5 Reasons I‘ve Never Owned A Rolex, But . . . There’s A “But”
by John Keil
That’s right, you don’t have to clean the proverbial wax out of your ears, you read that correctly.
I have never owned a Rolex – despite the fact that I’m a big watch nut – and here’s why.
Firstly, though, I should make it clear that I haven’t got anything at all against Rolex.
To the contrary, I’ve always admired just how important the brand is. Rolex is one of the most successful marketing companies in the world and it is one of the most recognizable brand names in history; respect is more than due.
So why have I never ever owned a Rolex? Here are my reasons (spoiler alert: shocker at the end!).
1. Indoctrination of belief
I entered the watch industry professionally in 1999 at the age of 27. My first gig (as you’ve probably read in prior posts) was as national sales manager for Chronoswiss, a phenomenal watch brand that was a goldfish swimming in a very large ocean.
From day one in the industry my role was by proxy to convince potential Rolex buyers why they should purchase a Chronoswiss instead.
As a rep I interacted with retailers much more than clients, so my goal was to get salespeople to buy into the Chronoswiss dream and steer clients our way.
This was not a Chronoswiss practice, but rather the practice of almost every rep not selling Rolex, I quickly mastered the spiel and successfully made my way in the retail world.
The benefits for retailers were quite easy to highlight: the margins were slightly better. But much more importantly was this: when a client purchases a Rolex, it is likely that it would be the only timepiece that a client would buy for quite some time, if not the only good watch that they will ever buy.
If a client could be taught about the broad array of other brands, the small number of pieces manufactured each year, various complications, and the fact that many other brands had much more of a “handmade” factor, very often that client would purchase many watches from various brands in the future.
That equals more sales!
As a retail manager in a store that wasn’t an authorized Rolex retailer, I’d often have clients come in to see our pre-owned selection of Rolexes or ask if we could get them a new one.
For these reasons, it would certainly have been hypocritical if I secretly had a Rolex in my watch box at home.
2. I dislike wearing a watch on a bracelet
We all have our preferences when it comes to the watches we own or desire to own.
From the very first watch that I had ever worn, I have always preferred a leather, rubber, or NATO strap because I find watches on bracelets very uncomfortable to wear.
I’ve tried to wear bracelets, and do on occasion, but by midday, my watch is usually on my desk next to my keyboard and not on my wrist.
Rolex has never offered a rubber strap on a watch until very recently with the new Yacht-Master.
The brand’s offerings on a leather strap have never excited me with the exception of the white gold Daytona, but that is far too pricey for me to ever consider.
I’ve always been baffled that the brand never offered its sport models on rubber straps until the 2015 Yacht-Master, a move that I always believed would open up a whole new field of potential clients (like me)!
And maybe it has now.
More recently, aftermarket replacement straps have become popular from the likes of Everest Bands and Rubber B. These may have encouraged the recent Rolex rubber strap – now extended into the other collections – to come into being, but that’s something we’ll never know.
I’d be interested to know whether Rolex is pleased or not to see aftermarket straps on its watches. If it gets more people buying their timepieces, I could imagine the brand is okay with it.
3. I’m an “anti-follow-the-crowd” kind of guy
I’ve never been attracted to what everyone else wants or has.
If I had all of the money in the world, you wouldn’t see me in a Bentley, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. I wouldn’t have an Instagram account with pictures of yachts, jewelry, private jets, and expensive bottles of something or other.
I really enjoy being under the radar in my personal life.
Here’s a perfect example: I bought my first Panerai in 2000 and have owned many models over the years and loved every one.
In 2009, I was in line at a very busy store wearing my PAM 176. Just then, a meathead in a tank top and gold chains started loudly calling from the next line, “YO! ls that a Panerai?!?” (poorly mispronouncing it, of course). Then he yelled for his wife, “Honey, that‘s the f#$@ing watch I was telling you about! That’s the one Stallone wears!”
I shrugged the guy off and told him that I got it in Chinatown for $100.
I got home, unpacked my goods, took a bunch of photos, and posted it for sale on TimeZone. When a guy like that wants a watch that I own, I don’t want to own it anymore.
How does this relate to Rolex?
Most of the people on the street that have a Rolex don’t have any clue about the history, the reliability, and the standing of the brand within the watch industry. And many of them don’t even know what an automatic movement is.
I’d never had the urge to ever be associated with that crowd.
4. Way too many fakes!
Don’t get me wrong: knockoffs in any industry are a plague, and you can abundantly find them of any brand. But as Rolex is the most recognizable and popular watch brand in the world, I’d guess that there are more fakes on the street than authentic by a long stretch.
And that to me has always been a turnoff.
5. I strongly dislike the date magnifying bubble on the crystal known as the Cyclops
No deep-rooted explanation here, and I wish I could elaborate more. But I can’t.
It’s a pet peeve that I’ve had since the very first time I saw a Rolex. I have no other real reason, but it’s a strong one.
But, here’s the shocker!
I plan on purchasing my first Rolex in the not-so-distant future!
I can only blame it on getting older, although my wife will tell you not any more mature. I’ll be getting a Rolex Submariner Reference 114060 and here’s why.
I’ve owned watches from dozens of other brands that I’ve loved. I’ve had my eye on this watch for a while and feel it’s time to experience Rolex ownership first hand.
As I mentioned, I don’t like wearing bracelet watches, so I’ll be picking up a rubber strap from one of the above-mentioned companies.
As far as not following the crowd, I’ll be wearing the Sub for what it was originally designed for: as a tool watch. I have every intention to surf, scuba dive, swim, and wear it as an all-around beach watch.
With no date comes no magnifying bubble on the crystal. Pet peeve avoided.
I’ll let you know how I get on, so stay tuned.
For more information on the Rolex Submariner, please visit www.rolex.com/watches/submariner/m114060-0002.
Quick Facts Rolex Submariner Reference 114060
Case: 40 mm, 904L stainless steel with unidirectional rotating bezel, water-resistant to 300 m
Movement: automatic Caliber 3130 with Parachrom hairspring, C.O.S.C. chronometer certification
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Also published on Medium.