Beckertime, LLC https://beckertime.com Pre-Loved Rolex & Luxury Timepieces Tue, 20 Nov 2018 20:28:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Then and Now: The First Rolex Explorer vs. The Current Rolex Explorer https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-explorer-vs-the-current-rolex-explorer/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-explorer-vs-the-current-rolex-explorer/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:47:01 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184150 For this edition of our Then and Now series, we’ve selected one of Rolex’s oldest sports watch models still in production today—the Explorer. Although we’ve clearly demonstrated in our past Then & Now articles that Rolex has a knack for maintaining fundamental design details of a particular watch while still managing to vastly improve the […]

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For this edition of our Then and Now series, we’ve selected one of Rolex’s oldest sports watch models still in production today—the Explorer. Although we’ve clearly demonstrated in our past Then & Now articles that Rolex has a knack for maintaining fundamental design details of a particular watch while still managing to vastly improve the model, the first Explorer and the most current Explorer are remarkably similar—even for Rolex standards. Let’s investigate this exemplary display of consistency by comparing the inaugural Rolex Explorer with its most modern version.

The First Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer Ref. 6350

On Friday, 29 May 1953, Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay made history by becoming the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest—the highest mountain in the world. Since many had tried before but failed, this was momentous news that was celebrated around the world. According to Rolex lore, several men on the expedition, including Tenzing Norgay, had on Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches during their treacherous adventure. So in honor of the ascent, the company came out with a new Rolex ref. 6350 later on that year and dubbed it the Explorer.

Rolex Caliber A296

Built in stainless steel, the Rolex Explorer ref. 6350 includes a 36mm Oyster case, a Brevet winding crown without crown guards, and an Oyster bracelet. It is a time-only model with a black dial (in some cases a honeycombed pattern one), luminescent Mercedes-style center hands, and luminescent indexes with numerals at 3, 6, and 9. In fact, the 3/6/9 index configuration of the watch became its signature trademark—so much so that this layout is now referred to as the Explorer-style dial.

Beneath the large bubble caseback of the Explorer 6350 is the self-winding Cal. A296 movement.

The Newest Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer 214270

Although Rolex released a slew of bigger and more complex models like the Submariner, GMT-Master, and Daytona after the Explorer, this modest watch continues to be a part of the company’s collection. It is precisely the Explorer’s unassuming classic style, robust construction, and an accessible price tag that makes it’s a fan favorite.

The most current iteration of this watch is the Explorer ref. 214270 and while it is undoubtedly a modern Rolex watch, it has an uncanny resemblance to the original. The first edition of the Explorer ref. 214270 came out in 2010 and Rolex followed it up with a revamped model (but same reference number) in 2016.

Rolex Caliber 3132

The Explorer ref. 214270 was the first Explorer to grow to 39mm in diameter. Like its predecessors, it’s only available in stainless steel, has no crown guards, and includes an Oyster bracelet. Also like earlier Explorer watches, the ref. 214270 houses a black time-only dial with luminescent accents, and of course, includes the oversized 3/6/9 numerals. It’s worth mentioning that Explorer ref. 214270 watches made from 2010 to 2016 do not include luminescence in the 3-6-9- numerals while those made in 2016 and after, do. The Mercedes-style hands are still there, as is the inverted triangle at 12 o’clock. But unlike the inaugural Explorer, the new ones all come with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protecting the dial.

Powering the newest Explorer model is the self-winding Caliber 3132 with 48 hours of power reserve. This is the same in-house movement Rolex uses in the modern Oyster Perpetual 39 watches, as well as the modern Cellini Time watches.

The Rolex Explorer Evolution, Then and Now

Looking at the first Rolex Explorer ref. 6350 and the newest Rolex Explorer ref. 214270 side by side, it’s clear that Rolex understands not to mess with great design. Rolex nailed the look of the Explorer pretty much from the get-go and now the company simply focuses on improving the technical and practical aspects of the watch.

Arguably one of the easiest Rolex watches to own, collect, service, and wear, the simplicity of the Rolex Explorer is the main reason it has withstood the test of time. With over six decades of history behind it, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Explorer maintains its characteristic style for the next 50 years.

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Crazy Custom Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/crazy-custom-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/crazy-custom-rolex-watches/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:44:14 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=186332 While Rolex watches are—in our opinion—pretty perfect when they come out of the factory in Switzerland, some wearers like to add their own touch to them. There are different ways to customize a Rolex watch from adding gems to PVD coating to engraving and more. Whether you’re into customizing or not, have a look at […]

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While Rolex watches are—in our opinion—pretty perfect when they come out of the factory in Switzerland, some wearers like to add their own touch to them. There are different ways to customize a Rolex watch from adding gems to PVD coating to engraving and more. Whether you’re into customizing or not, have a look at some of these crazy custom Rolex watches.

John Mayer’s Mickey Mouse Rolex

John Mayer’s love of watches is well documented. He has quite the collection of both modern and vintage watches from some of the leading brands in the industry. He also seems to be big into Mickey Mouse as shown by his custom Louis Vuitton luggage emblazoned with the famous Disney character, as well as sporting Mickey Mouse shirts.

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Sunday Fun… Black Mickey Daytona.

A post shared by John Mayer 💎 (@johnmayer) on

So why not merge the famous mouse with a famous chronograph? Back in 2013, John Mayer posted some renderings of a custom Daytona ref. 116520 with black PVD coating with a large Mickey Mouse on the dial on his Tumblr page. A few months later, a live shot of the custom Rolex Daytona on his wrist showed up on his Instagram profile. Nicely done.

Spike Lee Cool Hand Brooklyn Daytona

Les Artisans De Genève is a company that specializes in modifying modern Rolex watches to look more like famous vintage models. The company also has also been a part of a few celebrity collaborations with icons like Lenny Kravitz and Spike Lee.

Spike Lee’s custom Rolex watch is named Cool Hand Brooklyn in honor of both his hometown and the most famous celebrity Daytona owner that ever lived, Paul Newman (Paul Newman starred in a movie called Cool Hand Luke). Starting with the steel Dayton ref. 116520, the Spike Lee-designed custom Daytona not only flaunts a bright blue and orange colorway reminiscent of the uniforms of his beloved team, the New York Knicks but also has a sapphire casebak for a view of the famed Cal. 4130 movement within.

Lil Yachty Iced Out Rolex Watches

Lil Yachty may be a young rapper with a career that’s only a few years long, but his net worth is already in the millions thanks to lucrative endorsements along with his popular songs. And how does this 21-year-old like to spend his wealth? A lot of it goes to lavish jewelry and watches—so much so, that GQ recently asked Lil Yachty to show off his collection.

One thing you’ll notice with Lil Yachty’s watches is that most of them are completely covered in diamonds from top to bottom. And since most of these Rolex watches do not come out of the factory that way, we know that they’ve been custom set with gems. For instance, Rolex does not make a full diamond Sky-Dweller or a full diamond two-tone Datejust. But thanks to after-market customization, Lil Yachty is the proud owner of an iced-out Sky-Dweller with a blue dial and a full diamond two-tone steel and Everose Datejust 41, along with plenty of other full diamond Rolex Day-Date President watches.

MadeWorn’s Custom Engraved Rolex Watches

Blaine Halvorson is the creative force behind MadeWorn, a brand that celebrates handmade craftsmanship, nostalgia, and rock n’ roll. Along with all the beautifully made products MadeWorn sells, the brand can also custom engrave Rolex watches.

But we’re not talking simple engravings here but rather intricately hand-carved metal surfaces that can include the case, bezel, and bracelet. Since skilled artisans do this by hand, no two MadeWorn-engraved Rolex watches are the same resulting in a truly unique piece. A touch of Americana on legendary Swiss watches.

Custom Rolex watches are not to everyone’s taste—but that’s the point. They are a way to express personal style via a well-recognized brand. Whether using gems, colors, drawings or engravings, there are plenty of ways to customize a Rolex watch ranging from the subtle to the outlandish.

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Celebrities Who Wear The Rolex Daytona Watch https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrities-who-wear-the-rolex-daytona-watch/ https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrities-who-wear-the-rolex-daytona-watch/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 18:18:42 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=186323 When it comes to celebrity Rolex watches, nothing tops the Daytona chronograph watch worn by the late actor, racecar driver, and philanthropist Paul Newman. In fact, Paul Newman’s Daytona sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million in 2017. However, Paul Newman was far from the only famous person who appreciated Rolex’s signature chronograph watch. The Daytona […]

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When it comes to celebrity Rolex watches, nothing tops the Daytona chronograph watch worn by the late actor, racecar driver, and philanthropist Paul Newman. In fact, Paul Newman’s Daytona sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million in 2017. However, Paul Newman was far from the only famous person who appreciated Rolex’s signature chronograph watch. The Daytona is most certainly one of the most popular Rolex watches worn by celebrities—have a look at a few of our favorite ones here.

Jay-Z’s Steel and Ceramic Daytona

In 2016, Rolex made headlines at Baselworld by unveiling the new stainless steel Daytona ref. 116500LN. This was the first time Rolex offered a steel version of the Daytona with an ultra-modern Cerachrom ceramic bezel and it was a huge hit. Due to its popularity, the Daytona ref. 116500LN is one of the toughest Rolex watches to find right now so it comes as no surprise that celebrities like to wear them.

Take for instance, rapper and business mogul, Jay-Z, who is a well-known celebrity watch collector. Typically a fan of platinum, gold, and gem-set luxury timepieces from the likes of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Hublot, and of course, Rolex, we don’t often see Jay-Z wearing a steel watch. But then again, the steel Daytona ref. 116500LN is in a league of its own and it looks great on his wrist.

John Mayer’s White Gold Daytona Rainbow

For some men, a gem-set watch may be a hard pull off. But for celebrities who live in a world of extremes, a diamond timepiece fits just right. Guitarist extraordinaire John Mayer is a familiar face in the watch enthusiast community with a fantastic collection of his own.

And among the many watches he owns, he’s been spotted several times rocking a white gold Daytona ref. 116599 RBOW with a colorful sapphire bezel. Aptly nicknamed the Daytona Rainbow, Rolex currently has three versions of this ultra lavish sapphire Daytona—one in yellow gold, one in white gold, and most recently, one in Everose gold. The last time we saw John Mayer wearing his Daytona Rainbow was while sampling some wings on the popular web series, Hot Ones.

Victoria Beckham’s Everose Gold Daytona

While the Daytona is officially classified as a men’s watch, that doesn’t deter ladies from wearing the famed luxury chronograph watch. Particularly popular versions of the Rolex Daytona among the female celebrity crowd are the Everose gold models—as seen on the wrist of fashion designer and ex-pop star, Victoria Beckham.

As a fashion designer, Victoria Beckham knows a thing or two about great taste and she wears her rose gold Daytona chronograph beautifully. With a larger sporty style and a warm rose color, the Everose gold Daytona strikes a great balance between an oversized woman’s watch and precious gold timepiece.

Kevin Hart’s Platinum Anniversary Daytona

Comedian and actor Kevin Hart is another celebrity that isn’t shy about showing off his obsession with luxury watches. It’s hard to keep up with what Kevin Hart has in his collection, as it seems he wears a different watch each time he steps out in public (or snaps an Instagram pic).

One of the brands he wears the most is Rolex with a slew of different Daytona chronographs in rotation. A standout model he wears is the platinum Daytona ref. 116506, which Rolex released in 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Daytona. With its brown ceramic bezel and ice blue dial, this is an instantly recognizable Daytona watch.

Jonah Hill’s Yellow Gold Daytona

Actor Jonah Hill took the next step in his career by writing and directing the new movie, Mid90s, in theaters right now. Film critics and fans alike have praised Jonah Hill’s directorial debut so we won’t be surprised if we’ll see more writing and directing projects from this charming celebrity.

In terms of watches, Jonah Hill has a penchant for yellow gold ones like a gold Nautilus, a gold Day-Date, and a gold Daytona. We particularly like Jonah Hill’s yellow gold Daytona ref. 116508 fitted with a bright green metallic dial, which came out in 2016.

Adam Levine’s Vintage Daytona “Paul Newman”

Just like Paul Newman, frontman for Maroon 5 Adam Levine is a fan of vintage Rolex Daytona watches equipped with the “exotic” dial—now known as the “Paul Newman” dial.

Although he has a host of enviable vintage Rolex watches in his collection, there’s one that he favors above all. Adam Levine recently told The New York Times that, “My most prized possession is my watch. I bought it about eight years ago, and it’s a Rolex Paul Newman Daytona. It was a major luxury purchase, and I will never, ever get rid of it. You can go plenty of directions with a Rolex — there are so many bad ones — but the right one from the right era is something special.” We couldn’t agree more.

Regardless of the material or production era, it’s clear that the Rolex Daytona watch is a celebrity favorite. Stay tuned for our next article where we’ll highlight celebrities who wear Rolex Sea-Dweller watches.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Explorer II vs. The Current Rolex Explorer II https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-explorer-ii-vs-the-current-rolex-explorer-ii/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-explorer-ii-vs-the-current-rolex-explorer-ii/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:13:20 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184810 Welcome to our latest chapter of our Then & Now series where we have a look at the very first reference of a specific Rolex model and compare it to its most recent iteration. Sometimes the resemblances are striking, while other times they look like completely different models. Continuing our journey though Rolex’s history, we […]

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Welcome to our latest chapter of our Then & Now series where we have a look at the very first reference of a specific Rolex model and compare it to its most recent iteration. Sometimes the resemblances are striking, while other times they look like completely different models. Continuing our journey though Rolex’s history, we now arrive at the Explorer II. Join us as we investigate the differences and similarities between the first Rolex Explorer II vs. the current Rolex Explorer II.

The First Rolex Explorer II

Rolex Mens Explorer II 1655

It was 1971 when Rolex unleashed the Explorer II. This was the first time the company released a “Part II” of a particular model—in this case it was a follow up to the Explorer I. While both watches were positioned as sturdy tool watches for adventurers, the Explorer II offers more functionality by having a very niche audience in mind. Rolex built the Explorer II for polar explorers and speleologists; i.e. people who spend time in places like the Polar Regions and dark caves where they can’t depend on the presence or absence of sunlight to tell them if it’s day or night.

The first reference in the family was the Explorer II ref. 1655. It featured a stainless steel 39 mm Oyster case topped with a fixed steel bezel engraved with 24 hours. That bezel is used in conjunction with the extra 24-hand on the black dial as an AM/PM indicate to tell the wearer if it’s day or night.

Rolex Explorer II 1655

That extra 24-hour hand is a signature design feature of the Explorer ref. 1655 with its bright orange color, large triangular shape, and lume-filled center. In fact, the orange arrow-tipped hand eventually led to its nickname, “Freccione,” derived from the Italian word for arrow. The Explorer II ref. 1655 is also sometimes called the “Steve McQueen” in watch collecting circles, despite the fact that it is highly questionable that the actor ever wore one.

Also on the dial are plenty of luminescent accents for legibility in the dark including on the center pencil-style hands with pointed tips. Furthermore, there’s the date window at 3 o’clock along with the Cyclops magnifying lens jutting out from the acrylic crystal.

Rolex Caliber 1575

Powering the Explorer II ref. 1655 is the Rolex Cal. 1575 self-winding GMT movement with the hacking feature. Rolex produced the Explorer II ref. 1655 from 1971 until the mid-1980s, only to be replaced by the Explorer II ref. 16550.

The Current Rolex Explorer II

The Explorer II underwent several design and technical modifications over the course of its history. In 2011—the year the Explorer II celebrated its 40th anniversary—Rolex released the Explorer II ref. 216570.

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Explorer II 42mm Black 216570

While we see a few similarities to the very first reference, the Explorer II ref. 216570 is a quite a different watch altogether. First, it includes a large 42mm Oyster case. In fact, the Explorer ref. 216570 is the largest Explorer II to date as previous versions (that came after ref. 1655) featured 40mm cases. The Explorer II ref. 216570 still has a fixed steel bezel engraved with 24 hours, but the font is much bolder than the original.

Furthermore, the Explorer II ref. 216570 comes with a choice of a black or white dial, which houses the familiar orange 24-hour hand. However, this time, because of the Caliber 3187, the Explorer II ref. 216570 is a GMT watch, able to track to two time zones rather than just offering an AM/PM indicator. This is possible because the 24-hour hand is set independently from the center hour and minute hand. This allows the wearer to point to another hour on the 24-hour marked bezel.

Rolex Explorer II 216570

The dial of the newest Explorer II is also styled differently to the maiden Explorer II. It features the round lume plots and Mercedes-style hands typical of many of today’s Rolex sports watches. As a modern Rolex watch, the Explorer II ref. 216570 comes equipped with up-to-date details like a sapphire crystal, Chromalight luminescence, and an Oyster bracelet with the practical Easylink 5 mm extension system.

The Rolex Explorer II Evolution, Then and Now

The Explorer II ref. 1655 and Explorer II ref. 216570 are fantastic Rolex watches in their own unique ways.

The Explorer II ref. 1655 “Steve McQueen” is now a highly collectible vintage Rolex watch in the secondary market while the Explorer II ref. 216570 is an ultra-modern and more practical take on the adventurer’s watch. While the connection between the two watches is there, the first and current Explorer II watches will most certainly appeal to two very different audiences.

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Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust Compare: 16200, 16234, 16264 vs. 116200, 116234, 116264 https://beckertime.com/blog/stainless-steel-rolex-datejust-compare-16200-16234-16264-vs-116200-116234-116264/ https://beckertime.com/blog/stainless-steel-rolex-datejust-compare-16200-16234-16264-vs-116200-116234-116264/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:32:49 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=179996 Rolex first debuted the Datejust watch in 1945 and since then, the company has made countless versions of their signature dress watch. For instance, there have been plenty of different stainless steel Datejust models produced over the last seven decades. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pre-owned steel Datejust model but are having […]

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Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Silver 16200

Rolex first debuted the Datejust watch in 1945 and since then, the company has made countless versions of their signature dress watch. For instance, there have been plenty of different stainless steel Datejust models produced over the last seven decades. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pre-owned steel Datejust model but are having a hard time keeping track of what exactly are the differences between the models, read on as we compare stainless steel Rolex Datejust versions of the five-digit ref. 162xx family with the subsequent—and current—six-digit ref. 1162xx generation of stainless steel Datejust watches.

The Mutual Design Traits

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Turn-O-Graph White Roman 16264

Just ahead of getting into the detailed comparisons between specific models, we’d be remiss not to mention the common design traits that continue throughout each generation of the Datejust watch. Firstly, they have 36mm Oyster cases manufactured to be water resistant to 100 meters thanks in part to screw-down winding crowns and fluted casebacks. Moreover, as the name of the model implies, there’s the famous date window at 3 o’clock accompanied by the protruding Cyclops magnification lens on the crystal. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, Rolex Datejust watches are powered by automatic—aka perpetual—mechanical movements.

Design: Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust 16200 vs. 116200; 16234 vs. 116234; 16264 vs. 116264

Rolex Datejust 116264

The stainless steel Rolex Datejust ref. 16200 and ref. 116200 have steel smooth bezels, the ref. 16234 and ref. 116234 have white gold fluted bezels, and the ref. 16264 and the ref. 116264 have rotating Turn-O-Graph bezels in white gold.

At first glance, the older generation of stainless steel Datejust watches (ref. 16200, 16234, 16264) and the newer steel Datejust models (ref. 116200, 116234, 116264) look very similar. However, there are some important differences to note.

What’s Different?

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Silver Arabic 116200

Rolex produced the five-digit steel Datejust ref. 162xx watches from the late 1980s until the mid 2000s. As modern Datejust watches, these models include scratch-resistant sapphire crystals protecting the dials and run on the Caliber 3135 movement with quickset functionality—where the date window is set independently from the center hands. During its production run, the steel Datejust ref. 162xx watches evolved from having tritium lume on the dials to then featuring Luminova when Rolex began adopting the new material in the late 1990s, to finally, SuperLuminova a few years later. Similarly, these Datejust watches originally had lug holes in the cases until Rolex began phasing them out across all models in the mid 1990s. In terms of bracelets, the five-digit ref. 162xx steel Datejust watches came equipped with Oyster or Jubilee bracelets, all with hollow links and flip clasps.

Rolex replaced the five-digit ref. 162xx steel Datejust watches with the new six-digit ref. 1162xx steel Datejust watches, which continue to be a part of the brand’s catalog today. An exception to this is the steel Turn-O-Graph Datejust ref. 116264 watch, also known as the Thunderbird, which Rolex discontinued in the early 2010s.

The Case

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Silver 16234

These current stainless steel Datejust watches also have sapphire crystals and Caliber 3135 movements. However, since they came later, all these contemporary steel Datejust watches do not have lug holes on their cases and all have SuperLuminova on the dials.

The Bracelet

The biggest difference between today’s steel Datejust watches and the preceding models are their bracelets. While the previous versions had hollow links, the steel Datejust watches ref. 116200, 116234 and 116264 all have solid links and solid end links (SEL). As a result, the newer models are notably heavier than the former ones.

Engraved Rehaut

Finally, in the mid-2000s, Rolex began engraving the rehaut—the inner bezel—with ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX as a protective measure against counterfeiting. Therefore, you’ll find some six-digit steel Datejust watches with the engraved rehaut and some without.

Movement: Compare Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust 16200 vs. 116200; 16234 vs. 116234; 16264 vs. 116264

While both generations of the stainless steel Datejust watches run the COSC-certified Caliber 3135 movement with 48 hours of power reserve and a frequency rate of 28,800 beats per hour, Rolex did make big changes in 2015.

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Black 116234

That year, the company redefined the parameters of their Superlative Chronometer Certification for all watches to include an accuracy rating of -2/+2 per day. Plus, they also extended their warranty from two years to five years.

To recap, despite first impressions, the previous ref. 162xx steel Datejust watches can differ greatly from the current ref. 1162xx models—particularly if you compare early versions of the preceding generation. If classic design details such as lug holes and tritium lume are important to you, then the older steel Datejust watches may be right for you. Conversely, if a solid bracelet is your priority, then the newer editions would be right up your alley.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Submariner vs. The Current Rolex Submariner https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-submariner-vs-the-current-rolex-submariner/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-submariner-vs-the-current-rolex-submariner/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:25:59 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183834 For this installment of our Then and Now series where we compare the very first Rolex model with its newest counterpart, we take a look at the Submariner. It’s no secret that the Submariner is one of Rolex’s most coveted sports watch models. Highly recognizable, immensely popular, and just downright cool for many to own […]

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For this installment of our Then and Now series where we compare the very first Rolex model with its newest counterpart, we take a look at the Submariner. It’s no secret that the Submariner is one of Rolex’s most coveted sports watch models. Highly recognizable, immensely popular, and just downright cool for many to own a Submariner is the ultimate #watchgoal. But how much has Rolex’s flagship dive watch changed over the 65 years? Let’s find out by comparing the first Rolex Submariner vs the current Rolex Submariner model.

The First Rolex Submariner

In 1953, Rolex presented a brand new watch model to their lineup. This would prove to become an absolute legend in the watch space. The new watch was dubbed the Submariner. Its mission was to accompany divers deep underwater, and its reference number was 6204. In fact, building upon the Rolex’s record of introducing the world’s first waterproof watch (the Oyster) in 1926, the Submariner ref. 6204 was the world’s first diving watch water resistant to 100 meters. This beat the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms by less than 10 meters. Built as a utilitarian timepiece for scuba divers, the Submariner boasted a host of practical traits for underwater explorers of the era.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 6204
Credit: Rolex

For instance, from case to bezel to bracelet, Rolex constructed the Submariner ref. 6204 from tough stainless steel. This material can handle being submerged in salty water. It sports a 37mm Oyster case, no crown guards protecting the screw-down winding crown, and a black aluminum rotating bezel that allows divers to measure immersion times. Furthermore, the black dial includes highly luminescent (radium) indexes and hands so divers could easily read the watch in dark waters. It’s worth noting that these early models of the Submariner had straight pencil-style hands. But, these were eventually replaced with the now-familiar Mercedes-style hands on subsequent Submariner references. Protecting the face of the Submariner 6204 watch is an acrylic crystal.

As a time-only watch, the vintage Submariner ref. 6204 runs on the automatic Caliber A260 movement. Rolex only produced the Submariner ref. 6204 for one year. Then they replaced it with the following ref. 6205 and 6200.

The Current Rolex Submariner

It’s been six years since Rolex has launched a new Submariner watch. The latest to join the collection is the Submariner ref. 114060, which made its debut at Baselworld 2012. Like the majority of Rolex watches—and in our opinion a key reason for the brand’s success—the newest version of the Submariner looks a great deal like the first. But now it’s packed with cutting-edge innovations and design enhancements.

Similar to the first Sub ref. 6204, the Submariner ref. 114060 is a no-date model, available exclusively in steel. As many of you already know, the Submariner range includes plenty of date models and those are the ones available in a range of materials and different colors.

The 40mm Oyster Case

Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060
Credit: Rolex

In the late 1950s, the Submariner case not only grew to 40mm but also featured protective shoulders around the screw-down winding crown. So continuing the tradition, the newest Submariner ref. 114060 does also have a 40mm Oyster case and crown guards. However, due to the broader shape of the case, it wears larger than vintage Subs that have the same official size. Sitting on top of that case is one of Rolex’s newer materials, Cerachrom ceramic. In 2005, Rolex introduced Cerachrom, its patented ceramic alloy, that promises to not scratch or fade in the sun. Similar to all modern Subs, the ref. 114060’s bezel has the first 15 minutes marked, followed by markings every 5 minutes after that.

Water Resistance Rating

Rolex Submariner watches have offered a water resistance rating of 300 meters since the late 1970s and the Submariner ref. 114060 has the same impressive depth rating achieved in part because the Triplock screw-down winding crown and fluted screw-down caseback keeps the water out. Encased within the dateless Submariner ref. 114060 is the Rolex Caliber 3130 self-winding movement with about 48 hours of power reserve.

The “Maxi” dial of the Submariner ref. 114060 is still in classic black but features the modern blue-glowing luminescent material Rolex calls Chromalight on the now-standard white gold surrounded round indices and Mercedes-style hands. As is the case with all Submariner watches from the early 1980s onwards, the current Submariner ref. 114060 is fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

Although it’s known that the Submariner is enjoyed more by desk divers than scuba divers, Rolex still designs their signature diver’s watch with the original audience in mind. As a result, the Oyster bracelet includes the practical Glidelock extension system to permit the wearer to easily lengthen the bracelet to accommodate thick wetsuits.

The Rolex Submariner Evolution, Then and Now

When comparing the first Rolex Submariner vs the current Rolex Submariner model, we find the Submariner has undergone plenty of modifications over the last six decades. However, Rolex has stayed true to the watch’s core design hallmarks and technical details. And the current Submariner ref. 114060 is a worthy decedent of the one that started it all, the original Submariner ref. 6204.

Stay tuned for our next chapter of our new Then and Now series where we’ll compare the very first Daytona with the latest Daytona.

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Celebrities Who Wear The Rolex Submariner Watch https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrities-who-wear-the-rolex-submariner-watch/ https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrities-who-wear-the-rolex-submariner-watch/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 16:22:43 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185961 Is there a luxury watch as famous as the Rolex Submariner? We think not. In fact, so renowned is this watch that not only has it become the archetype of what a modern dive watch should look like but it’s also notoriously known as the most counterfeited watch in the world. The Submariner has long […]

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Is there a luxury watch as famous as the Rolex Submariner? We think not. In fact, so renowned is this watch that not only has it become the archetype of what a modern dive watch should look like but it’s also notoriously known as the most counterfeited watch in the world. The Submariner has long graduated from its once tool watch position to become a symbol of status and success. So it’s no wonder that there are plenty of celebrities wearing Rolex out there that have at least one in their luxury watch collections. Here are some of our favorite sightings of celebrities who wear the Rolex Submariner watch.

Jack Black’s White Gold Rolex Submariner Watch

Actor, comedian, musician, and songwriter Jack Black has been entertaining audiences for decades. A hard-working celebrity, Jack Black has currently been doing the rounds on talk shows promoting his latest movie, The House With a Clock in Its Walls, as well as his tour with his comedy rock duo, Tenacious D.

During his interviews, we could not help but notice a very special Submariner on Jack Black’s wrist—an 18k white gold Submariner ref. 116619 with a blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel and a matching blue dial. Sometimes known as the “Rolex Smurf,” the watch may have a funny nickname, but make no mistake; this is a seriously luxurious sports watch.

Russell Wilson’s Two-Tone Rolex Submariner Watch

Quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson is aiming to replicate his team’s 2013 Super Bowl victory. Along with his demanding football career, Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara announced they were joining an effort to bring an MLB franchise to Portland—this is on top of his numerous business ventures and paid endorsements.

So how does the busy NFL quarterback keep track of all his time? Sometimes with a handsome two-tone Rolex Submariner ref. 116613LB on his wrist. In addition to the appealing mix of yellow gold and stainless steel, Russell Wilson’s Submariner also has a vibrant blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel and matching blue dial. Style-wise, that’s a touchdown for us.

Tom Hardy’s Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner

A familiar face starring in blockbuster movies like Inception, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Dark Knight Rises, actor Tom Hardy is killing it as an action star. This year is an especially big one for the London native as his movie, Venom, is currently raking in millions at the box office.

Off-screen, Tom Hardy is known for his stylish ways, often appearing in men’s magazines like GQ, Esquire, and the like. And if you look closely at his arm, you’ll most likely spot a Rolex watch there as he has quite a few in his collection. His Sub of choice is the classic stainless steel Submariner ref. 116610LN with the black ceramic bezel and black dial combo. You simply can’t go wrong with a stainless steel and black Submariner.

Mark Wahlberg Gold Submariner

Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to our celebrity Rolex articles since he has one of the largest collection of Rolex watches we’ve ever seen one famous person have. Plus, he continues to add to it regularly with new Daytona, GMT-Master II, and Day-Date models.

As for Submariner watches, we’ve seen Mark Wahlberg wearing at least two different ones—both in yellow gold. He has the yellow gold 116618LN with the black ceramic bezel and black dial configuration, as well as the yellow gold 116613LB model with the blue bezel and dial combo. Why settle for one when you can have both?

Slash’s Green Rolex Submariner Watch

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was no bigger rock band than Guns N’ Roses with singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash at the helm. But as is often the case in rock and roll, Axl Rose and Slash’s relationship was tumultuous, to say the least. Slash finally left the band in the late 1990s.

Against all odds, Guns N’ Roses have reunited and are in the midst of their hugely successful global Not In This Lifetime… Tour. And Slash has brought his favorite stainless steel Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV “Hulk”—a watch he has been wearing for a while now—along for the ride as he plays to tens of thousands of adoring fans. The “Hulk” is beastly watch that can definitely keep up with high energy Guns N’ Roses concerts.

Whether in steel or precious metals, in blue, black, or green, the Rolex Submariner is as recognizable as the celebrities that wear them. Stay tuned for our next article where we’ll highlight celebrities who wear the Rolex Daytona chronograph.

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The Watch Collector Series: Athletes and Their Rolex https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-athletes-and-their-rolex/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-athletes-and-their-rolex/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 14:43:52 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182731 Each year, U.S. business magazine Forbes publishes its list of the highest paid professional athletes, and the names for 2018 have just been released. While most of the stars that head up this year’s top earners are no surprise, as you scan down the line-up, it is interesting to see how several of the world’s […]

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Each year, U.S. business magazine Forbes publishes its list of the highest paid professional athletes, and the names for 2018 have just been released.

While most of the stars that head up this year’s top earners are no surprise, as you scan down the line-up, it is interesting to see how several of the world’s elite make a lot of their money.

In a number of cases, the cash they won competing in their respective events is matched, and sometimes dwarfed, by the amount they raked in through their various endorsement deals.

Top brands, and watch manufacturers in particular, flock to high profile personalities from all walks of life, and none more so than the field of sports. Athletes personify the continuous search for improvement and perfection that typifies luxury watchmaking, and tying the best of the best in to validate a certain manufacturer with their patronage can elevate that company’s standing with a wider public.

Rolex have had a longer relationship with enlisting the backing of sporting pioneers than any other brand, and it is an association that continues to this day. A number of the competitors on the list are official Rolex testimonees, and even more are rarely seen without one of the crown’s creations on their wrist.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the year’s most successful athletes and their connection with Rolex.

Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Rolex Watch

May as well start at the top. Holding the number one position, and with annual earnings of way more than double the poor chump who came in at number two, Money Mayweather scrapped his way to $285m in the last year. The vast majority was earned in the ‘Money Fight’, the bout he fought last August against UFC champion Conor McGregor, earning himself $275m in the 36-minute bout. Added to that was the $10m paid out by official sponsors Tequila Avion and Swiss watch brand Hublot, who crafted a special edition model following the fight, limited to 100 pieces and costing $28,300 each. They also released 10 numbered examples made in yellow gold and adorned with 400 diamonds at some $93,700 each.

But with career earnings now of over $1 billion, Mayweather can afford to wear just about any watch he likes, and the make he seems to prefer is still Rolex. His collection contains some spectacularly iced-up Day-Dates, paved top to bottom with diamonds, as well as a similarly glittering Datejust with a green emerald bezel. Check out his shy and retiring Instagram feed and you will also spot a plethora of Yacht-Master IIs and Sky-Dwellers in yellow, white and Everose gold, shimmering with precious gems from head to toe. But perhaps the most eye-catchingly over the top are the pair of GMT-Master IIs, the SARU and SANR, already ranking high up on the bling factor and given an extra helping of boxer flamboyance by dripping every surface with rubies, diamonds and sapphires.

Cristiano Ronaldo

While his World Cup exit may have been unexpectedly premature, it has still been an incredible year for Ronaldo, even by his own near impossible standards. Winning his fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid as well as his fifth Ballon d’Or, the award for the world’s best player, probably took the sting out of having to catch an earlier flight home from Russia than he was hoping. Annual earnings of $108m probably didn’t hurt either (not counting the €18.5m fine Spanish authorities slapped him with for not paying his taxes).

Cristiano Ronaldo wearing a Rolex Daytona

Of that income, just under half came from his legions of endorsements, with his lifetime contract with Nike alone set to net him in the region of $1 billion by the end of his career.

Alongside that, contracts with Herbalife, EA Sports and his own line of branded shoes, underwear and fragrances make him one of the highest paid athletes on earth.

Although an ambassador for TAG Heuer, with his own special edition Formula 1 Ronaldo Chronograph, he too has a real fondness for Rolex when he’s off the clock.

His model of choice appears to be the Daytona, and he’s been seen sporting versions in steel, white gold and yellow gold. Keen-eyed soccer fans will also have spotted a Sky-Dweller or two adorning his wrists.

With a big money move away from the Bernabéu and over to Italian club Juventus, CR7 may soon be spending some more of his windfall topping up his Rolex collection.

Roger Federer

Along with the obvious Swiss heritage, Federer and Rolex have a few other notable traits in common. As well as sharing a modestly understated sophistication, both have names famous enough to be instantly recognizable to anyone, whether or not they are interested in either tennis or watches.

Unlike the other two sportsmen on our list, Federer is a formal ambassador for the brand and has been since 2006.

Roger Federer Rolex Watch

This year he came in at number seven on Forbes’ list of high earners, bringing in a total of $77.2m—only $12.2m of which he won on court. The rest was the result of his association with the sort of companies that read like a Who’s Who of top end marques. Apart from Rolex, he counts the likes of Mercedes Benz, Credit Suisse, Moet & Chandon and NetJets among his sponsors.

Now ranked as the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, having added two more majors this season to bring him up to a round 20, he also returned to world number 1 status in 2018 (albeit briefly), making him the oldest player ever to do so.

In addition, his charitable foundation has raised more than $40m in their efforts to give one million children in Africa an education by the end of this year.

In all, he is the personification of everything Rolex looks for in a testimonee.

It is not a one-way street however. Federer’s contract with the watchmaker is worth a reported $15m a year—one of the most lucrative deals ever made in tennis.

The sport is an attractive target for the brand, and all luxury watchmakers, with the demographics of typical fans being one of a high disposable income to spend on quality goods. Rolex themselves have been involved for 40 years now, having started out as official timers for the Wimbledon Championships in 1978.

As for Federer, his watch collection is envy-inducing in its scope. Each time he raises a tournament trophy above his head (so, often) he is wearing a different model from the brand’s extensive range.

For his 2017 Australian Open triumph, he matched the iconic blue courts inside Melbourne Park with the blue and black Cerachrom bezel on his GMT-Master II BLNR, or Batman as it is more commonly known. With his eighth Wimbledon title, he wore a 41mm Datejust in yellow Rolesor with a slate grey dial. In between, we’ve seen him sport steel and white gold Sky-Dwellers, Everose Day-Dates and platinum Yacht-Master IIs.

He also has a thing for the vintage look, having been quoted as saying his favourite out of all his watches remains the ref. 6263 Paul Newman Daytona he received from his wife as a 30thbirthday present.

As both a player and an ambassador, Federer has never put a foot wrong, and his association with Rolex is a fitting one for such a legendary sportsman.

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Tool Watch Time: Rolex Watches for Exploring https://beckertime.com/blog/tool-watch-time-rolex-watches-for-exploring/ https://beckertime.com/blog/tool-watch-time-rolex-watches-for-exploring/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:56:44 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183476 For the next chapter in our Tool Watch Time series, we investigate the utilitarian Rolex watch created to answer specific needs. This leads us to take a look at Rolex tool watches for explorers and adventurers. Rolex has focused on the exploration community as far back as the 1950s and continues to do so today. […]

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For the next chapter in our Tool Watch Time series, we investigate the utilitarian Rolex watch created to answer specific needs. This leads us to take a look at Rolex tool watches for explorers and adventurers. Rolex has focused on the exploration community as far back as the 1950s and continues to do so today. In fact, the brand recently announced the “Rolex Expedition Watch Program” with the ultra-elite Explorer’s Club in New York City where watches will be given to wear during select expeditions. As Rolex continues to support the quest to discover more about the planet we live, let’s find out which of the Rolex tool watches for explorers the Swiss watchmaker has created to accompany adventurous excursions.

Rolex Watch for Exploring #1: The Explorer

Vintage Rolex Explorer from 1953

The aptly named Explorer watch made its debut in 1953. It was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic climb to the summit of Mount Everest. As a tool watch for exploring, Rolex ensured that the Explorer watch could withstand long and arduous missions. Rolex crafted it in stainless steel, made it water resistant, and gave it a legible and luminous dial. As a result, the Explorer offered wearers a straightforward and robust timekeeping instrument that could keep up with even the most adventurous lifestyles.

A signature trait of the Explorer watch is the black dial. This includes large Arabic 3/6/9 numerals alongside baton indexes and Mercedes style hands. We now know this particular dial layout as the Explorer-style dial. Even when we find it on other models, such as the Air-King.

Throughout most of its history, the Explorer included a 36mm case. However, that changed in 2010 when Rolex introduced the newest version of the Explorer with a 39mm case.

Rolex Watch for Exploring #2: The Explorer II

In 1971, Rolex continued the exploration theme by releasing the larger and more complex Explorer II watch. This time, Rolex geared the Explorer II  towards cave explorers and polar explorers. In fact, for anyone who may find themselves in environments where it’s impossible to differentiate between day and night.

Rolex Explorer II from 1971

The early models of the Explorer II included a 39mm case topped with a fixed 24-hour bezel, a date window, and an orange arrow-tipped 24-hour hand on the dial. That extra hand served as an AM/PM indicator by pointing to the hour on the bezel. Later models of the Explorer II had 40mm Oyster cases. These also had an independent 24-hour hand. This meant that it could now track a second time zone rather than just a day/night indicator.

In 2011, Rolex launched the most current version of the Explorer II with a larger 42mm case. Furthermore, there’s the return of the orange 24-hour hand. Rolex, however, replaced this with a red one in the preceding decades.

Rolex Watch for Exploring #3: The Submariner

Beyond mountain peaks, dark caves, and frigid Polar Regions, Rolex gave us dive watches to explore the underwater worlds too. The most famous Rolex dive watch by far is the Submariner, first unveiled in 1953. Made to accompany scuba divers of the era, the Submariner was the first divers’ watch waterproof to 330 feet. Rolex equipped it with its rotating bezel to track immersion times and gave it a luminescent dial. As a result, the Submariner quickly became the go-to tool watch for divers everywhere.

Vintage Rolex Submariner from 1953

Much has happened to the Submariner during the course of its history. Rolex, of course, has improved the watch immensely by boosting water resistance, using higher quality materials, offering models with the date functionality, and tweaking the case and bracelet design. Today’s versions of the Submariner include 40mm Oyster cases. These are waterproof to 1,000 feet and have ceramic dive bezels and precise, reliable automatic movements. Plus, in addition to the classic steel models, there are plenty of more luxurious editions in gold, two-tone gold and steel, and even some with gems. In fact, the Submariner has reached an audience well outside the diving community to become one of the most coveted luxury sports watches to own.

Currently, it seems that most Rolex tool watches for explorers and adventurers are not worn for their tool watch capabilities. They’re worn more for their attractive styles and brand recognition.  However, the story behind the development of the watches and how they came to serve specific communities adds to the significance of these popular timepieces.

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Rolex Watch to Star in Magnum P.I., Again https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-watch-to-star-in-magnum-p-i-again/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-watch-to-star-in-magnum-p-i-again/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 18:54:06 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183203 Readers of a certain age will remember the classic 1980’s television show, Magnum P.I. Starring Tom Selleck, the CBS show followed the life of private investigator Thomas Magnum as he solved crimes in sunny Oahu, Hawaii and served as head of security of the lavish estate owned by wealthy author, Robin Masters. The estate came […]

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Readers of a certain age will remember the classic 1980’s television show, Magnum P.I. Starring Tom Selleck, the CBS show followed the life of private investigator Thomas Magnum as he solved crimes in sunny Oahu, Hawaii and served as head of security of the lavish estate owned by wealthy author, Robin Masters. The estate came with plenty of luxurious extras that Magnum took full advantage of—particularly the awesome red Ferrari sports cars. First a 308 GTS, then a 308 GTSi and finally, a 308 GTS QV.

Magnum P.I.’s Rolex

Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.
Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.

Along with his Hawaiian shirts and famous mustache, Magnum never went anywhere without his trusty Rolex watch. A GMT-Master 1675 with the iconic red and blue “Pepsi” bezel to be exact.

The watch made its debut on the show in season 4, on an episode called “Home from the Sea”—prior to that, Magnum wore a Chronosport watch. It was revealed that the Rolex GMT-Master was given to Magnum by his father. In a flashback scene, we see Magnum’s father training a little Magnum to tread water while timing him with his GMT-Master. The father promises his son that he’ll get him a “watch just like this one” if the young boy can beat his water treading record while dad is off fighting the war in Korea. In another flashback scene, we see little Magnum saluting his dad’s flag-wrapped casket with his dad’s oversized Rolex dangling from his wrist.

Kid with Magnum P. I. Rolex
Credit: CBS

According to Selleck, “It was the perfect match for Magnum. It’s a watch that likes action, and believe me I know what I’m talking about. I’ve had my fair share of “sport” watches but never one as tough as the Rolex. It’s been underwater, buried in sand, taken I don’t know how many knocks, and never a problem.” He further added, “Personally, I thought the red went well with the Ferrari and the blue matched Hawaii’s lagoons and sky.”

Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.
Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.

Selleck also appreciated the dual time zone capabilities of the GMT-Master Pepsi so he could keep track of the time back in California where his family resided while he was shooting in Hawaii. Selleck got to keep the watch after eight seasons and he confirms that it’s still in his possession. We wonder if it’ll ever go up for auction like other iconic celebrity Rolex watches such as Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona or Steve McQueen’s Submariner.

Tom Selleck at Bloo Bloods of CBS
Credit: CBS

It’s fun to note that Tom Selleck continues to wear a Rolex watch in his current show, Blue Bloods. But rather than a Rolex sports watch, Selleck’s character, Frank Reagan, the New York Police Commissioner, wears a classic two tone Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet.

The Magnum P.I. Reboot

Jay Hernandez as Magnum P. I.
Credit: CBS

CBS recently announced that they’re bringing back Magnum P.I. for a new generation to enjoy. While the show will of course have a new cast—Jay Hernandez will play Thomas Magnum—there are plenty of details that will carry over from the original show such as the Ferrari and the Rolex.

In an Instagram post, Peter Lenkov, the writer and executive producer of the show, revealed that he will lend the new Magnum his own personal GMT-Master II Pepsi—a watch he apparently bought because of the original Magnum P.I. show.

While it’s rare that reboots of classic television shows and movies are as good as the originals, we will tune in to the first episode of the new Magnum P.I. (premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c on CBS) for old times sake and to catch a glimpse of the iconic Rolex.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Deepsea vs. The Current Deepsea https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-deepsea-vs-the-current-deepsea/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-deepsea-vs-the-current-deepsea/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 16:37:43 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184961 In our previous articles of our Then and Now series, we’ve compared the first reference of a specific Rolex model with its most current iteration. Typically, the first and last Rolex models have decades of history between them, particularly for older collections such as the Oyster Perpetual, Datejust, and Explorer. However, today, we’re delving into […]

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In our previous articles of our Then and Now series, we’ve compared the first reference of a specific Rolex model with its most current iteration. Typically, the first and last Rolex models have decades of history between them, particularly for older collections such as the Oyster Perpetual, Datejust, and Explorer. However, today, we’re delving into a Rolex collection that’s not only a mere ten years old but one that has only had two reference numbers throughout its history—the Rolex Deepsea.  So, let’s compare Rolex Deepsea models, from the first model to the current.

The First Rolex Deepsea

Rolex Mens Sea Dweller Stainless Steel DEEPSEA 116660

In 2008, Rolex surprised the watch world with a dive watch that went well beyond the capabilities of the Sea-Dweller. That new Rolex watch was the Deepsea ref. 116660 and it came equipped with a very large 44mm Oyster case that measured a hefty 17.8mm thick.

The oversized nature of the Deepsea was not just for style but it was built to accommodate the patented Ring Lock System. The Ring Lock System comprises three parts: a titanium caseback, a 5.5mm domed sapphire crystal above the dial, and a nitrogen-alloyed steel ring embedded in the middle case. As a result, the Deepsea ref. 116660 can withstand three tons of pressure underwater and is capable of diving down to 3,900 meters (12,800)—100 times deeper than any human can safely go. Just like the Sea-Dweller, the Deepsea includes the Helium Escape Valve (HEV) to prevent pressure damage to the watch during post-dive decompression periods.

Mens Rolex Deepsea Stainless Steel 116660

The Rolex Deepsea ref. 116660 includes a unidirectional dive bezel crafted from scratch-resistant and fade-proof Cerachrom ceramic. Matching the black bezel is a black dial with the famed Rolex “Maxi dial” layout including Chromalight luminescence on the indexes and Mercedes-style hands, which glows blue in the dark.

Accompanying the steel Oyster case of the Deepsea ref. 116660 is a matching steel Oyster bracelet fitted with a double extension system. The Glidelock system permits the wearer to extend the bracelet in 2mm increments for a total of 20mm, while the Fliplock system lengthens the bracelet by 26mm. When the two systems are used together, the bracelet of the Deepsea ref. 116660 can be worn over a 7mm thick wetsuit.

Caliber 3135

Rolex Caliber 3135

To power the Deepsea ref. 116660, Rolex fitted the extreme dive watch with the Caliber 3135, the same automatic movement at the heart of most of modern Rolex watches with the date function. Thanks to the Cal. 3135, the Deepsea ref. 116660 offers 48 hours of power reserve and operates at 28,800 beats per hour.

The Current Rolex Deepsea

For the tenth anniversary of the Deepsea, Rolex unveiled a new version at Baselworld 2018: the Deepsea ref. 126660. While at first glance the first and newest Deepsea references look almost the same, there are some notable differences to highlight between the two editions.

Rolex Deepsea Ref. 126660

The steel Oyster case remains the same 44mm size, however, to improve the proportions of the watch, the lugs have been slightly redesigned and the Oyster bracelet is now slightly broader. To fit the wider bracelet, the Oysterlock folding safety clasp has also widened accordingly.

Design details that have carried over from the first Deepsea over to the newest Deepsea are the Ringlock structure, the HEV, the absence of the Cyclops lens on the domed sapphire crystal, the Chromalight lume on the dial, the unidirectional rotating bezel in black Cerachrom, and the pair of extension mechanisms on the Oyster bracelet.

Rolex Caliber 3235

When the first Deepsea ref. 116660 made its debut, it was only offered with a black dial. That changed in 2014 when Rolex released the D-Blue dial version in honor of James Cameron’s historic dive down the Mariana Trench. Now, the new Deepsea ref. 126660 is available with either the black dial or the D-Blue dial.

Caliber 3235

Slight exterior changes aside, the newest feature of the Deepsea ref. 126660 sits inside the case—the new generation Caliber 3235 self-winding movement. Boasting 14 patents and new barrel architecture, the Cal. 3235 provides the Deepsea ref. 126660 with an amped up 70-hour power reserve and the new Rolex accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day.

The Rolex Deepsea, Then and Now

Since there have only been two references in the Deepsea’s ten-year history, it’s unsurprising that the first and newest models are more alike than they are different.

Yet, in true Rolex fashion, when we compare Rolex Deepsea models, the seemingly small changes made to the new Deepsea are indeed meaningful ones that improve the performance and proportions of the brand’s biggest and toughest dive watch.

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Rolex Watches Starring in HBO Television Shows https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-watches-starring-in-hbo-television-shows/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-watches-starring-in-hbo-television-shows/#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 20:40:16 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183205 HBO has had an awesome track record of making must-watch TV. From classic dramas like The Sopranos to modern-day comedies like Silicon Valley, the famous cable network has a little something for just about anyone. If you’ve watched as much HBO as we have, you’ll start to notice that there are a whole bunch of […]

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HBO has had an awesome track record of making must-watch TV. From classic dramas like The Sopranos to modern-day comedies like Silicon Valley, the famous cable network has a little something for just about anyone. If you’ve watched as much HBO as we have, you’ll start to notice that there are a whole bunch of Rolex watches that appear on the shows. Join us as we show you a few of them.

The Rolex Watch in Silicon Valley

HBO’s Silicon Valley will be airing its sixth season sometime next spring and it’s currently one of the network’s most popular shows. The show follows the lives of a group of tech geeks as they try to navigate the complex startup world in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley.

HBO Silicon Valley scene
T.J. Miller sport a stainless steel Submariner with the green dial. — Credit: HBO

One of the funniest characters on the show is Erlich Bachman—played by comedian T.J. Miller (who has since left the show). While his clothes and persona may be questionable, Bachman does sport a very cool Rolex sports watch on his wrist—the stainless steel Submariner with the green dial and bezel often referred to as the Rolex “Hulk.” That watch choice helps us overlook his otherwise I-just-jumped-out-of-bed scruffy style.

The Rolex Watches in Treme

Treme HBO series
Credit: HBO

Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, the now-defunct Treme show gives us a glimpse of residents trying to get their lives back in order after the tragedy. While the hurricane decimated the city’s infrastructure, it didn’t do much to dampen the spirit of the lively town, as illustrated by everyone’s eagerness to get right back into the swing of music, dancing, and parades.

One of the main characters of the show is trombone player, Antoine Batiste, played by Wendell Pierce. Although in the first season we see Batiste struggling to pay for cabs as he goes from gig to gig, he has on his wrist a two-tone Rolex Datejust with a diamond dial. In the HBO official press images of Treme, Batiste is even wearing a stainless steel Rolex Submariner as he grasps his beloved trombone. A great pair of Rolex watches for a talented and hardworking musician!

The Rolex Watches in Entourage

It’s no secret that HBO has a knack for showing us a side of society that we may not otherwise see every day. Take for instance their highly popular show, Entourage, which ran for eight seasons before finally coming to an end in 2011. Entourage is loosely based on Mark Wahlberg’s rise to fame and the band of friends he has by his side.

HBO Entourage Series
Kevin Connolly wears a Everose gold Daytona on Entourage Series — Credit: HBO.

Mark Wahlberg served not only as inspiration for the show, but also as executive producer, and as we’ve highlighted before, he has a real love for expensive watches—particularly Rolex timepieces. So it comes as no surprise we see a lot of nice watches on the show from Patek Philippe to Audemars Piguet to Cartier to Panerai to Rolex. Eric Murphy, played by Kevin Connolly, for example, wears a stainless steel Daytona followed later on by a more expensive Everose gold Daytona. There’s also the episode where a film investor gives “party favors” to the group of friends in the form of yellow gold Day-Date President watches with diamond-set bezels. It’s nice having friends in high places!

The Rolex Watches in The Sopranos

One of HBO’s most successful series of all times and often referred to as one of television’s greatest show ever, The Sopranos shocked, delighted, and kept audiences on their toes for six dramatic seasons. The show tells the tale of New Jersey-based mobster Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, and his how he handles his business and personal life.

HBO The Sopranos Series
James Gandolfini wears a Day-Date President on The Sopranos. — Credit: HBO.

Soprano almost always had on a yellow gold Day-Date President on—the perfect watch for the patriarch. His wife, Carmela Soprano also often wore a Rolex, but a ladies’ two-tone Datejust. Throughout the series, there were plenty of other Rolex watches, which were almost always of the solid yellow gold kind.

Next time you turn on HBO to tune into one of their shows, see if you can spot a Rolex watch or two—there are plenty of them out there!

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Air-King vs. The Current Rolex Air-King https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-air-king-vs-the-current-rolex-air-king/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-air-king-vs-the-current-rolex-air-king/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 16:01:24 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185323 In the next installment of our Then and Now series, we’re investigating the evolution of one of Rolex’s oldest watch models: the Air-King. Few Rolex models have undergone a change as drastic as the Air-King over the course of its existence. So with that, let’s compare Rolex Air-Kings, starting with the first version to see […]

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In the next installment of our Then and Now series, we’re investigating the evolution of one of Rolex’s oldest watch models: the Air-King. Few Rolex models have undergone a change as drastic as the Air-King over the course of its existence. So with that, let’s compare Rolex Air-Kings, starting with the first version to see what has changed over the last seven decades leading up to the current version.

The First Rolex Air-King

The first Rolex Air-King watch made its debut in 1945 as the Air-King ref. 4925. This was a follow up to the family of “Air” Oyster watches from the 1930s/early 1940s that Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, created in honor of British Royal Air Force wartime pilots.

The Rolex Air-King ref. 4925 sports a steel 34 mm case—considered quite large for its era—and a smooth steel bezel. The generously-sized winding crown sits without guards on the case, while the caseback is—like all Rolex watches—fluted to keep water and dust from entering the watch. Remember, the 1945 Air-King ref. 4926 came well after the first Rolex “Oyster” waterproof watch of 1926.

A simple time-only watch with a highly readable dial, the Air-King ref. 4925 includes the trio of hour, minute, and seconds hands and a mix of Arabic numerals and tapered indices. There are also discreet minute markers running around the periphery of the dial. The Rolex crown and name are placed right under the 12 numeral followed by the words “OYSTER AIR-KING.

Notice the lack of the “PERPETUAL” on the dial. This is because the very first Air-King runs on a manual-wound Caliber 10.5 Hunter movement rather than a self-winding automatic one.

Rolex did not produce the first Air-King ref. 4925 for very long, replacing it with the Air-King ref. 4499 just one year later.

The Current Rolex Air-King

At Baselworld 2016, Rolex surprised onlookers with the release of the Air-King ref. 116900. It was not only surprising because the Air-King had returned after its discontinuation in 2014, but also because the Air-King ref. 116900 looks nothing like its predecessors. It seems that Rolex took that two-year pause to completely revamp the Air-King watch.

Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900

The current Rolex Air-King comes with a 40 mm case—substantially larger than the steadfast 34mm size of previous Air-King watches. To put it into context, the Air-King now shares the same case diameter as the Submariner, GMT-Master II, Daytona, and the Milgauss. To match the steel case, the Air-King ref. 116900 is fitted with a steel Oyster bracelet.

Furthermore, the dial has almost no resemblance to past Air-King models except for the familiar Air-King font (first seen on the Air-King ref. 5500 in 1957). The black dial of the new Air-King ref. 116900 houses a colorful mixed bag of details. There are the Explorer-style hour numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock sitting alongside minute numerals in the remaining spaces. Then there’s the green lollipop-style seconds hand matching the green Rolex logo. What’s more, for even more color, the Rolex coronet is bright yellow. Completing the dial are the Mercedes-style hands (a first for the Air-King), the luminous inverted triangle at 12 o’clock, and the minute hash marks encircling the outer edge.

Although the dial of the new Air-King is a far cry from older models that share its name, it is in fact not a completely new design. The inspiration for the Air-King’s new look is the dashboard of the BLOODHOUND SSC supersonic vehicle fitted with Rolex-made precision instruments.


Rolex Caliber 3131

Unlike the very first Air-King, the current Air-King ref. 116900, of course, runs on an automatic movement—the Caliber 3131. Along with a power reserve of 48 hours, the time-only Cal. 3131 is an antimagnetic movement and is the same one Rolex uses to power the modern Milgauss watches.

Put the first Air-King ref. 4925 next to the current Air-King ref. 116900 and it’s clear that these are two vastly different watches with more differences than similarities. Yet, at the core, the new Air-King is still a time-only steel watch that sits at the lower end of the Rolex price spectrum—a similar promise of the inaugural Air-King watch.

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The Rolex Watches of the Boston Red Sox https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-boston-red-sox/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-boston-red-sox/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 13:35:30 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185427 Following up our article on the Rolex watches of the LA Dodgers in honor of World Series week, we now take a look at the other MLB team battling it out for the championship title—the Boston Red Sox. Mookie Betts’s Rolex Watch View this post on Instagram Happy Turkey Day everybody! A post shared by […]

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Following up our article on the Rolex watches of the LA Dodgers in honor of World Series week, we now take a look at the other MLB team battling it out for the championship title—the Boston Red Sox.

Mookie Betts’s Rolex Watch

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Outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, Markus Lynn “Mookie” Betts was drafted by the team in 2011. He made his Major League Baseball debut in 2014. So far, Mookie Betts won the Golden Glove award twice and the Silver Slugger award once. And just this August, Mookie Betts hit for the cycle. For those not familiar with baseball, this means he hit a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game.

Aside from his sporting achievements, Mookie Betts is also often referred to as one of MLB’s most stylish athletes. And on his wrist often sits a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date President to top it all off.

Dustin Pedroia’s Rolex Watch

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Dustin Pedroia wearing a Rolex Daytona

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Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has spent his entire career in Boston. This is where he won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2007 and 2013. Unfortunately, he’s sitting out this World Series due to a knee injury. But he’s always on hand for moral support and rallying the team.

In his book, Born to Play: My Life in the Game, Dustin Pedroia tells the story of when his ex-teammate Manny Ramirez gave Pedroia a Rolex watch to congratulate him on getting Rookie of the Year award. But before he could open the box, Manny Ramirez smashed the box with a bat! Thankfully, this did not harm the watch. Also, Dustin Pedroia admitted on a recent podcast interview that he “still has the watch and wears it all the time.”  However, we’re not sure what Rolex model it was. But judging by this picture of Dustin Pedroia wearing a stainless steel Daytona, it could have been that one.

Brandon Phillips’ Rolex Watch

Currently second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, Brandon Phillips, aka “DatDude,” has played for a host of other teams. These include Cleveland Indians (2002–2005), Cincinnati Reds (2006–2016), Atlanta Braves (2017), and Los Angeles Angels (2017). Over the course of his career, the 34-year-old has won the Golden Glove four times, the Silver Slugger award once. He’s also part of baseball’s 30–30 club after having collected 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.

Just like teammate Mookie, Brandon Phillips is also a fan of a classic yellow gold Rolex Day-Date watch fitted with the famous President band. However, DatDude’s Rolex President is one of the larger sized ones. It’s either the Day-Date II or the Day-Date 41 and shines bright with a gleaming diamond-set bezel.

Alex Cora’s Rolex Watch

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Alex Cora wearing a Rolex Submariner

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Former infielder Alex Cora played with several teams during his 13-year career in Major League Baseball including Los Angeles Dodgers (1998–2004), Cleveland Indians (2005), Boston Red Sox (2005–2008), New York Mets (2009–2010), Texas Rangers (2010), and Washington Nationals (2011). Alex Cora won the World Series as a player with the Red Sox (2007) and as a coach for the Houston Astros (2017). This year he returned to the Boston Red Sox as the team manager.

While these days Alex Cora mostly wears an Apple Watch during practice and games, we have spotted him wearing a stainless steel Rolex Submariner with a black dial and black bezel in the past.

In a few days, we’ll find out who will be the champions of the 2018 World Series. Will it be the LA Dodgers or the Boston Red Sox?

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The Rolex Watches of the LA Dodgers https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-la-dodgers/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-la-dodgers/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 16:31:13 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185407 The Major League Baseball 2018 World Series is underway. The LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are battling it out to become this year’s champions. As the games take place over the next week to determine which team will come out on top, let’s have a look at the Rolex watches of the LA […]

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The Major League Baseball 2018 World Series is underway. The LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are battling it out to become this year’s champions. As the games take place over the next week to determine which team will come out on top, let’s have a look at the Rolex watches of the LA Dodgers to see what some of the players wear.

Yasiel Puig’s Rolex Watch

Right fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig made his MLB debut in 2013 after signing on with the LA Dodgers in 2012. Picking up the nickname “The Wild Horse,” Yasiel Puig is one of the most entertaining baseball players to watch in action.

As for the watch on his wrist, we’ve spotted Yasiel Puig wearing a full Everose gold Sky-Dweller with a chocolate brown dial. As one of Rolex’s boldest watch models, the Sky-Dweller is a fitting choice for the high-energy player!

Cody Bellinger’s Rolex Watch

First baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger began his major league career in 2007 with the LA Dodgers. It was then when he was unanimously voted as the National League Rookie of the Year. He was also named MVP of the NL Championship Series for 2018. As the son of Clayton Bellinger, who played for the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angles, you can say baseball is in Cody’s blood.

When he doesn’t have a bat in his hand, we’ve seen Cody Bellinger wearing a stainless steel Rolex Datejust 41. This timepiece is fitted with a Jubilee bracelet and a black dial. A classic choice for an everyday Rolex watch.

Enrique Hernández’s Rolex Watch

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Enrique Hernandez wearing a Rolex Daytona

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Enrique Hernández, better known as Kiké, is a utility player for the LA Dodgers having played every position except catcher. Prior to joining the LA Dodgers in 2015, Enrique Hernández played with the Houston Astros and the Miami Marlins.

For his wristwear, Enrique Hernández sports an Everose Daytona chronograph with a black ceramic bezel. It also has the innovative black Oysterflex rubber coated bracelet. Sporty and luxurious all in one package.

Matt Kemp’s Rolex Watch

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Outfielder Matt Kemp first played with the LA Dodgers from 2006 until 2014. He then played with the San Diego Padres in 2015/2016 followed by the Atlanta Braves in 2016/2017, finally returning back to the LA Dodgers in 2018. Over the course of his career, Matt Kemp has picked up the Golden Glove award twice, the Silver Slugger award twice, and the Hank Aaron award once.

In addition, Matt Kemp’s current Rolex watch of choice is an Everose gold Day-Date 40 with the famed President-style bracelet. What’s more, his particular model is none other than the special Day-Date anniversary edition with the olive green dial.

Manny Machado’s Rolex Watch

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Manny Machado wearing a Rolex Day-Date

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Third baseman and shortstop for the LA Dodgers, Manny Machado only joined the team this summer following his time playing with the Baltimore Orioles from 2012 until 2018. During his career in Baltimore, Manny Machado won the Golden Glove award twice, along with the Platinum Glove award.

Also, Manny Machado is no stranger to fine timepieces as often seen wearing luxury watches from the likes of Richard Mille, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. His Rolex watch? Manny Machado wears a white gold Rolex Day-Date with a fluted bezel and President band. Judging from the larger size, it’s either a Day-Date II or the Day-Date 40.

Fans of the other side fear not; stay tuned for our follow up article where we’ll highlight the Rolex watches worn by players of the Boston Red Sox.

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The Highest-Paid Star In Country Music Loves His Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-highest-paid-star-in-country-music-loves-his-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-highest-paid-star-in-country-music-loves-his-rolex-watches/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 14:40:20 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185086 The numbers are in, and according to Forbes, Luke Bryan is now the highest paid country music star, taking over from Garth Brooks. Pulling in a staggering $52 million, Luke Bryan had a monster money-making year thanks in part to his worldwide tour, his new gig as a judge on American Idol, and an endorsement […]

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The numbers are in, and according to Forbes, Luke Bryan is now the highest paid country music star, taking over from Garth Brooks. Pulling in a staggering $52 million, Luke Bryan had a monster money-making year thanks in part to his worldwide tour, his new gig as a judge on American Idol, and an endorsement deal with Chevrolet. And what does the newly minted highest-paid country music celebrity like to pair his jeans, t-shirts, and boots with? Apparently, some very expensive watches. Along with some mega timepieces from Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille, Breguet, Hublot, and IWC, Luke Bryan also wears some amazing Rolex watches around his wrist. Let’s find out what they are.

Luke Bryan’s Rolex Milgauss

First up in Luke Bryan’s Rolex collection is the stainless steel Milgauss GV equipped with the unique green sapphire crystal. The Milgauss is Rolex’s antimagnetic watch, resistant to 1,000 gauss of magnetic field.

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Luke Bryan wearing a Rolex Milguass

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While there are other dial option colors in the collection, Luke Bryan’s particular Milgauss ref. 116400GV includes a black dial housed within the 40 mm Oyster case. The dark color is the perfect background for the orange details—including that famous bright orange lightning bolt seconds hand—to pop. Finishing off the look of the modern Milgauss is the sporty Oyster bracelet, also in steel.

Luke Bryan’s Rolex Submariner

Moving on from steel, we now turn our attention to the country star’s Rolex Submariner. Not only does Luke Bryan wear the world’s most famous dive watch, but his is the Submariner ref. 116618LN crafted in solid 18k yellow gold.

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Plus, on top of the 40 mm Oyster case sits the ultra-modern black Cerachom ceramic bezel, prized for its durability against scratching and resistance to fading. To match the black unidirectional bezel, the Submariner ref. 116618LN sports a black dial with plenty of luminescent details for topnotch legibility.

Luke Bryan’s Rolex GMT-Master II

Along with his yellow gold Sub, Luke Bryan is also the owner of another famous Rolex sports watch in a precious metal: the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 116719BLRO.

The hefty 18k white gold GMT-Master II ref. 116719BLRO is equipped with the famous red and blue “Pepsi” bezel. And because this white gold GMT-Master II is a modern version of Rolex’s famed pilot’s watch, that bezel is made from Cerachrom ceramic too. In fact, the 116719BLRO was the first GMT-Master II to flaunt the red and blue bezel in ceramic, only to be joined by the steel version just this year.

Luke Bryan’s Rolex Daytona

Not content with just steel and gold Rolex watches, Luke Bryan is also the proud owner of a platinum Rolex. And not just any platinum Rolex, but the anniversary platinum Daytona ref. 116506 fitted with a brown Cerachrom ceramic bezel and an ice blue dial.

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Rolex only uses that particular shade of blue on their platinum models, which makes it easy to differentiate a platinum Rolex from a white gold or steel one. The Daytona ref. 116506 made its debut in 2013 to mark 60 years of Rolex’s signature chronograph watch.

With steel, yellow gold, white gold, and platinum Rolex watches in his collection, Luke Bryan has almost all the Rolex materials covered! All he needs now is an Everose gold Rolex watch to make it complete.

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Rolex’s Most Important Milestones https://beckertime.com/blog/rolexs-most-important-milestones/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolexs-most-important-milestones/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 16:15:52 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182874 It is fair to say that Rolex has done more than any other manufacturer to develop the concept of the wristwatch. Throughout its history, now comfortably into its second century, it has consistently led from the front with a series of groundbreaking innovations in both technology and design; pioneering breakthroughs that have formed the basis […]

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It is fair to say that Rolex has done more than any other manufacturer to develop the concept of the wristwatch. Throughout its history, now comfortably into its second century, it has consistently led from the front with a series of groundbreaking innovations in both technology and design; pioneering breakthroughs that have formed the basis of just about every timepiece in existence. It is an unsurpassed legacy, and the reason for their current status as the most successful watchmaker of all time. Below, we’ll take a look at some of Rolex’s most important milestones in the Rolex story and just how they were able to shape an entire industry.

1905

24-year old German Hans Wilsdorf partners with his brother-in-law, Englishman Alfred Davis, to establish a watch company in Hatton Garden, London. At first, the pair import movements sourced from some of the finest manufacturers in Europe. Then, incorporate them into cases made by premium firms such as the Birmingham-based Dennison.

Rolex Old LOGO

The Rolex Brand is Born

It is not until three years later in 1908 that the name Rolex is registered. With the coming of WWI, Wilsdorf recognizes the difficulty of trading in England with a German brand name, and in 1915 Wilsdorf & Davis Ltd officially became the Rolex Watch Co. Ltd.

1910

An early major success for the firm comes when they send their first movement for testing at the School of Horology in Switzerland. They receive the world’s first chronometer rating for a wristwatch, the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, or COSC.

Precision Certificate Award

Four years later, their top performing watch will also become the first non-marine chronometer to be awarded a ‘Kew-A’, the highest order Precision Certificate issued by the Kew Observatory in the U.K.

1926, The Oyster

Having transferred the company headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland in 1919, within the next seven years, Rolex perfects probably the most important invention in the history of the wristwatch when they launch the Oyster.

Revolutionizing the way watches are perceived by the general public, the world’s first dust and waterproof housing does more than anything else for their reputation as robust functional items rather than pieces of delicate jewelry aimed primarily at women.

The following year, the Oyster’s standing is confirmed when Rolex’s first ambassador, British professional swimmer Mercedes Gleitze, wears one during her abortive effort to swim the English Channel. The watch Gleitze wore on a chain around her neck is found to be working flawlessly despite being entirely submerged for the 10-hour attempt.

1931, Automatic Movement

Building on the work of John Harwood from the Isle of Man, who patented the first self-winding wristwatch in 1923, Rolex goes on to develop the Perpetual movement. Improving on Harwood’s design by replacing his semi-circular weight with a unidirectional rotor able to turn a full 360°, the watch’s mainspring is kept at a constant tension, so vastly improving timekeeping accuracy.

The brand’s first models with the Perpetual mechanism are launched in 1933, the welcome convenience of an automatic movement marking the end to the dominance of traditional pocket watches.

Second only to the Oyster in terms of significance, it is this brainchild that establishes Rolex as the foremost name in watchmaking innovation.

1945

To commemorate their 40 years in the business, Rolex releases a true cutting-edge creation, in the shape of the Datejust. The first automatic and waterproof wristwatch with a date function ever made, it is an instant success and becomes the brand’s flagship. To complement the watch itself, Rolex also issues a new type of bracelet, exclusively for their new charge; the Jubilee.

The Datejust is soon found gracing the wrists of the great and the good, with luminaries such as Churchill and Eisenhower taking ownership.

The Cyclops

The Rolex Cyclops

Three years later in 1948, Rolex introduce a magnifying lens over the date window, enlarging the numbers underneath by 2.5 times to aid legibility. It is christened the Cyclops and will go on to feature on the majority of the company’s date watches from then on.

1947

Chuck Yeager becomes the first man to break the sound barrier when he pilots his Bell X-1 aircraft, nicknamed Glamorous Glennis, to Mach 1 on October 14th. On his wrist is a 34mm Rolex Oyster.

His and other test pilots’ exploits are immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff.

1953, The Explorer Series

The 1950s were a decade that belonged to Rolex. In 1953, an Oyster becomes the first timepiece to survive a climb to the top of the world when Hillary and Tensing summit Everest wearing Rolex watches. The incredible achievement gives rise to the Explorer series.

It is not the first time the company’s models have seen the roof of the world however. 20 years previously, a pair of modified Westland biplanes piloted by Flight Lieutenant D.F. McIntyre and Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, known as Lord Clydesdale, fly over the peak, both equipped with Oysters.

The Turn-O-Graph

Rolex Mens Turn-O-Graph Two-Tone 6202

The same year, Rolex release the ref. 6202 Turn-O-Graph, a handsome 36mm piece with a design feature that will go on to define the brand. Actually borrowing the concept from a 1937 prototype by Rolex called the Zerographe, the Turn-O-Graph becomes the first production model to include a graduated, rotating bezel.

And during that year and the next, underwater pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau films his Oscar-winning The Silent World, a documentary detailing the marine life beneath the ocean waves. On his wrist is the forerunner to Rolex’s most famous creation, the Submariner.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 6204
Credit: Rolex

1954, The Submariner

The Sub is formally introduced, with the ref. 6204, at Baselworld. Although not the first dive watch, it is the one that captures the public’s imagination.

Dreamt up by Rolex director and keen diver Rene P Jeanneret and released to capitalize on the explosion in popularity of scuba diving following the invention of the aqualung by Cousteau and French engineer Emile Gagnan, the watch takes its first steps towards its current status as possibly the most iconic timepiece ever made.

By the end of the decade it has been through nearly a dozen references, refined and cultivated, and become part of the accepted horology landscape.

1955, The GMT-Master

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 6542
Credit: Rolex

By the mid-fifties, transatlantic travel is falling within reach of more people with the introduction of the revolutionary long distance airliner, the Boeing 707. Drastically reduced flight times between continents brings with it the new problem of jetlag, and Rolex is approached by Pan-American to fathom a solution to the sometimes debilitating effects being felt by its pilots.

The watchmaker’s solution is the GMT-Master, starting with the ref. 6542. With the inclusion of a second hour hand, as well as the rotating bezel concept found on the Turn-O-Graph and the Sub, wearers are now able to easily keep track of a second time zone, offsetting some of the condition’s  worst properties. In addition, the bi-color scheme on the bezel gives the GMT a distinctive visual appeal, and it becomes another emblematic model in the growing Rolex stable.

This is also the year the brand perfects the Twinlock crown, a system which seals the watch internally and ensures waterproofness to 300ft.

1956, The Rolex Day-Date President

Described as the most creative, varied and unusual model ever launched by the brand, the Day-Date makes its first appearance in 1956. Only released in precious metals, a tradition that has never been broken during its now 60+ year run, the watch quickly takes over the flagship mantle from the Datejust. Like that model, the Day-Date is a revolution. It is the first to have the day of the week written out in full, in a window above the 12 o’clock index. And again like the Datejust, the new piece gets its own exclusive bracelet; the President.

Rolex Milgauss 6541

However, with it being aimed very much at the elite, as well as finding its way on to the wrists of several heads of both countries and companies, it is not long before the watch itself is being referred to, unofficially, as the President.

The Milgauss

It is also the year that saw Rolex release its first antimagnetic watch. With the world entering the atomic age, scientists working in environments with strong magnetic fields were in need of reliable timepieces shielded from the harmful effects. By shrouding the mechanism in a soft iron Faraday cage, the ref. 6541 Milgauss was able to withstand up to 1,000 Gauss.

1960, The Rolex Deep Sea Special

Rolex stamp their authority on the world of underwater watches when the prototype Deep Sea Special accompanies the bathyscaphe Trieste to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the lowest part of the world’s oceans.

Piloted by Jacques Picard and USN Lieutenant Dan Walsh, the submersible dives to 35,787ft, into a small valley in the trench floor known as the Challenger Deep. The vessel, crew and watch all survive the incredible pressures of around 1 metric tonne per square centimeter, with the Deep Sea Special working faultlessly.

52 years later, James Cameron will repeat the accomplishment solo, again with a custom made Rolex watch joining him.

1963, The Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex make their first serially-produced chronograph. With a manually-winding caliber, it fails to make an impression and sales are poor. Some dealers take to giving it away as a free incentive with the purchase of another Rolex model.

It is called the Cosmograph Daytona.

1967, The Rolex Sea-Dweller

In collaboration with French commercial diving firm Comex, and drawing on the knowledge gleaned from their escapades aboard the Trieste, the brand releases a new dive watch that remains waterproof down to 2,000ft.

Fitted with a patented helium escape valve, or HEV, the Sea-Dweller overcomes the problem of the watch’s crystal being forced out by expanding gases on saturation divers’ long ascent back to the surface.

Rolex Explorer II 1655

1971, The Rolex Explorer II

Sharing a name with the Everest-inspired legend but little else, the Explorer II arrives in 1971. Intended for those who survey polar regions or underground caverns, it, like the GMT-Master, includes a second hour hand. However, the bezel is fixed, so it doesn’t function as a true dual time zone watch and, as such, sales are muted.

Today, it is seen as the essence of Rolex’s golden age and is becoming something of a cult favorite.

1992, The Rolex Yacht-Master

The Rolex range gets its first all new model since the Daytona, nearly 30 years previously. A more luxurious take on the legendary Submariner, the Yacht-Master is a well-appointed nautically-themed watch rather than a rough and ready diver. It becomes the first to be released in the brand’s own combination of metals dubbed Rolesium; a mix of steel and platinum. It is also the first of Rolex’s sports models to be made available in three sizes, with a 40mm, a mid-size 35mm and a ladies 29mm. More recently, it was also the recipient of the first rubber strap from the brand; the Oysterflex.

Eight years later, the Yacht-Master II is unveiled. Much like the pair of Explorers, these two watches share very few similarities. The YMII is Rolex’s most complicated model to date, featuring a programmable timer with mechanical memory and flyback function. It is designed for skippers to calculate the precise starting sequence of sailing regattas.

2012, The Rolex Sky-Dweller

Launching few new models, Rolex have contented themselves recently in perfecting the watches already in their catalog, and in bringing out commemorative versions of their most popular creations.

Rolex Mens Submariner Stainless Steel 16610LV

The Submariner, for instance, celebrated its 50thanniversary with the ref. 16610LV—a green bezeled edition popularly known as the Kermit. It was followed in 2010 by a model that also had a green dial, dubbed the Hulk.

Most of the true innovations have taken place on the inside. Rolex calibers continue to lead the way in precision and longevity, thanks to the brand’s use of state-of-the-art materials and lubricants.

But in 2012, they presented a watch actually more complicated, and certainly more useful, than even the Yacht-Master II.

The Sky-Dweller is for luxury travelers, a GMT that also features the company’s first annual calendar. It carries over the skipper’s watch’s Ring Command Bezel to control the various functions, and is sometimes referred to as a dual time zone Day-Date.

It continues the brand’s foray into more functionality as well as moving with the times and producing larger pieces. The Sky-Dweller is 42mm; the Yacht-Master II is 44mm.

Rolex’s hundred years at the top have been marked with a series of unparalleled achievements which have brought the world of horology to where it is today. As an entity, they continue to push the boundaries, cementing their position as the greatest watchmakers of all time.

We can only wait and see what the next years and decades will bring.

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The Watch Collector Series: The Most Important Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-the-most-important-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-the-most-important-rolex-watches/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:35:16 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182735 The scale of Rolex’s reputation means that just about every one of the countless models it has created could be called collectible. While the modern range is technically a mass produced item, the quality of the manufacture ensures they are able to withstand several lifetime’s worth of service and the timeless design aesthetics mean they […]

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The scale of Rolex’s reputation means that just about every one of the countless models it has created could be called collectible. While the modern range is technically a mass produced item, the quality of the manufacture ensures they are able to withstand several lifetime’s worth of service and the timeless design aesthetics mean they never look outmoded.

Of course among the slew of different models going back over the company’s century-old history, there are some examples that are more collectible than others. They tend to be the rarest pieces, some little more than prototypes, released to test the waters with the watch buying public before going into full-scale production.

Others are those models that were never offered to the public in the first place; watches created specifically for military personnel or as special editions for the higher-ups at international conglomerates.

These are the timepieces that are often seen as the ultimate grails for enthusiasts, many of whom can go their whole lives without even seeing one, let alone adding them to the collection.

Below, we’ll take a look at the most important and sought-after versions from among some of Rolex’s biggest hitters.

The Rolex Submariner

With ten separate references of the Sub released in its first decade of production, it is obvious that several examples of the world’s favorite dive watch were going to be here and gone in the relative blink of an eye. Originally emerging in 1954, several of these early models were made for less than a year before being replaced or upgraded, leaving just a tiny number of each available on the open market for collectors to fight over. And within those already extremely rare versions are Rolex’s usual array of minute styling discrepancies, with some now so scarce they can be counted on one hand.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538

It was all part of the brand’s ongoing experimentation to find the best mix of elements, and it has elevated several specimens to near-mythical status.

So, for instance, it is estimated that only 100 pieces of the fourth Sub reference, the ref. 6536 from 1955, were made in total. Of those 100, only about 10 have the ‘Submariner’ tag picked out in red. Scarcer still are the Explorer dial examples—the one or two pieces fitted with the 3/6/9 Arabic markings instead of the typical mix of round indexes and stick batons we associate with the watch today.

But away from the very first models is another subgroup that tops the list of most hardcore collectors not just for their rarity (although they certainly have plenty of that) but also their backstory.

Starting with the ref. 6538, Rolex supplied the British Royal Navy with Submariners, originally equipping them with 50 watches which were tested in the field and then modified, very slightly, with fixed bars for the straps and a refashioned bezel. These, the first of the so-called Milsubs, were christened the A/6538s, and only about a dozen still survive today.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 5512

Equally hard to find are the other references issued to the UK’s military; altered versions of the ref. 5512 and 5513, differing from the civilian issue on most pieces by the addition of oversized sword, or ‘Gladiator’, hands and the graduations on the bezel continuing round for the full 60 minutes as opposed to just the first 15. The dials were also stamped with a small letter T in a circle, indicating that the hands and indexes had been filled with Tritium rather than the hazardous radium of early models.

The ref. 5517, the last of the Milsubs released at the end of the 70s, was made exclusively for the armed forces and was never made publically available.

The timepiece of choice for the SAS and SBS, these are watches with fascinating histories and represent perhaps the most coveted examples of the legendary diver.

The Rolex Daytona

Well, there’s no prizes for guessing themost important Daytona of the lot! Paul Newman’s personal wrist attire recently shattered the world record for most expensive watch ever sold, clocking in at $17.8m last year.

Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Ref. 6239

But there are legions of the iconic chronograph that hold a special fascination among knowledgeable collectors. Again, like the Submariner, the earliest examples will always be lusted after.

The original introduced in 1963, the ref. 6239, was dubbed the Double Swiss Underline. Before it had even adopted the name ‘Daytona’, the watch was officially just called the Cosmograph, the space-age term a result of Rolex’s competition with Omega at the time to supply NASA—a race they ultimately lost to the Speedmaster.

So, under the two-word title is a small hash mark. At the bottom, under the lower of the three sub dials, is the word Swiss, for obvious reasons. But the eagle-eyed will also notice the word printed a second time, barely visible, below that. It marks that particular version as one of the true rarities, made for a little over a year and commanding huge prices on the vintage market.

Another early and especially revered example is the Big Red, the ref. 6263 from 1965. Now officially called the Daytona (after a brief flirtation with the name Le Mans) this is the first reference to be fitted with screw down pushers to operate its stopwatch counters. As such, it was a far more waterproof watch than the previous examples with their pump pushers and was able to carry the word Oyster on its dial. The Daytona title, big and bold, is displayed wrapped around the top of the 12-hour sub dial at the six o’clock position.

Rolex Mens Daytona Cosmograph 16520

Of course, the ‘Paul Newman’ pieces, with their stark black and white faces and Art Deco-esque fonts, remain amongst the most desired. The exotic dial models that officially qualify to be named after the legendary actor are the ref. 6239, 6241, 6262, 6264, 6265 and the 6263. All with the manually-wound Valjoux movement and with asking prices far above those of the standard issue versions.

However, if dropping six figures on a historic Daytona is a little too much to bear, there is a later version that is becoming increasingly sought-out which is slightly more attainable. If you consider around $25,000 as a starting point attainable, that is.

The Patrizzi dial models are restricted to the ref. 16520, one of the initial Zenith Daytonas released in 1988. Powered by an automatic chronograph movement for the first time (the El Primero), a fault in the paint Rolex used on the outer rings of the watch’s trio of sub counters has caused them to oxidize and turn brown over time, giving each one a unique and distinctive chocolaty coloring. A cumulative process, it means they will continue to change through the years, and collectors are increasingly starting to seek them out.

Many experts credit the Daytona with ushering in the modern obsession with vintage watch collecting, and its popularity only seems to be increasing. It has been released in a mind-boggling assortment of different versions and continues to be the mechanical chronograph against which all others are judged.

The Rolex GMT-Master

Alongside the above pair of watches, the GMT-Master has to go down as one of the all-time most emblematic creations Rolex has ever produced.

Rolex Mens GMT-Master 6542 Stainless Steel

Changes in proportions and calibers aside, it is a piece defined by its bezel. That (sometimes) bi-colored, soda-inspired surround, was primarily designed to help wearers tell at a glance whether the watch’s extra hour hand was pointing out night or daytime, but ended up giving the GMT a look so distinctive it has been endlessly emulated and often downright plagiarized.

There are several references that will always head any fan’s bucket list. The very first, the ref. 6542, hit the market with not one but two troublesome features. The Bakelite used initially for the Pepsi (red and blue) bezel proved too fragile and would easily crack, particularly in excessive heat. Not only that, but the etched numerals around its circumference had been filled with Radium, the dangers of which weren’t fully understood in 1954, the year of the watch’s release. However two years later they certainly were, and all 605 examples that had been sold in the U.S. had to be recalled to swap the insert for an aluminum replacement.

Yet, there are still a slack handful of Bakelite bezeled GMTs floating around, with the original material giving them a charm all their own, but there is a particular variant of that very first reference that is so seldom seen it has reached almost fairy-tale status.

The watch itself was created in conjunction with Pan-Am and the airline commissioned a range of black dialed examples to give their pilots. In addition, they also ordered around 100 with white dials which were presented to the company’s top executives. These ‘Albino GMTs’ are a very big deal in the vintage Rolex world and seem to come to light about as often as Brigadoon.

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675

The next in line, the ref. 1642, was a fantastically successful player and stayed in production for some 21 years, making it a fairly easy find on the pre-owned market. While there are some with the typical Rolex subtleties in dial font and text that make them especially uncommon, there is, again, one version in particular that is incredibly rare.

Dubbed the ‘Blueberry’, it was a standard ref. 1675 but with an all-blue bezel, one never officially offered for sale by Rolex through their authorized dealers. It was instead produced in extremely small numbers, either as a special order from some very select retailers (think Tiffany’s or Cartier) or else for various global militaries. The French and UAE Air Forces each had their own, with the UAE going as far as including their own logo on theirs.

Today, the real Blueberries, as opposed to the predominance of fakes that flood the market, are among the most elusive finds in the business.

With over one hundred years of relentless innovating and perfecting, there are standout versions of many of Rolex’s big name creations. It is what makes the practice of collecting watches from the world’s most famous manufacturer so engrossing. For a pick of the best, authenticated examples of some of your favorite models, check out our online store.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Yacht-Master vs. The Current Yacht-Master https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-yacht-master-vs-the-current-yacht-master/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-yacht-master-vs-the-current-yacht-master/#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2018 17:14:15 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184958 If you’ve been following with our Then and Now series, you will no doubt be familiar with the format of these articles where we compare the very first reference in a Rolex collection with its most recent edition. It’s a fantastic way to highlight the technical and design evolution of a particular Rolex watch model. […]

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If you’ve been following with our Then and Now series, you will no doubt be familiar with the format of these articles where we compare the very first reference in a Rolex collection with its most recent edition. It’s a fantastic way to highlight the technical and design evolution of a particular Rolex watch model. Today’s chapter takes a look at a pretty recent Rolex watch collection—the Yacht-Master.

The First Rolex Yacht-Master

Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 16628

Although Rolex dabbled with a Yacht-Master prototype in the late 1960s, it wasn’t until 1992 that the first official Yacht-Master made its debut. The very first reference was the Yacht-Master ref. 16628.

As a full 18k yellow gold model, the Yacht-Master ref. 16628 was positioned as a lavish sports watch instead of a full-fledged tool watch like the Submariner. The Yacht-Master ref. 16628 comes with a 40mm yellow Oyster case and a matching gold Oyster bracelet. On top of the case is a bi-directional rotating bezel that combines a sandblasted background and polished raised numerals—also entirely crafted in yellow gold. The Yacht-Master’s bezel was a completely new style when it came out and it remains as one of the model’s signature design traits.

Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 16628

The dial of the first Yacht-Master ref. 16628 is typical of Rolex sports watches of the era with a mix of round, triangular, and baton hour markers, Mercedes-style hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. However, interestingly the black hour markers are not filled with luminescence but rather, they are accented with luminescent triangles next to them. Protecting the dial is a sapphire crystal with the essential Cyclops magnification lens. The Yacht-Master ref. 16628 is waterproof to 100 meters and comes fitted with the Triplock screw-down crown.

Since it came out in the early 1990s, the Yacht-Master ref. 16628 runs on the famed Caliber 3135. The Rolex Cal. 3135 is a COSC-certified chronometer that operates at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour and offers a power reserve of 48 hours.

The Current Rolex Yacht-Master

Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 116621

While Rolex continues to make the Yacht-Master 40 watch, the brand no longer offers a full yellow gold version. The newest model to join the line-up is the Yacht-Master 40 ref. 116621, which Rolex released at Baselworld 2016.

The Yacht-Master 40 ref. 116621 is a two tone model that brings together Everose (Rolex’s patented rose gold alloy) and stainless steel. In fact, this is the first time that Rolex offers a steel and rose gold Yacht-Master.

The steel Oyster case remains at 40mm in diameter and it is also waterproof to 100 meters and fitted with a Triplock winding crown. The case is topped with an Everose rotating bezel, featuring that signature sandblasted background and high-polish raised numerals contrast we’ve become familiar with. The Oyster bracelet includes solid Everose gold center links flaked by steel links, along with the practical Easylink bracelet extension system on the clasp.

Rolex Caliber 3135

The Everose gold details continue on the sunburst chocolate brown dial with rose gold surrounds encircling the luminescent hour-markers and rose gold Mercedes-style hands. Naturally, the date window is still there, as is the Cyclops sitting on the sapphire crystal above it.

Despite the 24-year difference between the modern Yacht-Master ref. 116621 and the maiden Yacht-Master ref. 16628, the newer version of the watch also runs on the Caliber 3135 automatic movement. However, it’s important to note that as of 2015, Rolex guarantees an improved accuracy rating of -/+ 2 seconds per day across all of their movements.

The Rolex Yacht-Master Evolution, Then and Now

Aside from the material differences and dial design touch-ups, it’s clear that the modern Yacht-Master 40 is strikingly similar to the first Yacht-Master from the early 1990s. That’s not that surprising given the young age of the collection. After all, it typically takes Rolex decades to make drastic changes (if they make any at all) to a model since the company is more about evolution than revolution.

Today, the Rolex Yacht-Master is available in a host of sizes, materials, and dial designs, yet most versions (except for the Oysterflex edition) look almost identical to the inaugural Yacht-Master released over 25 years ago.

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Part III: Which of the Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time Wear Rolex Watches? https://beckertime.com/blog/part-iii-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/part-iii-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 21:50:53 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183329 We’ve finally reached the third and final part of our three-part series exploring the Rolex watches of the Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. Forbes listed 25 athletes in total and we selected 15 of them since they’re the sportsmen that we’ve seen wearing Rolex. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Parts I […]

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We’ve finally reached the third and final part of our three-part series exploring the Rolex watches of the Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. Forbes listed 25 athletes in total and we selected 15 of them since they’re the sportsmen that we’ve seen wearing Rolex. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Parts I and II. Without further ado, let’s dive straight in and find out which athletes are at the top of the list.

#7 (tie) David Beckham Career Earnings: $800 million

David Beckham
Credit: Splash News

Once one of the most famous soccer players in the world, when Englishman David Beckham retired from the sport he pivoted into a businessman and has taken home a whopping $800 million so far.

Watch enthusiasts know David Beckham as an official ambassador of Tudor, but before he was a Tudor man, the former Manchester United player was most definitely a Rolex man (and still is). Some Rolex highlights from David Beckham’s personal watch collection include a vintage Rolex GMT-Master “Root-Beer,” a yellow gold Yacht-Master, a yellow gold Yacht-Master II, a vintage yellow gold Submariner, a steel Rolex Deepsea, a steel and ceramic Daytona, and a yellow gold Day-Date.

#4 Jack Nicklaus Career Earnings: $1.2 billion

Now we’re getting into mega money with Jack Nicklaus’ $1.2 billion (yes with a “b”) earning him a spot at #4 on Forbes’ list. Affectionately nicknamed “The Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus is often regarded as the greatest golfer of all time with 18 major championships to his name.

Although Jack Nicklaus has been a Rolex ambassador for decades, he’s only ever worn one watch. A yellow gold Day-Date President that he received from Rolex in 1966 and he has worn it for well over 50 years! It’s been reported that Jack Nicklaus is ready to auction off his beloved Rolex watch soon to raise money for his Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. Stay tuned for more news on that as it unfolds.

#3 Arnold Palmer Career earnings: 1.4 billion

Arnold Palmer
Credit: Bilotta Gallery

A part of golf’s “Big Three” along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, the late Arnold Palmer passed away in September 2016, but his estate still earns on his behalf explaining how he’s still at #3 on the list with career earnings of $1.4 billion.

Arnold Palmer was also a Rolex brand ambassador (he was the first Rolex golf ambassador) and wore several watches throughout his life. We’ve seen him wearing a steel Submariner “Kermit,” a yellow gold Submariner, a yellow gold Day-Date, a tridor Day-Date, and a white gold Sky-Dweller.

#2 Tiger Woods Career earnings: #1.7 billion

Tiger Woods
Credit: Getty Images

Yet another golfer in the top of the list, Tiger Woods secures his #2 position with career earnings of $1.7 billion despite some scandals that caused him to lose out on sponsorship deals for a time being. The 14-time major winner currently enjoys plenty of endorsement deals including one with Rolex.

Outside of official advertising, the one Rolex watch we’ve seen regularly on Tiger Woods’ wrist is a Rolex Deepsea. He’s explained in the past that he loves to dive and when he’s not on the golf course, he spends as much time as possible in the ocean. That explains his love for the Deepsea!

#1 Michael Jordan Career earnings: $1.85 billion

We’ve finally made it to the end of the list! None other at the top is Michael Jordan with incredible career earnings of $1.85 billion! Long retired from the NBA, Michael Jordan is still considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

Michael Jordan
Credit: UPI Photo

Which Rolex watches does this billionaire former athlete, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, and mega business tycoon wear? A handful of them from the ultra-luxe platinum Daytona with the chocolate brown ceramic bezel to the dressier platinum Day-Date President to the yellow gold GMT-Master II.

There you have it. 15 of the highest paid athletes of all time and the Rolex watches they choose to sport on their wrists. We’ve seen a fantastic selection of Rolex timepieces in all that cover plenty of different styles, materials, and price points.

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The Rolex Watches of the Highest Paid NFL Players for the 2018 Season https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-highest-paid-nfl-players-for-the-2018-season/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-highest-paid-nfl-players-for-the-2018-season/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:24:45 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=185038 As football is well underway, Business Insider recently published an article highlighting the NFL’s highest paid players for 2018. As we’ve said many times in the past, where there’s money, there are usually some Rolex watches too! Take for example this group of wealthy football players who we’ve seen wearing a Rolex (or two) on […]

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As football is well underway, Business Insider recently published an article highlighting the NFL’s highest paid players for 2018. As we’ve said many times in the past, where there’s money, there are usually some Rolex watches too! Take for example this group of wealthy football players who we’ve seen wearing a Rolex (or two) on their wrists. Join us as we take a look at the Rolex watches of some of the highest paid NFL players of 2018.

Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams, Position: Defensive end

Earlier this year, Aaron Donald signed a six-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams worth $135 million. At the time of the signing, the 27-year-old pro football player became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history! With an average annual paycheck of $20 million, he can certainly treat himself to a host of luxury watches.

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#hardworkcantbedenied

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We’ve spotted Aaron Donald wearing a couple of Rolex watches recently. These include the classic yellow gold Rolex Day-Date President and—what appears to be—a two tone Datejust lavishly set with custom diamonds.

DeMarcus Lawrence
Dallas Cowboys, Position: Defensive end

DeMarcus Lawrence may have only signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys this year, but his $17.1 million salary is no small change!

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Wheels Up 🤙🏿 #BusinessTrip

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Although the 26-year-old South Carolina Native was quoted as saying, “I’m truly blessed and won’t spend a dime until I get a long term deal,” we did see a gleaming custom diamond-set Rolex with a Jubilee bracelet on his wrist. We can’t wait to see what Rolex watch he picks up once he does get the deal he’s waiting for.

Khalil Mack
Chicago Bears, Position: Linebacker

The day after Aaron Donald signed his contract to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, Khalil Mack took the honor with his six-year extension contract with the Chicago Bears worth a staggering $141 million. And this was after he was traded by the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears.

What does the current highest paid defensive player in NFL history choose to wear on his wrist? None other than a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date President of course—the symbol of success.

Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers, Position: Quarterback

Considered by some as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, this year marks Aaron Rodgers’ tenth year as the Green Bay Packers’ starting QB. In August of this year, he signed a new four-year $134 million contract extension with the Packers—making him the highest-paid player in the NFL.

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Aaron Rodgers wearing a Rolex Deepsea

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We’ve seen several luxury watches from various brands on Aaron Rodgers’ wrist, but the one that caught our eye was the hefty stainless steel Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller with a black dial.

Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons, Position: Quarterback

Matt Ryan’s five-year $150 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons makes the 33-year-old quarterback the second highest paid player in the NFL. Bringing home $30 million a year just in salary, Matt Ryan has plenty of cash to spend on luxuries like awesome Rolex watches.

It’s safe to say that Matt Ryan is a Rolex fan as we’ve seen him wearing plenty of different ones over the years. These include an Everose gold Yacht-Master 40 with the black Oysterflex strap, a full yellow gold Sky-Dweller, the platinum anniversary Daytona with a brown ceramic bezel and ice blue dial (fitting as his nickname is “Matty Ice”), and the green “Kermit” steel Submariner. Quite the Rolex collection, indeed!

Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks, Position: Quarterback

When Russell Wilson signed his four-year $87.6 million contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, he became the second highest paid player in the NFL at that time. For the 2018 season, Russell Wilson has one of the largest base salaries in the league, set at $15.5 million.

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Focused.

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While “highest paid” may be a tricky label to pin down in the NFL given how players’ contracts, signing bonuses, and salaries are structured, it’s unquestionable that these top earners are some of the richest athletes playing right now. Top points for some great Rolex watches too.

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Part II: Which of the Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time Wear Rolex Watches? https://beckertime.com/blog/part-ii-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/part-ii-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:03:02 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183326 Welcome to the second installment of our three-part series about the Rolex watches worn by the Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part I. We’ve picked 15 sportsmen out of the total 25 on Forbes’ list and today we focus on five of them. #14 Mike Tyson […]

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Welcome to the second installment of our three-part series about the Rolex watches worn by the Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part I. We’ve picked 15 sportsmen out of the total 25 on Forbes’ list and today we focus on five of them.

#14 Mike Tyson Career earnings: $700 million

Mike Tyson
Credit: Getty Images

There is perhaps no name more familiar than Mike Tyson’s when it comes to boxing, who comes into this ring positioned at #14 with total career earning of $700 million. The retired boxer had to file for bankruptcy back in 2003 after squandering about $400 million. But Mike Tyson is back building his empire, investing in a host of different industries and testing out his acting chops on screen.

Back in the day, Mike Tyson used to often sport a yellow gold Day-Date President on his wrist. However, these days the former heavyweight champ looks to be wearing a stainless steel Daytona.

#13 Greg Norman Career earnings: $705 million

Greg Norman
Credit: Shark.com

With an incredible $705 million in career earnings so far and ranked #13 on the list, Australian golfer Greg Norman is an absolute icon in his sport with 91 international tournament wins, including 20 PGA Tour tournaments and two majors.

While Greg Norman was a brand ambassador for Omega watches for a number of years, he was first a Rolex ambassador. He revealed in a very recent Hodinkee video that one of the last Rolex watches given to him by Rolex was a yellow gold GMT-Master ref. 16758, which in fact still has the tags on because he’s never worn it! Aside from that, he’s also got a yellow gold Submariner with a blue dial and bezel that he took diving a few times and a steel Submariner “Hulk” given to him by his best friend. We’ve even spotted a yellow gold Daytona on his wrist.

#12 Cristiano Ronaldo Career earnings: $725 million

Cristiano Ronaldo Rolex
Credit: @Cristiano

Dubbed the highest paid athlete for the past two years, Cristiano Ronaldo will soon climb up from his #12 ranking on this particular list if he continues to rapidly add to his current $725 million career earnings. While the soccer megastar is known to be very generous in donating his money to worthy causes, he also loves to spend lavishly on himself and has a robust luxury watch collection.

Naturally, there are more than a few Rolex watches in Cristiano Ronaldo’s watch collection. We’ve seen him wearing a rose gold Sky-Dweller, a two-tone Submariner, a yellow gold Daytona, a steel Daytona, and a gleaming iced-out GMT-Master II.

#11 LeBron James Career Earnings: $730 million

LeBron James
Credit: Getty Images

Coming in at #11 on the list with an estimated $730 million in career earnings during his last 15 years in the NBA playing for two different teams, LeBron James’ recent move to the LA Lakers will no doubt fatten up the basketball player’s bank account. And how does the three-time NBA champion reward himself? Partly with some impressive luxury watches.

Despite LeBron James’ affiliation with Audemars Piguet, he still rocks a Rolex from time to time. We’ve spotted the new LA Laker wearing a yellow gold Yacht-Master II, a yellow gold Sky-Dweller, a yellow gold Day-Date II, and an Everose gold Day-Date 40.

#9. Floyd Mayweather Career Earnings: $785 million

While career earnings of $785 million and a ranking of #9 on this list is incredibly impressive, these numbers don’t even include Floyd Mayweather’s massive $100 million payout to fight Conor McGregor last August!

Floyd Mayweather Rolex
Credit: AP

The champion boxer is not shy about sharing his lavish lifestyle on social media, often flaunting his expensive belongings for all to see. Floyd Mayweather has a soft spot for very sparkly and very expensive watches. Take for example his recent Jacob & Co.’s “Billionaire’s Watch” acquisition, which cost a cool $18 million. As for his Rolex collection? It’s massive including plenty of gem-set Rolex watches such as an emerald and diamond GMT-Master II, a gold Pearlmaster with a cognac sapphire dial, a yellow gold GMT-Master II with a gem-set red and blue bezel, a yellow gold Sky-Dweller, heaps of diamond Daytona chronographs, and a mountain of diamond Day-Date watches.

Be sure not to miss our third and final chapter of this three-part series highlighting the Rolex watches of the highest paid athletes of all time. Stay tuned to the BeckerTime blog for more.

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Part I: Which of the Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time Wear Rolex Watches? https://beckertime.com/blog/part-i-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/part-i-which-of-the-highest-paid-athletes-of-all-time-wear-rolex-watches/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 17:10:35 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183322 Late last year, Forbes published an article titled, The 25 Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time. So naturally, we wanted to dig into the list to find out which of these athletes wear Rolex watches. Unsurprisingly, most of them do! So much so, that we had to break this article into three parts to cover 15 […]

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Late last year, Forbes published an article titled, The 25 Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time. So naturally, we wanted to dig into the list to find out which of these athletes wear Rolex watches. Unsurprisingly, most of them do! So much so, that we had to break this article into three parts to cover 15 athletes out of the total 25. Let’s get right to it and find what which Rolex watches these five ultra-wealthy sportsmen love to wear.

#21. Derek Jeter Career earnings: $490 million

Derek Jeter
Credit: AP

Positioned at #21 on the list, former New York Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter has banked $490 million in career earnings. The 14-time All Star is now the CEO and part owner of the Miami Marlins MLB team.

No longer wearing the famous striped uniform of the Yankees, Derek Jeter chooses to wear an Everose Rolex Daytona with a black ceramic bezel and matching black leather band as he navigates the management side of baseball.

#20. Manny Pacquiao Career earnings: $510 million

With career earnings of $510 million thanks in part to a one-time fee of $125 million for a 2015 fight with Mayweather, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao ranks #20 on Forbes’ list. It’s no secret that the famed boxer likes to spend some of his wealth on expensive watches, most notably Rolex.

Manny Pacquiao
Credit: Getty Images

We spotted Manny Pacquiao wearing a number of different Rolex watches including a yellow gold Yacht-Master II, a diamond and black sapphire GMT-Master II SANR, and a yellow gold Day-Date President. A few years ago, the boxer took to his social media platforms to ask fans to help him find a Rolex that he left in a bathroom while washing his hands. The Rolex was a vintage yellow gold Daytona with a diamond pavé and baguette-diamond bezel worth about $585,000 at the time. Offering a reward of about $95,000, Manny Pacquiao thankfully recovered his cherished Rolex.

#18. Jeff Gordon Career earnings: $525 million

Jeff Gordon Rolex
Credit: ABlogToWatch

Legendary NASCAR racer, Jeff Gordon boasts career earnings of about $525 million, positioning him at #18 on the list. While he was at one time a TAG Heuer brand ambassador, last year he won a Rolex watch that only a select few have.

After claiming victory at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona alongside his teammates Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, and Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon took home a two-tone Rolex Daytona especially engraved with the race logo and “WINNER” on the caseback.

#17. Alex Rodriguez Career earnings: $575 million

Alex Rodriguez
Credit: Getty Images

With 22 seasons in Major League Baseball under his belt, Alex Rodriguez played for the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, and the New York Yankees. Despite his performance-enhancing drugs scandals, A-Rod still managed to pocket career earnings of $575 million thus far. Along with lavish properties and expensive art, the former Yankees also loves to spend his cash on luxury watches such as Rolex.

Alex Rodriguez
Credit: Ocean Drive

We’ve seen Alex Rodriguez wearing many different Rolex timepieces on his wrist throughout the years including a platinum Day-Date President, a yellow gold Day-Date President with a black dial, a white gold Daytona with a black leather strap, a stainless steel Daytona, a yellow gold GMT-Master II, and a yellow gold Yacht-Master—just to name a few!

#15. Roger Federer Career earnings: $675 million

Roger Federer
Credit: Getty Images

Tennis champ Roger Federer has been playing professionally for over two decades and has won an incredible 98 career titles during that time. For all his efforts, Roger Federer is listed as the 15th highest paid athlete of all time on Forbes’ list with career earnings of $675 million.

Roger Federer
Credit: Sports Illustrated

As for Rolex watches, given that Roger Federer has been a longstanding brand ambassador of the Swiss watchmaking giant, it comes as no surprise that he has worn some of the best watches the brand has to offer. From the stainless steel Sky-Dweller to the platinum and ceramic Daytona to the yellow gold GMT-Master to the steel Submariner “Batman” to the Datejust II “Wimbledon” to a slew of Day-Date Presidents, the list of Rolex watches seen on Roger Federer’s wrist is almost too long to go through. However, one especially notable piece in his Rolex collection is a vintage 1981 Daytona ref. 6263 made the same year he was born, given to him by his wife Mirka Federer on his 30th birthday.

That wraps up the first chapter of our three-part series about the Rolex watches worn by the highest paid athletes of all time. But stay tuned for Part II where we explore the Rolex timepieces of the following five sportsmen on the list.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Sea-Dweller vs. The Current Sea-Dweller https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-sea-dweller-vs-the-current-sea-dweller/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-sea-dweller-vs-the-current-sea-dweller/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 15:15:17 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184822 In our latest chapter of our Then and Now series where we set out to compare the maiden model of a Rolex collection versus its newest edition, we’re diving into the Rolex Sea-Dweller. A professional dive watch born from a specific request from a commercial company that later became a favorite watch for the public […]

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In our latest chapter of our Then and Now series where we set out to compare the maiden model of a Rolex collection versus its newest edition, we’re diving into the Rolex Sea-Dweller. A professional dive watch born from a specific request from a commercial company that later became a favorite watch for the public at large, the Sea-Dweller has maintained most of its design over the course of its history with a handful of major modifications. Let’s find out more.

The First Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex Sea-Dweller Comex

Rolex launched the Sea-Dweller in 1967 at the request of Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises (COMEX), a French company specialized in engineering and deep diving operations. COMEX needed a professional dive watch to accompany their fleet of saturation divers and turned to Rolex to create one.

As a result, Rolex launched the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 with a host of features for deep sea divers that went beyond the Submariner. The first notable detail is the watch’s water resistance rating of 610 meters (2000 feet), which was more than three times that of the 200-meter waterproof Submariner of the era.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665

The second important feature is the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665’s helium escape valve (HEV). To survive saturation diving, divers breathe a special mix of gasses. This can cause helium particles to build up within dive watch cases. Deep sea divers have to go through a period of decompression in hyperbaric chambers and due to the external pressure difference, the helium in the watch needs to escape—typically causing the crystal on top of the dial to pop off. To prevent this, Rolex fitted the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 with a patented HEV mechanism to allow the helium to safely discharge from the watch without causing damage.

Another thing you’ll note with the inaugural Sea-Dweller is that although there is a date window, there is no Cyclops magnification lens on the thick acrylic crystal. This is because the protruding lens would not have been able to withstand the pressure of saturation diving.

Rolex Caliber 1575

The first Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 is often referred to as the Double Red Sea-Dweller or DRSD for short. This is simply because of the two lines of red text on the dial that read: SEA-DWELLER. SUBMARINER 2000.

The inclusion of the Submariner name on the dial reminds us that the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 was essentially a heavily modified spin-off of the Submariner. Rolex made the Sea-Dweller dials with the red text for a decade until it was replaced with a dial with all white text in 1977.

Of course, as a dive watch, the Sea-Dweller 1665 includes plenty of lume on the dial and a rotating diver’s bezel with a black aluminum insert. The Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 runs on the self-winding Caliber 1575.

The Current Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600

In a surprising move, Rolex discontinued the production of the Sea-Dweller collection in 2009 to make way for the even more robust Deepsea dive watch. However, in 2014 the Sea-Dweller reappeared yet again. Finally, in 2017 Rolex unveiled the most current edition with the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600. At a quick glance, the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 may look quite similar to the very first Sea-Dweller ref. 1665—most notably, the return of the red Sea-Dweller text on the dial.

Yet, there are plenty of significant differences to highlight. Firstly, The Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 is the biggest version to date with a 43mm Oyster case rather than the previous 40mm sizes. As a result, the lug size also increased for proportional purposes.

Rolex Caliber 3235

Second, the sapphire crystal of the newest Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 now includes a Cyclops lens—yet another first for the Rolex Sea-Dweller line up. Additionally, the most current Sea-Dweller comes equipped with the new Caliber 3235 movement with a boosted power reserve of 70 hours and an improved accuracy rating.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600

The hands and indexes on the black dial glow blue in the dark thanks to the Chomalight luminescence, which was first introduced in the preceding Sea-Dweller ref. 116600. Plus, the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 includes a Cerachrom ceramic bezel unlike the aluminum one of the first Rolex SD. It’s also worth mentioning that the Sea-Dweller has offered a 1,220 meter (4,000 feet) depth rating since the late 1970s, and the newest Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 retains that.

Furthermore, as a modern Rolex dive watch, the Oyster bracelet of the Sea-Dweller has the Glidelock extension system providing an extra 20mm in length. What’s more, as a professional dive watch, Rolex also includes the Fliplock extension system to lengthen the bracelet by an additional 26mm. When both systems are used together, the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 can be worn over a very thick 7mm wetsuit.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller Evolution, Then and Now

While the Sea-Dweller first came out as an enhanced Submariner watch to suit the needs of pro saturation divers, today, the Sea-Dweller is very much its own Rolex model. This is especially true with the newest Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 given its larger case size and new movement.

Today’s Rolex Sea-Dweller remains true to the tool watch roots of the very first model, but in a more modern and bolder design.

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The Watch Collector Series: Watch Shows https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-shows/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-shows/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 15:01:10 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182458 It is fair to say that high-end mechanical watches have rarely been more popular than they are today. Despite living in an era of breathtakingly fast technological development, or maybe because of it, traditional timepieces are enjoying another golden age. Whether brand new models or vintage grail pieces from fabled makers, or a limited edition […]

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It is fair to say that high-end mechanical watches have rarely been more popular than they are today. Despite living in an era of breathtakingly fast technological development, or maybe because of it, traditional timepieces are enjoying another golden age.

Whether brand new models or vintage grail pieces from fabled makers, or a limited edition sumptuous creation from one of the wealth of independents that seem to rise out of nowhere, there is something about these miniature works of wrist art that capture the imagination and don’t let go.

It has led to an extraordinarily successful, multi-billion dollar industry springing up around it, as well as a slew of events where enthusiasts can go and share their passion with likeminded fans as well as the manufacturers themselves.

From small, intimate meet-ups to massive international horological festivals, these are the shows that unite people from all over the world.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best places to mark in your calendar to satisfy your obsession for all things watch related.

RedBar

RedBar National Meetup
Credit: RedBar Group.

What started out as two friends meeting up for a monthly drink and chat about their latest favorites in a New York City bar has since become a vast collective watch community which has expanded beyond the States and garnered an international following.

Now these highly sociable gatherings take place every week in 40 chapters spread across four continents, with more than 3,000 members from all walks of life coming together.

With no schedule or format, the RedBar emphasis is very much on lively conversation in a laidback, snob-free atmosphere and a mutual love of watches.

It is a phenomenon that has grown so big that top brands hold private events at several of the chapters, where they showcase their most recent pieces, and the RedBar Group itself uses its considerable sway to help the local communities through charitable donations.

Check out their website for details on the meetings closest to you.

Worn & Wound’s Wind-Up

Worn & Wound
Credit: From Squalor to Baller

A young event, and another one originally hailing from NYC, the Wind-Up show presented by online horology resource Worn & Wound has recently held its fourth annual watch fair, this year in San Francisco.

The largest event of its kind in the United States, the three-day grandstand for independent manufacturers focuses on some of the best value-for-money brands from around the world.

It is a cultural celebration, free to enter, and both seasoned collectors and complete newbies are encouraged to stop in and talk with some of the dozens of exhibitors the Wind-Up hosts each year. The attendants in 2018 included everyone from startup microbrands and American-based watchmakers (such as Austin’s own Tockr) to renowned European giants such as Junghans and lead sponsor Oris.

Like RedBar, the vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, open to all those with a curiosity about great timepieces.

With the event only getting more popular year on year, expect the 2019 edition to be the biggest yet.

Baselworld

Baselworld 2018
Credit: Baselworld.

Undoubtedly the most important watch show on the calendar, Baselworld is like a candyland for horologists. This is the place many manufacturers, most notably Rolex, choose to debut their newest pieces in front of the tens of thousands of visitors who cram the halls during the week-long carnival.

Held every spring in the northern Swiss city of Basel, it has been an annual event there since 1917.

A show that ebbs and flows with the prevailing economic tide, at its height Baselworld spread itself across 1,500,000sqft of exhibition space and housed up to 2,000 exhibitors. This year, with the Swiss industry still reeling somewhat from the Smartwatch invasion, it was a much more restrained affair, with a mere 650 brands displaying their wares. 2018 also saw the duration shorten by two days.

Although it is ostensibly a trade show and a chance for watchmakers to schmooze the legions of retailers who attend, it is also open to the public, and you can buy tickets for individual days or the entire week.

While the majority of the wares on display are not available to buy at the event, Baselworld still has to be the number one dream destination for serious watch lovers.

SIHH

SIHH
Credit: Global Citizen.

The first major horology event of the year is also the most exclusive, with the unapologetically opulent Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie catering only to the highest of the high end.

Founded in 1991 by a small splinter group of five ultra luxurious brands, including Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Piaget, Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth, its aim was to distance itself from Baselworld’s all-inclusive atmosphere.

This is where the elite show off their handiwork, housed in the sumptuous surroundings of the Palexpo Center in Geneva, Switzerland.

Until recently an invitation only exhibition for the industry’s biggest players, this year the last day of the five-day event saw the SIHH throw open its doors to let in the general public to gawp at work from the likes of A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels among others.

As you would expect with the sort of levels of wealth present, the individual displays put on by each maison are something to behold. In previous years, the halls of the convention center have been filled with WWII fighter planes and Formula 1 cars, with booths draped in animal hides or lined with bronze paneling, all reflecting that year’s overriding design theme.

Each manufacturer also keeps their own private conference rooms for cloistered meetings with dealers and journalists.

But while it may cater to the 1%, and it is horology’s version of shock and awe, the SIHH event retains an impressively affable nature, without too many egos getting in the way of the beauties on show.

Definitely one to attend, even if just once in your life.

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Masterchef Served Up Some Tasty Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/masterchef-served-up-some-tasty-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/masterchef-served-up-some-tasty-rolex-watches/#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 13:37:38 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184487 Masterchef wrapped up its ninth season last week (don’t worry we won’t mention who won in case you haven’t seen it yet) with a two-part season finale on FOX. The massively popular food competition show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay also included famed chef Aaron Sanchez and successful restaurateur Joe Bastianich as judges this […]

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Masterchef wrapped up its ninth season last week (don’t worry we won’t mention who won in case you haven’t seen it yet) with a two-part season finale on FOX. The massively popular food competition show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay also included famed chef Aaron Sanchez and successful restaurateur Joe Bastianich as judges this season. In a new format, the three judges competed against each other with a team of home cook mentees. Naturally, the focus of the show is food, however, we couldn’t help but spot some tasty Rolex watches making an appearance on Masterchef too.

Gordon Ramsay’s Rolex on Masterchef

While Gordon Ramsay has been spotted wearing a variety of Rolex watches in the past including a white gold Submariner, a steel Submariner with a ceramic bezel, and an Everose Yacht-Master 40 with an Oysterflex bracelet, for this season of Masterchef, the Michelin-starred chef stuck to one Rolex watch.

It was a vintage Submariner ref. 1680 with a date window and Cyclops lens on the acrylic crystal, which he fitted with a leather NATO-style leather band. The Submariner ref. 1680 was in fact the first Submariner to include the date feature—making it an important reference in Rolex’s history. Rolex produced the Submariner ref. 1680 from 1966 until 1981, when it was replaced with the sapphire-crystal topped and quickset Submariner ref. 16800.

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Joe Bastianich’s Rolex on Masterchef

MasterChef Joe Bastianich
Credit: FOX

Not to be outdone by his fellow Masterchef judge, Joe Bastianich also wore an impressive Rolex watch. His choice for the Masterchef finale was the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16710 with the famous black and red “Coke” bezel.

Rolex manufactured the GMT-Master II ref. 16710 from 1989 until 2007, and aside from the “Coke” bezel, it was also available with a blue and red “Pepsi” bezel and a monochrome black bezel too. This particular reference however, is the last GMT-Master II model that offered the black and red bezel as Rolex no longer offers that as an option in their current GMT-Master II lineup.

MasterChef Joe Bastianich
Credit: MegaModo

The GMT-Master II “Coke” is far from Joe Bastinaich’s only Rolex watch. We’ve seen the prolific businessman wearing several Daytona chronographs, a two-tone Submariner on a NATO-strap, and a steel and ceramic Submariner too.

It’s always fun spotting Rolex watches worn by famous people on television, but it’s even more satisfying when celebrities are wearing cool vintage Submariners and older GMT-Master II models. It goes to show that most discontinued Rolex watches look as great today as they did when they first launched. That’s the power of timeless design.

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The Watch Collector Series: Watch Collecting and Social Media https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-collecting-and-social-media/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-collecting-and-social-media/#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 14:27:59 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182169 It is hard to overstate just how much of an effect the internet has had on the world of watch collecting. What was once solely the reserve of a very private clique has been carried out into the mainstream, bringing a whole new community together with swathes of blogs, dedicated forums and, perhaps most of […]

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It is hard to overstate just how much of an effect the internet has had on the world of watch collecting.

What was once solely the reserve of a very private clique has been carried out into the mainstream, bringing a whole new community together with swathes of blogs, dedicated forums and, perhaps most of all, by the explosion in social media.

The various platforms have proved a godsend to private collectors, allowing like-minded and passionate people, often separated by entire continents, to share a wider understanding of timepieces in general, as well as providing a stage for the watch brands themselves to showcase their latest creations.

Going beyond its original use of just delivering an endless source of information to research a manufacturer’s products, social media sites are now being used as a sales platform as well as to shape customer perception about the marque and the lifestyle associated with it.

The ones who do it best are having a huge influence on a new generation of digitally literate watch aficionados, building up a reputation and a positive awareness that would not have been otherwise possible without a million dollar advertising revenue.

As some sites are more suited to the task than others, below we’ll take a look at just who is winning the social media battle.

Instagram

With the finest luxury watches qualifying as miniature works of art, it stands to reason that the most important and widely used place for showing them off is also the most visually oriented.

Instagram is an image sharing website, updated only through mobile devices. As such, it has an enormous following among a younger audience, who are generally never more than a fingertip’s length away from a smartphone.

Instagram

It gives people the opportunity to display both their collection as well as their photography skills and the site is awash with individuals, resellers, bloggers and every major brand and startup out there.

Much like Twitter, users can share their pictures using hashtags, allowing others to find the content they post and so generate a following.

For collectors, it is a great way to find other enthusiasts whose interest lies in a certain brand or type of watch, and more and more manufacturers are employing the highly visual layout as a tool to feed the aspirational view of their models, or to keep fans informed on upcoming releases or collaborations.

And it is not just the big names in the business exploiting the site’s benefits. Although the likes of Rolex and Audemars Piguet have a huge presence on Instagram, it is also the number one choice for the myriad of tiny independents to reach out to potential customers. With usually only very modest, or non-existent, marketing budgets, the newbies still get to compete with the industry giants, and with the platform’s demographic very much youth focused, it can really pay off.

Spend any time on the site and you will be rewarded with photos of some truly stunning pieces, and some impressive shooting talent to boot. The scope of some of the collections out there is hard to imagine, and it is refreshing to see them being worn out in the real world rather than in a photographer’s studio.

If vintage is your thing, check out @watchfred, an assortment of utter beauties from the 60’s and 70’s or, at the other end of the scale, @watchanish is the place for the most over the top bling you’ll ever set eyes on. 1.7m followers can’t be wrong.

Facebook

Where Instagram wins on the images side of things, the setup at Facebook (which actually bought IG in 2012 for $1bn) makes it easier for a more in-depth discussion on all things horology.

Facebook

There are dozens of groups on the site, both private and public, on just about every aspect or brand of watch you can think of.

The quality and usefulness of each group is obviously reliant on the contributors. You will find some where the members are particularly down-to-earth and welcoming and others where they can be fairly snobbish. There are also some that are little more than sales pages.

Among the more general hangouts, such as Modern Day Watch Enthusiasts (MDWE) and the wonderfully named I FN Love Watches (@iflwatches)there are some that are incredibly specific. The Rolex Milgauss Owners Clubcurrently has nearly 800 participants, while 3/6/9 Explorer Dial Lovershas close to 3,500.

If you have an interest in anything in the watch collecting world, chances are you will find a Facebook group to accommodate you.

Twitter

Although microblogging site Twitter does allow for posting photos, it was never set up as a display case for beautiful images in the same way as Instagram.

Instead, it is first and foremost about connecting people with similar interests and getting up-to-the-minute news on important topics.

Similarly to IG, it is all centered around the hashtags users add to their Tweets, which can be searched for by others in order to join in the conversation.

Twitter

While it has been going through a drop in popularity in recent years, it remains the best place to go for breaking stories and conversations in real time. If you want information before anyone else, it is the only platform you need.

For collectors, it provides a great opportunity to build a relationship with other watch lovers as well as the real influencers in the industry, and to communicate with favorite brands.

As prices for advertising on rival sites such as Facebook start to skyrocket following the overhaul of their News Feed algorithm, more manufacturers are starting to come back to Twitter to engage with potential customers.

The beauty of it is, you can follow anyone you like. So you can effortlessly connect with the people who have the same passion for watches, hear what they have to say, swap information and indulge in a little gossip.

Each social media platform has its own distinct strengths and weaknesses for the enthusiastic collector. While Instagram is by far the most used and the best visually, Facebook allows for a more specific focus and Twitter is great for keeping up with the very latest developments. The obvious choice is to have a presence on as many as your time allows.

There is a whole world of information and beautiful watches out there and it couldn’t be easier to get involved.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Datejust vs. The Current Rolex Datejust https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-datejust-vs-the-current-rolex-datejust/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-datejust-vs-the-current-rolex-datejust/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 13:43:18 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184047 For the first three chapters of our Then and Now series, we compared the first and current models of three popular Rolex sports watches. Today however, we’re focusing on Rolex’s flagship timepiece—the Datejust. An absolute classic in the luxury watch space, the Rolex Datejust has earned its spot as one of the most recognizable high-end […]

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For the first three chapters of our Then and Now series, we compared the first and current models of three popular Rolex sports watches. Today however, we’re focusing on Rolex’s flagship timepiece—the Datejust. An absolute classic in the luxury watch space, the Rolex Datejust has earned its spot as one of the most recognizable high-end timepieces out there. While today the Datejust is Rolex’s most varied collection, with a host of sizes, materials, and designs available, its history began as a yellow gold dress watch. Let’s compare the inaugural Datejust model with its most modern counterpart.

The First Rolex Datejust

In 1945, Rolex was celebrating its 40th anniversary. As a result, to honor the milestone, Rolex unveiled a brand new watch, the Datejust ref. 4467.

That first Datejust took important elements from past Rolex watches, such as the waterproof Oyster case, a fluted bezel, and the self-winding perpetual movement, and coupled it with new design details that would eventually develop into undisputable Rolex hallmarks. For instance, the Datejust debuted a new style of bracelet Rolex named the Jubilee. The Jubilee has since become one of Rolex’s main bracelet styles used in a number of different collections.

Vintage Rolex Ref. 4467
Credit: Rolex.

More importantly, there was the addition of the date indicator on the watch, hence the “Datejust” moniker. In fact, the Datejust was the world’s first automatic chronometer to include a date window on the dial. However, for those familiar with the Datejust collection, you’ll notice the absence of the Cyclops date magnification lens attached to the crystal. This signature design trait would only come about a decade later.

The Datejust ref. 4467 was crafted entirely in 18k yellow gold from its 36mm Oyster case to its then-new Jubilee bracelet. The white dial included applied faceted gold hour markers and yellow gold hands, all accented with radium luminescence. The “roulette” style date window displayed the date in alternating red and black numbers. Especially interesting is the lack of the “Datejust” name on the dial on the very first Datejust ref. 4467 watch. What you do see is the Rolex crown and logo on top of the “Oyster Perpetual” text on the upper portion of the dial accompanied by the “Officially Certified Chronometer” label on the bottom half.

The first Datejust runs on the self-winding Caliber A295 and because of the movement’s winding rotor, the caseback of the watch protrudes quite a bit to accommodate it. The result is an egg-shaped bubble case, which explains why early Datejust models are commonly referred to as “Ovettone”—Italian for large egg.

The Newest Rolex Datejust 36

Rolex Datejust 36 126231
Credit: Rolex.

Over its more-than seven-decade history, the Datejust has undergone plenty of design modifications to become Rolex’s most versatile collection. There are Lady-Datejust watches with smaller cases, Datejust II watches with larger 41mm cases, but our favorite remains the classic 36mm size.

Just this year at Baselworld 2018, Rolex launched new generation Datejust 36 watches in yellow Rolesor and Everose Rolesor. For those who may not be aware, Rolesor is Rolex’s official term for marrying gold and steel on the same watch, better known as a two-tone watch.

Rolex Caliber 3235
Credit: Rolex.

The new Datejust 36 watches, Datejust ref. 126233 (yellow gold and steel) and Datejust ref. 126231 (Everose rose gold and steel) flaunt all the elements we’ve come to expect from a two-tone Rolex Datejust. There are the gold fluted bezels and gold screw-down winding crowns on the steel 36mm Oyster case, along with the gold center links on the steel bracelets. Rolex offers both the classic Jubilee and the sportier Oyster bracelet as options on the new models. Of course, the dials include the famed date window at 3 o’clock, but this time, unlike the very first Datejust, it comes with the now indispensable magnification lens protruding from the sapphire crystal right above it.

Rolex Datejust 36mm Ref. 126233
Credit: Rolex.

The biggest change to the new Datejust 36 watches from its predecessors is that they now run on the Caliber 3235 automatic movement. This particular caliber is the same one that powers the latest Sea-Dweller, Datejust 41, and Pearlmaster 39, and boosts the power reserve of the new two-tone Datejust to 70 hours.

The Rolex Datejust Evolution, Then and Now

The appeal of the Rolex Datejust is that it manages to be such a versatile watch collection, yet each Datejust features a handful of details that are so fundamental to the watch’s design that it’s always instantly recognizable as a Rolex regardless of the specific model.

Whether vintage or modern, gold, two tone, or steel, large or small, you simply can’t go wrong with a Rolex Datejust watch.

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Tiger Woods Raises TOUR Championship Trophy With A New Rolex On https://beckertime.com/blog/tiger-woods-raises-tour-championship-trophy-with-a-new-rolex-on/ https://beckertime.com/blog/tiger-woods-raises-tour-championship-trophy-with-a-new-rolex-on/#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:07:36 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184481 Finally! Tiger Woods is back in the winner’s circle after five years. The former No. 1 golf player in the world claimed victory at the 2018 TOUR Championship this past weekend at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Tiger Woods laid the groundwork for his lead from Thursday to Saturday, and on Sunday, his […]

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Finally!

Tiger Woods is back in the winner’s circle after five years. The former No. 1 golf player in the world claimed victory at the 2018 TOUR Championship this past weekend at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Tiger Woods laid the groundwork for his lead from Thursday to Saturday, and on Sunday, his 1-over 71 gave him a two-shot win over Billy Horschel.

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Simply spectacular. #LiveUnderPar

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This is Tiger Wood’s first win since 2013, having spent the last five years struggling with debilitating back pain including four back surgeries. It was clear that almost everyone for rooting for Tiger Wood’s comeback and this victory—his 80th career PGA win—was especially sweet for the 42-year-old athlete that used to dominate the sport.

A clearly emotional Tiger Woods said after the game, “I just can’t believe I pulled this off…”

Tiger Wood’s New Rolex Watch

While he’s been an official Rolex ambassador for years, Tiger Woods seems particularly partial to one Rolex model—the hefty Deepsea dive watch. In the past, we’ve spotted the stainless steel Deepsea ref. 116660 with the classic black dial countless times on his wrist.

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Back. 🐅 #PhotoOfTheNight

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However, while Tiger Woods was clutching onto his 2018 TOUR Championship trophy (a replica of Bobby Jones’ putter Calamity Jane) on Sunday, we spotted what we believe to be the new Rolex Deepsea 126660 launched earlier this year at Baselworld. Tiger Wood’s watch had the famed D-Blue blue to black gradient dial, which Rolex created in 2014 in honor of James Cameron’s historic dive to the Mariana Trench.

The new Rolex Deepsea “James Cameron” ref. 126660 on Tiger Wood’s wrist features the same sized 44mm Oyster case as the previous version, yet it has redesigned lugs and a thicker Oyster bracelet for improved proportions.

The biggest change to the 2018 Deepsea lies beneath the case with a new self-winding Caliber 3235 charged to power the watch. The unique Ringlock architecture of the thick Deepsea case provides the watch with an incredible water resistance rating of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet), while the Cal. 3235 offers a generous 70-hour power reserve. A powerful watch for a powerful athlete.

Congratulations to Tiger Woods on his awesome win and we look forward to watching him continue on his comeback journey!

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Then and Now: The First Rolex Milgauss vs. The Current Rolex Milgauss https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-milgauss-vs-the-current-rolex-milgauss/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-milgauss-vs-the-current-rolex-milgauss/#respond Thu, 27 Sep 2018 22:16:34 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184157 For the latest installment of our Then and Now series where we compare the very first model in a particular Rolex collection with its most recent counterpart, we’re turning to the Milgauss. Although this model may not be quite a household name like the Submariner or the Daytona, like other Rolex watches it was built […]

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For the latest installment of our Then and Now series where we compare the very first model in a particular Rolex collection with its most recent counterpart, we’re turning to the Milgauss. Although this model may not be quite a household name like the Submariner or the Daytona, like other Rolex watches it was built for a specific purpose for a specific audience. Furthermore, the Milgauss is an intriguing model because unlike other Rolex watches, the modern equivalent bears little resemblance to the inaugural edition. Let’s dig in.

The Rolex Milgauss Backstory

When approaching the development of a new watch, Rolex oftentimes looked to solve a practical problem for a particular group of people. For instance, the Submariner was made in 1953 as a tool watch for divers while the GMT-Master was unveiled in 1955 to help commercial pilots track multiple time zones.

In the 1950s, the Swiss watchmaking company also realized that there was a set of people, comprised of engineers, scientists, and doctors, in need of a watch that could withstand exposure to high magnetic fields due to the nature of their professions. As some of you may know, magnetism is the archenemy of mechanical watches by causing havoc on timekeeping precision and accuracy. So Rolex began developing a new type of antimagnetic watch.

The First Rolex Milgauss

Rolex launched the Milgauss ref. 6541 in 1956, boasting antimagnetic capabilities of up 1,000 gauss—the unit used to measure magnetism. The watch takes its name from this ability since mille is French for one thousand. To prove the Milgauss’ antimagnetic properties, the watch was tested by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It’s worth noting that there was an earlier model, the Milgauss ref. 6543, however, this is considered by most as a prototype produced in very low quantities. So, for the purposes of this article, we’re following the brand’s lead that the ref. 6541 was the first official Milgauss made for mass production.

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 6543
Credit: WatchTime.

Built in stainless steel, the Milgauss ref. 6541 included a 38mm Oyster case without crown guards and a riveted Oyster bracelet. A 38mm case was quite large for the era but it was necessary to accommodate the iron shields protecting the automatic movement (the Cal. 1065) from magnetic fields. This technique is based on the principles of a “Faraday Cage,” invented by Michael Faraday in 1836.

Looking at that very first Milgauss, one element that really stands out is the black rotating bezel similar to the Turn-O-Graph and Submariner. While the inaugural Milgauss ref. 6541 shared some design details with other Rolex models of the times, there’s one that’s unique to this antimagnetic timepiece. And that’s the lightning bolt seconds hand in honor of the scientific community the watch was made for. The black dial features a honeycomb pattern, which apparently also provides some protection from magnetism. Other details on the dial include round luminescent markers, triangular indexes at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, luminescent Alpha style hour and minute hands, and a red “MILGAUSS” label.

The Newest Rolex Milgauss

After a few different models, Rolex eventually discontinued the production of the Milgauss in 1988. But in a surprising move, Rolex brought back their antimagnetic watch in 2007 with the Milgauss ref. 116400. The newest version from the modern collection is the Milgauss ref. 116400GV with a Z-Blue dial, introduced at Baselworld 2014.

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400

Yes, both the first and the last Milgauss can resist 1,000 gauss of magnetism, are time-only models, have stainless steel Oyster cases and Oyster bracelets, and include the signature lightning seconds hand, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The Milgauss ref. 116400GV Z-Blue features a 40mm Oyster case with a smooth steel bezel. The case houses a vibrant electric blue dial, orange accents, baton style luminescent hour markers, and straight luminescent center hands. One of the most interesting elements however is the green-tinted sapphire crystal (aka GV/Glace Verte) protecting the dial. Rolex claims that it is so difficult to produce this special colored sapphire crystal that they didn’t even bother filing a patent for it.

Encased within the Milgauss ref. 116400 is the COSC-Certified Rolex Cal. 3131 with, yet again, a protective magnetic shield. Water resistant to 100 meters thanks to the construction of the Oyster case, the Cal. 3131 has a 48-hour power reserve and is equipped with a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring for added robustness.

Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Z-Blue
Credit: Rolex.

The Rolex Milgauss Evolution, Then and Now

In our previous Then and Now articles, we’ve noted how similar modern iterations of certain Rolex watches are to their originals. However, this is hardly the case with the Milgauss. In fact, it’s clear that the newest Milgauss ref. 116400GV Z-Blue is vastly different than that first Milgauss ref. 6541.

With its bright color scheme and powers against the evil that is magnetism, the modern Milgauss happily lives on today as Rolex’s quirkiest watch. While its unique design is certainly not for everyone, the Milgauss ref. 116400GV with the Z-Blue dial is a captivating interpretation of the maiden Milgauss watch.

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Vintage Rolex https://beckertime.com/blog/vintage-rolex/ https://beckertime.com/blog/vintage-rolex/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 16:42:36 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181079 Looking for a way to spend a fruitless and frustrating afternoon? Try getting a bunch of horology experts to agree on when they think a watch officially becomes ‘vintage’. Unlike other subjects (cars, for instance, are formally termed vintage if they were made between 1919 and 1930), there has never been a hard and fast […]

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Looking for a way to spend a fruitless and frustrating afternoon? Try getting a bunch of horology experts to agree on when they think a watch officially becomes ‘vintage’.

Unlike other subjects (cars, for instance, are formally termed vintage if they were made between 1919 and 1930), there has never been a hard and fast definition where watches are concerned.

So you will come across answers ranging anywhere from pre-war, between wars, 50s, 60s, pre-quartz, post-quartz-but-not-too-post-quartz, when a watch is out of production, when it’s out of fashion, when the manufacturer stops making spare parts, etc.

Others mark the cross over between vintage and non-vintage based on when a particular feature makes a first appearance—so, acrylic crystal pieces, for example, are vintage; sapphire crystal pieces are not.

Sometimes it can even be brand specific. In 1985, when the Tag Group purchased the controlling stake in Heuer and became Tag Heuer, everything made before the buy out immediately became vintage.

No Right Answer

Ultimately it all comes down to your own interpretation. Personally, I’ve always thought the word itself carried with it connotations of quality as well as just how much time has passed since the watch appeared. According to some people’s age-based definitions, a Casio digital watch from the 80s could be classified as vintage, but is it really? Similarly, a Rolex from the 90s that had only just been discontinued might also qualify.

It is a real grey area and until that point some regimented governing body takes charge and gives us all an absolute, we’re free to set whatever parameters we see fit.

So, What is a Vintage Rolex?

For the sake of argument, we’ve decided our own definition of a vintage Rolex is one made before 1979—and it is as good as any.

The late 70s/early 80s were certainly fascinating times for the mechanical watch industry—those manufacturers that were left anyway.

Although the quartz crisis was still ongoing, and Rolex themselves had launched two models of their own as a fight back, the worst of it was over and those who had been seduced by the cost and accuracy of electronics were starting to miss the artistry and craftsmanship of mechanical timepieces.

While 1979 might seem like a very long time ago now, leaving us with nearly 40 years of important references we can’t include in our vintage category, we still have an enormous cache to choose from. The true golden ages for Rolex gave us some of the biggest names and most well-recognized forms ever to grace a wrist.

From the huge range of pre-owned timepieces we have in stock here at Beckertime, we’ve highlighted some of the standouts that qualify as vintage, both in terms of age as well as their matchless quality.

The Rolex Submariner

Born in 1953, the world’s most iconic dive watch gives us a little over a quarter of a century of classic models before we reach our 1979 cutoff.

In that time, Rolex brought out more than a dozen iterations of the Sub, each separate reference with enough subtle distinctions too numerous to list.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538

As a general rule, the further back in time you go, the more valuable the piece. For instance, you would be suspiciously lucky to find an example of the very first model, the ref. 6204, for less than six figures.

However, there are some fantastic, and fascinating, versions which are stuffed full of historical significance to be had for much less.

The ‘Bond’ Subs

The so-called ‘Bond’ Subs range in price from the eye-watering to the surprisingly attainable. While the original, the big crown ref. 6538 worn by Sean Connery as he set about fixing Dr. No’s wagon, is still a very expensive piece, prices for the ref. 5513 worn by Roger Moore in his first outing start at around the same as you would pay for a brand new Sub today. (It does not, sadly, include a circular saw bezel).

Its chronometer certified twin, the ref. 5512, the watch supplied to the UK’s military special forces, is more expensive but also not extortionate.

The ref. 16800, the first Sub to receive a scratchproof sapphire crystal, just squeaks into our timeline. Released in 1979, as well as the new protective dial covering, it also debuted the watch’s upgraded water resistance—taking it from 200m to 300m. You can find plenty of examples of this transitional but long-running reference in the sub-$10k category.

The Rolex Air-King

Along with the Datejust, the Air-King has one of the longest production runs of any of Rolex’s offerings. Unchangingly modest and unaffected by fashions, even the contemporary piece you can buy today looks like a vintage watch from yesteryear.

Long thought of as an entry-level Rolex, if there is such a thing, the Air-King started life at the end of WWII. Company founder Hans Wilsdorf so admired the heroics of the British Royal Air Force that he commissioned a number of ‘Air’ watches to commemorate their daring feats. Of the four different models built (along with the Air-Lion, Air-Giant and Air-Tiger), only the Air-King stayed in production.

Vintage Rolex Air-King Ref. 5700

It has always been the epitome of three-hand elegance. For most of its life, a span that goes nearly unbroken all the way back to 1945, it has remained a time-only watch, with just two references in the 50s and 60s being equipped with a date function.

But even these relatively rare models, the ref. 5700 and 5701, remain extremely affordable, and the Air-King as a whole is a great favorite among collectors.

Again like the Datejust, vintage examples come with a comprehensive choice of different dial colors, and hour indexes of either baton markers or in the striking and highly legible 3/6/9 style of the Explorer.

Special Editions

Over the years there have been a number of special editions, steadily becoming increasingly sought after. Several major corporations have commissioned co-branded versions of the watch. Pan Am for one, the airline at least partly responsible for the existence of the GMT-Master, awarded their retiring pilots with Air-Kings complete with the company logo above the six o’clock position. Fortunately, the infamous Dominoes Pizza Air King, being from the early eighties, isn’t classed as a vintage just yet.

Until the most recent iteration, Air-Kings have generally been 34mm in diameter, particularly small by modern standards. However, it has made the watch a real favorite among women collectors as well as men.

About as unassuming as it is possible for a mechanical watch to be, the Rolex Air-King represents the brand at its purist.

The Rolex Day-Date

It may be the flagship, the watch worn by some of modern history’s most powerful and notorious figures, but a vintage Day-Date is still within reach of us ordinary mortals.

Another model with a quarter of a century of ‘vintage’ to choose from, the President has been produced in such huge numbers, and in such an enormous variety, that there is one out there to suit every taste and budget.

Vintage Rolex Day-Date Ref. 18038

Starting in 1956, it has been at the top of the tree for Rolex ever since. It was the first timepiece ever made to display both the date and the day of the week written out in full, and throughout its long long life, it has only ever been forged from the finest precious metals.

Perhaps the biggest plus of owning a Day-Date is the agelessness of the styling. Like many of the pieces in the Rolex stable, it was a design that was perfected in every way before the watch was released, meaning that there was really nothing to do to it once it was out in the world. An example from the 50s looks almost identical to one from 20 or 30 years later; all the big alterations have gone on inside.

Ref. 18038

Of the slew of different vintage references available, the ref. 18038 remains one of the most popular. It was the model that brought the Cal. 3055, and the convenience of the Quickset feature for the date function. It also debuted the concealed Crownclasp on its President bracelet, giving the whole thing a seamless link. At 36mm, it might seem small on paper, but it wears bigger on the wrist than previous generations thanks to Rolex retiring their pie pan-type dial. Older Day-Dates typically had a dial that dropped away around the perimeter, resembling an upturned dish, and creating an optical illusion of a smaller surface area.

Buying a 1970s Day-Date is much like buying a Jaguar XK from around the same era. There is very little that dates it to the naked eye, and it will be mistaken for a far more recent model by everyone but the nerdiest of brand nerds. The ref. 18038 especially, is one of the best value for money watches around.

There will always be something special about the Day-Date. It has a history and provenance that are unique and unmatched by any other watch by any other manufacturer. In whichever of the countless different styles it comes in, understated and elegant or loud and grandstanding, nothing else makes quite the same statement.

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The Watch Collector Series: What are the Costs of Ownership? https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-what-are-the-costs-of-ownership/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-what-are-the-costs-of-ownership/#respond Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:16:48 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182456 When you buy a car, you generally do so in the knowledge that it isn’t just a one-time expense. Eventually, worn tyres will need replacing, the oil will have to be changed and, sooner or later, a thorough service is going to be a necessity rather than an option. Giving it a wash occasionally probably […]

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When you buy a car, you generally do so in the knowledge that it isn’t just a one-time expense. Eventually, worn tyres will need replacing, the oil will have to be changed and, sooner or later, a thorough service is going to be a necessity rather than an option. Giving it a wash occasionally probably won’t do any harm either.

All these things cost money, and the bills don’t go away just because we wish they would. If you want the car to carry on performing well, that is just the price you have to pay.

Similarly, with a mechanical watch, if you want it to give you a lifetime and beyond of faithful service, it is going to need a little investment from you.

Just as you would expect a Ferrari to cost more to service than a Ford, the greater skill and precision it takes to keep a Rolex ticking perfectly over that of a lesser brand bumps the price of maintenance up and is something to take into account before pulling the trigger on your next purchase.

Industry Leading

Industry Leading
Credit: Rolex

The good news is, Rolex recognize this and, since 2015, have issued an unprecedented 5-year warranty on all their watches, as well as recommending a completely unheard of 10 years between services. For other manufacturers, professional watch repairers tend to advocate anywhere from three to six years before sending off for an overhaul, so Rolex’s decade-long interval is a real demonstration of confidence in their product.

But what about those Rolex watches made before 2015?

Vintage Servicing

As you would expect, the older the watch, the more looking after it needs.

Vintage Servicing
Credit: Rolex

However, when you get into the true vintage territory, it is not quite as simple as that.

Part of a standard service is for the technician to polish out any scratches or marks on the case. While that can bring the watch back to, as near a possible, its original finish, overly polishing a watch can greatly reduce its resale value. With each polish, more of the case’s metal is removed, eventually altering the shape and possibly leaving you with an uneven profile.

Likewise, it is common practice for a damaged dial to be swapped out, which also vastly diminishes the watch’s worth among collectors who prize originality far beyond anything else. And should you decide to send your early model with radium painted hour indexes off to Switzerland to be serviced at Rolex HQ, it may not be legal for the company to send it back to the States without stripping the radioactive material off first. A European vacation to retrieve it may then be your only choice.

What Happens During a Service?

The reason a Rolex service can seem so expensive is due to the amount of work that goes into it.

What Happens During a Service?
Credit: Rolex

An overhaul involves disassembling the entire movement, sometimes numbering hundreds of parts, and cleaning them, either with a special chemical solution that dissolves any dirt or dust or in a series of ultrasonic machines. Components found to be damaged or worn will be replaced. It is then put back together, the lubricating oils reapplied, and installed into the case.

Any gaskets will be changed to ensure the watch’s waterproofness, and it will be pressure tested to confirm its specs.

Unless you specifically ask the service center not to, the case and bracelet will be buffed and polished to restore the original shine, and then the timing is tested in multiple positions and adjusted where needed.

Where Should I Have my Rolex Serviced?

This is undoubtedly highly specialized work, and so finding the right people for the job becomes very important.

Where Should I Have my Rolex Serviced?
Credit: Rolex

Rolex has a number of official Service Centers around the country, owned and operated by Rolex USA. Much like buying your watch from an Authorized Dealer, these are both the safest but also the most expensive places to get your watch serviced. You are obviously going to be receiving the attention of dedicated, extremely well trained technicians, using 100% genuine parts and the work comes with a long guarantee. The downside, other than the higher costs involved, tends to be turnaround time. It can take anywhere up to 10 weeks to get your watch back after sending it in.

Alternatively, you can research third-party watchmakers. The many Rolex forums are usually a great source of information and recommendation on their favorites.

These are not affiliated with the brand in any way, but will have experts on staff to handle servicing. While far cheaper than the Service Centers, the repairers will generally be working on many different watch brands and as such will not necessarily be specialists on Rolex in particular. You also have no assurance they will be using genuine parts.

Possibly the best of both worlds is to scope out the independent companies that employ a Rolex Certified Master Watchmaker. These professionals have passed training programs put together by the brand itself and therefore have access to authentic Rolex components and instruction manuals, as well as the specific equipment needed to be able to service their watches.

Looking After my Rolex

Anything mechanical that you use regularly will eventually need to be serviced, but of course it is up to you as the owner to decide how often you want that to happen. The three to six years we mentioned above is a guideline, and a fairly vague one at that.

Looking After my Rolex
Credit: Rolex

Some collectors do it far more regularly, some not at all with no problems. Others wait until there’s a problem, such as water entering the case, a broken crystal or a discrepancy with the timekeeping accuracy.

On the whole though, prevention tends to be better than cure, and cheaper in the long run.

Rolex don’t make much in the way of complicated models; they try to keep their mechanics as simple as possible, and the level of their engineering is so high that they can be quite forgiving should you push your luck between service intervals. But don’t forget these watches are ticking more than a quarter of a billion times a year. That will put a strain on anything, regardless to how well put together they are.

Deciding on a schedule and sticking to it is the best way to ensure your watch remains the reliable companion it always was, and a few hundred dollars every few years becomes a small price to pay in the great scheme of things.

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Rolex Spotting at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-spotting-at-the-2018-primetime-emmy-awards/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-spotting-at-the-2018-primetime-emmy-awards/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:14:09 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184403 The 70th edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards took place on Monday, September 17, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The biggest winners of the night were Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, taking home awards in top categories including Best Drama and Best Comedy, respectively. Naturally, we also checked out […]

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The 70th edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards took place on Monday, September 17, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The biggest winners of the night were Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, taking home awards in top categories including Best Drama and Best Comedy, respectively. Naturally, we also checked out what types of luxury watches celebrities chose to wear during the star-studded evening, and as expected, we spotted a few Rolex watches out there.

Jon Huertas’ Rolex Watch

Jon Huera Rolex Watch at Emmys
Credit: Getty Images.

TV star from NBC hit drama show, This is Us, Jon Huertas looked sharp for the Emmys in a maroon tuxedo from Ted Baker. In fact, his look earned him a spot on many of the ubiquitous “Best Dressed Men of the 2018 Emmy Awards” lists compiled post-show. To complete his Emmy awards look, Jon Huertas sported a full yellow gold Yacht-Master around his wrist. As some of you may know, Rolex no longer makes this particular model in yellow gold, which is a shame because as we’re sure you’ll agree, it looks fantastic on. With a 40mm gold Oyster case, gold rotating bezel, gold Oyster bracelet, and a contrasting black dial, this ultra-luxurious Rolex sports watch is a classic. It was a solid choice for Jon Huertas to wear during the Emmys.

Jimmy O. Yang’s Rolex Watch

Jimmy O Yang at Emmys
Credit: Getty Images.

Actor from HBO’s hilarious comedy Silicon Valley and this summer’s big blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians, Jimmy O. Yang also stepped out in a wine-colored suit for the evening, custom made by Seize Sur Vingt.

Jimmy O Yang Rolex Watch
Credit: @FunnyAsianDude.

While we know for sure he had a Rolex on his wrist, it’s hard to tell exactly which model he had on. But we’re speculating it’s his cherished vintage 1968 GMT-Master ref. 1675 that he’s proudly shown off on his Twitter feed and spoken about in recent interviews. Looks like Jimmy has caught the vintage Rolex bug!

Colin Jost’s Rolex Watch

Colin Jost Rolex Watch at Emmys
Credit: Getty Images.

As co-host for the night (along with Michael Che), Colin Jost opted for a classic black tuxedo. The SNL star and writer also wore a fantastic Rolex watch for the show—a stainless steel Milgauss GV with a black dial.

Colin Jost Rolex Watch at Emmys
Credit: The Hollywood Reporter.

Rolex’s antimagnetic watch (resistant to 1,000 gauss), the Milgauss is one of the quirkiest watches in the brand’s line up with its orange lightning bolt hand and green sapphire crystal. Not all modern Milgauss watches come with the green crystal, but Colin Jost’s particular one does. As a youthful looking Rolex, this fits the 36-year-old’s style perfectly. Although there’s still some debate out there whether it’s appropriate to wear a robust watch with a formal suit (we say yes, it totally is), these celebrities are happily combining sporty Rolex watches with tuxedos—and looking great while doing it.

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The Watch Collector Series: Communities for Collecting https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-communities-for-collecting/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-communities-for-collecting/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:50:16 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182173 Some of the great joys of watch collecting are the people and communities for collecting beautiful timepieces that you meet along the way. What was once an extremely niche pastime, practiced by the select, usually very wealthy few, is now open to enthusiasts from every walk of life. It is still a fairly new phenomenon. […]

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Some of the great joys of watch collecting are the people and communities for collecting beautiful timepieces that you meet along the way.

What was once an extremely niche pastime, practiced by the select, usually very wealthy few, is now open to enthusiasts from every walk of life.

It is still a fairly new phenomenon. It only really started its move into the mainstream public consciousness in the last twenty five years or so. Coincidentally, this was around the same time the internet became an everyday part of all our lives.

That was the innovation that brought a much younger generation to the forefront. The internet effectively ended the image of watch collecting being practiced solely by rich old men. The ones sitting around buttoned-down auction houses. The impenetrable clique closed off to outsiders.

Now, we have the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. Add to that the online forums for just about every brand in existence. It is a world populated by legions of like-minded individuals craving information and eager to impart knowledge.

Rather than a serious and sober occupation, watch collecting has become fun, above all else. It has a competitive element with connoisseurs from every corner of the world posting their latest find. In addition, they enjoy a certain amount of one-upmanship, generally, in the most good-natured way.

What really brings the communities for collecting these beautiful timepieces together is a shared passion and a never-ending journey of discovery.  It just isn’t possible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know about a brand. And, seeking out the more well-informed is the most usual way to become part of this larger world.

Where Are They?

There are a raft of places to meet with keen and extremely knowledgeable collectors, both on and offline.

Online

The internet is filled with lively forums on every aspect of horology, some created to provide a space for a general discussion on all things watch related, such as timezone.com or watchfreeks.com, while others are dedicated to just one marque. Similarly, chronocentric.com, the discussion forum of the brilliant onthedash.com, is the place to go to learn all about everything Heuer.

Communities for Collecting - Rolex Forums

As always, you get out what you put in. And, being involved on these sites, contributing your own opinions and expertise wherever possible will see you gain the most out of your time there.

Of course, social media is the perfect medium for engaging with communities for collecting watches. And, Instagram, the more image-heavy option, provides the ideal opportunity to share and connect with others.

You can search various hashtags to bring you the best feeds. These are mostly from either individual collectors and premium sellers through to the manufacturers themselves. Try searching for terms like #watchnerd or #WOMW (‘watch on my wrist’) as a start.

Some great accounts to follow, particularly if you are a Rolex fan are, of course, us here at @Beckertime, as well as @rolexaholics and @fumanku, run by renowned brand expert and dealer Eric Ku, owner of Rolex Vintage Forum.

Offline

While the internet has succeeded at shrinking the world and bringing people closer together, there is still nothing that compares with getting out there and meeting fellow collectors face to face.

As well as the chance to chat more in depth, it is also the only way to actually see the timepiece you may have been cherishing in the flesh, or even physically getting to wear it.

Fortunately, there are a number of established events where you can do just that.

They hold shows throughout the country each year. They are either devoted exclusively to watches or including them as part of a wider jewelry and lifestyle exhibition. Although some are for the trade only, many are open to the public.

Watch and Wound

One to look out for especially is Watch and Wound, which had its inaugural event this February in Miami, Florida. Over three days, it brought watch lovers together in their thousands to admire state-of-the-art releases from some of the world’s top brands. It also included lectures on all aspects of collecting and investing. Additionally, they held workshops that explained the minutiae of just how mechanical calibers and complications work.

Baselworld

Communities for Collecting - Baselworld 2018
Credit: Baselworld

The biggest and grandest fair of them all is still Baselworld, held every March in Basel, northern Switzerland. A week long affair open to the public, this year it scaled back a little, with ‘only’ 700 exhibitors and an exhibition space that covered about 1,000,000sqft, a drop of about a third on the previous show. This is the place to see the newest Rolex creations before they unleash them on a wider audience, with the brand traditionally using the event to debut its latest models. With between 100,000 and 150,000 visitors and around 3,000 journalists visiting each year from all over the globe, this has to be top of every watch collector’s bucket list.

RedBar

For a more laid back and intimate meet up, check out your local RedBar chapter. A collective of dedicated watch fans, they hold weekly get-togethers in scores of locations around the world. Originally started by two friends in a NYC bar, it has since expanded into Europe and as far as Australia, but has hung on to its friendly, unpretentious vibe.

Attendance usually ranges from a few dozen to as many as 500 in the New York location. The focus is always on free flowing conversation and the swapping of information.

The watch collecting world can still have a whiff of old school snobbery about it, but RedBar is the antithesis.

Be Part Of The Community

Whatever stage you are at with your collection, you will find that getting to know your fellow aficionados, either online or in person, is one of the best ways to further your knowledge and enjoyment.

Far from being a private club for insiders, there is an ‘all in it together’ attitude that can sometimes be missing from other types of high end collecting.

You will find entire communities for collecting with people ready and willing to share what they know.  Also, they can help you make the best choices where your next acquisition is concerned.

Check out some of the places we’ve mentioned above and get involved.  Also, other types of collecting from sports memorabilia to cars shows that there is something for everyone.

BeckerTimeBE

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Our First Celebrity Sighting of the New Steel GMT-Master II Pepsi https://beckertime.com/blog/our-first-celebrity-sighting-of-the-new-steel-gmt-master-ii-pepsi/ https://beckertime.com/blog/our-first-celebrity-sighting-of-the-new-steel-gmt-master-ii-pepsi/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:34:42 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=184152 A couple of months ago we published an article highlighting some celebrities wearing the new 2018 Rolex watches, including the Everose GMT-Master II and the Everose Daytona Rainbow. However, there was one new important Rolex watch that was missing from the list. This was the new stainless steel GMT-Master II Pepsi. Since then, we’ve been […]

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A couple of months ago we published an article highlighting some celebrities wearing the new 2018 Rolex watches, including the Everose GMT-Master II and the Everose Daytona Rainbow. However, there was one new important Rolex watch that was missing from the list. This was the new stainless steel GMT-Master II Pepsi. Since then, we’ve been on the lookout for a celebrity wearing this coveted Rolex novelty and we’ve finally spotted one! It’s on the wrist of none other than television star, comedian, actress, and mega Rolex collector, Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres Wearing the New Steel GMT-Master II Pepsi

For those who know a little about celebrity Rolex collectors, it probably isn’t surprising that Ellen would add the 2018 GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO to her impressive watch collection, which includes mostly Rolex and Patek Philippe watches.

The famous TV star with her daily television show has worn plenty of incredible Rolex watches. These range from vintage Daytona Paul Newman and Submariner watches to modern platinum Day-Date and Everose Yacht-Master models. And on one of her shows last week, we were delighted to see Ellen DeGeneres wearing the new steel GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO, which Rolex unveiled at Baselworld 2018.

This new GMT-Master II made plenty of headlines earlier this year as the first steel GMT-Master II to feature the iconic red and blue “Pepsi” bezel in Cerachrom ceramic. While we’ve already spotted Ellen wearing the white gold GMT-Master II with the Pepsi bezel, we immediately recognized this as the steel version due to its Jubilee bracelet. As you may already know, the steel GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO is exclusively available with the five-link Jubilee bracelet and not with the sportier three-link Oyster bracelet. The steel version made its debut alongside the full Everose GMT-Master II ref. 126711 CHNR and the two tone Everose and steel GMT-Master II ref. 126715 CHNR. All three GMT-Master II watches represent the new generation of the famous Rolex pilot watch. They’re all equipped with the new Caliber 3285 automatic movement with increased power reserve of 70 hours.

As with most new Rolex sports models, the waitlist for the new steel GMT-Master II Pepsi is long. But there’s nothing like celebrity status to get you ahead of the pack. And now that we’ve seen Ellen wearing one, we’re anticipating a lot of celeb sightings of the new GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO.

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Rolex is Now the Official Timekeeper of the US Open Tennis Championships https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-is-now-the-official-timekeeper-of-the-us-open-tennis-championships/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-is-now-the-official-timekeeper-of-the-us-open-tennis-championships/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 16:10:53 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183478 Tennis fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting the last tennis Grand Slam of the season—the US Open. Slated to take place August 27 until September at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the US Open. And now, Rolex will join in as the […]

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Arthurashe Stadium when Official Timekeeper was Citizen
Credit: Wikimedia (CC)

Tennis fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting the last tennis Grand Slam of the season—the US Open. Slated to take place August 27 until September at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the US Open. And now, Rolex will join in as the Official Timekeeper of the championship, taking over from Citizen.

Rolex’s Third Grand Slam

With this new US Open partnership, Rolex has now secured a third Grand Slam under their tennis sponsorship umbrella, following Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Along with these three Grand Slams, Rolex is also associated with other top tennis tournaments such as the Rolex Shanghai Masters, the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters, and others. The Swiss watchmaking giant has been actively supporting tennis worldwide since 1978.

Under the terms of the new collaboration, the 2018 US Open tournament will have Rolex clocks placed throughout the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. What’s more, spectators of the US Open 2018 will experience the transformation of the immense campus—which took five years—including a brand new $200 million Louis Armstrong stadium.

Who Will Be Playing at the 2018 US Open?

For the first time since 2015, all 14 active former US Open singles champions (seven men and seven women) will be competing at the famed blue hard courts in Flushing Meadows.

On the men’s side, the players are: Roger Federer (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), Rafael Nadal (2010, 2013, 2017), Novak Djokovic (2011, 2015), Juan Martin de Potro (2009), Andy Murray (2012), Marin Cilic (2014), and Stan Wawrinka (2016).

On the ladies’ side, the seven players are: Serena Williams (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014), Venus Williams (2000, 2001), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004), Maria Sharapova (2006), Sam Stosur (2011), Angelique Kerber (2016), and Sloane Stephens (2017).

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On my way home 🏆❤ @netjets

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We’ll be keeping an eye on Rolex ambassadors Roger Federer and Angelique Kerber to see if they can claim victory yet again in New York. Rolex ambassadors looking for their first US Open title at this year’s tournament include Milos Raonic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, Garbiñe Muguruza, and Caroline Wozniacki.

This star-studded lineup will certainly draw in a large audience, both at the venue as well as those tuning in from all over the globe. Watch this space to see if it’ll be Rolex-clad arms that raise the US Open 2018 trophies.

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Discovering the Rolex Watches in the DC Extended Universe https://beckertime.com/blog/discovering-the-rolex-watches-in-the-dc-extended-universe/ https://beckertime.com/blog/discovering-the-rolex-watches-in-the-dc-extended-universe/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:38:40 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183201 As promised, as a counterpart to our recent article about the Rolex watches we discovered in the Marvel Universe, we now take a look at if there are any Rolex watches to be found in the DC Extended Universe. And as expected, there are quite a few. Read on to find out more. Tom Hardy’s […]

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As promised, as a counterpart to our recent article about the Rolex watches we discovered in the Marvel Universe, we now take a look at if there are any Rolex watches to be found in the DC Extended Universe. And as expected, there are quite a few. Read on to find out more.

Tom Hardy’s Rolex Watches

Tom Hardy Rolex Watch
Credit: GQ

When Tom Hardy—who plays the terrifying Bane villain in Dark Knight Rises—stepped out at Comic-Con 2018 in San Diego, he was wearing a Rolex Submariner with a black Cerachrom bezel. Once a DC Comics man, Tom Hardy has crossed over to the Marvel Universe to star in Venom.

Along with his Submariner, Tom Hardy has other Rolex watches including a super cool Rolex Explorer II with a white “Polar” dial. Plus, we’ve even spotted him wearing a stainless steel Datejust II with a white gold fluted bezel.

Whether a dress watch or a sports watch, it’s safe to say that Tom Hardy favors stainless steel Rolex watches—and we can’t blame him!

Ben Affleck’s Rolex Watches

Ben Affleck Rolex Watch at Argo Movie
Credit: Warner Bros.

The most recent actor to play Batman following a long list of leading Hollywood men is of course, Ben Affleck. He took on the famous Bruce Wayne/Batman character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League.

Although Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne wore a very expensive Breguet watch in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the celebrity actor has worn his fair share of Rolex watches in other films. There’s the period-incorrect Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea in Argo, the GMT-Master Pepsi in Gone Girl, and the stainless steel Datejust in Changing Lanes.

Wouldn’t it be great if Ben Affleck wore a Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman?” Maybe one day!

Henry Cavill’s Rolex Watch

Henry Cavill Rolex Watch
Credit: The Rake Magazine

Henry Cavill first took on the role of Clark Kent/Superman in 2013 in the DC Comic film Man of Steel. We then saw him take on the role of the world’s most famous superhero again in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League movies.

When he’s not onscreen wearing the iconic red cape, Henry Cavill often wears a large sports watches, mainly from Breitling or Omega. However, we did spot this photo of him wearing the ultra-luxurious Rolex Day-Date President with the special olive green anniversary dial for an interview with The Rake.

Whether this is his personal watch or not, precious gold from the Rolex foundry looks fantastic on the Man of Steel.

Will Smith’s Rolex Watch

Will Smith Rolex Watch
Credit: Just Jared

One of Hollywood’s most famous actors, Will Smith joined the DC Extended Universe world playing the assassin-for-hire Deadshot in the movie, Suicide Squad. Despite the film being panned by critics, Suicide Squad grossed an impressive $750 million at the box office with rumors that a sequel is in the works.

While we’ve spotted a range of watches on Will Smith’s wrist from Hamilton to Chopard to Piaget to Tudor, our favorite is of course his Rolex watch. A gorgeous Everose gold Sky-Dweller to be exact, worn on a leather strap.

Fun fact: Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, wore an iced-out Rolex to the Met Gala earlier this year—we wonder if he borrowed it from dad or if the appreciation for Rolex runs in the family?

Will Arnett’s Rolex Watches

Will Arnett Rolex Watch
Credit: Moviefone

Fans of the Lego animations movies will have no doubt recognized Will Arnett’s distinctive deep voice behind the hilarious Batman character—licensed of course from DC Comics. In fact, the Batman character was so well received by audiences that the tiny superhero now has his own spinoff film, Lego Batman.

In real life, Will Arnett wears some impressive Rolex watches. The one we see him wearing the most is the hefty Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea dive watch. But we’ve also seen Will Arnett wearing a white gold Submariner with the bright blue dial and bezel combination. What’s more, when the actor starred in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Vernon Fenwick, his character had a Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi on.

Another fun fact: Jonah Hill who is the voice behind Green Lantern in the Lego Movie franchise, is also a Rolex fan. Discover his collection here.

There you have it, just a few of the Rolex watches we found dwelling in the DC Extended Universe. From Batman and beyond, there’s no shortage of Rolexes among these fictional superheroes.

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The Watch Collector Series: Watch Collecting Vs. Other Types of Collecting https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-collecting-vs-other-types-of-collecting/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-watch-collecting-vs-other-types-of-collecting/#respond Mon, 10 Sep 2018 17:44:07 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181942 Pretty much anything can be, and is, collected. People will accumulate all sorts of objects, for many different reasons. Some are completely understandable. Sports fans, for instance, often fall into collecting memorabilia of their favorite team or player. Autograph hunters tend to do it for the thrill of the chase or to amass the most […]

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Pretty much anything can be, and is, collected. People will accumulate all sorts of objects, for many different reasons.

Babe Ruth Signed Baseball

Some are completely understandable. Sports fans, for instance, often fall into collecting memorabilia of their favorite team or player. Autograph hunters tend to do it for the thrill of the chase or to amass the most comprehensive or obscure book of signatures.

Other types are a little more difficult to get your head around. A librarian from Australia recently sold (yep, sold) a 22.1 gram collection of his own belly button fluff to a local museum for an undisclosed sum. Graham Barker now has his own place in the Guinness Book of World records, narrowly beating another navel lint collector, whose new wife ordered him to knock it off; proving, if nothing else, that there really is someone out there for everyone.

While some people do it purely for the money, seeking out the objects with the best future investment potential, they are in the minority. Most have a real emotional attachment to the various items they amass, and see it as a way to preserve something of the past.

It can even form the basis of a career, as the desire to know more about a certain subject leads to accruing more and more related objects. You won’t find many geologists working today, for example, who didn’t have a rock collection when they were a kid, and undoubtedly still do.

Watch Collecting

Where watches are concerned, they are one of those items that are so diverse in terms of style, history and value that they attract collectors of every kind.

The vintage market, particularly in recent years, has grown so much that investors have started to pay truly astonishing amounts of money for the rarest pieces, confident of a healthy return in a relatively short space of time.

But watches are also great storytellers, with each one making a positive connection with the person collecting it, and telling us a lot about their individual character.

This sort of financial and emotional overlap is perhaps closest to one other type of collecting. Watches and cars share many of the same traits, as do those who accumulate them.

Porsche 911

Both, if chosen carefully, can become extremely profitable assets. Classic cars now rank top in the alternative investment stakes, their value growing by 192% in the last 10 years. Yet even the best performers in the automobile world are still the ones that have the most nostalgic appeal. Buyers are going for the marques and models they remember most fondly from their youth, the ones they had posters of on their bedroom walls. Porsche 911s from the 1980s are in high demand, as are Corvette Stingrays.

With watches, only a few select brands have the potential to go on to make significant amounts of money; the likes of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and, way out in front, Rolex.

Where the most parallels between the two occur are in their mechanics and their context.

The intricacies in the inner workings of cars and watches will always be inherently fascinating, and both only seem to get more impressive and absorbing as modern electronic technology progresses. We can appreciate the end result of an Apple Watch or a Tesla Model S, but we can’t see it happen. They are remarkable, but uninvolving. Most of all, we don’t associate them with anyone we admire.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

With watches and classic cars, there is a past we can look to and often a link with some form of icon. Steve McQueen fans will always treasure the 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback he drove in Bullitt and the Rolex Explorer II named after him. James Bond enthusiasts seek out Aston Martin DB5s and Submariners, or maybe the Omega Seamaster 300 from more recent years.

No matter what the objects in question, whether it’s bottle tops with no intrinsic value, or artwork worth millions of dollars, all collectors have a form of obsession. It can range from a healthy preoccupation all the way through to the sort of hoarding that requires professional intervention.

The act of collecting itself is said to be something hardwired into us, a leftover from the earliest days of the species when we would stockpile food for when the hunting was bad.

Now, with all the tacos we could eat just a phone call away, there’s no longer any need and so we’ve turned to other things.

With watches, although it is easily possible to spend vast amounts on a collection, many of the most interesting are not actually worth a great deal in purely monetary terms. These are the ones made up of pieces with huge sentimental value—heirlooms that have been passed down over the generations that remind their owners of friends or family members. Like our ancestors storing excess food, there’s something comforting about it.

It’s the same story with things like teddy bears or doll houses or a particular item of furniture—it provides a link to an earlier time. The polar opposite of an investment, these are the collections that are not for sale at any price.

Conclusion

Watch collecting is a fairly new phenomenon, but one that is becoming incredibly popular and accessible to an ever growing number of people. Really only starting in the 1980s, it could be said to be still in its infancy, but even so, it has aspects it shares with other far older types of collecting.

As well as the world of classic cars, there are certain similarities with fine wine, in that there are pieces available today that are going to mature with age and become much more valuable.

The more time passes, the more watches will make the crossover from being ‘vintage’ to ‘antique’ and attract a different type of collector—one who admires historic items of any description rather than just watches for their own sake.

What is in no doubt is that it is a very interesting time to be a fan of horology, and a wholesome obsession with these miniature works of art is no bad thing.

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The 31mm Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-31mm-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-31mm-rolex-watches/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 14:28:08 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181940 31mm Rolex watches are fast becoming the most popular size among female wearers, granting a significant step up in wrist presence over the time-honored and more traditional sub-30mm pieces. They offer a versatile middle ground between conventional ladies watches measuring 26mm or 28mm, and the modern fashion among women to opt for models more usually […]

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31mm Rolex watches are fast becoming the most popular size among female wearers, granting a significant step up in wrist presence over the time-honored and more traditional sub-30mm pieces.

They offer a versatile middle ground between conventional ladies watches measuring 26mm or 28mm, and the modern fashion among women to opt for models more usually aimed at men, coming in at 40mm or even bigger.

While the trend at Rolex is for evermore substantial dimensions all across the board, the 31mm offerings are still well represented, with two of the biggest names in horology available in the size.

Of course, back when the brand launched, a 31mm watch was the standard but over the years since has fallen more into the ‘midsize’ category. That means there is a huge archive to choose from, and below we’ll look at some of the beautiful examples we have here at Beckertime.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31mm

Alongside the Datejust, Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual family has the most variations in terms of size.

The 26mm and 31mm are now the smallest versions, targeted very much at a female audience, and sit in the range next to a 34mm, 36mm and, since 2015, a 39mm model.

As you can guess, from a watch that comes in a total of five case sizes, there is an Oyster Perpetual for everyone.

Mid-Size Rolex Stainless Steel Oyster Perpetual Blue Arabic 77080

Seen as the gateway into the brand, with it having the lowest entry price in the catalog, the OP series really belongs in its own little subset of one. Not a true sports watch from the professional collection like a Daytona or a Submariner, nor an ultra luxurious dress watch à la the Cellini range, it is the archetypal casual daily wear.

Even more so than the Air-King and the original Explorer, which have the same austere simplicity in both design and operation, the Oyster Perpetual is not a watch made for collectors—it’s made for people who just want the best of its type and who will probably keep it forever.

There is nothing showy or bling about it. It is a three-hand, no date, beautifully crafted timepiece that will match any occasion and any outfit.

The 31mm variant is an especially sought after model. Considered the perfect size for slender wrists, it is proving more popular than its 26mm counterpart, with its enlarged proportions giving it a bit more in the way of substance as well as making it easier to read.

It has been a core offering in the lineup for decades and the pre-owned market is full of stunning examples, crafted in a variety of gold, steel or Rolesor—a mixture of both.

The Oyster Perpetual is the watch that put Rolex on the path to its current status as the most successful manufacturer of all time, and it represents the best value for money piece currently available.

The Rolex Datejust 31mm

The model that most readily springs to mind when many people hear the word Rolex, the Datejust is a living legend in horology circles.

An absolute icon of the industry, it ranks up there with the Cartier Santos, the Omega Speedmaster and its own stable mate the Submariner as one of the most important watches of all time.

Although today its styling and functionality seem particularly modest, when it was launched way back in 1945, it was a revolution. The first waterproof, self-winding wristwatch to display a date function, it put Rolex on the map and found its way onto the arms of such luminaries as Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King.

Mid-Size Rolex 18K Yellow Gold Datejust President Champagne 68278

Over its more than 70 years of unbroken production it has been released in more metal, dial, bezel and size combinations than there are grains of sand on the beach.

Like the Oyster Perpetual, there are now five case options for the Datejust, from the newly increased 41mm down to the Lady-Datejust at 28mm.

The 31mm piece is also very much intended for women, albeit in a slightly more eye-catching way. It offers the ideal balance between the smallest size, also recently enlarged from 26mm, and the more unisex 34mm and 36mm models.

While it lost its position of brand flagship to the Day-Date just over 10 years into its run, the Datejust has always been the more varied and adaptable of the two. You won’t find any steel or Rolesor versions of the President’s watch, for example, as you will with the Datejust. It has a low-key, attainable quality while still being unquestionably the highest of high end products.

During its long life, though the aesthetics have barely changed, the technology inside the Datejust has remained at the cutting edge of what is possible. In whichever size, it is the model that more often than not acts as the test bed for Rolex’s unmatched series of innovations.

The Jubilee bracelet was created especially for the watch, and it was the Datejust that debuted the Cyclops lens in 1954. It, along with the Day-Date, stand as the only two Rolex models to ever house quartz movements, and more recently, the first of the brand’s high frequency calibers, the Cal. 3035 beating at 28,800vph, made its introduction inside that unassuming case.

With the 31mm version, Rolex has created perhaps the most universally admired women’s watch there is, and no collection is complete without this essential slice of watchmaking history.

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The 24mm Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-24mm-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-24mm-rolex-watches/#respond Wed, 05 Sep 2018 17:05:07 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182171 Even though the bigger-is-better spirit in watchmaking is perhaps showing its first tentative signs of slowing down, there is still nothing in the current Rolex family weighing in at the truly diminutive 24mm. The smallest in the range is a full two millimeters larger; also a tiny model but nevertheless a noticeable difference. It is […]

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Even though the bigger-is-better spirit in watchmaking is perhaps showing its first tentative signs of slowing down, there is still nothing in the current Rolex family weighing in at the truly diminutive 24mm. The smallest in the range is a full two millimeters larger; also a tiny model but nevertheless a noticeable difference.

It is only fairly recently that the last 24mm watch was retired from the lineup. In 2015, both the smallest and largest of the Oyster Perpetual series took a bump up in dimensions; to 39mm at the top and to 26mm at the bottom. That means, for one of these miniscule marvels, you will have to explore the pre-owned market.

Once there, you will find a number of vintage ladies watches in the size. Alongside the OP, there are a small handful of the brand’s ultra-dressy Cellini range—exquisite pieces of jewelry that also happen to tell the time.

Below we’ll take a look at just what Rolex can do with such a limited amount of space.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 24mm

The Oyster Perpetual has always been the simplest and most accessible series in Rolex’s history. The watch that really started it all for the brand, it has enjoyed the longest unbroken production run of any and has been released in a wide variety of sizes aimed at both men and women. Only withdrawn from the range in the last few years, there has been a 24mm version for generations.

Ladies Rolex 14K Yellow Gold Oyster Perpetual Champagne 67197

As a collection, it can put its incredible longevity down to its versatility. The three-hand, no-date watches have such an all-embracing, minimalist design they can complement just about any outfit, whether paired with jeans and a t-shirt or adding a finishing touch to a tuxedo or little black dress.

For many, an Oyster Perpetual marks the start of their relationship with Rolex and for others, it also marks the end. OPs are often bought by those who simply want the one ‘good’ watch that will last them a lifetime and be passed along to children and grandchildren.

Of course, they can act as a gateway into the world of collecting too. The extremely petite women’s sizes especially represent the best value for money pieces Rolex produce. Made over the years in various flavors of gold as well as all steel and Rolesor versions, the quality of manufacture has always been typical of the brand, i.e. flawless, but the sheer physical size and lack of any hint of a complication has consistently kept the cost a pleasant surprise to many.

But perhaps the most impressive elements of these minute watches are the parts you can’t see. The internal movements retain all the same features as those in the larger models, engines that redefined the industry standards for reliability and accuracy, but Rolex’s engineers have managed to condense the calibers in the 24mm Oyster Perpetual series to such a small size that they are somehow even more impressive.

In short, if you are looking for the ultimate in elegant, and affordable, understatement, this watch should be your first port of call.

The Rolex Cellini

Dreamt up by Rene-Paul Jeanneret, the man mostly responsible for the Submariner, and named after 16thcentury Italian sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, Rolex’s line of distinguished dress watches emerged as the antithesis of the brand’s world renowned professional range.

It is a series still in production today, although many fans are unaware of their existence, and the modern catalog consists entirely of men’s watches.

But throughout their history, there have been a host of exceptionally delicate and sophisticated models for women in an array of sizes, with several 24mm and even smaller.

The Cellini watches remain unique in the canon in that they are not Oyster Perpetuals, meaning they are neither waterproof nor do they contain one of Rolex’s mechanical self-winding movements. In fact, some are even quartz powered, the only examples outside of the Oysterquartz Day-Date and Datejust of the 1970s.

Rolex Cellini 18K Yellow Gold 6229

They are watches intended entirely for show rather than as the sort of tool on which the company built its reputation.

The variety of styles throughout the collection is immense, but the earlier pieces are clearly heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement of the 1920s. In general the range is crafted from precious metal, including platinum, but there are the very occasional stainless steel models as well.

Of the standout pieces in the Cellini family, the Danaos comes in a variety of finishes and sizes, with the ref. 6229 clocking in at 24mm (well actually 24.5mm, but who’s counting?) With its large Arabic numerals it has perhaps one of the more legible dials despite its size, and the classic cushion-shaped case gives it a wonderfully vintage feel.

Because Rolex’s professional range have managed to pull off the trick of being perfectly at home dressed either up or down, the Cellini watches, which are very much only for special occasions, are more often than not overlooked. That lack of adaptability has kept the prices for these beautiful pieces far lower than you might expect.

In addition, in a sea of Lady-Datejusts and Oyster Perpetuals, it is unlikely you will bump into anyone sporting the same Cellini.

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Then and Now: The First Rolex GMT-Master vs. The Current GMT-Master II https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-gmt-master-vs-the-current-gmt-master-ii/ https://beckertime.com/blog/then-and-now-the-first-rolex-gmt-master-vs-the-current-gmt-master-ii/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 22:58:49 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183770 As passionate Rolex enthusiasts, we spend a lot of time studying the evolution of Rolex models throughout their history. On the one hand, Rolex is known for adhering to fundamental design codes, thus paving the way for some of the most recognizable watches on the planet. On the other hand, Rolex ensures that a significant […]

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As passionate Rolex enthusiasts, we spend a lot of time studying the evolution of Rolex models throughout their history. On the one hand, Rolex is known for adhering to fundamental design codes, thus paving the way for some of the most recognizable watches on the planet. On the other hand, Rolex ensures that a significant improvement—whether exterior or interior—is present with each new version of a particular model to make the new edition worth noticing. To investigate this balance between core characteristics and continuous improvement, we’re going to be comparing the first references of a particular Rolex watch model with its most current edition in a series we’re calling Then and Now. And today we start with the first Rolex GMT-Master vs the current GMT-Master.

The First Rolex GMT-Master

As many of you already know, the GMT-Master watch made its debut in 1955. This particular Rolex watch was made at the request of Pan Am because the airline was in need of a tool watch for their pilots. Specifically, the pilots needed a watch that would keep track of two time zones—one reference time (GMT or home time) and the other the local time of their destination.

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 6542
Rolex GMT-Master 6542 (Credit: Rolex)

The very first Rolex GMT-Master was the GMT-Master ref. 6542. Based on the Rolex Turn-O-Graph ref. 6202, the GMT-Master ref. 6542 includes a red and blue luminous Bakelite rotating bezel marked with 24 hours. Not only is the bezel is used in conjunction with the extra 24-hour arrow-tipped hand on the dial to indicate a second time zone, but its two-color scheme differentiates between AM hours (red) and PM hours (blue). The combination of the blue and red on the bezel later became known as the “Pepsi” bezel and is the quintessential GMT-Master bezel. While Rolex has kept the red and blue color scheme for the GMT-Master collection over the years, Bakelite as a material for the bezel was too fragile and was eventually replaced with aluminum—which decades later was replaced by ceramic.

The inaugural GMT-Master watch sports a stainless steel 38mm Oyster case, no crown guards around the winding crown, and is fitted with a steel Oyster bracelet. The black dial is characteristic of a Rolex sports watch with its round lume plots, luminescent Mercedes-style center hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock with the Cyclops magnification lens on the acrylic crystal above it.

The vintage Rolex GMT-Master 6542 was in production until 1959 and during that time, three different automatic movements were used to power the watch. First, there was the Cal. 1036, then the Cal. 1065, followed by the Cal. 1066. That first GMT-Master ref. 6542 had a water resistance rating of 50 meters.

The Newest Rolex GMT-Master II

Fast forward six decades and Rolex made big news at this year’s Baselworld with a brand new GMT-Master II ref. 126710 BLRO. Remember, the GMT-Master was eventually replaced with the GMT-Master II after some overlapping years in the 80s and 90s—the first indicates two time zones while the second indicates three thanks to the independent 24-hour hand.

The new stainless steel GMT-Master II ref. 126710 takes many of the beloved characteristics of that first Rolex GMT pilot’s watch but, of course, built to modern standards.

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLRO
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLRO (Credit: Rolex)

There’s the 40mm Oyster case with the crown guards topped with the famed red and blue “Pepsi” bezel in scratch and fade-resistant Cerachrom ceramic. Plus there’s the now-standard black “Maxi Dial” with large white gold-surrounded circular indexes, along with the luminescent Mercedes hands, red 24-hour hands with a luminous arrow-tip, and the date window. However, the Cyclops lens is now affixed to a sapphire crystal—the crystal material of choice for the GMT-Master I/II since the 1980s.

The 2018 GMT-Master II ref. 126710 is fitted with a Jubilee bracelet. Interestingly, while this is indeed not the first time the GMT-Master comes with the Jubilee bracelet, the ref. 126710 is the first ceramic GMT-Master II to have it. It’s also worth noting that ever since the launch of this new GMT-Master II Pepsi, Rolex refers to their steel as Oystersteel.

Aside from the highly attractive exterior design details of the new steel GMT-Master II, the watch also runs on a brand new Cal. 3285 automatic movement with an increased power reserve of 70 hours. Like all Rolex watches made since 2015, the Cal. 3285 has an accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day. And like all modern GMT-Master II watches, the ref. 126710 is water resistant to 100 meters thanks in part to the Triplock screw-down winding crown and screw-down fluted caseback.

The Rolex GMT-Master Journey Then and Now

While the watches that make up the Rolex GMT-Master I and GMT-Master II collections have certainly undergone massive technical and design improvements (not to mention a slew of other material options and bezel color choices) over the last 63 years, it’s remarkable to see just how similar the first and latest models are!

Stay tuned for our next chapter of our new Then and Now series where we’ll compare the very first Submariner with the latest Submariner.

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The 29mm Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-29mm-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-29mm-rolex-watches/#respond Thu, 30 Aug 2018 13:37:25 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181777 The 29mm Rolex watches are particularly few and far between. In fact, the modern lineup doesn’t have any examples in this size. However, in the vintage archives there are only two models that measure up. Fortunately, both of them are real beauties. Each one, the Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster and the Lady Yacht-Master, were originally the smallest […]

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The 29mm Rolex watches are particularly few and far between. In fact, the modern lineup doesn’t have any examples in this size. However, in the vintage archives there are only two models that measure up.

Fortunately, both of them are real beauties.

Each one, the Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster and the Lady Yacht-Master, were originally the smallest examples in their respective series. They have now been discontinued and replaced by significantly larger alternatives. The Pearlmaster range now starts at 34mm and the Yacht-Master at 37mm.

While that is certainly in keeping with contemporary tastes among women as well as men, for even larger watches it leaves the standard Lady-Datejust as the sole representative in the sub-30mm category.

However, if you’re looking for something just a little bit different, you’ll need to take a small step back in time.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the stunning 29mm Rolex watches we offer here at BeckerTime.

The Lady Yacht-Master

The first of the Rolex Yacht-Master line appeared in 1992 with the ref. 16628, a full-size 40mm, yellow gold model with a look that was undeniably that of a Submariner gifted with some fancy clothes and a haircut.

Given its provenance, that shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. A few years before, Rolex higher-ups had decided, inexplicably, that the venerable Sub was due a complete overhaul. They never disclosed why or how they reached that decision. But, thankfully, at some point, they came to their senses and plans to radically alter possibly the most iconic design in the history of watchmaking went by the wayside.

However, what they had come up with in the meantime was deemed too good to just shelve completely. So, it was released as its own separate entity, the Yacht-Master—a more opulent nautically-themed watch for the world’s well-heeled skippers.

29mm Rolex ref. 69628

The 29mm Rolex Ref. 69628

A couple of years later in 1994, two more versions arrived. These were the midsize 35mm ref. 68628 and the 29mm Rolex ref. 69628 Lady Yacht-Master. This is the first time Rolex releases one of their professional range in three sizes.

It wasn’t the last time the Yacht-Master racked up a first for Rolex. Most recently, it became the recipient of the first rubber strap the brand had ever fitted to one of its offerings. The Oysterflex, with its state-of-the-art metallic alloy interior covered with a high performance elastomer, carried on the company’s overriding ethos that if something is worth engineering, it is worth over engineering.

Rolesium

And in 1997, they chose the watch as the test bed for a new combination of fine metals. These were with a stainless steel case and bracelet, topped with a platinum bezel. We know this as Rolesium. Rolex patented it all the way back in 1932. It also remains a feature unique to the Yacht-Master today.

While there is no mistaking the similarities to the Submariner, there are a few subtle but notable differences. Rolex somewhat softened the lines on the Yacht-Master. There are more rounded crown guards and lugs that blend elegantly into the bracelet. On the 29mm Rolex piece particularly, its profile is especially feminine.

Because it only needed to be water resistant to 100m rather than 300m, the case is able to retain a much flatter underbelly. This makes it a more comfortable all day wear.

The rotatable bezel, the defining element on the ultimate dive buddy, is bi-directional on the Yacht-Master. And, where the Sub’s surround is engraved, on the skipper’s watch it has numerals and graduations that are raised and polished to stand out against the sand-blasted background.

All told, the Yacht-Master has been an extremely popular choice for both men and women since its launch. It is also available in a variety of precious metal finishes. Perhaps not as versatile as its underwater cousin, it is nonetheless a watch that you can wear up or down as needed. And as a substitute for the ever-present Lady-Datejust, it has a welcome touch of added cachet.

The Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster

Another fairly recent addition to the catalog, the heavily bejeweled Pearlmaster series also arrived in 1992.

Although the Lady-Datejust range was certainly not lacking for variety, the Pearlmaster offered a little more size and a lot more sparkle.

29mm Rolex - Ladies Rolex 18K White Gold Datejust Pearlmaster Silver Diamond 80319

It gave Rolex’s legions of gemologists free rein to work their glamorous magic. They adorned this selection of watches in the lineup with diamonds, rubies and sapphires—either a subtle sprinkling or with a full-on extravagance.

Named After Its Bracelet

The Pearlmaster was actually named after its unique bracelet. They crafted this sophisticated and highly elegant five-link rounded band from 18k gold, as are all the cases across the range. You will find stunning examples in yellow, white and Everose. This is with the Datejust family’s usual bewildering array of dial colors and styles.

Unlike other high end watchmakers, Rolex doesn’t trust any outside concern when it comes to selecting the precious stones they will use in their creations. The gemological department at their Chéne-Bourg compound buys, tests and sets every jewel that goes into each one of their watches.

With the sort of fanatical devotion that has typified the brand since the beginning, the selection process is especially rigorous.

Every diamond that crosses the threshold is X-rayed to ensure its authenticity. By all accounts, of the 20 million that have gone through the procedure, two have been found to be fake. (That’s two, not two million!) Even so, they still test each and every stone.

Rolex employs traditional jewelers to then hand select only the best examples, those classified IF for higher in clarity. Standing for Internally Flawless, it means there are no blemishes visible under 10x magnification. They then hand set the stones into their custom-made settings.

The 29mm Rolex Pearlmaster Retires

The original range was made up of a choice of 29mm and 34mm models, joined in 2015 by a far larger 39mm piece. Since then, they’ve retired the 29mm Rolex Pearlmaster, making it an especially sought-after watch on the pre-owned market. However, you can view this ladies 29mm Datejust Pearlmaster Ref. 80319 for an impressive example of this popular timepiece.

The two smallest Pearlmasters are powered by the same exceptional calibers as the traditional Lady-Datejust collection—the Cal. 2130 and, post-1999, the Cal. 2230. Both in turn have held the distinction for the highest first time pass rate for accuracy and reliability at the COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute.

Certainly a watch for the most special of occasions, the 29mm Rolex Pearlmaster is Rolex at its most flamboyant best.

BeckerTimeBE

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What’s the Difference? The Rolex GMT-Master Vs. The Rolex GMT-Master II https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-gmt-master-vs-the-rolex-gmt-master-ii/ https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-gmt-master-vs-the-rolex-gmt-master-ii/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 20:41:34 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=179041 There aren’t many, but there are a small handful of designs that hit exactly the right visual note straight from the get go, and have gone through sometimes decades of production needing nothing doing to them bar the occasional upgrade in their technology. Porsche managed it to some extent with the 911. At the other […]

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There aren’t many, but there are a small handful of designs that hit exactly the right visual note straight from the get go, and have gone through sometimes decades of production needing nothing doing to them bar the occasional upgrade in their technology.

Porsche managed it to some extent with the 911. At the other end of the car spectrum, the Land Rover Defender also fits the bill.

In the world of luxury watches, Rolex can lay claim to more of these ageless designs than any other manufacturer.

Models such as the Submariner, the Datejust or the Day-Date have evolved so deftly through the generations that the parallels between their earliest and most up-to-date references are instantly recognizable.

What’s in a Name?

Another watch that embodies this perennial styling philosophy perhaps as well as any is the GMT-Master.

Hold an original piece from 1954 up next to one of today’s ultra sophisticated, Cerachrom-infused works of art and it is very apparent there is nothing but a gentle evolution at play.

In fact, the biggest difference between the two, from the outside at least, is in the name. So how, and why, did we get from the GMT-Master to the GMT-Master II?

Born of Necessity

The origins of the first of the GMT-Masters is well known. In the 1950s, with the introduction of the Boeing 707, long-range, transatlantic flights started to become more commonplace.

But while journey times were being slashed and the world was getting smaller, a new problem was emerging—jetlag. Suddenly being dropped into a time zone several hours ahead or behind what your internal body clock was expecting was playing havoc with traveler’s circadian rhythms. Inconvenient for businessmen and vacationers; potentially disastrous for pilots.

It was a big enough area of concern for one airline, Pan American, to commission research into the phenomenon, the results of which found that keeping their air crew on ‘home’ time but also aware of the hour at their eventual destination went some way in combatting the psychological effects.

The obvious solution was a watch that could display two time zones simultaneously, so the task of creating one was given to Rolex, working in conjunction with a Pan Am team led by legendary navigator Captain Frederick Libby. A decorated WWII veteran and one of the original ‘Skygods’ (the name given to those who had flown for the airline before the war), Libby and Rolex’s head of public relations Rene P. Jeanneret, developed on the concept of an already existing watch in the Rolex catalog.

The ref. 6202 Turn-O-Graph was Rolex’s first serially produced watch to use the idea of a rotating bezel, and it was a model that was to become standard issue for a different breed of aviator when it was named the official timepiece of the Thunderbirds, the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron.

Eminently useful, the graduated surround also became a trademark element of the Submariner and, strangely, found its way on to the earliest examples of the Milgauss.

For the GMT-Master, it was engraved with a 24-hour scale and the watch itself was given an extra hour hand that revolved once a day. Fitted with the same Cal. 1030 movement as the Turn-O-Graph, but with an additional driving wheel and calendar indicator, making it the Cal. 1036, the bezel could now be set so that the new hour hand pointed to a second time zone. To add a further element of convenience, the upper half of the Bakelite insert was colored blue and the lower half red, to give an immediate representation of night and day. It was the color scheme that soon earned the watch the nickname the Pepsi.

The First Step

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 6542

Like pretty much everything that Rolex touched in the 1950s, the GMT-Master turned to gold. It was an instant success, and quickly grew to be first choice not just for airline pilots and international travelers, but also for the military and even those who went further afield. A number of NASA’s finest, including Jack “Houston, we have a problem” Swigert, were loyal wearers.

The first reference, the ref. 6542, was not without its problems however. The synthetic plastic bezel proved to be too fragile in the heat and would crack, and Rolex had chosen to fill the etched numerals with luminescent Radium, which was soon found to be highly radioactive. In 1956 they were forced to recall all 605 examples that had been sold in the US and replace the insert with an aluminum substitute.

Enduring Success

Only in production for five years, the ref. 6542 was superseded in 1959 by the reference that first springs to collectors’ minds when they hear the words ‘vintage GMT-Master’, the ref. 1675.

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675

Bearing a much closer likeness to the watch as we know it today, thanks to the addition of crown guards, the 1675 was also fitted with one of the first of Rolex’s beloved 1500 series of calibers, the Cal. 1565. Now with COSC endorsement, it gave the watch the right to display the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ text on its dial.

It was the model that put the GMT on the map and stayed in production for an incredible 21 years, with the additional release of all yellow gold and Rolesor versions seeing it graduate from tool-like travel companion to full-on luxury adornment.

While it went through a host of minute variations, such as the pointed crown guards giving way to more rounded versions and a number of differences on the dial layout, it remained virtually the same watch until it was discontinued in 1980, with a late change in movement to the Cal. 1575 being the most important upgrade. Although the new caliber brought an increased frequency, up to 19,800vph from the former 18,000vph, along with a hacking function, it still didn’t have the one vital feature of a true GMT mechanism—the ability to separate the two hour hands.

Here’s Where it Gets Confusing!

Ok, so far so good. We have a fantastically popular and aesthetically distinctive globetrotter’s watch, but it has the sole disadvantage of its 12 and 24-hour hands remaining linked, meaning wearers are unable to set the GMT hand independently.

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760

It was a problem carried over onto the ref. 1675’s successor, the ref. 16750, a transitional model produced between 1981 and 1988, even though its updated movement, the Cal. 3075, added the convenience of a Quickset date function.

However, shortly into that piece’s run, the first of the GMT-Master IIs emerged. Still very clearly one of the family, the ref. 16760 debuted a previously unknown color scheme of red and black on its bezel, receiving the immediate moniker the ‘Coke’, as well as a case with a touch of added voluptuousness, landing it with the less flattering ‘Fat Lady’. Or, alternatively, the ‘Sophia Loren’. (I’m almost sure that’s all the nicknames.)

The ref. 16760 needed its more generous curves to house its Cal. 3085 movement, the next generation of the 3000 series that finally uncoupled the pair of hour hands. Now, setting a second time zone could be done instantaneously via the winding crown, with the 12-hour hand able to jump forwards or backwards without affecting the others.

Although the only recently added Quickset date function had to be sacrificed to make way for the new feature, it meant it was even possible to keep track of a third time zone by reading it off the bezel.

Side by Side

While the intention was obviously for the GMT-Master II to take over completely, the popularity of the original series was still so great, helped on by its lower price point, that the two continued to run concurrently for over a decade.

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710

Both ranges went through another revision in 1988. The GMT-Master brought out the ref. 16700, the model that would take it up to its eventual and well-earned retirement 11 years later. Again with a new engine, it retained the non-independent hour hands but reinstated the Quickset date feature, as well as introducing a scratch resistant sapphire crystal and indexes surrounded in white gold.

For the Fat Lady, she was granted a return to more slender bodywork by the replacement ref. 16710, powered by the identically functioning but more space efficient Cal. 3185.

Conclusion

Minor visual refinements aside, the GMT-Master siblings are two watches separated by a single, yet critical, function.

Always striving to offer wearers the best possible experience, the capacity to set the 24-hour hand in isolation brought the range the sort of added benefit on which Rolex had built its reputation.

Never a brand to issue an update for its own sake, changes made to any model in their lineup have to serve a definite purpose, and the GMT-Master II seems like a piece that was always waiting to happen, lingering in the background until the necessary technology had been perfected.

Today, it remains one of Rolex’s core offerings; a subject of their relentless progress with, since 2005, that emblematic bezel forged from nigh-on unbreakable ceramic and with a movement crammed full of cutting edge components.

It is a name that has been with us for over 60 years, with no reason to doubt it will be here for 60 more. Although the Sky-Dweller may be the official flagship dual time zone watch in the Rolex stable, for most, the GMT will always be the master.

BeckerTimeBE

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The 26mm Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/the-26mm-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-26mm-rolex-watches/#respond Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:56:38 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181944 A 26mm Rolex model has been at the heart of Rolex’s women’s range since the very earliest days of the company. As with many of the men’s watches, they have resisted the urge to follow fashion and increase in size for as long as possible, but even they have had to concede in recent years. […]

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A 26mm Rolex model has been at the heart of Rolex’s women’s range since the very earliest days of the company. As with many of the men’s watches, they have resisted the urge to follow fashion and increase in size for as long as possible, but even they have had to concede in recent years.

Currently there is a grand total of six 26mm rolex models in the lineup, all part of the Oyster Perpetual family. The last of the Lady-Datejusts, by far the most popular examples in the size, were retired in 2016 to clear the decks for the next wave of 28mm pieces.

However, with such a long history of production, it is no surprise that the vintage market is full of stunning watches measuring in at 26mm. Designed with the same attention to every conceivable detail and filled with the kind of groundbreaking technology that has given the brand its status as the most famous watchmaker of all time, these are the timepieces that rank as some of their most impressive miniature gems.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the beautiful examples we have here at Beckertime.

The Lady-Datejust

Launched in the mid-fifties, the Lady-Datejust is the Rolex equivalent of the little black dress. An elegant, indispensable staple in the wardrobe that seldom looks out of place, whatever the occasion.

The female version of Rolex’s most popular creation ever, the 26mm Rolex Lady-Datejust is the immediate first port of call for the majority of women looking for the one watch that will be their lifelong companion.

Ladies Rolex 18K Yellow Gold Datejust President Champagne 6917

Much like the men’s series, the range of different combinations of bezel, dial color, case metal and bracelet has numbered into the thousands over the decades it has remained in production. As such, not only is there always a model out there to appeal to just about everyone’s taste, it is also a fairly rare occurrence to meet someone with a matching wrist.

The Lady-Datejust can be as subtly understated or as eye-catchingly flamboyant as the wearer desires, crafted in everything from unassuming stainless steel and all three flavors of gold, through to the ultimate luxury of platinum. You will also find pieces glittering with gemstone enhancements of every type, with diamonds, rubies and sapphires either delicately highlighting hour indexes or festooned liberally from every surface.

Inside, things are even more impressive. When the original Datejust was introduced way back in 1945, it became the first waterproof, self-winding watch in the world with a date function. The mechanical calibers that made it all possible were a revolution, and have been subjected to Rolex’s ever-increasing demands for perfection ever since.

The movements that drive the Lady-Datejusts have identical functionality, but their minuscule size is an even greater test, and testament, to the watchmaker’s art. Incredibly, the most recent generations of these tiny engines even outshine their larger variants for accuracy and reliability, holding the record for the highest first time pass rate of any movement tested by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute.

Yet despite it all, prices for the 26mm Lady-Datejust represent Rolex at its most accessible.The benefit of such a small watch is usually a lower buy-in. You can find stunning examples of this legendary timepiece starting for under than $3,000, and sometimes far less.

With peerless engineering, faultless dependability and all the style choices in the world, this is really the only watch you could ever need.

The Oyster Perpetual

The Oyster Perpetual is the longest unbroken series of watches in Rolex’s history and forms the basis for the entire brand.

Taking its name from the water resistant casing developed in 1926 (the Oyster) and the self-winding mechanism they perfected in 1933 (the Perpetual) the first of the range appeared in 1936 and has been in constant production ever since.

Today, every product in the catalog, bar the Cellini collection, wears the Oyster Perpetual tag on their dials, followed by their individual series name.

26mm Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual Silver Dial Stainless Steel

But there is also a separate entity known simply as the Oyster Perpetual; the most low-key and unassuming family of watches of them all.

While the modern lineup is made entirely of stainless steel, past generations have been cast in yellow, white and rose gold, as well as Rolesor, Rolex’s own patented gold and steel combination.

Essentially a Datejust without the date, the Oyster Perpetual is the embodiment of three-hand simplicity and represents, for many, their entry point into the world of the crown. With the 26mm Rolex ladies version particularly, the minimalism of the design and lack of any superfluous complications make it easily the best value for money product throughout the entire portfolio.

As a collection, the Oyster Perpetuals are generally sought out by those whose main concern is for a watch that will last a lifetime and beyond, rather than those intent on wearing a symbol of their achievement or status. Where a GMT-Master or Daytona are likely to be worn, partly at least, for show, the Oyster Perpetual is for people who recognize Rolex first and foremost as the makers of the most reliable and enduring timepieces of any manufacturer.

The 26mm Rolex version is a beautifully petite and unpretentious watch, and the archives are awash with examples at extremely accessible prices. Like the Datejust, they are powered by calibers that redefine the performance of mechanical movements, and the styling is typically timeless in a way only Rolex can do.

For the best in versatility and dependability, the Oyster Perpetual is hard to beat.

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With Every Major Win, Brooks Koepka Shows Us a New Shiny Rolex Watch https://beckertime.com/blog/with-every-major-win-brooks-koepka-shows-us-a-new-shiny-rolex-watch/ https://beckertime.com/blog/with-every-major-win-brooks-koepka-shows-us-a-new-shiny-rolex-watch/#respond Mon, 27 Aug 2018 14:18:20 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=183474 If you follow golf, you have no doubt watched Tiger Wood’s solid performance and Brooks Koepka’s big win at the PGA Championships recently. At 28-years-old, Brooks Koepka has won two back-to-back U.S. Open championships (2017, 2018) and now the 2018 PGA Championships. As an official Rolex ambassador, one of Brooks Koepka’s Rolex watches is worn […]

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If you follow golf, you have no doubt watched Tiger Wood’s solid performance and Brooks Koepka’s big win at the PGA Championships recently. At 28-years-old, Brooks Koepka has won two back-to-back U.S. Open championships (2017, 2018) and now the 2018 PGA Championships. As an official Rolex ambassador, one of Brooks Koepka’s Rolex watches is worn each time he’s held each of his three major trophies.  And, he’s donned some super cool Rolex timepieces each time.  Let’s find out what they are.

Brooks Koepka’s Rolex at the 2017 US Open

When Brooks Koepka captured his first major title at the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, he was the envy of many while clutching onto his trophy. And we’re not just talking about the other pro golfers here but Rolex enthusiasts too! That’s because the champ had on the Rolex Daytona 116500LN.

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That winning feeling.

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As most of you already know, the 2016 launch of the Daytona ref. 116500LN caused mass excitement (hysteria?) in the luxury watch space. Crafted in stainless steel and topped with a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel, this was the modern-day Daytona many were impatiently waiting for. And judging by the very long waitlists at Rolex boutiques around the world, plenty are still waiting to get their hands on one.

Brooks Koepka’s Rolex at the 2018 US Open

At the 2018 US Open in Shinnecock Hills, New York, Brooks Koepka came out on top of the leaderboard yet again for a second consecutive win at the US Open to earn his second major title. As he proudly raised his trophy, Brooks Koepka had on his wrist yet another new Rolex sports watch. This time, he wore the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600—which made its debut in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the model.

The launch of the new Sea-Dweller dive watch was a polarizing one. Some loved the increased size to 43mm from 40mm and the addition of the Cyclops above the date window, while others contested it. The one detail most got on board with, however, was the addition of the red “SEA-DWELLER” text on the dial reminiscent of the style of the inaugural Sea-Dweller from 1967.

Brooks Koepka’s Rolex at the 2018 PGA Championship

Finally, we come to Brooks Koepka’s latest major win at the 2018 PGA Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. This was a particularly special event as it was the 100th anniversary of the PGA Championship. Perhaps that’s why Brooks Koepka had on a dressier Rolex watch during the trophy ceremony. Holding onto his Wanamaker Trophy, we couldn’t help but notice Brooks Koepka’s Rolex was an Everose Sky-Dweller 326935 gleaming from the golfer’s arm.

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Your 2018 PGA Championship winner. #LiveUnderPar 🏆

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Although we were kind of hoping for the new GMT-Master II “Pepsi” to make an appearance, his Sky-Dweller crafted in warm 18k Everose gold with the dark rhodium dial featuring Rolex’s annual calendar complication is pretty impressive too.

Is another major title in Brooks Koepka’s future? If he keeps playing the way he does, it most certainly could happen many times over for the impressive and focused golfer. And we’ll be keeping an eye out to see which of Brooks Koepka’s Rolex watches will turn up next on his wrist.

BeckerTimeBE

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Get Summer Ready with these Sporty Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/get-summer-ready-with-these-sporty-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/get-summer-ready-with-these-sporty-rolex-watches/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 16:29:23 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182486 With the Summer Solstice behind us, we are officially in the summer season! Along with lighter clothes, hats, and shades to keep us cool during these hot months, as watch enthusiasts, we’re also changing up our Rolex watches for the season. From dive watches to dual time watches and others, here are the best sporty […]

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With the Summer Solstice behind us, we are officially in the summer season! Along with lighter clothes, hats, and shades to keep us cool during these hot months, as watch enthusiasts, we’re also changing up our Rolex watches for the season. From dive watches to dual time watches and others, here are the best sporty Rolex watches to wear all summer long.

Rolex Submariner 14060M for the Summer

Rolex Submariner Ref. 14060M

The Rolex Submariner is essentially made for the summer—especially if water is involved. Rolex’s robust dive watch is the perfect watch to wear whether you’re poolside, beach bound, or cruising on a lake. And the Submariner ref. 14060M with its 1,000 feet water resistance is a fantastic option.

Crafted in full stainless steel, this famous no-date Submariner offers up a clean and symmetrical dial housed within its 40mm Oyster case thanks to its lack of date window and Cyclops lens. The black dial and black bezel combination is a classic Submariner look, plus the Oyster bracelet is light and comfortable to wear.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 for the Summer

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Sea-Dweller Black 16600

For a heftier Rolex dive watch to sport this summer, there’s the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600. While on paper it has the same 40mm case size as the Submariner, the case wears larger due to its thickness to accommodate the Helium Escape Valve and ensure its water resistance to 4,000 feet.

This time, on the black dial there is a discreet window at 3 o’clock but no Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal—a rarity in the Rolex lineup as most of their watches with date indicators come with the magnification lens. There are also the familiar round luminescence-filled indexes and Mercedes-style center hands. As a later model of the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600, this particular version comes with the sought-after Solid End Links (SEL) Oyster bracelet.

Rolex Explorer II 216570 for the Summer

Mens Rolex Stainless Steel Explorer II 42mm Black 216570

It may have the nickname “Polar,” but make no mistake, this white dial Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570 is ready to handle any summertime adventure you throw at it. Featuring a generous 42mm stainless steel case and topped with a 24-hour engraved steel bezel, this Rolex sports watch is not only great to look at but practical too.

If you’re traveling to a different time zone this summer, then you can take advantage of the Explorer II’s dual time indicator. You can set the orange arrow hand to home time while you jet off to some exotic location and use the center hands to indicate local time.

Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 for the Summer

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710

If your summer plans include some time exploring the open seas via a boat, then the stainless steel and platinum Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 is the watch to take aboard. Its 40mm stainless steel case is home to a sandblasted platinum bezel and matching sandblasted platinum dial, which looks incredible in the sun.

While the dressier sporty style of the Yacht-Master is a great way to add a splash to your cruise wear, the watch is sturdy and practical too. Waterproof to 330 feet and equipped with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the Yacht-Master is built for a life on the water.

Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 for Summer

Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 16622

Vintage, sporty, colorful, and nicknamed after a refreshing soda drink? We’re in! This Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16710 “Coke” comes fitted with a custom black and red leather band for a playful way to wear the famous pilot’s watch. The “Coke” moniker, of course, refers to the famous black and red rotating bezel sitting on top of the GMT-Master II’s 40mm steel Oyster case.

As a GMT-Master II model with an independent 24-hour hand, the ref 16710 allows the wearer to tell the time in three different time zones – ideal if you’re doing some serious traveling this summer.

Rolex Daytona 116523 for Summer

Mens Rolex Two-Tone 18K/SS Daytona Gray, Slate 116523

Want a golden touch to your summer Rolex watch? Then look to the two tone Rolex Daytona ref. 116523 as your go-to watch this season. Part sporty due to its signature chronograph silhouette and stainless steel material and part dressy because of the 18k yellow gold details, the Daytona ref. 116523 has a little of everything. Standing out from the 40mm stainless steel case are the lustrous yellow gold bezel, yellow gold winding crown, and yellow gold chronograph pushers. What’s more, the Daytona ref. 116523’s crisp white dial keeps the look fresh, particularly when accented with yellow gold subdials, hands, and indexes.

Between NASCAR, INDYCAR, and Formula 1, there are so many motorsports to keep up with this summer and the Rolex Daytona can help you do just that in style!

With Rolex options like these, it’s easy to get your wrist summer ready! And don’t forget, our annual BeckerTime Summer Free(ze) promotion is happening right now where you can pick up some free goodies to go along with your new Rolex watch.

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High Performance: Rolex and Sports https://beckertime.com/blog/high-performance-rolex-and-sports/ https://beckertime.com/blog/high-performance-rolex-and-sports/#respond Wed, 22 Aug 2018 17:00:27 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182205 Rolex has been a part of the global sports scene for a long time. Remember, when swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel in 1927, she had a Rolex Oyster around her neck! Even after 10 hours submerged in cold waters, the Rolex Oyster continued to work perfectly. The founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf […]

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Rolex has been a part of the global sports scene for a long time. Remember, when swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel in 1927, she had a Rolex Oyster around her neck! Even after 10 hours submerged in cold waters, the Rolex Oyster continued to work perfectly. The founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf wanted the world to know about this incredible waterproof timepiece, so he took out a full-page ad in the paper announcing the Oyster’s journey with Mercedes Gleitze—and the idea of the brand ambassador was born.

Since time is a key component to succeeding in sports—whether it’s being the fastest, the most precise, or just getting the timing right—it makes complete sense that Rolex continues to support the sporting scene.

From motorsports to sailing to golf to equestrianism to skiing to tennis, Rolex has selected a handful of sports to back. And just how does the Swiss watchmaking giant align itself with these particular sports today? Typically, by sponsoring key events by being an Official Timekeeper and by counting top athletes as ambassadors.

Rolex Sponsored Sporting Events & Ambassadors

Some Rolex sports ambassadors include Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Roger Federer, Lindsey Vonn, Nico Rosberg, and so many other globally recognized athletes. In fact, until just a few years ago, Rolex used “A Crown for Every Achievement” as their slogan with plenty of pictures of their ambassadors holding trophies. The brand has now since moved on to a new mantra, “Every Rolex Tells a Story,” and has since shared videos of how their preferred sportsmen and sportswomen have achieved their successes.

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True love 😘 #ValentinesDay #Wimbledon

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If you’re an avid fan of Rolex supported sports, you will have do doubt seen plenty of branding at some high profile events. You simply can’t miss the famous Rolex scoreboard at Wimbledon, the leader board at The Open golf major in Scotland with the Rolex clock on it, and all the branding at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Plus, let’s not forget the events where Rolex is the title sponsor: Rolex 24 At Daytona (motorsports), Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (sailing), Rolex Central Park Horse Show (equestrianism), Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing (equestrianism), the Rolex Shanghai Masters (tennis), and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (tennis).

Rolex Watches for Athletes

Also worth noting is how Rolex aligns specific watch models with certain sports. Obvious examples are the Daytona chronograph with motorsports given its time recording capabilities and the Yacht-Master II for sailing due to its regatta chronograph. But Rolex also positions the Datejust 41 as the go-to Rolex for tennis players to wear off the court, the Day-Date 40 as the must-have for golfers when they’re not swinging a club, and the Oyster Perpetual 39 as the ideal watch for equestrians whilst not riding.

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#rolex #giraglia

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Rolex doesn’t currently sponsor any favorite American sports like football, basketball, baseball, or hockey. However, this certainly doesn’t stop top athletes from these sports from wearing Rolex watches. NFL’s Tom Brady wears a Milgauss, NBA’s LeBron James wears a Day-Date President, MLB’s Mariano Rivera wears a Sky-Dweller, and NHL’s TJ Oshie wears a GMT-Master II.

In the luxury watch space, Rolex continues to be at the top of the leaderboard because the brand doesn’t just offer luxurious watches for show, but they also make plenty of robust timepieces that can keep up with active lifestyles too. It’s clear really; sports and Rolex is a match made in performance heaven!

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The Watch Collector Series: Rolex’s Rarest https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-rolexs-rarest/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-watch-collector-series-rolexs-rarest/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 21:59:56 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=180867 In Rolex’s more than a century of existence, they have given the world great armfuls of designs that can only be described with that most overused of words: iconic. They have created pieces that are so well known, even people with no interest in the art and science of watchmaking can confidently name them at […]

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In Rolex’s more than a century of existence, they have given the world great armfuls of designs that can only be described with that most overused of words: iconic.

They have created pieces that are so well known, even people with no interest in the art and science of watchmaking can confidently name them at a glance.

However, models that are now accepted parts of the horological landscape didn’t just appear out of thin air. They are the end result of generations of relentless experimentation, development and improvement.

Those forerunners to the pieces we all know and love today, many little more than prototypes produced in numbers that barely broke double figures, represent some of the rarest and most valuable Rolex watches money can (just about) buy.

With the ever increasing popularity of the vintage watch market, we are seeing these blueprint models come up for auction more often, but with the flipside being the cost of owning one becomes the sole preserve of the super-rich.

Of course, Rolex is also famous for forever tinkering with their own designs once they have become established. The minutest variation to a dial or font leaves us with tiny subsets of otherwise mass produced watches, with a value that is completely disproportionate to the scale of the alteration.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the exceptional ancestors of a few modern favorites, as well as some incredibly scarce examples of some celebrated names.

Antimagnetique ref. 4113

Rolex had already been dipping their toes into the world of the chronograph for decades before the Daytona made its first, underwhelming, appearance.

In truth, none of the brand’s previous efforts were particularly successful and the company lagged a good way behind other manufacturers, preferring to get the three-hand basics right first before launching into stopwatch complications.

Rare Rolex Zerographe Ref. 3346

One of the exceptions was the ref. 4113 Antimagnetique from 1942. Believed to be only 12 in existence, they were never made available to the public and were instead given away as gifts to some of the era’s top motor racing teams and their drivers.

It ranks as the only split second chronograph Rolex has ever produced and, at 44mm, is also one of the biggest models to emerge from the company.

To date only eight have been located, all of them made from stainless steel, with silvered matte dials and raised Arabic numerals and baton markers in rose gold.

Although its styling is a long way from the Daytona’s design, it is easy to see the influence the Antimagnetique had on the later reference 6234, more commonly known as the pre-Daytona. Lay those three chronographs side by side and it is like watching evolution in action.

The ref. 4113 stands as one of the rarest of all watches from the brand, and the second one made held the record for most expensive Rolex to be sold at auction not once, but twice. The last time it went under the hammer in 2016, it fetched an incredible $2.4m

Zerographe ref. 3346

When you think of Rolex watches with rotating bezels your mind immediately goes to one of three models; the Submariner, the GMT-Master or, if you are a little bit more of a nerd, maybe the Turn-O-Graph, the first serially-produced example to feature the revolving surround.

But preceding all these, and by a long way, is the prototype Zerographe produced in 1937.

Rare Rolex Antimagnetique Ref. 4113

Not only was it the piece to debut a feature that would go on to become one of the most iconic (there’s that word again) elements of Rolex’s sports watches, it also stands as their very first Oyster chronograph with an in-house movement. To put that in perspective, the next all-Rolex chronograph caliber was the Cal. 4130, built for the Daytona 63 years later.

As a watch, it is even rarer than the ref. 4113 above. It is estimated that Rolex made somewhere between seven and 12 of the ref. 3346s, with only four known to still exist.

While it may be a chronograph in spirit, it bears little resemblance to the word as we understand it today. There are no sub dials, for instance, and instead the ref. 3346 has a constantly running central seconds hand which can be made to reset to zero and instantly restart with a press of the ‘mono-pusher’, the single button above the crown at 2 o’clock.

By modern standards it is somewhat primeval, but then we are looking at a watch that is over 80 years old. A flyback mechanism in pre-war times is still pretty impressive.

Rolex has never been recognized as the most forthcoming company in the world with regards to information about its past, and as such, not a great deal is known of the Zerographe. It is not only perhaps the rarest of their vintage pieces, but also one of the most mysterious.

What we do know is that an example with a black lacquered California dial, with an unusual mix of Roman numerals and Arabic hour markers, was sold at Philips’ START-STOP-RESET auction in 2016 for CHF389,000.

It is rare to say about a watch that costs more than a house, but for such an important slice of Rolex history, that almost sounds like a bargain.

The Rolex Milsubs

In truth, any number of ultra rare Submariners could have made it onto our list here. There are several versions that feature a prestigious jeweler’s stamp on the dial, such as Cuba’s ‘Joyeria Riviera’, that you could spend several lifetimes searching for and never find.

But perhaps the Subs with the best backstories, the ones with real character, are the ones issued to the UK’s military forces. These models, known colloquially as Milsubs, span four incredibly scarce and extremely valuable references of the world’s favorite dive watch.

Starting in 1954, Rolex supplied the British Royal Navy with 50 examples of their ref. 6538, nicknamed, appropriately enough, the Bond Sub.

After extensive field testing that lasted several years, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) suggested just two improvements; a redesign of the bezel to make it easier for divers to manipulate while wearing gloves, and replacing the standard spring bars attaching the bracelet with a solid bar soldered to the lugs.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538

The upshot of both alterations was the A/6538, the very first so-called Milsub which was issued exclusively to the Royal Navy.

That was joined a few years later by the ref. 5512, complete with its new crown guards. By that time Rolex had incorporated the MOD’s recommendations for the bezel into the standard Submariner available to the general public—the new style of surround overhung the edge of the case to make it simpler to turn. So the only difference between the military and civilian versions of the watch was the welded bars.

However, by the end of the 50s, the dangers of Radium, the luminescent material used on the Sub’s hands and hour markers, were becoming apparent and so all the Navy’s A/6538s and 5512s were recalled and sent to government contractor Burford, to have the radioactive lume stripped and replaced with the much safer Tritium.

These reworked watches were given a tiny letter ‘T’ in a circle on their dials, setting them apart as military issue.

Fast forward to the 1970s and Rolex again received a call from the British military, this time to supply their special forces regiments, the Army’s SAS and the Navy’s SBS, with Submariners.

Between 1972 and 1979, the brand furnished them with around 1,200 specially modified versions of the ref. 5513, complete with, on many examples, oversized Gladiator hands for better legibility and bezels which were graduated for the full 60 minutes, rather than the standard watch’s 15.

Along with the same circled ‘T’ on the dial, the case backs were also engraved, unlike the civilian Subs. Those issued to the SBS had the 0552 designation before their individual part number; those for the SAS were marked with W10.

By the end of the 70s, Rolex introduced the ref. 5517, a Milsub which was only ever supplied to the military, not the general public. Every example of this reference had bezel markings spanning the entire circumference as well as the large, flat, sword-style hands. In between, there were a tiny selection of ‘double references’, identified as ref. 5513/5517.

As you would imagine, any Milsub is incredibly rare. There are, for example, an estimated 12 of the original A/6538s still going.

The limited production numbers, coupled with the tortured existence any frontline equipment endures, means many more were made than survived. In addition, being military issue led to the watches getting sent away for servicing far more often than a civilian model would, so very few remain in their original form. The hands especially tended to be replaced as they were liable to oxidization and general damage.

Even so, the occasional one will surface now and again, and if you are thinking of heading to the auction house be prepared to bring plenty of cash with you. Prices for a Milsub, in as good a condition as you could expect, tend to start in six figures.

Of course, with that kind of money being offered, along with the relative ease of making a standard Sub look like a military one, fake Milsubs abound on the vintage market.

Have your heart set on one of the rarest examples of perhaps the most famous watch ever made? Do plenty of research.

Space Dweller ref. 1016

When you have built a reputation like Rolex have, through consistent excellence and groundbreaking design, you can forgive yourself the odd misstep. The Space Dweller is one such lapse of judgment.

Released on the back of the heroic exploits of NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts, and more importantly, the frenzy which greeted them on their global goodwill tour, the Space Dweller was, in fact, nothing more than a Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 with the name replaced.

It was launched as a test in 1963, and only in Japan, where the reception for John Glenn, Alan Shepard and the rest had bordered on mania.

But while America’s spacemen certainly had the right stuff, the reaction to the watch Rolex had chosen to commemorate their achievements was decidedly muted. The Explorer’s (sorry, Space Dweller’s) utilitarian design was just a little too down-to-earth, a little too simple for a world just entering the Space Age.

Rare Rolex Space Dweller Ref. 1016

In Japan especially, known for its embracing of progressive technology, the humble three-hand styling was a throwback to a less advanced era and no amount of fancy name giving was going to change that.

As a result, the Space Dweller splashed down and sank without trace, meaning little more than a handful were ever produced.

Those few are now, of course, so highly sought after as to be almost unattainable.

The ref. 1016 Explorer itself is enjoying a major resurgence in popularity, as a watch that represents exactly what Rolex originally stood for—tough, tool-like reliability wrapped up in an elegantly minimalist shell. It was such a winning design for the brand that the 1016 was in production for a quarter of a century, with a change in caliber being about the only alteration deemed necessary.

It can even stake a claim to being the original Bond watch. Ian Fleming was a big fan and wore one for most of his life.

The Space Dweller then is an incredibly scarce and historically significant example of Rolex at their best. It failing to find an appreciative audience back in the day translates to a watch that today, for many, is the holiest of holy grails.

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Watch Collector Series: The Different Types of Watch Collecting https://beckertime.com/blog/watch-collector-series-the-different-types-of-watch-collecting/ https://beckertime.com/blog/watch-collector-series-the-different-types-of-watch-collecting/#respond Mon, 20 Aug 2018 14:47:44 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182578 The world of horology is massively diverse. There are countless different brands, each with their own archive of models. In the case of some manufacturers, Rolex being one, those individual pieces have enough variation in their makeup to fill an encyclopedia. Tiny discrepancies in dial markings, logo design or text can mean the difference between […]

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The world of horology is massively diverse. There are countless different brands, each with their own archive of models. In the case of some manufacturers, Rolex being one, those individual pieces have enough variation in their makeup to fill an encyclopedia. Tiny discrepancies in dial markings, logo design or text can mean the difference between two almost identical looking watches being deemed comparatively run-of-the-mill or virtually priceless.

There is also a wide variety in the type of internal mechanism, the engines that power the watches in the first place, which are the subject of endless fascination and debate.

And away from the timepieces themselves, there is a huge range of related minutiae: marketing paraphernalia, advertising materials, brand novelties, etc.

All of these separate elements, and more, can form the basis of a collection. Where some people are happy to accumulate any and all watches that appeal to them, others prefer to specialize.

You will find enthusiasts who collect nothing but their favorite brand (Panerai fans, for example, call themselves the ‘Paneristi’). There are those who are captivated by a particular type of complication, a tourbillon or chronograph perhaps, and make it their mission to gather as many as possible. And there are still others who won’t rest until they’ve hunted down every ultra-rare holy grail watch they can get their hands on.

Below, we’ve put together a list of the many different types of watch collector out there, and look at what it is that motivates them.

The one takeaway is, the only real similarity amongst all the different genres is the all-consuming passion horology tends to inspire in its followers. It means the practice is open to just about everyone, from every walk of life and with any size budget.

Modern or Vintage

Just what constitutes a modern versus a vintage watch is a debate that has raged for so long the argument itself is bordering on the antiquated.

Pre Owned Mid Size Rolex Two-Tone Datejust with a Gold Champagne Dial 68273

You can take your pick from any number of determining factors of when the changeover happens. Some people put a number on it; watches more than 25 years old, or 30, or 35 suddenly become vintage—anything younger than that is modern.

For others, the transformation occurs the second that particular model goes out of production, or the manufacturer stops making spare parts or a certain element is first introduced. Some references are seen as modern in some circles, for instance, when the old acrylic crystals are replaced with sapphire.

It also changes from brand to brand and even in individual models within that brand. So a Rolex Datejust from 1987 wouldn’t necessarily be classed as vintage, but a Rolex Daytona from the same year, just before the introduction of its first self-winding caliber, could well be. It really depends on who you ask.

The point is, it is both subjective and confusing. There is nothing official that states that such-and-such is the dividing line between the two, unlike in the world of car collecting. Vintage autos (as opposed to those dubbed ‘classic’ or ‘historic’) are very definitely those built between 1919 and 1930. Because of reasons.

Still, there are those who collect only vintage or only modern watches and, without anything being formally recognized, they are allowed to set their own parameters.

Each category has its own advantages. Modern watches, with a few notable exceptions, are generally easier to acquire—mostly because many are still being made. In a broad sense, they are also more accurate and reliable; improvements in both technology and materials are pretty much constantly ongoing and, much like a new versus classic car, a recent model is usually lower maintenance.

Depending on how well you choose, modern watches can make a good investment. Although buying brand new from the store comes with an unpleasant hit of depreciation once you walk out the door, buying a two or three-year-old piece on the pre-owned market after someone else has shouldered that first hit can represent a relative bargain. Then, subject to the watch itself and how long you hang onto it, it can either retain around the same value as you paid for it or, if you are lucky or clairvoyant, it might become the next highly sought-after piece a few years down the line, selling for many times what you shelled out for it.

Rolex Explorer II 1655

So why would anyone choose to collect vintage watches? They lack the dependability, the features and the availability of their modern equivalents.

The value with a vintage watch is in all the things money can’t buy. Yes, they can also make great financial assets, but the ones that perform best are normally the ones with the higher initial price up front.

What the old models have that the contemporary ones don’t, at least not yet, is the story. They are a piece of history, made back when watches were indispensable, often created to fulfill a specific purpose. If you were diving, or racing cars or exploring into the unknown, a dependable watch was a vital companion. There is a romance to them, a human connection, and you can’t put a price on that.

Of course, for others, there is also the thrill of the chase. Nothing satisfies a collector like tracking down the elusive piece they have been searching for over months, years or even decades—ending the treasure hunt for the one with the exact configuration of dial and bezel and bracelet; all the details present and correct to add to the collection.

By Brand

Some collectors fall in love with one specific manufacturer, and content themselves with going about acquiring as many of that watchmaker’s creations as either they or their bank balance can take.

They are motivated by a passion and admiration for the brand itself, and gathering examples from across the company’s usually extensive history makes a fascinating visual record of their technological and design progression.

For the most dedicated, it can turn into a mission to own every model that particular watch house has ever made, and the hunt for them will commonly become a lifelong challenge.

This level of commitment to one brand comes with significant perks. Many advocates will buy their watches from a small number of dedicated specialists, and their loyalty to a certain retailer usually grows into a relationship that lasts for years. Those are the customers, the ones with the history, who find themselves at top of the list for any especially rare, special edition or even unique examples that happen to pass through the dealer’s hands. When the phone call from your watch guy comes to tell you the grail piece you’ve long been after is due any day and you have first refusal, it signifies your entrance into the upper echelons of brand devotees!

Of course, there is a subgroup of collectors who go further and set about accumulating every version of one particular model. The Rolex Submariner, for instance, has over two dozen individual references, and countless variations of dial types within that range. So, there are those with vast collections made up of only the world’s favorite dive watch, in all its assorted permutations.

By Type

There are a number of ways to categorize the different genres of watches. They can be split by the type of movement powering them, by the metals used in their construction or by their specific function—usually denoted by the complications they feature.

The movement, or caliber, is an area that attracts a large number of collectors. Luxury watches can be broken down into one of two very general groups; mechanical and quartz.

(Ah boy, here we go!) While ordinarily a friendly bunch, there is a huge amount of snobbery from horologists about quartz watches, and whether or not they have any place in a serious collection.

No one is arguing over whether or not they are more accurate than their mechanical counterparts, mainly because it’s not even close. Even the cheapest battery-powered effort will keep time better than the best of the best with its springs and gears. They are also, with far fewer moving parts, easier and cheaper to service and maintain, and generally have a lower buy-in price too.

Where the snootiness starts is with the perceived lack of status. A mechanical watch is the end product of many hours of labor by skilled artisans, each pouring blood, sweat and tears into every component. The quartz, by its nature, is much more simple and much less expensive; churned out in huge numbers and missing that vital touch of soul.

It is also a relatively new technology and its introduction almost killed off the mechanical industry, something that perhaps still rankles the purists. They will point to the absence of any story connected to quartz, unlike the traditional pieces, which have been worn by the greatest figures in history and accompanied the first missions to the top of Everest, the bottom of the ocean and even the moon.

But there are definitely some very impressive and highly prized quartz watches. The incomparable Casio G-Shock forms the entirety of many collections, with a range of different models too numerous to count.

At the other end of the scale, Seiko, who introduced the Astron, the world’s first production quartz watch in the 60s, have elevated the movement to an art form. The company grows its own crystals and the 9F quartz caliber is assembled, finished and decorated by hand and sits inside the excellent Grand Seiko Quartz line—a watch accurate to +/- 10 seconds a year and which only needs servicing every half a century!

For the traditionalists though, it is mechanical or nothing, and these movements can be further broken down into two more groups—automatic and manual.

It refers to how the calibers are provided with their energy. Manual winding movements, the oldest type of wristwatch mechanism, are powered by a mainspring that slowly unwinds, driving the watch’s hands through a series of gears. That mainspring has to be rewound by the wearer via the winding crown, and the frequency with which it needs to be done differs from watch to watch.

Automatic is another name for self-winding, and these types of calibers, popularized by Rolex in the 1930s, are powered by the motion of the wearer’s wrist. Instead of having to wind the watch manually, a weighted rotor spins round with each movement and transfers its energy to the mainspring.

For collectors, a manually winding caliber represents the absolute essence of watchmaking, and a link to where it all began, while the automatic movements win out in the convenience stakes. But both types, at their best, are incredible examples of precision engineering, and their intricacies and sophistication are what draw many people in to the world of watch collecting in the first place.

The individual types of tool watch also form the basis of collections. From around the 1950s onwards, models have been created to fulfill a certain purpose or solve a particular problem.

So, when the sport of Scuba diving took off in popularity, a whole genus of highly waterproof watch emerged. As well as being built to cope with the extra pressure, they were also packed with features that safeguarded wearers during their underwater adventures, such as a rotatable bezel that acted as an easy-to-use timer.

Similarly, as the jet-age blossomed and transcontinental travel fell within reach of more people, the problems of crossing multiple time zones led to the development of the GMT watch. With its additional complication able to keep track of the time in two places, it helped to offset some of the psychological effects of jetlag.

And with motor racing entering its own golden age, chronographs started to be introduced to help drivers time their laps with pinpoint accuracy.

Over the generations they have been in existence, these and other types of watches designed to help wearers with a specific task have become standards in the horology world and fostered myriad variations on their own theme. There are many people whose collections consist partly or entirely of nothing but various styles of tool watch, with some able to meet more than one role.

By Rarity

In general terms, the rarer a watch, the more you can expect to pay for it. Scarcity creates more demand and more demand will usually push prices up. But it is the difficulty in finding the holy grail pieces, and the exclusivity that brings, that attracts many collectors. The thrill of the chase is a powerful force, and the truly dedicated can spend years tracking down and securing their dream references.

Nearly all watch brands, if they have been around long enough, will have their own selection of extremely rare models. They might be the early test runs of now well established pieces, they may be one of a handful of prototypes that were never put into production for one reason or another, or they could be the limited run special editions, created to commemorate a particular occasion and retired soon after.

They might even be the exact model worn by some ultra-famous icon, making them not just rare but a true one-off. Prices for these can reach stratospheric proportions, as we saw with Paul Newman’s own Daytona last October.

So where can you go to find these ticking unicorns? Auctions dedicated only to selling watches are a relatively recent phenomenon, pioneered by the sale house Antiquorum in the 80s. They and others like them, with recognizable names such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, have since turned it into a huge business, attracting the super wealthy from all over the globe. Usually held every May and November, these auctions feature some of the most sought-after and legendary, not to say mythical, watches there are—and command prices to match.

But what if your first name isn’t ‘Sheik’ and you don’t have six figures lying around to drop on one of these near-unique examples?

More modest budgets are certainly not excluded from collecting uncommon watches. There are a number of pieces, from even some of the biggest players in the industry, that qualify as both rare and affordable.

The Oysterquartz models, the Datejust and Day-Date, were made in very small quantities, especially for Rolex. Only about 1,000 a year emerged over their 25-year run, driven by two of the most accurate and reliable quartz movements ever (still being serviced by the brand today). Yet you can find Rolesor versions for around $3,000.

Early 60s versions of Breitling’s first Navitimer, the wonderful 806, complete with its innovative slide rule feature and distinctive ‘beads of rice’ bezel detailing, can be had for around $5,000.

Whichever your favorite brand might be, a little research will dig up the sort of models that really stand out from the mainstream and which also won’t break the bank.

By Memories

Watch collectors, by definition I suppose, own a number of watches. While the majority are not in it for the money, you will often find them swapping or trading in one or some of their haul in order to free up the necessary funds to buy the next piece which has caught their fancy.

However, with many of these horologists, there are generally a few watches in there with which they wouldn’t part for any amount of cash.

These are the models that have the sentimental attraction that is almost exclusive to timepieces; one that goes far beyond the face value.

Particularly for men, a fine watch can be a singular link to the past, and to the most important people in it.

There are many collections that have started with the gifting of a piece at some major milestone—a university graduation being among the most traditional. That watch becomes part of a time capsule, reminding us of our achievements and those who were there to share it with us.

Many collectors, as they progress to bigger and better things throughout their lives, reward themselves with ever more valuable and expensive models, representing their upward trajectories in both status and wealth.

For others, it can be receiving a watch as part of an inheritance, passed down from father to son or mother to daughter. It is why brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe, with their hard-won reputations for reliability and longevity, remain at the top of the list for those shopping for an heirloom. The marketing campaign, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe…”perhaps said it best. It is very common to invest in a luxury watch with the birth of a child, the intention being for it to stay in the family for generations.

Of course, sentimental watches don’t have to have any monetary value at all to still be impossible to part with. Even the cheapest digital disposable, if it has a definite connection to a treasured memory, is irreplaceable.

By Association

We all know watches are cool, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. But there are a select few which, through the patronage of some of the world’s most enduring icons, are just cooler than others.

Real or fictional, we all have our idols. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, there are those who we just admire, put on a pedestal and, in our more honest moments, downright envy.

They have the lives we want, the attitude and the sense of style. And while we can’t really do anything about the first two, we can certainly do our best to copy the third.

Some of the most famous and important figures in history have worn what are, or have gone on to become, some of the world’s most emblematic watches.

We already touched on Rolex’s legendary chronograph, the Daytona. An outright failure for decades, it took movie star royalty in the shape of Paul Newman to elevate it to its current standing as the most sought-after watch in horology-land. Particularly the exotic dial versions that unofficially bear his name, they now change hands among well-heeled collectors for incredible sums of money—all because the Daytona was Cool Hand Luke’s favorite way of timing motor racing laps for the last quarter century of his blue-eyed life.

His contemporary, Steve ‘coolest-man-who-ever-lived’ McQueen has enough models associated specifically with him to count as a small collection on its own. While his preferred piece was reportedly the ref. 5513 Submariner, he actually has another Rolex named, erroneously, after him. There’s no evidence the first Explorer II, the ref. 1655, a true cult darling in collector circles these days after living most of its life in the shadows, ever made its way onto the actor’s wrist, but it will forever be known as the Steve McQueen Rolex.

Jorg Gray Mens Quartz Watch JG6500

But perhaps the model most people associate with him is the Heuer Monaco, the innovative square-cased beauty which shot to fame when he wore it in the quintessential 70s racing movie Le Mans.

Even watches sported by the gods of pop culture have become highly collectible. The archetypal English spy James Bond, another Sub devotee in his 60s heyday, has recently made the switch to the Omega Seamaster; both watches are now inextricably linked with the fictitious character.

Political figures may divide opinion, but many have become synonymous with a particular make or model of watch. Oftentimes, a manufacturer will seek these powerful figures out and present them with one of their creations, in the knowledge that piece will be seen countless times and its wearer will become a tacit ambassador for the brand.

So, Churchill was gifted his rose gold Datejust in 1948, and Eisenhower received one of the same, the 150,000thwatch Rolex ever made, in 1951. Lyndon Johnson was the man responsible for giving the Day-Date its ‘President’ epithet, and Kennedy’s most remembered piece is the Cartier Tank given to him by wife Jackie. Both Nixon and Truman were fans of the Vulcain Cricket and, more recently, Obama was seen wearing a Jorg Gray model JG 6500, a birthday present from his secret service detail with their own logo on the dial. Only available to buy in the secret service member store (which is a place that exists apparently) Jorg Gray catered to the demands of watch collectors everywhere by releasing special editions for the public.

By Value

Curating a watch collection by cost generally comes down to a game of ‘would you rather…’

Is it better to have one or two high value pieces or a larger assortment of less expensive models to choose from?

As with everything, there is no right or wrong answer and everybody will have their own opinion. For some, if they have a certain amount of money to spend, it will be spent on the very best—perhaps their own personal grail watch.

For others, they are more concerned with having enough variety to see them through every situation; one piece to match with a formal suit, another for casual and a daily beater for everything in between.

Of course, with having multiple watches, you can invest in not only a range of styles but also functionality. So rather than having to decide between getting yourself a GMT, a chronograph and a dress watch for instance, you are able to have all three.

On the flip side, the single high quality timepiece you paid top dollar for is more likely to at least retain its value and could even end up appreciating.

It is a multi-faceted problem, but not a bad one to have on the whole. In the end, it depends on which homespun cliché you prefer; is variety the spice of life or will it always be quality over quantity?

By Potential

For a hobby with the possibility, and probability, for its practitioners to spend significant amounts of money, very few people collect watches for the sole purpose of investment.

The vast majority are governed in their choices by emotions rather than by some purely financial motivation.

That being said, a lot of collectors do keep at least one eye on the prevailing markets when it comes time to select their next purchase. There are some brands and some models that have performed incredibly well over the years and watches as a commodity have increased by about 70% in the last decade. The real trick is knowing which ones have that sort of potential in the early stages.

A number of manufacturers will pretty much always hold their value at the very least. Unfortunately, these are the ones that also require a hefty investment of your own to begin with.

Top end houses with legendary names; A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, IWC, Rolex, etc. Always desirable and always in demand, therefore liable to do well.

But unless you have a substantial budget to start your collection, the pieces that have traditionally yielded the best returns can remain far out of reach. Watches are really no different to any other form of investment; you have to spend money to make money.

However, those of us with more limited means can still take part, we just have to work a little harder.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mens Watch

There is a seemingly endless supply of information around collecting watches for profit, and all the experts agree on a few fundamental points.

Firstly, it is a game you only want to play if timepieces are your passion. The amount of research required to make even an educated guess at the examples with the best potential is formidable, and only those who really love horology are likely to put in the effort needed.

Secondly, buy the watches that appeal to you personally. The financial world in general comes with no guarantees, and there is similarly nothing set in stone over the performance of your latest purchase. If, for whatever reason, you don’t get the return you were after, you will still be left with a model you enjoy.

So, apart from investing in watches you are interested in and which you know a lot about, is there any other advice from the professionals?

A watch that had a limited production run is an obvious one, giving it a rarity value that is always highly prized by collectors. Likewise, a model with a particular flaw in its manufacture can, ironically, make them especially sought out. The ref. 16520 Daytonas with the so-called Patrizzi dials, for instance, where the famous chronograph’s sub dials turned a chocolatey brown over time due to a paint defect, are one such example. Basically, anything that sets a standard model apart from the rest has a good chance at doing well on the market.

In all though, watch collecting is all about a love of watches rather than money. If you happen to find yourself the owner of a piece suddenly worth far more than you paid for it, all to the good. But it should always be passion first and profit second.

By the Extras

Finally, one of the most interesting, diverse, and affordable forms of collecting centers around all the various add-ons that grows up around a successful watch brand.

Many of the more prestigious houses release a range of accessories to complement their main output, allowing brand devotees to subtly, and not so subtly, advertise their love for the brand.

So, you can buy Patek Philippe cufflinks in the shape of their famous Calatrava Cross logo or the distinctive Gérald Genta-designed Nautilus. Audemars Piguet has similar products fashioned like their Royal Oak, as do Rolex with their coronet.

Patek Philippe 5980/1AR-001

You will find baseball caps and polo shirts, ties and keychains—all emblazoned with enough company insignia to leave no one in any doubt where your loyalties lay.

Some of the most fascinating products are the old marketing materials from each brand’s history. Seeing advertisements from the 50s and 60s for iconic models such as the Submariner, with grainy black and white images of professional divers and tag lines such as, ‘If you were working here tomorrow, you’d wear a Rolex’, are wonderful touches of vintage nostalgia.

All these products can either round out a collection or form one of its own.

In all, being a watch collector is a wonderfully fascinating and diverse club to belong to. With the amount of information available at your fingertips, on just about every aspect of the hobby, and with an ever-growing community of horologists keen to share their own knowledge on every topic under the sun, there has never been a better time to join.

It holds a different attraction for each member—but whether they are charmed by the styling and engineering prowess, an association with a personal hero or timepieces act as a roadmap of individual milestones, there really isn’t anything else that inspires quite the same level of devotion.

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The History of Watch Collecting https://beckertime.com/blog/the-history-of-watch-collecting/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-history-of-watch-collecting/#respond Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:47:56 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181210 The vintage watch collecting market has witnessed an exponential rise in both popularity and prices over the last decade. Although it seems as if the industry is experiencing its golden age, it might be too early to tell. The phenomenon itself is a relatively new one, only really starting with any serious vengeance in the […]

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The vintage watch collecting market has witnessed an exponential rise in both popularity and prices over the last decade.

Although it seems as if the industry is experiencing its golden age, it might be too early to tell. The phenomenon itself is a relatively new one, only really starting with any serious vengeance in the 1980s.

Prior to that, while people certainly accumulated timepieces as they appealed to them, there was a severe lack of both organization and information.

It was the 80s that saw the first magazines and books aimed directly at the watch enthusiast being published, as well as the rise of dedicated vintage  timepiece auctions, by the likes of Antiquorum and Christie’s.

Vintage Watch Collecting

There were a few factors during the 80s era that caused this explosion in vintage watch collecting. Firstly, there was plenty of spare cash flying about. Although it was a volatile decade economically, particularly in the U.S., towards the latter half, the tax reforms of the Reagan administration gave a lot of people a lot of disposable income. Just as they had in the past, with other hard assets beyond the stock market, those with money to burn were looking for new ways to invest.

And secondly, the quartz crisis ended. The flood of cheap, incredibly accurate watches pouring in from Japan throughout the 70s had decimated the traditional manufacturers in their Swiss enclaves, wiping out better than two thirds of them. A number of the companies who survived bonded together in a last ditch effort to save themselves, and formed the SMH. In 1983, they launched the Swatch—a fun, fashionable and disposable watch that beat the competition at its own game, sold in countless millions and channeled much needed funds back into Switzerland.

Coupled with that, the Plaza Accord of 1985 strengthened the U.S Dollar and the Swiss Franc, breaking the Japanese Yen and bringing the crisis to an end.

While quartz watches were still appreciated for their great precision and far lower cost, they said nothing about an individual’s personality. For that, only the dedicated craftsmanship of a fine mechanical timepiece would do.

Connecting People

The worldwide adoption of the internet has been the main driving force behind elevating mechanical watches into the same rarefied air as other items of luxury collecting, such as fine wines, jewelry or even paintings by the old masters.

Taking the industry online has provided not only a slew of various platforms, such as Beckertime, from where the burgeoning community could easily buy and sell their pieces, but it has also given multiple stages for people to share their knowledge.

Vintage watch collecting is an information-heavy activity. There is simply a huge amount to know in order to make a sound decision on purchasing any particular model. The nature of traditional timepieces means they attract the detail-obsessed, people who love the many intricacies essential to their operation, and these are generally the people more than happy to share what they have learned.

Spend time on any of the dedicated brand forums and you will come across genuine experts, most often those who either work for the watchmaker in question or who have worked closely with them; as a repairer specializing in that particular make, for instance.

The Ugly Duckling

Many industry experts trace the continued success of the vintage watch market back to a single model, one that its manufacturer struggled to so much as give away for the first 25-years of its life.

The Cosmograph Daytona was (and still is) Rolex’s only mass-produced chronograph, a watch built for the glamorous world of endurance motor racing. A handsome, highly capable model—that no one wanted.

Launched in 1963, it lingered on dealer’s shelves for one reason; its manually-wound movement. It wasn’t given the convenience of an automatic caliber until 1988, transforming it instantly into the most sought-after timepiece in the world for a new breed of collector.

Paul Newman's Daytona

However, its self-winding engine was produced by a third-party, legendary Swiss ébauche maker Zenith. Having to rely on an outside concession for its movement hampered the speed with which Rolex was able to roll out the Daytona to an eager market, causing both massive waiting lists with dealers and, crucially, focusing impatient would-be customer’s eyes onto the previous generation.

Soon, vintage Daytonas started to change hands for incredible sums, none more so than certain examples that had once been even more unpopular than the standard piece. The so-called ‘exotic’ Daytonas, with their eccentric Panda dials and Art Deco font, were considered the ugly duckling’s less attractive sibling for many years, until photos of bona fide Hollywood royalty, in the shape of Paul Newman, started to surface with one strapped to his wrist—usually behind the wheel of a race car.

That was all the endorsement needed for the unofficially rechristened ‘Paul Newman Daytonas’ to dominate the market, culminating in the piece owned by Cool Hand Luke himself to go on to become the most expensive watch ever sold when the hammer dropped last year at $17.7m.

All-Inclusive

Like other popular forms, the beauty of collecting watches lies in the enormous range of options. It is an activity open to just about everyone, from any walk of life and with any budget.

Although it is certainly possible to spend insane amounts of money on a single, ultra-rare reference, there is also something fascinating, famous or unique at almost every price point.

Even those who look at the activity as an investment, a fairly safe way to park perhaps a considerable amount of money, do so with a certain amount of passion. It is impossible to look at the minutiae of a beautifully made timepiece and not appreciate the level of dedication that has gone into it.

What’s more, unlike, say, collecting cars, another item that says a lot about the owner’s personality, watches are a far more portable expression of character. Seeing a classic timepiece on someone’s wrist speaks volumes, whereas the car parked outside unseen does not.

The Future of Watch Collecting

From the 1980s, the appreciation in cost and sales volume of vintage watches at auction continued ever upwards. During the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis, that trend leveled out and growth didn’t resume again until 2010.

However, it bounced back in a different way.

Patek Philippe ref. 2499

The prices for those pieces at the very top of the spectrum, such as the Paul Newman Daytonas, or the incredible Patek Philippe ref. 2499, continued to increase into fantasyland, while those at the more modest end stayed almost stagnant. It has only been quite recently that vintage models from more accessible brands, the likes of Omega or Longines, have begun to climb.

Now is a great time to be a beginner watch collector. With the help of the oceans of information available 24/7 online, it is an activity that is becoming open to more and more people. That textbook example of supply and demand is set to drive prices higher, as more buyers compete over a shrinking pool of available watches.

Our fascination with these amazing wrist machines means watch collecting is something that can ride out the whims of fashion, setting itself as a rock solid investment as well as an appreciation of the makers artistry.

If you were debating whether it was something you wanted to dip your toes in to, then the history of watch collecting suggests it is a venture to start sooner rather than later. But be warned; it is hugely addictive!

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What’s the Difference? The Rolex Explorer Vs. The Rolex Explorer II https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-explorer-vs-the-rolex-explorer-ii/ https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-explorer-vs-the-rolex-explorer-ii/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:41:13 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=178801 The names Rolex gives to their watches generally do a good job of signposting each one’s specific abilities and place in the lineup. There’s no doubt, for example, that pieces called the Submariner, the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea are designed for the life aquatic, or that the Daytona will find its natural home on the […]

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The names Rolex gives to their watches generally do a good job of signposting each one’s specific abilities and place in the lineup. There’s no doubt, for example, that pieces called the Submariner, the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea are designed for the life aquatic, or that the Daytona will find its natural home on the racetrack.

However, the brand does have a habit of releasing ‘sequels’ to some of their most famous creations—sometimes as a natural and recognizable successor to the original, and at other times, to take the range in a completely new direction.

So, whereas the GMT-Master and the GMT-Master II were quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the two series actually running concurrently for a number of years, models such as the Yacht-Master and the Yacht-Master II resemble each other in title only.

The Explorers

At first glance, another two watches that appear to share precisely zero in common bar their name are the Explorer and the Explorer II.

The earlier piece, born on Everest and released in 1953, is as simple and austere as it is possible for a watch to be—a study in unassuming, three-hand sophistication; its counterpart, a super tough precision instrument designed for a lifetime of service in some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

But while there don’t seem to be too many similarities between the pair, there are in fact a couple of parallels. Firstly, they have always been, and remain to this day, possibly the most underappreciated models in the professional collection. For the original Explorer, the modesty of its design compared to the more showy offerings in the catalog has contributed the most to its underdog status. For the Explorer II, it has been, incredibly for an entity like Rolex, an image problem. Marketing a watch at a tiny subsection of an already highly restricted niche was never going to set sales figures ablaze.

And secondly, both have garnered a fiercely loyal cult following in the last few years, one that is getting stronger by the day. With the rest of the so-called tool watch range becoming increasingly gentrified, with precious metal constructions and gemstones festooning every surface, the hardcore brand purists are turning more and more to those models that exemplify the true Rolex spirit; one of innovation, adventure and, yes, exploration.

Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

Rolex Explorer 6150

The Rolex Explorer

Unsung or not, the original Rolex Explorer can be seen as one of the most important watches in the brand’s long history. It marked a complete change in the way the public viewed the company and what they were trying to achieve.

While Rolex as a manufacturer already had a well-documented association with a number of the world’s pioneers, those who continually pushed the boundaries of what was possible, the Explorer was the first watch created specifically as a result of one of these superhuman achievements.

Top of the World

The company had sponsored, and supplied watches to, eight previously unsuccessful attempts to scale the highest peak on earth by the time of the 1953 expedition led by Colonel John Hunt. When Hillary and Norgay set foot on Mount Everest’s summit for the first time, they were wearing a pair of Oyster Perpetuals with reinforced cases and high performance lubricants that Rolex had donated in a bid to research the effects of the massive shifts in temperature and altitude on mechanical movements.

Rolex Explorer 1016

xThose watches, dutifully sent back to Rolex following the men’s return, went on to form the basis of the first ever Explorer reference, the ref. 6150. Short-lived though that model was, it set down the blueprint for every iteration that followed, with its modest 36mm case and perfectly legible 3/6/9 Arabic numeral dial.

Over the years—and the Explorer has one of the longest unbroken runs in the brand’s canon—the outward appearance of the watch has gone through only superficial changes. Its most renowned reference, the ref. 1016, was the Explorer for a quarter of a century, a gloriously uncomplicated, ageless item that held down the fort for the range all by itself between 1963 and 1990.

The Modern Explorer

The biggest shift in style and concession to modern tastes came in 2010 when Rolex brought out the ref. 214270, unmistakably one of the breed but sporting a newly enlarged 39mm body. Besides the extra girth, the essential Explorer-ness of the watch remains the same as it always has; a dial created solely for clarity, unencumbered by as much as a date window, with the no-nonsense Mercedes-style hands that have been a feature since the beginning, forged from the strongest steel used by any watch manufacturer.

Rolex Explorer 214270

Hold it up to any one of the handful of references from the past and you can see just how right Rolex got their design from the outset. Nothing needed changing, so nothing was changed. Today, the perennial also-ran is finding an appreciative audience of those who look to Rolex not for their prominence as a status symbol, but for their expertise in making some of the finest and most reliable timepieces of any manufacturer.

A watch that sums up the essence of the brand perhaps better than any other, the Rolex Explorer is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

The Rolex Explorer II

Losing out to its sibling in the refined elegance stakes but walking off with the functionality prize, the first of the Explorer II references made its debut in 1971.

Rolex Explorer II 1655

While the Explorer’s austere minimalism lent it a greater amount of versatility, making it the watch that could be worn with everything from a t-shirt to a tuxedo, the Explorer II’s strict utilitarian design marks it down as very much a piece with an important job to do—an article of essential equipment for those embarking on untold adventures.

Regardless of its credentials though, when the inaugural reference, the ref. 1655, emerged, it was met with a great collective shrug of indifference from the Rolex faithful. The dial was criticized for its busy, crowded aesthetic, particularly compared to its namesake, and the watch as a whole seemed to have a confusing remit.

The Dark Horse

While the brand’s dive models had the glamorous world of underwater discovery sewn up, the Explorer II was marketed at the decidedly less captivating sphere of underground expeditions—cave divers, or spelunkers, in other words.

Those who spent their days (or weeks or months) rooting around in subterranean grottos were never likely to out-sexy those venturing beneath the clear blue waters of the world’s oceans, and the Explorer II failed to capture the imagination.

However, it was more than qualified for the job. At 40mm, it was a particularly large watch for the period, and its all-steel construction meant it was certainly resilient enough for the sort of conditions it was going to face. It was also perfectly set up for a life spent in the dark, with a total of 24 individual luminescent markers on the dial, one every 2.5 minutes.

But its real party piece was the inclusion of a bright orange 24-hour hand. If you are spending extended periods of time underground with no contact with the outside world, you will very quickly lose your sense of night and day. The fourth ‘Freccione’ hand (from the Italian for ‘arrow’) on the Explorer II was kept pointed at the correct time up on the surface via the fixed, engraved bezel.

Celebrity Endorsement

Even so, it joined its counterpart into the file labeled the forgotten Rolex and not even an association with the coolest man on the planet could strengthen its appeal. When it was rumored that Steve McQueen, the epitome of masculinity, wore a ref. 1655, the watch immediately adopted the movie star’s name as its unofficial moniker. The fact that, in all likelihood, McQueen never even wore, let alone owned, an Explorer II was neither here nor there.

Rolex Explorer II 16550

The ‘Steve McQueen’ Explorer soldiered on its underwhelming way until 1985, when its successor, the transitional reference 16550, was released. Now, for the first time, it became a true GMT watch, with the Cal. 3085 unlocking the two hour hands and allowing the Freccione to be adjusted independently. It also marked it as the only model other than the Daytona to be offered with a choice of dial colors, either black or white.

However, in a most un-Rolex turn of events, both color schemes ran into problems. Defects with the paint caused the white dials to turn cream and the black dials to crack over the years. While that was obviously a less than desirable outcome at the time, with today’s classic watch industry being what it is, these ‘mistakes’ are now highly sought after, as they give each piece a unique appearance.

The Modern Explorer II

The current era Explorer II was launched in 2011 to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The ref. 216570 is definitely the most modern example to bear the name but it still has a healthy level of nostalgia built in to appeal to vintage fans. So, its dimensions have grown to 42mm, making it one of the largest models in the collection, and for the first time, it is powered by a caliber designed specifically for the series, the Cal. 3187. Previous iterations have all shared a movement with the GMT-Master range.

Rolex Explorer II 216570

But, the bright orange Freccione hand has made a very welcome comeback, an element missing since the demise of the original Steve McQueen model in favor of an uninspiring red, arrow-tipped effort. And on the black dialed version, the so-called Phantom effect has also resurfaced, with the base of the hour and minute hands painted to match the color of the face, making them seem as if they are floating.

The Explorer II has, like the original Explorer, experienced a quiet revival in recent times. The perpetual misfit is becoming ever more appreciated for its unalloyed Rolex spirit, reminding the purists just why they fell in love with brand in the first place.

Crafted from ultra tough brushed steel and with a movement that will keep going in conditions few electronic gadgets could survive, there is still very much a place for the Explorer with those who risk it all in the uncharted wilderness.

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Celebrity Fashion Designers and The Rolex Watches That Complete Their Style https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrity-fashion-designers-and-the-rolex-watches-that-complete-their-style/ https://beckertime.com/blog/celebrity-fashion-designers-and-the-rolex-watches-that-complete-their-style/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:40:11 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181874 Fashion designers are in the business of creating stunning apparel and accessories for their audience. Some of them even sell watches with their illustrious names on them. However, since they understand great design, they also know a top timepiece when they see one. And that’s perhaps why some of the world’s most famous fashion designers […]

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Fashion designers are in the business of creating stunning apparel and accessories for their audience. Some of them even sell watches with their illustrious names on them. However, since they understand great design, they also know a top timepiece when they see one. And that’s perhaps why some of the world’s most famous fashion designers choose to wear Rolex watches on their wrist. Let’s find out which celebrity fashion designers wear Rolex.

Tom Ford’s Rolex Watch

Tom Ford
Photo: L.A. Times

American fashion designer, Tom Ford, has been credited with bringing European houses, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, back to the forefront of high fashion. He also launched his own eponymous luxury brand in 2006 and has dabbled in the film industry directing Oscar-nominated films such as A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals.

One of the best-dressed men in fashion today, Tom Ford has admitted to being a long-time watch fanatic. He said in an interview with Vogue earlier this year that he received a Rolex watch for his 16th birthday and that was the beginning of his obsession with fine timepieces. While we’re not sure what Rolex model he got on that birthday, what we do know is that he owns a yellow gold Rolex Submariner with a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel and wears it well!

Tommy Hilfiger’s Rolex Watch

Tommy Hilfiger
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Another famous fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger is a veteran in the business having established his label in 1985. Over the last few decades, the American designer has done extraordinarily well for himself, amassing a vast fortune. While he sold his company for $1.6 billion in 2006, he remains as the lead designer.

Given that Tommy Hilfiger designs plenty of nautical-inspired clothing, it doesn’t come as a big surprise that he also enjoys nautical-inspired Rolex watches. We’ve spotted him wearing an Everose Yacht-master 40 with the new black Oysterflex rubber strap, as well as the larger two-tone Yacht-Master II. What’s more, Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t just keep the Rolex love to himself; he reportedly gifted a rose gold Day-Date President to Nicki Minaj back in 2013 when she attended the Met Gala as his guest!

Michael Kors’ Rolex Watches

Michael Kors
Photo: The Denver Post

One of the most famous modern fashion designers today, Michael Kors began his career in the early 1980s. He has dressed a slew of celebrities for red carpet events, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2014, Forbes reported that Michael Kors’ personal fortune reached billionaire status.

Known for his jet-set sportswear styles, it makes sense that Michael Kors would favor Rolex sports watches. Most notably the Submariner, of which we’ve seen him wearing at least two different models. In his collection, he has a stainless steel Submariner and a full yellow gold Submariner. Both of Michael Kors’ Rolex Submariner dive watches have the classic black dial and black bezel combo.

Jimmy Choo’s Rolex Watches

Jimmy Choo
Photo: Fashion News/Unknown

The man behind some of the most coveted high-end shoes in fashion, Jimmy Choo was born into a family of shoemakers. A native of Malaysia but a resident of the United Kingdom, Jimmy Choo has famous clients all around the world.

A master of his craft, Jimmy Choo appreciates a well-made timepiece and we’ve seen him with plenty of high-end watches on his wrist including Patek Philippe and Rolex. In terms of Rolex watches, it seems that Jimmy Choo likes the Submariner dive watch the best. We’ve seen him wearing two-tone steel and yellow gold Submariner watches—one with a black dial and black bezel and the other with a blue dial and blue bezel.

While these super successful men are tastemakers in fashion and their designs are sought after by hoards of fashion-forward people everywhere, they’re happy to admit that in the high-end watch world, Rolex designs simply can’t be beat!

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Gold Shell Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/gold-shell-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/gold-shell-rolex-watches/#respond Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:07:25 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=181208 A gold Rolex watch has long been a potent symbol of success and achievement. They have also long been fairly costly. Starting way back in the 50s, the brand sought to address the price issue, and get their creations onto more wrists, by releasing gold shell watches. These were pieces with stainless steel cases, covered […]

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A gold Rolex watch has long been a potent symbol of success and achievement. They have also long been fairly costly.

Starting way back in the 50s, the brand sought to address the price issue, and get their creations onto more wrists, by releasing gold shell watches.

These were pieces with stainless steel cases, covered in a layer of gold around 240 microns thick, which was then pressure formed, hammered and soldered into place.

Rolex, with that famously madcap Swiss sense of humor, sometimes referred to these models as ‘golden eggs’ in their advertising, and the process was likewise used by other manufacturers such as Omega and IWC.

The Most Affordable Option

The gold shell watches were a more attainable middle ground between the utilitarian steel models and the all-out opulence of solid 18k.

With such a thick coating of precious metal, these pieces were still certainly not cheap, but they were a definite step up from other methods of achieving similar results, such as plating. Treated with a layer of gold as thin as 10-20 microns, gold plated watches were particularly susceptible to scratches that would expose the base metal underneath.

The gold shell process, otherwise known as gold cap, offered a far higher level of durability, and Rolex used it on models such as the Oyster Perpetual, the Date and the Air-King.

At Beckertime, we have a wide selection of these gold shell watches, offering a heap-full of vintage charm at a much more affordable price point.

The Rolex Air-King ref. 5520

The Air-King has a long and storied history in the Rolex saga. One of a series of ‘Air’ watches made on the instruction of company founder Hans Wilsdorf, they were built to commemorate the heroics of Britain’s RAF during the Second World War.

While the rest of the range, the Air-Giant, Air-Tiger and Air-Lion, quickly fell by the wayside, the Air-King has been in almost constant production since 1945, with only a brief two-year hiatus from 2014-2016.

Rolex Air-King Ref. 5520 Gold Shell

The watch stands as one of the most enduring designs in the whole of Rolex’s lineup, and none more so than the iconic ref. 5500. Debuting in 1957, the ref. 55XX series went on virtually unchanged for an incredible 37 years.

Also available in steel and Rolesor versions, between 1974 and 1986 a tiny handful were produced in gold shell, the ref. 5520, and they are a particularly rare find on the vintage market.

Throughout the ref. 5520’s life, it retained the Air-King’s traditional 34mm dimensions—an unusually large size for a watch born at the end of the war, but especially small by today’s standards.

It was powered exclusively by the Cal. 1520, a non-COSC rated movement, which led to all examples of the gold shell Air-Kings having the ‘Precision’ tag on their dials, rather than the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ we are more used to seeing today.

As a watch, the ref. 5520 was simplicity itself, as was the whole of the Air-King series. Fitted with a smooth, clean bezel, the face was also as straightforward as could be, with stick markers and pencil hands. A time-only piece, it had no complications to distract attention and it was issued with a small choice of dial colors, including black, champagne and silver.

One of the most understated icons in Rolex’s history, it is the perfect vintage dress watch, with plenty to appeal to both male and female audiences.

The Rolex Date ref. 1550/15505

Often confused with the omnipresent Datejust, for obvious reasons, the Rolex Date is something of an enigma in the brand’s family.

Mens Rolex 14K Gold Shell Date Champagne 15505

At 34mm, it is slightly smaller on the wrist than the customarily 36mm Datejust, although visually you would be hard pressed to spot any difference. It was also made available in fewer combinations of bezel, metal and dial type, with the range staying more under the radar than its bigger stable mate. There are solid gold and Rolesor versions, but the majority were issued in stainless steel.

Many see the watch as more a continuation of the Oyster Perpetual line, the series that started life in the 1920s and first put Rolex on the map, upgraded with a date function and Cyclops lens.

Whether you consider it a smaller Datejust or a fancier Oyster Perpetual, it doesn’t really matter. It, like the Air-King above, came with a gold shell variant, firstly in the form of the ref. 1550.

Launched in the early 1970s, the ref. 1550 was powered by the Cal. 1575, one of those movements that makes hardcore Rolex fans go all misty-eyed. The third generation of Rolex’s famed 1500 series of calibers, it introduced not only a higher frequency than its predecessor, at 19,800bph, it also brought with it the convenience of a hacking function. Now, setting the time could be achieved more accurately by pulling out the crown and stopping the seconds hand.

Pre Owned Mens Rolex Gold Shell Date with a Silver Dial 1550

When the ref. 1550 was itself replaced towards the end of the decade, becoming the ref. 15505, it was driven by the new Cal. 3035—the engine which introduced the now-standard Rolex 28,800bph frequency, as well as being the first automatic mechanical caliber with a Quickset date function.

Both references were ideal candidates for the stealthy luxury of gold shell construction. Not so much the entry-level Rolex, but rather the next stage up, the Rolex Date deserves a golden finish, and coating rugged stainless steel with a thick layer of it is the perfect compromise between appearance and price.

Today, both watches represent excellent bargains and a surprisingly inexpensive gateway into the world of truly fine vintage collecting. A fascinating slice of history that can be worn every day, the Rolex Date is a timeless brand emblem.

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What’s the Difference? The Rolex Sea-Dweller 40mm Vs. The Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-sea-dweller-40mm-vs-the-rolex-sea-dweller-43mm/ https://beckertime.com/blog/whats-the-difference-the-rolex-sea-dweller-40mm-vs-the-rolex-sea-dweller-43mm/#respond Thu, 09 Aug 2018 13:01:38 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=179156 It may not seem that important in the whole scheme of things, but when Rolex decide to up the size of one of their watches, particularly one of their greatest hits, it’s actually a pretty big deal. The trend for larger watches has been gathering pace since the late 90s. Before then, pieces in the […]

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It may not seem that important in the whole scheme of things, but when Rolex decide to up the size of one of their watches, particularly one of their greatest hits, it’s actually a pretty big deal.

The trend for larger watches has been gathering pace since the late 90s. Before then, pieces in the 37mm-40mm range were the norm, with the occasional outlier sneaking in that broke the self-imposed barrier, but these were generally sports models for a specific niche audience.

What started as a fad at the beginning of the new millennium has since become the accepted standard, and these days, models that would have been seen as outrageously oversized a few short decades ago are now perfectly conventional.

Rolex has shown the most resistance to the movement, stubbornly refusing to add even a single extra millimeter to legendary names such as the Submariner or the GMT-Master—professional models that have kept their dimensions unchanged for generations.

However, even the most successful watchmaker in history has had to make some concessions to modern times and their most recently released models have all conspicuously grown up.

So, we now have a 41mm Datejust and a 40mm President. The flagship Sky-Dweller comes in at 42mm, while the gargantuan Yacht-Master II and the kraken-like Deepsea both top out at 44mm.

The Middle Child

At last year’s Baselworld Fair, Rolex surprised everyone. It was well-known that a 50th anniversary edition of the brand’s iconic Sea-Dweller was on the cards, but what they unveiled was an all-new model that had grown from its 40mm origins to 43mm, leaving it within a hair of its even bigger bigger brother.

It was a fascinating departure for the watch that has always sat in the middle of the dive trio but, with the benefit of hindsight, possibly one we should have been expecting.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 40mm

Rolex have taken steps to differentiate the Sea-Dweller from the ever-present Submariner all the way throughout its production run. While they most certainly share significant portions of their DNA, the Sea-Dweller has long been the more mature, seriously-minded of the two.

It was the watch that introduced the Helium Escape Valve, a vital addition that allows expanding gas bubbles to escape from the interior without damaging the crystal. Until last year, it may have had the same diameter as the Sub, but it has also always had a thicker, more robust case to grant it its deeper depth rating. And it has never succumbed to the allure of precious metals in its construction, unlike its smaller sibling.

So giving it bigger dimensions to help separate them even more, as well as fit in with contemporary fashions, was a double benefit.

But it leaves us with almost two different watches—the 40mm and 43mm Sea-Dwellers.

Below, we’ll take a look at both.

Sea-Dweller 40mm

The Submariner had already been around for over a decade before the need for anything more than its 300m of water resistance surfaced.

Rolex Mens Submariner Comex Ref. 5514

By the mid-sixties, professional saturation divers were routinely working at great depths, sometimes living in underwater chambers for days or weeks at a time.

Before their immersion times were tracked and regulated by the highly precise monitoring systems common today, a reliable watch was absolutely paramount.

One of the world’s biggest commercial diving operations, a French company named COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises) approached Rolex in a bid to create a watch that could not only withstand the crushing pressures its crews were working at, but would also survive the ascent back to the surface.

The Helium Problem

At depths below 30m, breathing gases start to behave differently than they do at sea level. Oxygen becomes toxic and nitrogen produces an anesthetic effect known as nitrogen narcosis—both clearly not ideal for divers. To get around the problem, helium is introduced into the mixture, either with just oxygen to create Heliox, or with both oxygen and nitrogen to make Trimix.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665

One problem of using helium, apart from making divers’ voices go funny, is the size of its bubbles. Helium has one of the smallest molecules of any element, and can easily penetrate inside watch cases. As divers returned to the surface and the pressure on them decreased, the helium bubbles would expand and, with nowhere else to go, would pop the crystals off the watch face, escaping along the path of least resistance.

To allow for the gas to leave the watch before that happened, Rolex developed a one-way regulator, set into the case at the nine o’clock position. The HEV, or Helium Escape Valve, was originally trialed on the ref. 5513 Submariner, making it the ref. 5514, and proved effective enough that it led onto the production in 1967 of the first Sea-Dweller, the ref. 1665. More affectionately known as the Double Red, or the DRSD, for the two lines of red writing on its dial, it was rated down to 2,000ft, far outstripping the Submariner’s abilities.

Now massively collectable, DRSDs change hands for huge sums, especially the early pieces, and mark the start of a highly successful run of models still going strong today.

The Date Window

Rolex Submariner 1680

However, it was something the Sea-Dweller didn’t have that gained it much of its fan base. Since the ref. 1680 from 1969, the Submariner has always included a Cyclops over its date window. While useful, many have complained it spoils the overall balance of the dial.

Although the Sea-Dweller has always had a date function, because of the depths it was designed for, it was impossible to fit it with the magnifying lens, as the pressures on it would have caused it to break. It was therefore the choice for those who appreciated a little extra symmetry in their dive watches.

A Brief Hiatus

The Sea-Dweller continued on its merry way for 40 years, never selling in as great a number as the Sub, but earning itself a reputation as the cool, more exclusive outsider because of it.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660

Over the years the HEV got bigger, sapphire crystals were fitted and the depth rating doubled, now good for a plunge down to 4,000ft. Calibers came and went—the Cal. 1575 from the original was replaced with the Cal. 3035 in 1978’s ref. 16660 which introduced the high beat 28,800vph frequency of all modern Rolexes, and upgraded again in 1988 with the Cal. 3135 in the ref. 16600.

Then, in a move no one expected, and one that caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Rolex binned the Sea-Dweller altogether in 2008 to clear the decks for their new brainchild, the ridiculously tough Sea-Dweller Deepsea.

A masterpiece of watchmaking brilliance or not, with its unique architecture rating it safe down to 12,800ft, the Deepsea wasn’t able to capture the imagination as well as its stable mates, and six years later in 2014, the Sea-Dweller 4000 made a triumphant return.

The Last of the Breed

Rolex Sea-Dweller 116600

The ref. 116600 was the first in the Sea-Dweller range to sport the brand’s recently patented Cerachrom bezel, a near indestructible ceramic material that resists fading and scratches, no matter how hard a life it has. It also debuted the Maxi dial, with fatter hands and larger hour indexes to aid legibility. And its bracelet was given the extremely practical Glidelock extension system that allows for fine adjustments to its length without the need for tools.

However, as convenient as these additions were, there is another reason the ref. 116600 has become the darling of the pre-owned Sea-Dweller market. It was the last reference to be made without a Cyclops lens over its date window.

The Sea-Dweller 43mm

What a difference a small bubble makes. The Cyclops lens was introduced back in 1954 on the Datejust and now sits over every date window in the Rolex range, with just one exception. The Deepsea, designed to carry on working more than two miles underwater, currently has the only non-magnified dial. With a potential five tons of pressure per square inch to contend with, there is simply too much force pressing down on the crystal for the lens to survive.

On the Sea-Dweller though, Rolex have found a way to make it work, and managed to upset a proportion of their fans in the process.

A trademark element or not, the Cyclops has always spilt opinion, and those who have consistently picked the Sea-Dweller over the Sub for its very lack of the lens are now somewhat lost.

The Deepsea is a big watch to be wearing all day, and is missing the essential versatility shared by most of Rolex’s sports models. Given the choice between it and the previous generation Sea-Dweller, more and more fans are deciding to go vintage.

The ref. 126600

That is something of a shame as the latest ref. 126600 is a bit of a stunner.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600

While adding 3mm to the diameter doesn’t sound much of a bump, it makes a world of difference. It has given the watch more presence, but Rolex have managed to hit a perfect balance with it. The other elements have grown in proportion, so the hands, bezel, indexes and bracelet are bigger, but subtly, not in ways that draw too much attention.

The case has been intelligently redesigned too, with shorter and more curved lugs so it still suits smaller wrists.

It is more comfortable to wear than its predecessor as well, which had a slightly top-heavy aspect that caused a certain amount of wobble.

But the best part of the new creation is what has gone on inside.

The Cal. 3235

Rolex Caliber 3235

Replacing around 90% of the parts from the previous caliber, the Cal. 3135, commonly regarded as one of the best movements ever made, the Cal. 3235 is a true next generation mechanism, protected by 14 patents.

Along with a new rotor, winding system and gear train, it also features a new barrel and high capacity mainspring that gives a power reserve of 70 hours.

But the most hard work has gone into a completely restructured escapement, called the Chronergy. With pallet fork teeth half the thickness of before and a skeletonized escape wheel, the efficiency has been increased by 15% and it is now even more resistant to the effects of magnetism thanks to the components being constructed from a nickel-phosphorous alloy.

Which is Best?

So, should you go for the latest 43mm version or track down a vintage piece in 40mm?

There is, of course, no right answer. The contemporary model is the most technically proficient, as you’d expect, and is more in keeping with modern tastes size-wise.

Delving into the archive, there are some beloved classics to choose from, with nicknames that make collectors’ eyes light up—the Triple Six, the Great White and, if your pockets are deep enough, the Double Red itself.

It all comes down to personal taste (and possibly how good your eyesight is, where the Cyclops is concerned) but it is comforting to know that you can’t really make a bad choice.

Whatever its size, the Sea-Dweller is still one of the very best.

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The Rolex Watches of the Hit TV Show Modern Family https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-hit-tv-show-modern-family/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-rolex-watches-of-the-hit-tv-show-modern-family/#respond Wed, 08 Aug 2018 13:43:40 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182924 ABC just announced the return of their hit show, Modern Family, this fall. The tenth season of the show is slated to start September 26, which is great news for the fans of the show. While we recently covered Modern Family’s star Sofia Vergara’s Rolex watches, it seems her cast mates are fans of the […]

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ABC just announced the return of their hit show, Modern Family, this fall. The tenth season of the show is slated to start September 26, which is great news for the fans of the show. While we recently covered Modern Family’s star Sofia Vergara’s Rolex watches, it seems her cast mates are fans of the Swiss luxury watch brand too. Let’s get a closer look at Ed O’Neil, Ty Burrell, and Eric Stonestreet’s Rolex watches.

Ty Burrell’s Rolex Watch

Ty Burrell's Rolex Watch
Credit: The Awesomer

Ty Burrell plays the loveable yet goofy dad, Phil Dunphy on Modern Family and has won a slew of accolades for his role, including Emmy, Screen Actor Guild, and Critics’ Choice awards. In real life, we’ve spotted Ty Burrell wearing a stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II. His personal Rolex even made it into one the Modern Family episodes in season five.

The actor’s particular model is the current GMT-Master II ref. 116710LN with a black ceramic bezel and matching black dial. A solid everyday Rolex watch to have on hand.

Ed O’Neill’s Rolex Watches

Ed O'Neill Rolex Watch
Credit: Aceshowbiz

Ed O’Neill has been making audiences laugh as far back as the 1980s when he played Al Bundy on Married with Children. These days, Ed O’Neil plays Jay Pritchett on Modern Family, father-in-law to Phil Dunphy and husband of Sofia Vergara’s Gloria Pritchett. As a wealthy character, Jay Pritchett is often seen with some very nice watches on his wrist including some Rolex watches—which turns out may actually be Ed O’Neil’s personal Rolexes.

Off camera (and in Modern Family) we’ve often seen Ed O’Neill wearing a stainless steel Rolex Daytona chronograph with a white dial. In season three of Modern Family, Jay Pritchett was also spotted wearing a steel and ceramic Submariner with a black dial. Two classic Rolex sports watches.

Eric Stonestreet’s Rolex Watch

Eric Stonestreet's Rolex Watch
Credit: Wikimedia

Eric Stonestreet plays the hilarious and dramatic Cameron Tucker on Modern Family, son-in-law of Ed O’Neill. As Cameron Tucker, Eric Stonestreet has picked up two Emmy awards and plenty of Screen Actor Guild awards as part of the ensemble of Modern Family.

While Cameron Tucker does not seem to wear any watches in the show, Eric Stonestreet does, in fact, wear a Rolex Datejust quite often. His particular model is a stainless steel Datejust with a white gold fluted bezel, steel Oyster bracelet, and diamond indexes on the silver dial. Nicely done.

From GMT-Master II to Submariner to Datejust to Daytona watches, these three leading actors on one of TV’s most-watched comedy series certainly have fantastic taste in watches.

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The Visionaries Who Built Rolex https://beckertime.com/blog/the-visionaries-who-built-rolex/ https://beckertime.com/blog/the-visionaries-who-built-rolex/#respond Tue, 07 Aug 2018 15:07:32 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182876 Incredibly, for a company that has been in existence for over a hundred years, the leadership of Rolex has only changed hands six times, three of which happened in the last 10 years. It has always been an incredibly secretive and insulated brand, even today, and that cloistered philosophy extends to the people allowed to […]

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Incredibly, for a company that has been in existence for over a hundred years, the leadership of Rolex has only changed hands six times, three of which happened in the last 10 years.

It has always been an incredibly secretive and insulated brand, even today, and that cloistered philosophy extends to the people allowed to run it.

Technically a non-profit charitable trust, the private firm is wholly owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, named after the man who started the business in 1905.

Today, it stands as the single most successful watchmakers of all time, worth somewhere in the region of $8 billion.

Below, we’ll look at the people who brought Rolex to its current position, at the very top tier in the world of horology.

Hans Wilsdorf

Hans Otto Wilhelm Wilsdorf was born in Kulmach, Bavaria on March 22nd, 1881.

An orphan by the age of 12, he was brought up by his maternal uncles and attended a boarding school in Coburg before going on to study business at university in Bayreuth, the former hometown of Richard Wagner.

After moving to Geneva, he first worked for a pearl dealer before going on to join Cuna Korten, a Swiss company that exported fine pocket watches. With his gift for languages, being fluent in English, German and French, he was in charge of handling the business correspondence from Cuna Korten’s European vendors. It was this experience that gave Wilsdorf both his grounding in strategic marketing as well as his love of watches.

Hans Wilsdorf

After completing his compulsory national service in the German army in 1902, he moved to London, where he again worked for another luxury watchmaking firm, further enhancing his knowledge of every aspect of the industry.

He met and married Florence Frances May Crotty and gained British citizenship. Crucially, he also gained a brother-in-law, Alfred James Davis, and the two set up in business together in 1905, when Wilsdorf was just 24 years old.

Opening a store at 83 Hatton Gardens in central London, to this day the heart of the city’s jewelry quarter, the new company of Wilsdorf & Davis specialized in selling rather than manufacturing watches. They sourced the finest components from all over Europe, and particularly Switzerland; movements from Aegler, for instance, and bracelets from Gay Frères, the legendary accessory maker who also crafted bracelets for the likes of Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.

The watches they created were then sold on to jewelers, who would add their own name to them.

Yet, although the firm had become one of the most successful in the watch trade in just a few short years, Wilsdorf was desperate to have his branding included on the dial, something that no one in his position had ever been able to convince jewelers to agree to.

By 1908 he had hit upon the name Rolex. Much like Kodak, it is a word that has no meaning, but had a few points in its favor as far as Wilsdorf was concerned. It was short enough to fit on a watch face and still leave room for the jeweler’s own mark. It was easy to memorize, had a pleasant sound and would be pronounced the same in any language.

However, it would still take a further 20 years before all the watches the company sold would carry the name. At first, Wilsdorf inscribed Rolex on one in every six models that passed through his hands, then on two and later three, helped on by the successes the business was having. In 1914, for example, a 25mm Rolex wristlet watch became the first non-marine chronometer to be awarded a class ‘A’ certificate for accuracy by the Kew Observatory. Wilsdorf & Davis was slowly becoming synonymous with an uncompromising commitment to excellence.

That was also the year WWI broke out in Europe and anything sounding even remotely Germanic was due a particularly frosty reception in Britain, so in 1915 the brand officially became Rolex and, with an enormous tax hike following the war, Wilsdorf left London for new offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

By 1925 he had run out of patience and invested heavily in an extensive advertising campaign, which succeeded in persuading dealers to include the name Rolex on five out of every six watches they sold. And two years later, the company perfected the single most important innovation in the evolution of the wristwatch; a waterproof and dustproof housing called the Oyster. It marked the last time a model would leave their manufacture without the Rolex name on it.

Not only was Wilsdorf a remarkable visionary, inflexible in his demands for products of the highest quality, he was also single-minded in his determination to control every facet of his company. By partnering with fellow luxury watchmaker Carl F. Bucherer in 1924, the pair were able to resist being consumed by the Federation of Swiss Watch Manufacturers, the powerful cartel that dominated the industry. It became one of horology’s most successful alliances and changed the face of watchmaking forever.

Wilsdorf remained at the helm of Rolex until his death in 1960, a driving force guiding the company to ever greater heights of innovation and success. He was the brilliant mind behind not only the Oyster, but also the Perpetual automatic movement, and some of the most iconic watches in history were created in his tenure. Models such as the Submariner, the GMT-Master, the Milgauss, the Datejust, the Day-Date and the Explorer all benefitted from Wilsdorf’s direction.

When his wife passed away in 1944, he transferred all his shares in Rolex to the Hans Wilsdorf Trust, which put statutes in place ensuring that the company could never be sold or made public. It remains in control of Rolex today.

It may be more than 50 years since his death, but the influence of Wilsdorf and his genius for design and marketing can still be felt in every Rolex product released. A true giant in the world of horology, he created the single most successful watchmakers in history.

André Heiniger

Perhaps even more than Wilsdorf himself, his successor André J Heiniger is the man credited with making the name Rolex a byword for luxury and affluence.

He became only the second director in the company’s history when he took over the reins in 1962, two years after Wilsdorf died at the age of 78.

André Heiniger

Born in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland in 1921, the former lawyer joined Rolex in 1948 and had risen to the position of head of Rolex South America by the time the chief executive’s position opened up.

With a catalog of some of the most innovative models available from any manufacturer to work with, Heiniger set about transforming the company’s reputation from being the maker of technically impressive tool watches to one of the ultimate lifestyle brand—the timepiece of choice for the wealthy and influential.

In fact, the famous quote attributed to him that seems to most sum up his leadership style is the one where a friend asked him how the watch business was going.

“I’ve no idea,” he replied. “Rolex is not in the watch business. We are a luxury business.”

A very private man, and so a perfect fit for the notoriously circumspect brand, Heiniger was seldom seen in public. One of the rare occasions he appeared was to present the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, an accolade for achievements in science, exploration and the environment that Heiniger himself created in 1976 to commemorate the invention of the Oyster case. Held every two years, the $75,000 prize is presented to five recipients with particularly notable accomplishments.

After his retirement in 1992, Heiniger stayed on as Chairman of Rolex, and subsequently Chairman Emeritus, from 1997 until his death on January 3rd2000, aged 79.

He was the man responsible for bringing Rolex to where it is today. An enigmatic, low-key figure, his 34-years at the helm revolutionized the brand.

Patrick Heiniger

André Heiniger’s son Patrick joined Rolex in 1986 as commercial director. Born in Buenos Aires in 1950, he, like his father, had trained as a lawyer and specialized in international and intellectual property law.

He took over as managing director when André retired in 1992 and as CEO from 1997.

Patrick Heiniger

He reinforced the brand image that his predecessor’s had built up, further consolidating Rolex’s position in the market as the creators of timeless design classics worn by the successful and accomplished.

However, his time at the head will be forever remembered for his overseeing of the complete vertical integration of the company’s manufacturing base. Rolex had been buying up the assorted firms that supplied them with the various components of their watches for decades, but it was Patrick who masterminded the consolidation of more than 30 separate sites down to just four, immense, purpose-built facilities, in and around the canton of Geneva.

Handling the entire production from start to finish, the complexes guarantee Rolex complete autonomy. At Acacias, the world HQ building houses the R&D department and is where final assembly and testing takes place. Dials are made at Chéne-Bourg, which is also home to diamond and jewelry setting. The 11-storey Plan-Les-Ouates, five levels of which are underground, is where Rolex operates its own gold foundry and where it makes its cases and bracelets. And finally, the enormous base at Bienne is the production facility for the brand’s range of class-leading movements.

That last marks another triumph for Heiniger Jr’s legacy. He was the man who finally managed to purchase one of Rolex’s longest standing collaborators, Aegler. The Swiss watchmakers had been supplying the brand with calibers since Wilsdorf’s earliest days and bringing them in under the Rolex umbrella was the final step in giving the company absolute control.

In 2002, Patrick created the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a philanthropic program to help pass on artistic heritage to future generations and to help young artists develop their skills under the guidance of world renowned teachers.

Patrick retired from Rolex in 2008, but not before being honored with the insignia of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor and being appointed Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

There was an air of controversy surrounding his departure, and the famously taciturn company said very little as to why their esteemed head left so abruptly. They were, though, quick to quash any rumors about lost investments in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Tragically, in 2013, the reason for his exit became clear when Patrick Heiniger died aged 62 of a ‘long illness’.

Although only a relatively short term compared to his forerunners, the second Heiniger to run Rolex left an indelible stamp, bringing complete independence to the legendary watchmaker.

Bruno Meier

On December 20th2008, for the first time in the company’s history, Rolex took on a CEO from outside either the Wilsdorf or Heiniger families.

Bruno Meier

Bruno Meier, chief financial officer at Rolex since 2005, was a logical choice to take over the top job.

With the financial crisis hitting hard, the well-connected former banker who had previously run Deutsche Bank’s operations in Switzerland, was the man to steady the ship.

While other manufacturers were feeling the pinch, the breadth of Rolex’s reputation safeguarded the brand from the worst of the fallout. As Meier himself said at the time, “In a period of crisis, Rolex is a safe haven. For the client, and also the retailer.”

However, like some of the more sought-after watches on the vintage market, Meier appears to have been something of a transitional model.

Just three years after his appointment, and with the Swiss watch industry enjoying a resurgence, particularly in emerging markets such as Hong Kong and China, he was replaced by the head of Rolex Italia, Riccardo Marini.

Riccardo Marini

Riccardo Marini

The result of a decision to update corporate structures in order to continue the dynamic development of the brand, prepare for the future and cope with a pickup in markets’, Bruno Meier made way for Gian Riccardo Marini on 3rdMay, 2011.

Marini’s family were among the first Rolex retailers in Italy, teaming up with Franco Locatelli and Ronchi (the first to sell Rolex in Milan) to create ROMALO in 1947.

In the 1970s, Riccardo became commercial director at ROMALO, setting up their first service center for training Rolex dealers and vendors, and in 1993, the company became a full subsidiary of the brand.

He has been mainly associated with strengthening Rolex’s ties with golf and sailing, as well as directing the creation of limited edition pieces.

Yet, like Meier before him, Marini was barely given time to warm his seat, and found himself replaced by a new face in 2014.

Jean-Frédéric Dufour

The company’s sixth CEO, and the fourth since 2008, Dufour arrived just three years after Marini landed the main role.

Jean-Frédéric Dufour

With the impeccable pedigree of not only being the head of resurgent watchmakers Zenith since 2009, he was also trained under the tutelage of Jean-Claude Biver, once chief of luxury brand Hublot and the man usually credited with saving the watch industry from the quartz crisis.

As with Marini replacing Meier, it is not clear why the Italian’s duration was so short-lived, but his age is sometimes touted as possible reason.

Marini was 64 when he took over at Rolex; Dufour was a youthful 45. The brand could well have been looking to freshen up its image with a younger audience, while still maintaining its standing with its faithful old guard of fans. The new man would seem the ideal age to span the generations.

Whatever happens, the fate of the world’s leading luxury brand seems to be in safe hands. How long Dufour lasts is anybody’s guess, but hopefully he will be given plenty of time to leave a definitive mark of his own.

Photos from Rolex and Rolex Magazine.

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Tool Watch Time: Rolex Watches for Nerds https://beckertime.com/blog/tool-watch-time-rolex-watches-for-nerds/ https://beckertime.com/blog/tool-watch-time-rolex-watches-for-nerds/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 14:50:32 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182553 In the next installment of our Tool Watch Time series where we explore utilitarian Rolex watches developed for specific needs, we take a look at timepieces built for what we affectionately call, nerds. That is, Rolex watches built explicitly for scientists, engineers, doctors, and other professionals. What particular needs does this group have when wearing […]

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In the next installment of our Tool Watch Time series where we explore utilitarian Rolex watches developed for specific needs, we take a look at timepieces built for what we affectionately call, nerds. That is, Rolex watches built explicitly for scientists, engineers, doctors, and other professionals. What particular needs does this group have when wearing a watch? Since many of these professionals spend time in areas that have high-magnetic fields and magnetism is very detrimental to the functionality of a mechanical movement, they would need an antimagnetic watch. So today, let’s have a closer look at antimagnetic Rolex watches.

Antimagnetic Rolex Watch #1: Milgauss Part 1

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 6543

In 1956, Rolex introduced the stainless steel Milgauss antimagnetic watch for the scientific community. The name of the watch is a contraction of the words “Mille” (French for 1,000) and “Gauss” (the unit of measurement for magnetism). Therefore, as its name suggests, the Rolex Milgauss can endure magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss. Rolex achieved this antimagnetic ability thanks to a pair of protective shields—one on the movement and one on the case.

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 1019

Aside from the Milgauss’ antimagnetic capabilities, the watch also has other interesting design features. Early models of the watch, the Milgauss ref. 6543, had a 38mm Oyster case—quite large for the era—a marked rotating bezel similar to the Submariner, a honeycomb dial, and a lightning bolt seconds hand.

As is often the case, Rolex modified the Milgauss over the years. However, the following iteration after the Milgauss ref. 6543, the Milgauss ref. 1019, lacked many of the features that gave the Milgauss its quirky personality. While the resistance to 1,000 gauss remained, gone were the lightning bolt seconds hand, the honeycomb dial, and the rotating bezel. They were instead replaced with a straight seconds hand, black or white dial, and a smooth steel bezel. Undoubtedly due to a shortage of interest, Rolex shelved the Milgauss collection in 1988.

Antimagnetic Rolex Watch #2: Milgauss Part 2

Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400

Not to be defeated, Rolex re-introduced the Milgauss in 2007. This time, Rolex merged modern considerations and vintage touches. The new Milgauss ref. 116400 sports a 40mm Oyster case with a smooth steel bezel. Furthermore, not only did the lightning bolt shaped seconds hand return, but this time in a bright orange hue—accompanied by other orange accents—sitting on a black or white dial. There was also the debut of the anniversary Milgauss ref. 116400GV, where GV (Glace Verte) refers to the unique green tinted sapphire crystal protecting the dial. Powering these contemporary antimagnetic Rolex tool watches is Cal. 3131 with 48 hours of power reserve.

In 2014, Rolex extended the modern Milgauss range with the Milgauss ref. 116400GV “Z Blue” edition with a bright blue dial sitting under the green crystal. Very modern, very striking, and very nerdy—in the best way possible.

Antimagnetic Rolex Watch #3: Air-King

Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900

Aside from being one of Rolex’s oldest collections, the Air-King was always considered to be one of the most affordable watches from the brand with basic features and classic designs. However, Rolex discontinued the classic Air-King in 2014 only to bring back a completely new version in 2016. And the new Air-King ref. 116900 is the model we’re discussing here because like the Milgauss (and unlike older versions of the Air-King) it is indeed antimagnetic.

Featuring a 40mm Oyster case, a black dial, white minute numerals and white gold Explorer-style 3,6,9 hour markers, Mercedes-style hands, along with green and yellow dial details, the Air-King ref. 116900 is unlike any previous models that shares its name. Beneath the flashier exterior of the Air-King ref. 116900 is the same Cal. 3131 of the Milgauss with the customary protective shield. As a result, the Air-King is also antimagnetic and can be classified as a tool watch for the purposes of our discussion.

If you frequently find yourself in high magnetic fields or you just like the concept of a watch that can withstand such an environment, then the Rolex Milgauss or Rolex Air-King are tool watches definitely worth considering.

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Jonah Hill’s Leading Rolex Watches https://beckertime.com/blog/jonah-hills-leading-rolex-watches/ https://beckertime.com/blog/jonah-hills-leading-rolex-watches/#respond Thu, 02 Aug 2018 22:36:10 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182586 Actor, producer, screenwriter, and all-around hilarious Hollywood celebrity, Jonah Hill is best known for his roles in the movies Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Moneyball, War Dogs, and Wolf of Wall Street. The famous actor also seems to have a penchant for luxury watches—particularly Patek Philippe, Panerai, and Rolex watches. Read on to find out which […]

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Actor, producer, screenwriter, and all-around hilarious Hollywood celebrity, Jonah Hill is best known for his roles in the movies Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Moneyball, War Dogs, and Wolf of Wall Street. The famous actor also seems to have a penchant for luxury watches—particularly Patek Philippe, Panerai, and Rolex watches. Read on to find out which Rolex watches Jonah Hill has in his collection.

Jonah Hill
Credit: Getty Images

Jonah Hill’s Rolex Submariner Hulk

One Rolex watch that we see often on Jonah Hill’s wrist is his Submariner ref. 116610LV, also known as the “Hulk” in Rolex collecting communities. This particular modern stainless steel Submariner gets its nickname thanks to its bright green ceramic bezel and bright green dial combination.

Sized at a generous 40mm, this vibrant green Submariner certainly stands out on Jonah Hill’s wrist and we applaud his choice.

Jonah Hill’s Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date President

For Jonah Hill’s next watch, we move away from sports watch to the other side of the Rolex spectrum with a classic yellow gold Rolex Day-Date watch. It doesn’t get much more iconic than a solid yellow gold Rolex President watch and we love Jonah Hill’s version with the matching champagne dial. The overall monochromatic look of the piece is timeless.

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HELLO, BEANIE! @beaniefeldstein ❤

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Judging from how it wears on his wrist, we assume it’s a larger Day-Date 40 rather than the more traditional Day-Date 36.

Jonah Hill’s Yellow Gold Rolex Daytona

A well-rounded Rolex collection should (in an ideal world) include a Daytona. There’s no denying the appeal of Rolex’s signature chronograph watch and a yellow gold version just takes it to a whole new level. And it looks like Jonah Hill has at least two yellow gold Daytona chronos. The first one we spotted is the Rolex Daytona ref. 116508 with a gorgeous green metallic dial with red accents, which made its debut in 2016.

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At work with this guy @jonahhill ✌ #JonahHill #Work #NYC

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The other yellow gold Daytona we’ve seen Jonah Hill sporting is one with a black dial—a classic combination.

Jonah Hill
Credit: Rex Shuttherstock

Jonah Hill’s Modified Blacked-Out Rolex Daytona

At the 2017 Golden Globes, Jonah Hill stepped out onto the red carpet in a black suit, no tie, and white sneakers. But what we were most interested in was his choice of watch for the evening. It happened to be a modified Rolex Daytona in an all-black color scheme with white registers on the dial. While Rolex does not make all-black watches, we like the custom black and white Daytona that Jonah Hill opted for to match his black and white ensemble.

Jonah Hill’s Movie Rolex Watches

Jonah Hill
Credit: Wikia

Aside from the Rolex watches he wears off screen, Jonah Hill has played some famous movie characters wearing some notable Rolex watches. For instance, his colorful character Donnie Azoff wears a yellow gold Rolex Daytona in the hit movie, Wolf of Wall Street.

In War Dogs, Jonah Hill plays Efraim Diveroli, who wears a stainless steel Submariner ref. 116610LN with a black dial and matching black Cerachrom ceramic bezel.

Jonah Hill
Credit: Columbia Pictures

Finally, in Moneyball, assistant GM Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, has a stainless steel Daytona chronograph on his wrist with a white dial.

Whether off-screen or on-screen, it’s clear that Jonah Hill loves a good Rolex watch. We appreciate the variety of his collection, which includes Rolex dive watches, Rolex dress watches, and Rolex chronographs. We give Jonah Hill a solid 5/5 for his taste in luxury watches!

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Rolex Spotting at Comic-Con 2018 https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-spotting-at-comic-con-2018/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-spotting-at-comic-con-2018/#respond Wed, 01 Aug 2018 18:02:00 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182926 Tens of thousands of people descended upon San Diego last weekend for Comic-Con 2018. Although Comic-Con first began as a smaller convention focused on comic books and related low budget films and shows, today the popular event has exploded to become the largest show in North America with a host of Hollywood blockbuster movies also […]

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Tens of thousands of people descended upon San Diego last weekend for Comic-Con 2018. Although Comic-Con first began as a smaller convention focused on comic books and related low budget films and shows, today the popular event has exploded to become the largest show in North America with a host of Hollywood blockbuster movies also partaking. As a result, amidst the incredible cosplay costumes flaunted by fans and impressive exhibits hosted by the industry’s most creative people, there are plenty of top television and films stars in attendance too. And where there are celebrities, there is almost always a slew of Rolex watches too. Find out what Rolex watches made it to Comic-Con 2018 on the wrist of some of the most popular celebrities right now.

Tom Hardy’s Rolex Submariner

The man behind the supervillain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy, was at Comic-Con 2018 to promote his new film, Venom. While talking about his new flick, we couldn’t help but notice an awesome steel Rolex Submariner on his heavily tattooed arm. The Submariner ref. 116610LN to be exact, with the black Cerachrom ceramic bezel and black dial combo.

Bruce Willis’s Rolex Sea-Dweller

M. Night Shyamalan brought Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis back together again for the follow up to his Unbreakable film, which was released 18 years ago. Much to the delight of fans, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis were at Comic-Con 2018 to promote this new film, Glass. While there, Bruce Willis had a Rolex Sea-Dweller dive watch on his wrist. And because we spotted a Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal of Bruce Willis’ Sea-Dweller, we know that it’s the latest SD ref. 126600 with the larger 43mm Oyster case that Rolex released in 2017.

Aaron Paul’s Rolex Datejust II

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of AMC’s hit show, Breaking Bad, the cast of the now-defunct series reunited at San Diego’s Comic-Con 2018 for a discussion panel. Actor Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman, arrived with his five-month-old daughter in tow. In the spirit of cosplay, tiny Story Annabelle was dressed in a Hazmat suit—much like her dad’s character in Breaking Bad. While he was holding his baby daughter, we clearly saw Aaron Paul’s favorite Rolex Datejust II on his wrist. Aaron Paul has been wearing this particular stainless Rolex Datejust II with a white gold fluted bezel and blue dial for a few years now and it suits him perfectly.

Norman Reedus’ Rolex Daytona

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Also at Comic-Con 2018 was the cast of AMC’s The Walking Dead, who were clearly enjoying each other’s company. One of the stars of the horror drama, Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, had on his signature yellow gold Rolex Daytona chronograph. Sporting a sleek black dial, Norman Reedus’ precious Daytona is a striking contrast to his favorite all-black outfits.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Rolex Day-Date

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Rolex Watch
Credit: We Are Still Negan

It seems that solid gold Rolex watches are a thing among the cast of The Walking Dead as Norman Reedus’ co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan—who plays Negan in the show—also rocked one at Comic-Con 2018. However, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s gold Rolex was none other than a Day-Date with a black dial. Yet, instead of the more traditional President bracelet and gold fluted bezel, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s yellow gold Rolex Day-Date includes a smooth bezel and sportier Oyster bracelet.

While we didn’t spot any Rolex “Batman” or Rolex “Hulk” watches at Comic-Con 2018, there were plenty of other awesome Rolex watches worn by celebs to fawn over.

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Rolex and Motorsports, Driving The Brand Forward https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-and-motorsports-driving-the-brand-forward/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-and-motorsports-driving-the-brand-forward/#respond Tue, 31 Jul 2018 13:34:15 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182886 If you’re a fan of Formula 1, you will no doubt be immersed in all the Grand Prix races happening all over the world right now. From France to England to Germany to Hungary, it’s a busy summer season for F1. You may have even spotted some Rolex branding at the circuits since the brand […]

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If you’re a fan of Formula 1, you will no doubt be immersed in all the Grand Prix races happening all over the world right now. From France to England to Germany to Hungary, it’s a busy summer season for F1. You may have even spotted some Rolex branding at the circuits since the brand has been the Global Partner and Official Timepiece of the F1 since 2013. Rolex’s relationship with Formula is just a small portion of their overall support of motorsports and car events around the world. Let’s discover what motorsports events Rolex sponsors, who their driver brand ambassadors are, and highlight the Daytona, a chronograph built for the racing lifestyle.

Rolex Sponsored Motorsports Events

In addition to being a global partner of Formula 1, Rolex is also the title sponsor of the first F1 race of the season—the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix. Furthermore, Rolex is also a major sponsor of three of the sport’s leading endurance races.

There’s the Rolex 24 At Daytona, which takes place annually in January at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Rolex has been a title sponsor of the famous 24 At Daytona since 1992, and given that Rolex’s Daytona chronograph is named after the county’s speed capital, the relationship is fitting indeed! The winners of the 2018 edition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona each took home a specially engraved two-tone Daytona.

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Racing Corvettes! #Rolex24

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Later in the year in June, there’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France. Along with being the oldest sports car endurance race, it is also the most prestigious and Rolex became the Official Timepiece in 2001. The winners of the 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans each won a specially engraved steel and ceramic Daytona.

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Reward ..

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Completing Rolex’s support of endurance racing is the brand’s partnership with the 12 Hours of Sebring event, also in Florida, as well as being the Official Timepiece of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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The race is on 🏁 #LEMANS24 #LeMans #Racing #Rolex

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It’s not just high-adrenaline races that Rolex sponsors in the world of motorsports, the brand also partners with prestigious classic car events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in California, and the Goodwood Revival in the UK.

Rolex Motorsports Ambassadors

On top of sponsoring events, Rolex also has a list of motorsports ambassadors starting with Sir Jackie Stewart, who signed on in 1968. A legend in Formula 1, Sir Jackie Stewart won three World Championships and 27 Grand Prix races during his illustrious career. Other F1 drivers that are part of the Rolex family include nine-time Grand Prix winner, Mark Webber, and the 2016 F1 world champion, Nico Rosberg.

Rolex also counts Tom Kristensen as a brand ambassador, one of the most successful drivers in endurance racing ever.

The Daytona Chronograph Built for Motorsports

Perhaps the most famous luxury chronograph watch ever made, Rolex unveiled the Cosmograph Daytona chronograph in 1963. Named after Daytona Beach in Florida, home to a strong history of car racing, Rolex’s Daytona chronograph was built to race. Equipped with a tachymeter bezel charged to measure average speeds by using the chronograph hand on the dial, the Daytona’s duo of pushers on the case are there to start, stop, and reset that chrono hand.

The Daytona story includes three major parts thus far. The first is a collection of manual-wound chronograph watches manufactured from 1963 until 1988. The next chapter starts in 1988 with the first generation of automatic Daytona chronographs, powered by modified Zenith El Primero movements. The current phase began in 2000 when Rolex presented new versions of the Daytona running on an in-house chronograph movement, the Cal. 4130.

In true Rolex fashion, there have been plenty of different Daytona watches made throughout its history, from steel to gold to platinum to two-tone models. There are also a host of gem-set Daytona chronographs and the latest ones sport high-tech ceramic bezels.

As the Daytona chronicle continues to drive forward, Rolex has ensured that this legendary timepiece remains at the top of the podium.

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Rolex and Golf, Swinging Times https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-and-golf-swinging-times/ https://beckertime.com/blog/rolex-and-golf-swinging-times/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 18:18:42 +0000 https://beckertime.com/?p=182822 Considered one of the most prestigious and difficult sports to master, it is no wonder that Rolex is a strong supporter of golf. From sponsoring the game’s greatest tournaments to partnering with some of the best players in the sport’s history, Rolex is one of the most prominent brands in golf. Tee up and join […]

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Considered one of the most prestigious and difficult sports to master, it is no wonder that Rolex is a strong supporter of golf. From sponsoring the game’s greatest tournaments to partnering with some of the best players in the sport’s history, Rolex is one of the most prominent brands in golf. Tee up and join us as we explore Rolex’s involvement with golf and golfers around the world.

Golf Players Sponsored by Rolex

Rolex’s relationship with golf began in the 1960s when the brand officially teamed up with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player—known as the Big Three—who went on to become absolute legends in the sport.

Since then, the brand has continued supporting a diverse range of top golf players. For instance, the most successful female golfer of all time, Annika Sörenstam is a long friend of the brand. Plus, the young Lydia Ko, who made history by becoming No. #1 at just 17 years old, is also a part of the Rolex family. Other current female golfers who are part of the Rolex roster include Anna Nordqvist, Lexi Thompson, and Brooke Henderson.

On the men’s side, Rolex counts a whole host of golfers as official brand ambassadors including one of the most famous golfer of all time, Tiger Woods. There’s also Phil Mickelson, who famously wears his Rolex Cellini watch on his left wrist while playing.

Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer, and Jason Day are also officially sponsored by Rolex, as are Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, Thomas Pieters, and Brooks Koepka. An impressive list of golf champs indeed!

Golf Tournaments Sponsored by Rolex

Out of the four men’s major golf championships, Rolex is an official partner of three of them—The Masters in April, The US Open in June, and The Open in July.

The brand also sponsors The Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup, as well as the World Golf Championships, the World Cup of Golf, and THE PLAYERS Championship.

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It’s time. @rolex

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Rolex is also very active in women’s golf tournaments. In fact, the brand sponsors all five of the women’s golf majors. There’s the ANA Inspiration, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and the Evian Championship.