater.

The Sky-Dweller receives an all-gold makeover for 2024. One variant is presented in rose gold with a black dial, while the other features yellow gold with a white dial. Unlike the Deepsea, the Sky-Dweller is no stranger to opulent interpretations. Born in luxury, this watch is the antithesis of austerity, catering to jet-setters with its travel-time functionality.

Although devoid of an emoji date wheel, Rolex presents more playful renditions of its classic Day-Date. My personal favorite boasts an arctic blue dial – a hue introduced by Rolex for the first time on a Sky-Dweller last year – accented by a diamond-frosted bezel. Another iteration follows in the footsteps of the Daytona, employing precious stones for its dial; one version features a mother-of-pearl dial that mimics the appearance of fluffy clouds.