This is my favourite Rolex from Watches and Wonders – It's not what you'd think

The Rolex 1908 takes an old school approach, and could be a top pick for those wanting a luxury dress watch

Rolex 1908
(Image credit: Rolex)

It's the best time of year to be a watch lover. As Watches and Wonders 2023 draws to a close, we're left to revel in the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright bizarre that graced stands in Geneva.

And when it comes to Rolex, we got quite a different suite of models than expected. In fact, the Rolex leaks we saw in the run up to the event almost feel a bit tame in comparison to what was actually released.

Okay, there was a fair share of predictable stuff too – a new size for the Explorer, a titanium case for the Yacht-Master – but there was also a host of completely left-field takes. Just look at the Rolex emoji watch – a Day-Date which shows neither the day, nor the date, and features a multi-coloured, jigsaw print dial.

Nestled in amongst the predictable and the oddities, though, was a new release which I personally think is an absolute masterstroke. The Rolex 1908 is a dress watch that comes in either white or yellow gold. Named after the year Rolex got their name trademarked in Switzerland, and inspired by an early-thirties Oyster Perpetual reference, the 1908 is simple, classy and elegant.

The case is 39mm in diameter, following recent trends toward smaller timepieces. Sapphire crystal tops a simple dial, with a small seconds register at the six o'clock position, and also provides a viewpoint for the 7140 movement on the inside, via an exhibition caseback. That movement offers 66 hours of power reserve, too, and should run at +2/-2 seconds per day. You'll get a choice of Alligator leather straps, and the clasp is a double-folding Dualclasp design, which matches the case material.

So why do I think a relatively plain-looking dress watch is the pick of an interesting bunch? Well, for a few reasons. 

Firstly, I think it's really well positioned. Starting at £18,500 in the UK, it's certainly not a cheap watch. But when you look at other luxury dress watches, it is competitively priced. Arguably the closest direct competitor is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin, which is almost exactly the same price. 

Looking to higher-tier offerings like the Patek Phillipe Calatrava and the A. Lange and Söhne 1815 will set you back an extra £10,000, and don't have the same household name value that Rolex does. For some, that's part of the charm, but I'd wager a lot more people like the added street cred of wearing a Rolex.

Secondly, I think it could mark the beginning of a wider shift in the watch industry. It's no secret that dress watches aren't in fashion right now. There's also no brand that's really benefitted from the higher profile of sports watches quite like Rolex.

But fashions change, and I'm confident that the dress watch will make a comeback. Whether the 1908 is ultimately the catalyst for that change or not remains to be seen, but I think it stands a better chance than most.

Of course, all of that depends on people getting their hands on them. We know that buying a new Rolex will get easier, and that should allow people an easier ride when looking to make a purchase.

In short, then, Rolex has taken the opportunity to go against the grain, pushing the limits of their collection in the process. Worst case scenario, that's made for a really cool watch. Best case? Well, it might just re-shape the watch world as a whole.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.