Rolex has unveiled its new models for 2022 at the Watches & Wonders show in Geneva, and as is usually the case, the Crown’s latest timepieces have the whole convention buzzing. As has become somewhat the norm with Rolex in recent years, the brand has released one watch that was highly expected and another that literally no one saw coming.
First, the expected watch. As many had guessed, Rolex has updated its entry-level pilot’s watch, the Air-King, which had been getting a bit long in the tooth. The new Air-King looks a lot like the outgoing model at first glance, but a closer look reveals a few significant changes. Most prominent is the addition of crown guards, making this the only watch in Rolex’s catalog to feature a guarded crown paired with a smooth, unmarked bezel. The indices at 3, 6, and 9 have also been updated to feature Chromalight lume — previously, they were non-glowing polished metal. The index at 1 o’clock has also seen an aesthetic change, moving from “5” to “05” It’s admittedly a minor update, but one that adds a lot of symmetry to the piece. Finally, the watch has received a movement upgrade, moving from the Calibre 3131 to the Calibre 3230 with the Chronergy escapement.
Next, out of left field (pun intended) comes a GMT-Master II for left-handed folks. For the first time ever, the crown on Rolex’s GMT has been moved to the left side of the case, making it more suitable for those who prefer to wear their watch on their right wrist. Joining the crown on the sinister side of the dial are the date window and cyclops, a feat that required a significant amount of reengineering on the Calibre 3285 movement. The watch also features a brand-new color combination for its 24-hour Cerachrom bezel, with the nighttime hours in black and the daytime hours represented by a rich green.
The new Air-King is priced at $7,400, while the latest GMT-Master II goes for $11,050. Other Rolex releases at the show include a pair of new Yacht-Master 42s in yellow gold and white gold — the latter featuring a Falcon’s Eye dial — and a platinum Day-Date 40 with an ice-blue dial and a fluted bezel in platinum; another first for the brand.
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