Baselworld 2017 preview
Baselworld, the world's biggest annual watch event, this year marks an impressive milestone as it celebrates 100 years since its inaugural trade show back in 1917. Every spring season, watch fans, dealers, retailers and geeky horologists around the world turn their beady gaze toward the Swiss city of Basel in anticipation over new products from the industry's biggest brands, particularly from arguably its leading player: Rolex.
Nearly every new release from Rolex sends major waves around the industry, with instant waiting lists and inflated premiums often to follow. Last year's new Daytona-reimagined, with its ceramic bezel and contrast dials, simply steamrolled all other competition, and the sporty 40mm Air-King – albeit a bit of a hybrid of the Milgauss and Explorer – proved another instant hit. So, can this year be even better? Here are our top three Rolex predictions for 2017.
GMT Master II 'Coke'
Probably the most exciting rumour, and certainly one that has us salivating, is the return of the 'Coke' bezel GMT Master II. First released in the 1950s as a collaboration with Pan-American Airlines, the much-loved GMT-Master with its aluminum black and red bezel ceased production in 2007.
A 1950s Pan Am Rolex GMT Master
Since then the ceramic black and blue-bezelled replacement, or 'Batman' as it's most commonly known, has become one of Rolex's most sought-after watches.
The Rolex GMT Master II
With the red and blue 'Pepsi' variation only available in white gold – with a staggering price tag to match – it would make a lot of sense for the resurrected 'Coke' to come in the more affordable ceramic and stainless steel.
Bi-colour ceramic Daytona
With the demand of last year's revamped Daytona still going stratospheric, it seems a no-brainer that Rolex will continue to ride the wave by dropping some bi-colour pieces into the range.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
In two-tone steel and gold with black ceramic dial, we predict four dial options, including white, black and a funky slate grey with gold sub dials.
50th Anniversary Sea-Dweller
Odds on to be the most exclusive release of the bunch would be a 50th anniversary Sea-Dweller. Originally released in 1967, the Sea-Dweller marked Rolex's first watch to survive extraordinary diving depths.
A 1967 Rolex Double Red Sea Dweller
The limited edition release will most likely boast an 18CT white gold case and ceramic bezel along with a new dial colour – our money being on a striking shade of deep-sea green.
For the past couple of years there have been rumblings that Rolex sister company, Tudor, will introduce a GMT or dual time function to one of their sports models. If we had to pick, the 'North Flag' range may well include a multi time zone watch post Baselworld.
Tudor North Flag
For some time now some of the slighter-wristed Panerai fans have been longing for a smaller version of the ever-popular, but equally hefty, 47mm PAM372. For Paneri purists, a 44mm version may be sacrilege, but for the rest of us, it could prove the perfect fit.
The iconic dress watch, the Cartier Tank, is about to turn 100 years old. Then, what better time for the jewellery giants to introduce an updated anniversary edition? Dare we say it, a limited run with '100' printed on the dial or case back could be a deft touch from the iconic brand.
The Cartier Tank
Simon Tutton is the director and co-founder of Tempo & Time, a London-based luxury watch traders store.