What We May See In 2023 From Rolex, Patek Philippe Et Al (2023)

What We May See In 2023 From Rolex, Patek Philippe Et Al (1)

It’s that time of year again when the watch industry starts to take bets on what is to come in the next 12 months. As with every year, some launches are easy to predict, while others will take us all by surprise.

The easiest option is to track anniversaries and base guesses around those. We already know that Blancpain will be focusing on the 70th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms and TAG Heuer is sure to introduce new Carrera models for the marque’s 60th year.

Grand Seiko and Seiko will undoubtedly release several sell-out commemorative watches to mark 110 years since the founding of the company, while G-Shock and Swatch will be looking back over their past 40 years of production and forward to the next 40.

Omega will be championing 75 years of the Seamaster and while we can expect to see some top-grade technical advances alongside faithful reissues, what the world at large is really hoping for is a line of Swatch x Omega Seamaster collaborations to rival last year’s MoonSwatches.

In terms of trends, we are likely to see brands reading the room and reacting to the cost-of-living crisis with less OTT models and more stealthy, pared-back pieces.


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If Pantone is to be listened to, we will see more red – specifically the terracotta-tinged shade of Viva Magenta, which has been named as 2023’s colour of the year.

And we can only hope that the theme of sustainability continues to grow within the industry with Breitling, Panerai, Oris, et al proving their critics wrong by building on the progress made in previous years.

But beyond this are the watches and the brands that the industry is buzzing about. The pieces that we hope to see and that we should see. Below are some personal predictions and hopes for the year ahead.


There’s no denying that 2023 is a big year for Rolex with anniversaries abounding. Perhaps the most significant is that of the Submariner – the archetype of a wristwatch the world over. Hitting 70 this year, the question of what Rolex could – and should – do with the model is on everyone’s lips. A new colour? A special non-date edition? Or perhaps a precious metal variant?

And then there is the Daytona. Although the name did not appear on a dial until 1965, it was two years earlier that the ref. 6239 Cosmograph was launched – the model that many consider to be the first Daytona. And on that basis, most of the watch industry is happy to call 2023 the Daytona’s diamond jubilee. Predictions of what a new Daytona could include range from an increase in size to new dial colours. Regardless, any anniversary model launched will undoubtedly remain ‘exhibition only’.

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But perhaps the most significant anniversary – at least in the UK – is that of the 1953 successful ascent of Everest. Although it is now widely accepted that it was likely to be a Smiths watch that first summited the mountain, it is also a matter of record that Rolex prototypes were supplied for the expedition, eventually leading to the launch of the Explorer. Despite the redesign of the Explorer in 2021, which saw it return to the 36mm case diameter of the original, it seems almost unthinkable that something special won’t be announced during 2023.

As for which models will be discontinued… the past few years have guessed at the green-glass Milgauss. A watch that splits opinion, could its time be up?

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Patek Philippe

When Patek Philippe introduced the new Calibre 30-255 PS with two mainspring barrels in 2021, it seemed a given that it was gearing up for a series of modular complications to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Calatrava in 2022. And, while there were some spectacular releases in the Calatrava case, the new calibre remained relatively quiet. So could this be the year that it comes into its own?

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President Thierry Stern has also said that he will be introducing less steel watches, even in the sportier models so, given his love of white metal, are we are likely to see more white gold (and even platinum) versions of the Nautilus and Aquanaut?

One of Mr Stern’s most cryptic comments last year was the hint that he has been working on a completely new watch family. There were no leads as to whether it is a men’s or women’s collection, nor as to when it may be launched, but with Mr Stern’s determination to surprise, one thing is for certain, it is unlikely to be seen at Watches and Wonders in 2023 or at any future edition.

Vacheron Constantin

When Vacheron Constantin introduced the re-edition of the Jörg Hysek-designed 222 ‘Jumbo’ at last year’s Watches and Wonders, it became one of the watches of the show, taking orders that saw it immediately catapulted into the realm of multi-year waiting lists.

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Vacheron produced the 222 in steel in yellow-gold in three sizes in the 1970s and 1980s – with a women’s 24mm and a mid-size 34mm standing alongside the 37mm ‘Jumbo’. The big question is… will we see a new version introduced for 2023?


With the on-going appeal of sports luxe watches – and the runaway success of Vacheron’s 222 last year, could 2023 see the long-awaited re-issue of the original Polo?

Created by Yves Piaget in 1979 and designed as a watch-bracelet to cater to the demands of the US market, the Polo was Piaget’s first luxury sports watch and was adopted by stars from Andy Warhol to Sammy Davis Junior. In 1980, the year that the super-slim, quartz Calibre 8P version was launched. Bond-girl Ursula Andress became the gold watch’s ambassador.

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Although the Polo name has continued in a contemporary sports watch, there has always been a reluctance to revisit the original, striped-dial timepieces that were released in various shapes and metal combinations. However, with a new CEO in the form of Benjamin Comar, 2023 could be the year for a comeback.


You don’t need to be clairvoyant to predict that 2023 will see the launch of at least one new Black Bay ­- and no matter how the model is dressed-up in terms of colours and metals, it is sure to be a success. Current front-runners from industry experts include a white-dialled Black Bay Pro.

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But with the opening of the new, part-Tudor-owned Kenissi movement manufacture, we are also likely to see some new calibres. My personal hopes are to see more in the Black Bay 58 line-up – possibly even a chronograph. Although some may think 39mm is too small a case for a worthwhile chrono, I have full faith in Tudor’s designers to deliver an aesthetic that works.

Audemars Piguet

Hot on the heels of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary comes the 30-year celebration of its younger, beefier brother, the Royal Oak Offshore. While there are certain to be plenty of brand-new models, one re-issue that the world desperately needs is the fabulous ‘End of Days’.

One of the very first celebrity-collaboration watches, End of Days had design input from Arnold Schwarzenegger, himself. Made in a limited-edition of 500 pieces in 1999 and worn by the actor in the film of the same name.

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Audemars Piguet’s first PVD-coated watch it features neon yellow highlights on a black petite tapissiere dial. What better time to bring back AP’s trend-setting timepiece, or at least the brand could bring back Arnie for an anniversary encore.

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Increasingly, Cartier seems to have its finger on the pulse, releasing a limited-edition version of the Pebble last year on the back of the model’s record-breaking CHF 403,000 auction result in 2021.

One Cartier creation that gained coverage around the world in 2022, but has yet to appear in the homage Collection Privée, is the Ceinture that was worn by Britain’s Queen Consort Camilla during King Charles III’s accession to the throne.

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The Ceinture dates back to 1927 and was re-released in the early 1970s mainly in yellow-gold cases with small numbers in white-gold and one version in platinum.

Named for its resemblance to a belt buckle (ceinture being French for belt) the stepped square case has ‘cut’ corners and a flat, octagonal winding crown set into the bezel. Originally petite – models being sub-31mm – could a larger version be on the cards for 2023?


Although I would find it hard to resist almost any IWC Top Gun from the past 15 years, I find myself hoping every year that another family will take top spot in the brand’s new launches.

So fond am I of the Ingenieur that all of my recent interviews with CEO Chris Grainger-Herr have been prefaced with a warning from him not to mention the collection. But, whether it is intuition or pure hope, I think 2023 could be the year for the model to make a return to the headlines.

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Two years away from its 70th anniversary, the watch that was given its sporty makeover by Gérald Genta in 1976, could become the symbol for a post-covid, sustainability focused watch market – classic, simple to the point of austerity, reliable, and designed to stand up to the toughest situations.


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