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CORDER’S COLUMN: Relax, it’s Rolex launch day

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In a year where nothing feels like it will ever be the same again, Rolex has soothed the febrile watchmaking world with a slew of watches that show nothing much has changed.

And this is a very, very good thing.

This time next year, I believe we will be looking back at the Covid quarter as a time when authorities’s were slow to protect the old and sick through targeted limits on our freedoms. This would have saved thousands of lives. Officials then waited far too long to nudge us all back towards more normal lives that would have saved millions of jobs and billions for the taxpayer.

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Rolex has a habit of seeing through any major crisis with its long-term vision barely altered by obstacles like the global financial meltdown of 2008 and the second quarter’s lock downs.

Focusing on the timeless qualities of its Submariner and Oyster Perpetual families this year feels like Rolex putting its arm around our industry and reassuring us that everything will be alright in the end.

These are watches stripped of fripperies, which have been keeping time perfectly and without interruption for decades.

Obsessives will obsess over whether 41mm is the right size for a Sub, and purists might balk at some of the gaudier colors splashed across 36mm Oyster Perpetuals.

But they will be in a minority. Most, with the cash to spare, will be calling their dealers today to see if they can instantly score one of the new steel subs, or at least get on a waiting list with some hope that their name will eventually be called.

Only spectulators driving up the price of Hulks in recent months have been caught out like short sellers of Tesla stock as its share price quadrupled.

If, as reported in the United States this morning, watches will be on sale tomorrow, that is the best news of the year for Rolex authorised dealers.

It will give them almost four months in which to catch up on sales lost during the ruinously untargeted lock down. From Rolex UK, we have been told that the Submariners and Oyster Perpetuals will go on sale in September, without anything more specific.

It would be nice to know whether production and allocations have shifted towards more of the steel sports watches that have ludicrously long waiting lists. The focus by Rolex this year on crowd-pleasers suggests that it might.

I will be asking my sources whether there are any hints from the watchmaker that they will do more to match supply with demand for its unicorn watches.

Speaking of WatchPro sources, I can’t resist pointing you back to a story we broke on Sunday morning that listed the models our moles had told us to expect.

We correctly called the launch of the 41mm Submariner without date, a new 41mm Kermit with a ceramic bezel and a white gold Submariner with a black dial and a blue bezel.

EXCLUSIVE: Rolex will spring fresh Kermit on Tuesday

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder