We Wore Rolex’s Best New Watches—Here Are Our Favourites
When Rolex invited us to Manhattan’s storied hotel The Mark to wear the new collection, we hoofed it uptown and got to know the wonderful new Rollies.
BY Allen Farmelo  |  June 1, 2024
5 Minute Read

Image courtesy of Sebastien Laforest

As I approached the sidewalk lined with café tables outside The Mark Hotel in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, I instantly felt chic. Given that I’m not prone to feeling especially chic—and that this was happening at nine o’clock in the morning before I had even stepped inside—I think it’s fair to say that this five-star hotel had well exceeded its intended goal of providing guests with an elevated experience.

The black and white stripes on the canvas umbrellas outside extend onto the polished floor of the lobby. The stripes remain the signature motif of the 1927 interior, which was refreshed in the early aughts by the renowned French designer Jaques Granges.

Heels resounded with percussive elegance off that striped floor as the ubiquitously gorgeous hosts—whose perfect cheekbones suggested they’d all been hired through a modelling agency—greeted us with a comfortable deference. By the time they’d escorted my colleague Sebastien and me to a room inside The Mark’s Jean-Georges restaurant, we were in a proper frame of mind for wearing the latest Rolexes.

Our editorial team had spent some time with the 2024 Rolex collection at Watches and Wonders last month, but there is a big difference between the relatively brief “touch and feel” sessions inside a bustling trade show and hanging out at a swanky hotel sipping perfectly crafted cappuccinos while luxuriating with these watches. Sebastien and I settled into the caffeinated good vibes and spent some quality time with this year’s perfectly restrained Rolex collection. Below are the watches we loved the most.

40 mm Day-Date in Rose Gold With Ombré Dial

When will I ever learn that my preconceptions about watches (and most things, really) rarely hold up. I’m a 36 mm Rolex guy, not 40 mm. I like Rolex’s yellow gold, not its rose gold. I don’t do Roman numerals, only Arabic. Sure enough, the 40 mm rose gold Day-Date with the inexplicably gorgeous ombré dial and “deconstructed” Roman numerals (made of separate gold pieces) whisked away my preconceptions as swiftly as Adonis (the bus boy) whisked away the crumb-covered cocktail napkins I kept discarding onto the black lacquered side table otherwise littered with sparkling Rolexes.

Sebastien is especially fond of rose gold, and we can see why.
Image courtesy of Allen Farmelo

This is the Day-Date Rolex soft-released during The Oscars this year, and the dial astounds. Ombré refers to a technique of gently fading colour from one hue to another, usually light to dark. How—or if—an ombré dial is meaningfully different from a fumé (smoked) dial or a dégradé (shaded) dial isn’t entirely clear. However, having seen my share of dials with these faded effects, the ombré from Rolex is by far the best. This dial shimmers and shines and moves and dances (and all the other analogy-making verbs you can think of) but it’s somehow also black. Amazing.

Image courtesy of Sebastien Laforest

40 mm 1908 in Platinum With Ice-Blue Dial

More than a few folks had chosen this 40 mm dress watch as their favourite from the 2024 Rolex collection, and it was easy to see why. Is the dial as mesmerising in person as it is in photos? Actually, not more so, no—which is a good thing, because that’s a lot of shimmering for one wrist, and any more might overpower the elegant design of this watch.

Image courtesy of Allen Farmelo

The brightness of the highly polished platinum is balances well with the guilloché dial. All told, this watch captures the spirit of the earliest Rolexes, while offering an entirely modern wearing experience. Really stunning.

Image courtesy of Allen Farmelo

GMT Master II With Jubilee Bracelet

This is the watch that was missing from the Rolex catalog: A straightforward, steel GMT Master II without some whacky colour scheme or precious metal to weigh it down. Sebastien isn’t particularly drawn to sports watches, but when he put it on, the elegance on offer was obvious to everyone. I chose this GMT Master II as one of the best sports watches of 2024.

Image courtesy of Allen Farmelo

As a personal note, I have often claimed to prefer older Rollies with aluminium bezel inserts, rather than the shiny and scratch-proof Cerachrom ones Rolex produces today. However, as I said to our friends at The Mark on this fine morning, “I’m more of a five-digit guy, but every time I try on a modern Rolex, I realise they’re better in every way.” Love that pop of Rolex green, too.

Our friend Kathleen with the lovely tattoos sports the Deepsea in solid yellow gold.
Image courtesy of Allen Farmelo

Sold Gold Deepsea

This watch makes zero sense for so many reasons, weight chief among them. I might even declare it prohibitively heavy. But solid-gold Rolex sport watches have long been a thing, and I suppose this is just how Rolex rolls—always finding ways to merge the brand’s sporty side with its elegant side. This Deepsea is obviously the buzziest watch of the 2024 collection—more a talking point than a sincere offering to those who simply want a great watch. But it looks killer with the right tattoos, and those who tried it on made the same two points: It’s really heavy, and it looks way better on their wrist than they could have imagined. Sometimes it’s good to make zero sense.

Below are some other Rollies we got to try on for your enjoyment.