Every year, watch enthusiasts deliberate over the watches that will be discontinued and the models that will receive updates. The Rolex universe, in particular, has become a place of great speculation. As a result, there are sizable price increases for references that are rumored to be discontinued. Obviously, those who speculate aren’t always right, and that goes for us, too. We have to hold our hands up in regard to the predictions we made back in late 2021. Two of them were easy because the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15202 and the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 were announced before the end of the year. Of the three Rolex models we listed, however, we only got one correct. Rolex decided to update the Air King to much critical acclaim, but the brand did not discontinue the Rolex Daytona “John Mayer” ref. 116508 or the Rolex Milgauss 116400GV. So, let’s look ahead to 2023 and predict which watches will be shelved in the coming year.
1. Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN – or More?
As mentioned, last year we predicted the Rolex Daytona “John Mayer” ref. 116508 would be discontinued. This year, we’ll go even further and predict that Rolex will update the entire Daytona line; the reason being that 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of Rolex’s iconic chronograph. Thus, it would make perfect sense for the brand to update the watch. Let’s focus on the stainless-steel ref. 116500, which is still relatively new to the collection. The model with a ceramic bezel was first introduced in 2016, meaning it has been in the collection for six years now, going on seven. Given the developments in movements and Rolex’s focus on subtle design updates, this might just be perfect timing. Some people are hinting that we’ll see a slightly larger 41-mm case. If so, it would be the same move we saw for the current Rolex Submariner. Of course, the 40 vs. 41 mm debate is purely a technical one, because in terms of comfort and actual size, there is not much difference between the two. It will be interesting to see whether Rolex updates the Daytona at all, and if they do, whether they’ll include all the different iterations. The Genevan brand has been known to do the unexpected, which makes it even more exciting to find out whether the Rolex Daytona will be honored with an update to mark its 60th anniversary.
2. Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV
Let’s stay on Rolex for a bit longer. Again, this model was on the list of watches that were likely to get revamped last year; simply because the quirky Rolex Milgauss is ready for an update. Seeing as the Rolex Air King and Milgauss share the same case, and the Air King was updated this year, it seems high time for a new Milgauss as well. The Milgauss line has been part of the Rolex collection ever since the Milgauss ref. 6543 was introduced in 1954. It was presented as a watch for scientists and engineers who needed a professional timepiece that could withstand environments with strong magnetic fields. The current generation of this offbeat watch was introduced back in 2007, and it perfectly captures the model’s oddball functionality with iconic Rolex design features. The 40-mm stainless steel watch is characterized by its two-part inner case, manufactured from two ferromagnetic metals, that surrounds and protects the movement from magnetic fields. You can choose between versions with a black dial or Z-blue dial. Both feature a green sapphire crystal and the signature orange lightning bolt second hand. This watch is famed and quirky for all the right reasons, but it has been part of the Rolex collection since 2007, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an updated version in 2023.
3. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Turquoise
The next watch might be a controversial pick. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Turquoise is a very popular watch; it’s the timepiece that some people (wrongly) call the “Tiffany” version of the Oyster Perpetual. The watch has quickly become one of the most sought-after models in the series. The 41-mm watch with a turquoise dial was actually discontinued in 2022, along with all the coral red and yellow dial versions. But the remarkable thing is that Rolex decided to hold on to the 31-mm ref. 277200 and 36-mm ref. 126000 models with their stunning turquoise dials. So, will Rolex stick by their decision? The likely reason that the brand decided to retain the smaller sizes is that the color is more popular with women. That being said, we’ve all seen the impact of the Patek Philippe Nautilus “Tiffany,” which is not necessarily a watch made for women with its 40-mm size and integrated bracelet. But would Rolex really discontinue the most popular color of the Oyster Perpetual? We have seen the brand do crazy things before, so it wouldn’t be completely surprising to see the turquoise timepieces disappear altogether. While I personally like the model a lot and would love to see the permanent presence of brighter colors, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Genevan brand make an unpopular move.
4. Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase Ref. 5712
At the time of writing this article, Patek Philippe had just decided to grace us with the brand new Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5811. Last year, we said goodbye to the extremely popular stainless steel Nautilus ref. 5711. The final two stainless steel ref. 5711 models were the beautiful green dial version and the very limited and highly sought-after Tiffany blue version. We all thought Gérald Genta’s iconic “basic” version of the Nautilus would be a thing of the past. Well, the time and date version has returned, however, it’s now exclusively available in white gold, with a slightly increased size of 41 mm, and a new dark blue sunburst dial. The blue sunburst dial plays an important role in these new models. Along with the Nautilus ref. 5811, we also saw the reintroduction of the stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 with a blue sunburst dial. The versions with black and gray dials were delisted this year, but the model has now seen a glorious return to the spotlight. So, what will be next for Patek? My guess is that the brand will update the stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase ref. 5712, and equip it with a new dial as well. Will the reference change? Considering the fact that they kept the 5990 reference for the Travel Time Chronograph, it might not, but it nevertheless seems logical that the current ref. 5712 will be discontinued and updated soon.
5. Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M 007 Edition
The final watch on this list is the Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M 007 Edition. The watch was introduced in 2019 to mark the release of No Time To Die, the final James Bond film to feature Daniel Craig. Due to the pandemic, the release of the movie had to be postponed twice. We finally got to see it in theaters in late 2021, two years after is initial release date. Now, over a year later, it is time for a new James Bond to take over from Craig – and with a new Bond comes a new Bond watch. It only seems logical that Omega will say goodbye to the brilliant timepiece that has served as a great final watch in the Daniel Craig era. The 42-mm titanium version of the Seamaster Professional Diver 300M perfectly integrates the world of Bond with the latest generation of Omega’s popular diver. The watch comes with a dark brown tropical dial and bezel with cream-colored numerals. Together with the domed sapphire crystal and stunning titanium Milanese bracelet, it is a gorgeous watch. The Bond theme is neatly integrated with the broad arrow of the British Ministry of Defence located just above the 6 o’clock marker. All the other Bond references are featured on the watch’s case back. Together with the brilliant, limited edition Seamaster 300 “Spectre,” this version will go down as another fantastic Bond Seamaster watch. Will 2023 be the year that we move on to a new Bond and a new watch? The jury is still out.
Well, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the five watches on this list. Obviously, you have to take our predictions with a grain of salt – it’s all about the fun of speculating rather than getting it right. We’ll most likely get our answers at Watches & Wonders in the spring of 2023, but until then I have nothing to say but happy hunting!