Horological Runouts: Watches That Got Discontinued For 2024

THM Desk
18 Apr 2024 |
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The palpable buzz of excitement never ceases to exist within our dearly adored watch industry. The moods of anticipation surrounding events like Watches and Wonders not only unfurl presentation ceremonies of new masterpieces but this very act of creation necessitates the curtain falling on some beloved models which eventually reach the end of their production run.

This melancholic essence evokes a poignant ache for those with plans for future-acquisition of the now-discontinued pieces. But, at the same time, for the fortunate few who secured the pieces, a sense of ‘value appreciation’ takes hold. Their wrists now house pieces of horological history and definitive conversation starters. The level of exclusivity varies with the volume at which production was ceased.

Usually, Rolex and Patek Philippe are very clear about their runouts as other brands aren’t immediate or coherent in listing de-catalogued timepieces. Nevertheless, join us as we raise a metaphorical glass (or, perhaps, wind a crown) to the runouts for 2024, as they leave behind a legacy that resonates long after the final tick.

Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex’s oversized nautical chronograph, the Yacht-Master II was an ultra-niche watch with very specific and unique complications. The crown has retired the YMII and it’s no longer listed on the brand catalog. Although many forecasts pointed to a revamp or streamlining of the collection, the speculations of discontinuation of an expensively-developed unique functionality timepiece at Rolex were scanty. Nevertheless, it happened!


The YMII’s caliber 4161 was a true rarity. This bespoke column wheel and vertical clutch chronograph featured a programmable countdown feature with mechanical memory, making it a perfect Regatta timer. While introducing advancements like the Chronergy escapement danced at the edge of our imagination, the all-out relegation of the collection surely kills a distinctive functionality mechanism and narrows the scope of complications under the crown’s umbrella.

White Gold Rolex Daytona ‘Le Mans’

At the 100th year of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex, as opposed to its tradition, dropped the Reference 126529LN Daytona Le Mans as a limited edition without a specific quantity mention. Just ten months after its release in June last year at the running of the 91st edition of the 24-hour race, Rolex has decided to phase-out the white gold Daytona Le Mans after quite possibly ‘the shortest run of any production Rolex in recent history.’ The now-discontinued white gold ‘Le Mans’ Daytona is going to be replaced by an off-catalog yellow-gold variant.


This watch swiftly rose to ranks as the modern-day Paul Newman 6263 Daytona with a reverse panda dial, the Caliber 4132 with a 24-hour register and the holy red “100” indication on its ceramic tachymeter scale. The Reference 126529LN was introduced as an updated Daytona 4130 announced at Watches and Wonders 2023. The listed $51,400 timepiece is now available pre-owned in the upward range of $320,000. That’s 6x value appreciation in less than a year and one big reason for Ben Clymer to smile!

Rolex Palm and Fluted Motif Dial Datejusts

In 2023, Rolex announced the discontinuation of the mother-of-pearl dial Datejust 41mm models. This dial iteration was a fitting pairing with what the collectors refer to as the quintessential Rolex dress watch. This year, Rolex axes the niche editions in the Datejust 36mm collection as the palm fronds and fluted motif dial variants are retired. Introduced in 2021, this Datejust sub-family featured laser-etched dial motifs and was a pleasant aside against what we can call mainstream Rolex aesthetics.


Now the collection, both in 36 and 41mm categories is perfectly ripe for receiving the funky dials that the brand has been coming up with. With Rolex’s new-found affinity for playful dials, these motif iterations which tend to be on the traditional side sound natural to be phased-out in exchange for colorful versions.

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

With the announcement of the yellow-gold Deepsea at Watches and Wonders 2024, it became evident that the Deepsea will no longer be associated with the Sea-Dweller collection. The Deepsea, both yellow-gold and Oystersteel variants now form a standalone category, leading to discontinuation of the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea. Now, all Deepsea dials will omit the Sea-Dweller text and form a category of high-depth rating nautical tools.


Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5164A-001

In 2011, when Watches and Wonders was still BaselWorld, we saw the introduction of the Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5164A-001. This timepiece with a cleverly displayed dual-time function was the first Aquanaut to feature a complication. Its stainless-steel iteration has been an omnipresent item on the menu of Patek’s chief appetizers, but now we are left with only its gourmet variants in rose gold and white gold, the latter still delectably warm from WaW 2024. So, after almost 13 years, we bid goodbye to the stainless steel Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5164A.


The list of Aquanaut runouts doesn’t end at 5164A. Patek Philippe has also phased out the feminine Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie 5062/450R-001 and the Aquanaut Luce 5268/200R and Aquanaut Luce Travel Time 5269/200R-001 white dial variants.

Patek Philippe World Time 5230P-001

The world timer complications at Patek Philippe form an assortment of highly desirable timepieces with practical functionality. The 2022 edition of the Watches and Wonders gave us a platinum iteration of the complication from Louis Cottier, spanning 80 years. Among the trio of Patek Philippe world timers announced at the event, the Top Wesselton diamond embedded Ref. 5230P-001, paired the first ever 5230 in a platinum case with a blue guilloche dial. This year Patek Philippe ditches the World Time 5230P-001 as the white gold 5330G-001 is announced with the elevated functionality of a world-first local time synchronized peripheral date display.


Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph 5980, 5712 and 7010R

February is a time when Patek Philippe announces price adjustments and catalog discontinuations with its listing of ‘runout’ models. This year, the Nautilus collection has been slimmed down further while only a lone Reference 5980/60G-001 marked an entry at Watches and Wonders 2024. The Nautilus Chronograph 5980 and all of its sub-references faced the axe and we saw a demise of its rose gold black dial, rose gold leather strap, rose gold brown fumé dial and the bi-metal with blue dial variants being phased out to make way for the Reference 5980/60G-001 - white gold case with an opaline blue-gray dial.


Along with the chronograph Nautiluses, the leather-clad nautilus moon phase references 5712/R-001 and 5712/G-001 (rose gold and white gold respectively) have been bid a farewell. The line-up now survives by retaining the two metal bracelet variants, the stainless-steel 5712/IA-001 and the rose gold 5712/1R-001.

Also, Patek Philippe axes the Reference 7010R-012 golden dial quartz variant in 2024 and now the catalog lists only the two purple dial iterations introduced in 2023.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5396

The restyled Calatrava case pairing with the annual calendar complication has been a Patek exclusive since 2006. Among the legacies that fade at the Maison in 2024 is this masterful execution of the annual calendar. It is the blue dial rose gold and white dial white gold iterations defined by the Ref. 5396/R-015 and the 5396/G-011 respectively that exit the portfolio of annual calendars at Patek.

The family is sustained by the 5396/R-011 silvery opaline dial rose gold model and the 2024 Watches and Wonders inductee, the Ref. 5396/G-017 sunburst blue dial with white gold case. The latter iteration is embellished by the brilliance of a dozen baguette diamond hour-markers.


Patek Philippe Grand Complications Retrograde Perpetual Calendar 5160/500G-001

In 2010, Patek Philippe introduced the Rare Handcrafts hand-engraved Reference 5160 as a successor to the 5159. The departure of Reference 5160/500G-001, the white gold with silvery opaline dial, which marked the lone survivor of the Ref. 5160, made the collection disappear altogether from the Patek catalog. Post this demise in February, Patek Philippe announced a 5160/500R at Watches and Wonders 2024 as its rose gold revival. This reinterpretation stands as the solitary retrograde perpetual calendar rare handcrafts reference for the Maison.


Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 7234R-001 and 7234G-001

For 2024, Patek Philippe retired the rose gold and white gold mid-size variants of its Pilot Travel Time Calatrava timepiece. These 37.5mm the models, the Ref. 7234R-001 and Ref. 7234G-001, have been discontinued leaving behind the larger 42mm variants in production. A pity for women aviators out there!


Tudor Glamour Collection

The Glamour line-up at Tudor had been an underrated yet overachieving assortment of elegant sporty timepieces. With the brand’s sports watch range garnering the maximum attention, the slightly dressier series has been deprived of the rightful dose of Tudor magic. While we adore the Black Bays, a little care for the ailing Glamour line-up would’ve resulted in them being commercially viable for the brand and a welcome offering within the confined spaces on Tudor’s catalog. Never forget, the collection presented in-house chronometer-certified calibers at a sub $4000 price category!


In a bid to keep catalogs fresh, brands update their collections with introductions and deductions. Every discontinuation or ‘runout’ is a strategy aimed to maintain a sellable portfolio and an exercise in avoiding homogeneity. As we watch nerds fall victim to the unreasonable passion-driven affinity towards certain timepieces, we resist change and tend to repel discontinuations. But again, the geniuses of the watch world take the bold step forward towards growth and evade stepping back into the deceptive-comfort of safety.