Once in a while on the collector forums, a question is posed: is there anyone in the collector community who has never, ever, owned a Rolex? As a general rule, respondents to these queries tend to express disbelief that such a creature could possibly exist given the quality and ubiquity of the brand’s watches. Well, folks, GaryG is here to tell you that such people do exist, and that he is one of them. How could it be? And then what happened?
Rolex has been described as a blue-chip brand built on blue-collar movements. That’s true no longer: recent developments at the patent office suggest that the future of Rolex watchmaking may yield dramatic breaks with its conservative past. Atomic oscillators, advanced mechanical escapements, and new complications could remodel Rolex in the image of avant-garde independent and boutique brands as Tim Mosso reports.
The last two decades have witnessed regular Rolex engineering advances, often in plain sight and in rapid succession. Despite these developments, Rolex remains a brand defined not by movements but by continuity, model families, and the Rolex image itself. Tim Mosso thinks that the root of Rolex’s soft-pedaled reputation for movement virtuosity lies in the company’s own branding strategy. That and more in this third installment of Rolex’s history of movement technology.
If John Keil was to recommend a brand-new functional diver’s watch to a friend who was looking to spend within a certain price range, these would be his suggestions. Or, more specifically, here is what he would purchase himself in a variety of price categories.
Since Baselworld 2018, Rolex has subtly been revisiting its 36 mm Datejust models. The two stainless steel/white gold models revealed at Baselworld 2019 were the last of these, and Saad Chaudhry is pleased to now delve into the new and improved details of this important modern wristwatch.
From the public’s perspective, Rolex’s surge into its movement revolution began with the now anachronistic-sounding Basel 2000 World Watch, Clock, and Jewelry Show. But the evidence of a long-term engineering campaign was mounting at the patent office and in the dealers’ showrooms as this article by Tim Mosso highlights.
If you want to love Rolex, but you love mechanical movements more than you love watch brands themselves, rejoice: Tim Mosso thinks that we are living in the halcyon days of Rolex movement innovation and shares a few well-illustrated technical and movement highlights right here.
A common question in watch servicing/restoration is, “Who does the ‘best’ work?” In a word (or three), what is meant here is superficial case refinishing. And in other words: huge chamfers on Rolex cases, perfectly flat surfaces, and well executed sunburst patterns. And that’s got Aston Tracy ranting. Find out why here!
Mention the name Fidel Castro in watch circles and the first thing that springs to mind is the Rolex GMT-Master with bi-color bezel that was so frequently seen on his wrist throughout his life next to the gold Rolex Datejust that he wore on the same wrist (the consensus seems to be that Castro wore two watches to keep the time in both Havana and Moscow handy). However, Nick Gould has found yet another interesting detail pertaining to Castro’s small collection of Rolexes.
GaryG once wrote on Quill & Pad about his relationship with the world’s greatest mass luxury brand in ‘Why I’ve Never Owned a Rolex – And Why I Might Yet.’ Well, to know him is to know that if he says he “might yet” buy something it’s likely only a matter of time. So, too, with this Rolex: the GMT Master II BLNR “Batman” with black-and-blue bezel.