The Death of Two-Tone

The latest edition of Baselworld confirmed the obvious: two-tone is dead! Where generally at least a few brand carry the steel-gold variety, now there were no prominent watches offered in this combination. The exception to this rule is, however, Rolex, who introduced the Sky-Dweller not only in steel but also in steel-gold.

So why did Rolex launch one of their most complicated, and may we say landmark, new models in a combination of metal’s that seems to be out of fashion? Because for Rolex steel-gold has traditionally been an important part of the brand identity. They even have a name of their own for it: Rolesor. In a way, Two-Tone watches represent what Rolex is standing for. On the steel-side, they are robust, with their waterproof Oyster-cases and overengineered movements. On the gold-side, they are probably the most recognized watch in the world, and with the exception of the sports models, they always have this well-dressed look about them.

Two-Tone is also a bridge between the steel and full-gold models. They offer a more luxurious look over steel, yet with a far more friendlier price tag than the all gold model. It is a watch for people who want the best of both worlds, as well as a look that has become almost synonymous with Rolex.

Traditionally Rolex offers their Rolesor models with a champagne colored dial (although there are most certainly other options available). This enhances the gold-look of the watch, and quite frankly, also the Rolex-factor. It has a velvet look to it, and the ring for the second time zone is made in the same color. The date is kept in a lighter color so it is easy to read, although I would have loved to see it with the same champagne background as Rolex used to do with this type of dial. That being said, it adds a little bit of a more sportive feel to it, as it corresponds with the luminova filled hour indexes, as well as the white indicators of the annual calendar.

Rolex also has always been disconnected with fashion, and rather creates it own. That is why it seemingly pays very little attention to what other brands are doing, but rather focusses on their own customers. These customers have long been pleased by a brand that might be called conservative, yet shows time and time again how well in touch it is with its own DNA. And that DNA includes two-tone watches, even when this category is more of less dead to the rest of the industry.