You can love it or hate it, but Rolex not only excels in the watch industry; we are dealing with true masters of branding and marketing. The success of the brand established at the onset of the 20th century is unbroken, everyone recognises the little crown logo, their main models are true classics, and there is fierce competition for rare pieces between collectors. A good example of this was the Rolex Daytona | Lesson ONE auction held by Christie’s on 10 November for the 50th anniversary of the Daytona where 50 unique pieces were sold for USD 13 million. Or we could also mention the Important Watch auction of May in Geneva, where many collectors’ Rolexes – that we could view in Dubai beforehand – found new owners.
Rolex has achieved what every brand strives for: their product has become a symbol for quality, owning a Rolex for most people equals choosing from the best. The company traditionally connects with great achievements in all areas of life.
The green ad in the hazy background of the petrol steam of the race cars battling it out has been just as much a part of the F1 races as the cars themselves. Rolex is a patron of the Formula 1 series and the 24-hour Le Mans race, as well as the Daytona races but in addition to the fastest cars of the era, they are also partners of the entertaining races held for classic cars such as Goodwood or the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. We unavoidably also think of Rolex hand in hand with the Wimbledon tennis tournament that the brand has sponsored for the past 30 years, the golf U.S. Open, or rowing onto wilder waters, the Rolex Sydney – Hobart Yacht Race, that challenges the toughest boat crews every year.
They have a good sense of picking faces for the brand too. At times this is the result of a conscious quest, in other cases it is a fortunate meeting, like when Paul Newman, who fell in love with the Rolex Daytona, started to wear those pieces. One of my favourite images of Paul Newman is when he can be seen with the “Flying Scot”, the other Rolex icon Sir Jackie Stewart – the latter happens to be wearing a Rolex GMT-Master on his wrist. Statesmen, musicians, actors, explorers, artists and sportsmen all have a place in the Rolex hall of fame of icons.
Rolex promotes the great achievements of the future too. The Awards for Enterprise embraces projects that strive to improve lives, or protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage. The Rolex Arts Initiative is an artistic mentor programme that gives talented artists the opportunity to learn from the masters of their art as their mentors and to work together with them.
The combination of the above is the harmony we know to be Rolex, without which my series on cool women’s watches could not be complete. I visited the Petite Genève boutique in Budapest last week.
Let’s start with typically men’s watches that look so good on women’s wrists too.
The GMT-Master was the preferred watch of one of the most widely-known airlines in civil aviation: PanAm. In addition to the 24-hour display, the watch also shows a second time zone, with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand. It also has stop-seconds for precise time setting. The latest version is the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, 40mm is 904L steel, with a rotatable bezel featuring for the first time a two-colour ceramic bezel. Rolex has created this bezel with a specially developed and patented method; half of the ceramic bezel is blue while the other half is black, representing day and night.
The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II, 44mm is quite a big and really masculine watch, perhaps it requires a slightly wider female wrist. The matte white lacquer dial features blue hour indicators, blue counters and a red second counter, the case and straps are stainless steel. The 904L alloy has greatly improved resistance to strong reducing acids, particularly sulphuric acid. It is also highly resistant to chloride attack – pitting/crevice corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. The Yacht-Master II is a chronometer-certified professional regatta chronograph, the perfect combination of cutting edge technology and respect for traditions.
At the Christie’s auction I mentioned before among the highlights there was a 1969 stainless steel Paul Newman model, an Oyster Cosmograph Daytona, made for the Sultan of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, an 18K gold Oyster set with diamonds, a Superlative Chronometer, Cosmograph Daytona and a stainless steel model nicknamed ‘Double Swiss Underlined’, that is one of the first Daytonas from 1963. Cosmograph Daytonas are probably the most sought-after Rolex models that were initially intended for the fans of fast cars; however its success was not always what it is today. Initially it had a Valjoux cal. 72 manual wind movement then the first automatic Cosmograph was issued in 1988 with the modified Zenith movement. Since 2000 the series has been produced with the calibre 4130 in-house automatic certified Swiss chronograph movement that is famous for its reliability and precision.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is really popular, so you can choose it with many different details. We pictured a 18K gold version with black dial, one with leather strap and Everose gold case, another with white dial, black sub-dials, 18K gold case, and leather strap and the fourth is a shiny version with diamonds and mother of pearl dial and Rolesor bracelet.
Rolex timepieces specifically for women
The 36mm size was orginially a men’s size, but an increasing number of women prefer larger watches thus this diameter is today popular even among ladies. The 36mm diameter Oyster Perpetual Datejust is a truly feminine and refined model that simply goes well with everything. The dial is off-white; diamonds indicate the numbers with the exception of the 12 and 3. Date aperture is at 3 o’clock with „Cyclops eye” magnifying it. „Cyclops eye” can be found in many models, but it has been first introduced on the Oyster Perpetual Datejust in 1945. The case of this watch is Everose. The “Everose gold” is a special Rolex material, from an alloy of 18K gold, copper, and platinum to create a subtle pink colour that is in nice harmony with the powder pink leather strap.
The Oyster Perpetual with floral motifs on a brown dial is also a Datejust model, with Jubilee bracelet, five-piece links. The strap that was designed specifically for the Datejust’s debut in 1945 features the so-called Rolesor, two metals running side by side. The 6 and numerals are set with tiny diamonds.
The Day-Date made its debut in 1956 and was the first wristwatch to show both the day and the date in full length. The Rolex manufacture creates this model from gold or platinum. This Oyster Perpetual Day-Date is also 36mm, with chocolate dial, and is set with diamonds and rubies at 6 and 9 o’clock. The case and the bracelet is Everose gold. The Oyster bracelet is originally from the 1930s and it’s a robust metal bracelet with flat three-piece links. Just like the Datejust, the Day-Date can also feature two bezels: the traditional domed bezel or the fluted Bezel- so typical of Rolex. The fluted pattern was introduced in 1926 and was initially used so that the bezel could be fixed more easily onto the case for the purpose of water resistance. Due to advances in technology today this merely plays an aesthetic role. A calibre 3155 certified automatic chronometer ticks away inside the watch.
Thank you for the kind help of Petite Genève and Linda! By the way, she was also wearing a Sea-Dweller, so go for it ladies!
You can find all articles of the series here.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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