Well here we go! Remember seeing all of those Instagram photoshop jobs of people betting the farm on a ceramic bezel Explorer II, the return of a Coke GMT, or anything else? Yeah, that (of course) didn't happen, as Rolex has unveiled its new releases moments ago. What did land, on the other hand, is still interesting in its own right, for those who are fond of the Crown. So let's get into it.

Rolex Explorer 124270 and 124273

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Simple and to the point, the Explorer update is primarily about the movement update to a 32-series caliber, in this case the new 3230, with all of the expected bells and whistles (Chronergy escapement, and longer 70-hour power reserve). Interestingly, the Explorer has also moved back to its original 36mm case size, after a stint at the 40mm case diameter mark. Much like any other Rolex change, this is bound to be triggering for some, but there's no fighting the will of Rolex. Clearly the smaller cases are selling well, as this comes on the heels of last year's deletion of the 39mm OP model range. The Explorer steel reference 124270 will list for $6,450, and the two-tone Rolesor reference 124273 is priced at $10,800 (both USD). The fun part will be seeing if these references are anywhere near as popular as other Professional series Rolex models, and how difficult they'll be to acquire.

Rolex Explorer II 226570

And then we have the Explorer II, where none of the internet's predictions came true. Yes, we all knew from the teaser videos with people spelunking into caves, showing a watch profile with a date magnifier, that a new Explorer II was coming, but this idea that Rolex is just going to throw a ceramic bezel on everything is one that makes me giggle every damned time. They did it for the Daytona, and they've done it for the rotating bezels, but it simply does not make aesthetic sense on the EXPII. Back to what was actually released, there's really not a lot to say here in comparison to the previous 42mm reference, aside from an updated caliber 3285, and the addition of the crown logo in the middle of the small "Swiss Made" text at 6 o'clock to mark the caliber change. The reference is still 42mm across, which was an easy size to retrofit the new caliber without much fuss. It will still be available in both white and black, with a list price of $8,550.

Textured Dials and Bracelets

What other news is there? Honestly not much at this point aside from some incremental changes. Yes, Batman has returned, as both Batman and Pepsi GMT-Master II references are back to being available on Oyster bracelets rather than just jubilee. Surprise surprise. There are also a couple of new Jubilee bracelet options that landed for the Sky-Dweller line, which may appeal to some.

What's a touch more interesting this year, is the use of new textured dial patterns in the Datejust 36 reference, referred to as Palm dials and Fluted dials. While the presentation was a bit vague, and even finding them on the website is tricky, there are three dial variants of each reference that can be had in either steel or two-tone configurations. The Palm dial is available in green, gold, and silver dial variants. The Fluted version can be had in blue, gold, and silver.

Lastly we'll give a nod to the Meteorite Daytona in white, yellow, and rose gold. Not because it's anything shockingly new, but simply on account of them being charming executions of the hard-to-acquire classic. That's all we have for now, but keep an eye out for more news as the week presses on.

Learn More About the Rolex 2021 Releases Here