The Most Interesting Rolex From Baselworld 2017

Rolex Yacht-Master 40 - 18 CT Everrose Gold Unveiled at Baselworld 2017
Baselworld 2018 is fast approaching.  It has a reduced schedule this year, by 2 days due to several smaller vendors pulling out from the Exhibit Hall.  However, it will still be jam packed with tremendous jewelry and watch designs, thousands of vendors and a media storm of at least 5000 journalists. 

Baselworld 2018 will happen from March 22nd through March 27th in Messe Basel, Switzerland.  At only roughly $150 a ticket for the whole week, it is a great deal for soRolex Yacht-Master 40 - 18 CT Everrose Goldmeone that wants to see the latest Rolexes and other priceless timepieces and jewelry in one place. 

To commemorate this highly anticipated event, we are going to look at one of the most interesting Rolex timepieces to come out of the 2017 Baselworld event. 

This Oyster Perpetual Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Reference 116695 SATS is set with 31 jewels, including multicolor sapphires, green tsavorites, and a triangular diamond at 12 o'clock. 

The waterproof oyster case supports a depth of 330 feet and is crafted from a solid block of 18 ct Everose Gold.  The winding crown is supported by a triple waterproofness system. 

The sapphire crystal is practically scratchproof, and it comes with a Cyclops lense at 3 o'clock to facilitate the readability of the date. 

The Yacht-Master 40 is equipped with a caliber 3135, self-winding mechanical movement system providing precise and reliable time and a power reserve up to 48 hours.  Its oscillator protects against magnetic fields, temperature variations and shock. 

The black dial is offset by Chromalight appliques surrounded by 18 ct pink gold, offering long-lasting luminescence in dark environments.  The bracelet is a black Oysterflex made of high-performance elastomer and has an Oysterlock folding safety clasp in 18 ct Everose gold.

I love the color of the black dial and white Chromalight appliques.  This watch, though, seems to precious to take diving, swimming or in other activities.  Although it is built to for an active lifestyle, I feel this gem of a watch is more for wearing out and catching the attention of anyone that glimpses its adornments.  The collectability of this watch will be enhanced by the solid pink gold design.  This would surely be the only piece of jewelry a man would need.

Should Rolex Develop a Digital Watch?

Fitbit Blaze tracker with PurePulse heart rate, connected GPS and on-screen workouts - $199.99
Fitbit took the world by storm with its ability to calculate number of steps, miles walked, heart rate and so much more.  Apple and Google have extended their respective phone features on their watches as well allowing you to see emails and text messages on your wrist without needing to reach for your phone or fumble through your purse.

This year we are seeing several new players to the digital watch forum.  Besides new versions of the Fitbit and Samsung, we are seeing Michael Kors, Movodo and even Tag Heuer get into the game with some impressive digital offerings of their own.

So, it begs the question of whether Rolex should get into the Digital Watch game or not?

Source: Tag Heuer - Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 - $2,200
Before, we answer the question, let's look at some of the features of the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45.  To the right, it is pictured a Tag Heuer watch that is built with dual compatibility for Android 4.4+ and IOS 9+.  So, if you have an Android phone (such as Samsung) or an Apple phone, you are in business.  This watch has several built in sensors which will help track an increasing number of fitness, distance and many other features for you.

  • Accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Tilt detection
  • Microphone
  • Vibrations engine
  • Ambient light sensor
  • GPS 
  • NFC Payment
It is powered by an Intel Atom Processor Z34XX and has 512 MB of memory and 4 GB of storage. The touch display supports fingerprint recognition.  Resolution is a solid 400 x 400.  The case is 45 mm across and 13.75 mm thick.  It has a 1.39 inch screen.    

Since it is a sports watch, they outfitted it with a brown leather strap with a rubber lining.  With an approx pricetag of $4,000, the Tag Heuer certainly approaching the Rolex entry level pricing. 
Movado Connect for Android/IOS - $595

The benefits of digital watches are incredible today.  Firstly, the fitness aspect of these devices are excellent.  Many of these watches also submit information to health providers with monetary incentives for hitting daily goals such as walking 10,000 steps, or climbing 10 flights of stairs.  Tracking heart rate, miles walked, sleep patterns and more can give health professionals data that could help the wearer understand healthy habits and lifestyle options that could lead to better health.

Besides the health benefits, there are utility or infinite app-based add-ons that can make the digital watch very powerful.   Reading email and texts is a huge plus.  Listening to music or getting calendar alerts are big benefits.  Being able to change the clock face to fit your color preference or style preference or even the current set of activities is where the digital watch really starts to separate from the older mechanical technology.  

For example, say you go diving and you change to the diving options of the Submariner, but later in the day you could be driving your race car around a track and would rather have your watch shift to a Daytona timepiece.  That is all possible with digital.  

Samsung Gear S3 - $349.99
The fastest growing selling point for digital watch technology is payment option.  This is just in the early stages, but many restaurants and stores are beginning to accept payment via digital device so you could eventually just leave your wallet at home. Add to that, the fact that you could eventually do away with your physical wallet, and the growth of digital currency like BitCoin, this could become the hottest reason to invest in this technology.

So, does that put timeless Rolex technology into the Model T category of less than useful gadgets in today's age.  Not at all.  Rolex devices are more than fine jewelry.  With the auto winding technology, if you don't have power to charge your digital watch, the standard Rolex lineup would wipe the pavement with digital devices that are essentially dead without a daily (or more often) charge-up.  There are too many situations where a digital watch would be worth less than a rock paperweight if power were unavailable.  

One annoyance of digital is the time-out.  When you look at your Rolex timepiece it is on.  You don't have to tap it for it to turn on.  This saves you precious seconds and certainly doesn't require 2 hands.  Try driving a race car at 180 mph and then need to tap the watch dial to turn on the watch!  Digital also heats up when it is running for an extended period of time.  Have you ever tried to run your laptop on your actual lap?  

Michael Kors Access - $350
Imagine driving, boating or just doing anything active for a long period of time.   With a Rolex timepiece you don't have to worry about charging or feel tethered to the electrical outlet.  The problem is intensified during a power outage caused by some calamity (hurricane, tornado, bad power, or worse).   It is built to last and work doing the handful of features it provides without fail and with great precision.  Many digital watches are not built with the same rigorous standards to support deep diving depths such as the Rolex Submariner.

The value of a Rolex investment is also greater - with many Rolexes currently setting all time records for prices at auction.  

The chances of a defective part in a traditional Rolex is nearly non-existent compared to the potential problems that a digital timepiece might have.  This could cause a digital watch to diminish in value or even become worthless over time.  

As technology changes, will the digital watch be able to keep up 20, 50 or even 100 years from now?  Unlikely.  

Although a digital watch today might support Android 4+ or Iphone, what happens when the next best thing comes out or newer versions of those OS's?  Does the watch lose capability or connectivity?  How many 1st Generation Iphones are still in service?

And what about the electronic parts that are provided by Intel or other brands.  If you need a replacement processor, storage or memory in 2060 for your digital timepiece, will Intel manufacture that for you? For this reason, most digital watches could be considered disposable objects rather than heirlooms that could be handed down from father to son for generations.  That poses a huge challenge for Rolex, which produces timeless works of art.  

With that said, I do believe that Rolex should get into the digital game when they can control the factors of production, integration and technology as they have done since their inception.  They have a time honored history in timepiece mastery.  The potential of what Rolex could do with their timepiece lineup is too immense to ignore.  But they have to guarantee longevity and the timeless design they are known for.  
Concept Art of what a Rolex Digital Watch might look like.  Image from: François Petit /
Add to that the fact that DATA is becoming the go to resource for every company and human being.  Without data a company will suffer and die out over time.  People that embrace data stop making gut decisions and all the other stuff that might get in the way.  All of us will be drawn into this new realm of more data. The graphic above shows how a data driven watch might use GPS to map a race track and detailed progress in terms of time, splits and speed - a big advance in tech over a standard Daytona.  A dive watch might show dive depth as well as dive time.  Yachtmaster series watches might show weather patterns or even land masses or boat traffic that may cause congestion ahead.  Maybe even sea depth, and wave height could be calculated.  And the more Rolexes people wear, the more data could be collected, providing even better data for others to use. 

Although I fully expect Rolex to embrace digital in the future, they will maintain their main line of watches for the majority of their customer base.  I also expect to see some crossover occur from the digital data people to the standard Rolex line of watches.  For example, step counting.  Why not create a dial that counts the number of steps one takes from the time it is set.  I am sure this could be developed if it doesn't already exist.  Also, I expect to see a mixture of rolex classic design, such as the hands and time clock along with a digital display or two or three.  For example, let's say on the Daytona, the three circles could have digital outputs that vary.  Or perhaps the whole back can be digital, but the clock hands remain intact.  The permutations are endless.  

However, the bottom line is that I wouldn't want to exchange my Rolex timepiece for a digital option unless Rolex was involved somehow.  Do you feel the same?

Paul Newman's Legendary Daytona Rolex Becomes the Most Expensive Watch Sold in the World - For $17.8 Million

Photo from Phillips
Paul Newman (January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008) was one of the worlds most iconic actors famous for his long legendary history of Hollywood movie masterpieces including The Color of Money (1986), The Hustler (1961), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and The Sting (1982).  He has acted alongside some of the greatest actors in history including his wife Joanne Woodward, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Elizabeth Taylor.

The younger generation may remember his voice recordings in Cars as Doc Hudson.  He has won an Emmy, an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. 
Newman with his Daytona Rolex.  Photo Credit: Ron Galella via Getty Images

Paul Newman won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing.  He owned several winning teams in open-wheel IndyCar racing as well.  His teams have employed the services of Al Unser and Mario Andretti, and have won 8 national titles and 108 individual victories.  He had a 2nd place finish at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a first place finish (at age 70) at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona race. 

Paul Newman competed into his 80's winning a race at Lime Rock and was inducted into the Sports Car Club of America auto racing Hall of Fame, posthumously in 2009. Paul Newman once said, "The only thing I found grace in was racing a car."

His legendary acting career may only be surpassed by his philanthropic activity.  He created Newman's Own, a food company which donates all post-tax profits and royalties to charity.  Thus far, Newman's Own has donated nearly $500 million to charitable causes. 

Newman co-founded Safe Water Network which focuses on sustainable drinking water solutions, and he founded Serious Fun Children's Network which creates family fun summer camps for children with serious illness.  It has served nearly 300,000 children since inception. Newman was named the Most Generous Celebrity of 2008 by
Photo from

The "Paul Newman" Daytona, reference 6263 was a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward during the filming of the movie "Winning" and was worn every day by the Actor between 1969 and 1984.  It was engraved with "Drive Carefully Me," and remained his loyal companion  until he gifted the priceless timepiece to James Cox, a boyfriend of his first daughter Elinor Newman.  James was visiting with Nell and the Newmans at the family house in Westport Connecticut, known as the "Nook House." 
Engraved with "Drive Carefully Me" Photo from

James was working to restore the tree house on the property as a favor to his famous hosts - the tree house was a favorite aspect of the property by Paul and Joanne.  One day while checking up on James' progress, Paul Newman, having forgotten to wind his wristwatch that morning, asked James if he knew the time.  James responded that he didn't and that he didn't own a watch.  Paul handed James his Rolex and said, "If you can remember to wind this each day, it tells pretty good time."  This was clearly an understatement, as Newman won several bets over the years betting his Rolex told better time than other competitors.

Interestingly, the Exotic Dials of the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona was not popular when they came out.  Rolex, therefore, didn't manufacture many of these.  However the value of these dial designs have steadily risen over the years.  The Reference 6239 is powered by the Rolex caliber Valjoux 722 and has a steel bezel with screw down crown, 2 pump pushers and a non-Oyster case.  It has 17 jewels, and 3 dials and a tachymetric scale allowing race car drivers to measure average speeds up to 200 miles per hour.  It has a black dial and a 36 mm case. It has a small seconds hand, a 30 minute counter at the right (3 o'clock), a 12 hour counter in the middle (6 o'clock). and a 60 second timer at the left (9 o'clock).  This differs greatly from modern Daytona's which now can support up to 400 miles per hour average speed measurements. 

The auction for the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona took place at Phillips Auction House in New York.  Bidding started at 1 million, but that quickly went to $10 million, surpassing the $5 million Rolex Bao Dai price fetched only 6 months before.   The price rose steadily from there finally fetching a record breaking $17.8 million.  Proceeds went to benefit the Nell Newman Foundation and the Newman's Own Foundation.

5 Legendary Rolex Watches

Rolex Stelline Ref 6062  Photo from

The Rolex Stelline Ref 6062 represents one of the finest achievements of the Rolex production history. It is one of the only models (along with the 8171) that combines a full calendar with the phases of the moon. 

The yellow gold 36 mm Oyster case and the triple calendar with star-set numerals is spectacular--rich with complexity and yet fine simplicity. It takes its “Stelline” nickname from the Italian word for starlet – paying homage to the stars in the dial. The Reference 6062 was manufactured for 3 years in the 1950’s and was available in stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold. Pink gold is the rarest model of the three. 

This is one of my favorite Rolex watches for it its simple beauty and luxury. It sold recently for approx. $665,000.

Rolex Reference 4062  Photo from Christies

The Rolex Reference 4062 is a rare stainless steel and pink gold chronograph with pink dial, tear-drop lugs and originally came with a rice-grain bracelet. This Rolex comes with 18K gold and a coin-edge band. It was manufactured in between 1942 and 1963 and came in yellow gold, yellow gold, stainless steel and a mix of stainless steel and gold. It was created with a 36 mm diameter. 

It is valued at over $100,000 at auction. 

It is a complex piece with 17 jewels, silvered dial, applied baton and dagger numerals, outer blue telemetre and black tachymetre scales.

It has a coin-edge band, downturned lugs, two chronograph buttons and an 18k gold Rolex buckle. It has two dials for seconds and a 30 minutes register. This is a spectacular timepiece that has a beauty to be worn anytime, anywhere – at work or at play. 
The Reference 8171: Photo From
The Reference 8171 is known as the "Padellone" (Italian for large frying pan). This rare stainless steel wristwatch has a triple calendar with moonphases. This watch is highly sought after and recently sold at auction for over $1 million. This is only one of two Rolex models that indicate the day of the week, the month and the phases of the moon.

The Oyster case has a large 38mm diameter. This model was available in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel, and was manufactured in the early 1950’s. It has an exquisite expandable Gay Frères Oyster-style bracelet. The 8171 has a silver dial and silver-colored hour markers, with an Arabic numeral 12. It is surrounded by the date ring with blue colored numbers ranging from 1 to 31, all in the typical Rolex font. The needle-shaped date hand has a matching blue arrow shaped tip and silver arrow body. The hour and minute hand are silver in the classic French leaf design.
Reference 6263 Oyster Cosmograph UAE Desert Eagle   Photo from NikolaosPaliousis

The Reference 6263 Oyster Cosmograph UAE Desert Eagle is a rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with the UAE Coat of Arms on the dial. It was originally made for Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and has an approx. value of $220,000. Sheikh Mohammed was born on July 15 1949 and is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.[3]

He ascended to the throne in 2006 and is directly responsible for growing Dubai into a global city. He has high hopes, with a vision to make UAE one of the greatest countries in the world. He has a diverse set of holdings including Emirates Airline, DP world and the Jumeirah Group. He is also personally overseen the development of many Dubai projects including the Palm Islands, Buri Al Arab hotel and the construction of Buri Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

Sheik Muhammed is a well-recognized poet and equestrian. He has exceptional taste and this has extended to his taste in Rolex timepieces. The Rolex Daytona 6263 is a stunning achievement, primarily produced between 1971 and 1987. This Daytona is missing the Daytona Red symbol on the dial. It has a 37 mm diameter and is 13 mm thick.

Subsidiary Dials - Three engine-turned subsidiary dials display constant seconds, 30 minutes, and 12 hour registers on the bottom half of the dial. The 6263 has a water resistant case with a screw back, screw down crown, and two round screw down chronograph buttons, or “pushers,” in the band. It has a caliber 727 mechanical movement, 17 jewels. It is available in stainless steel and gold. It has a crystal crown with a Sigma dial. This is a watch that you can wear daily, but has the features a high end collector would want.

Rolex Jean-Claude Killy Reference 6036.  Photo from
The Reference 6036 is nicknamed the “Jean-Claude Killy,” named after the two-time skiing World Cup “Triple Crown” alpine skiing winner in 1968 at Grenoble, France. He was only 25 when he won gold in the slalom, giant slalom, and downhill events. Killy became an actor and famously married French actress and pin-up model Danielle Gaubert. Killy became a poster boy for Rolex for many years. His namesake timepiece was manufactured from 1940 to 1960.

The Reference 6036 Killy Rolex is a manually wound, triple-date calendar Dato-Compax chronograph with sunken gold markers. At a mere 36 millimeters, it will fit nicely on a smaller wrist. It is manufactured in Pink Gold and in Steel. A 6036 recently sold for over $350k.

The Bao Dai Rolex 6062 Becomes the 2nd Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold at Auction for $5,060,427

Source: Hodinkee

Fifteen years ago, the Bao Dai Rolex Watch sold at auction on November of 2002 for $235,000, at the time making it the most expensive Rolex watch sold at auction. 

The new price of $5,060,427 fetched on May 14, 2017 (both sold at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg) is a 21.5 times increase, or a 140 percent return on your investment annually for 15 years.  Not too shabby. In May this made the Bao Dai the most expensive Rolex sold in the world.  However, only a few months later, in October, the Paul Newman Daytona Rolex would soundly beat the Bao Dai and fetch a price of 17.8 million at auction at more than 3 times the price - making it the most expensive watch sold in the world.  See my post on the Paul Newman.  

However, the Bao Dai held the title as the most expensive Rolex for 5 long months, setting the stage for incredible prices to be fetched in the future for Rolex Watches owned by famous personalities.
So, what makes the Bao Dai so special?
Besides being one of the most luxurious and rare Rolex timepieces in history (one of only three 6062s ever made), the Bao Dai Rolex has a unique history, tied to the man who first purchased the watch. 
It was the Spring of 1954 in Geneva Switzerland.  The Vietnamese Emperor, Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, was negotiating the terms of the end of his reign and the future of the realm of Vietnam.  The Indochina War was coming to an end, as was the Nguyễn Dynasty. 
Source: Wikipedia
Nguyễn was the 13th and soon to be last emperor of the combined state of Vietnam.  He had ascended the Emperor’s throne in 1925 at the age of 12 and was given the title of Bao Dai – a title that translates as “Protector of Grandeur” or “Keeper of Greatness”.

Nguyễn was educated in France, and spent most of his life in France after his exile.  Bao Dai served as head of state under both French and American occupation.  He fought to keep Vietnam unified and was known as a reformer, both of institutions such as legal and education, but also of outdated traditions.
Bao Dai’s taste was impeccable.  He owned a rare Ferrari 375 MM Spyder, a private yacht, and a superb French villa.

He entered the famed Rolex retailer Chronomètrie Philippe Beguin and requested the most precious Rolex ever made.
Bao Dai turned down many rare timepieces before Rolex came to the rescue, finally displaying the Rolex reference 6062 in yellow gold with a black dial and diamond indexes.  This fine timepiece took on his name Bao Dai and will always be associated with the Last Emperor of Vietnam.

The Rolex 6062 is made of yellow gold and is one of only three models featuring black dials set with diamond markers.  It has other unique features, adding to its rarity.  It has five diamond numerals for even numbers and a different dial layout. 
Because of the diamond numeral at 12 o'clock, the Rolex crown was moved down, consequently forcing the "Rolex Oyster Perpetual"  to be placed below the day and month apertures. The "Officially Certified Chronometer" wording was moved from the center of the dial and placed below the moonphase dial.

The Bao Dai Rolex’s value is highly desirable due to its historical importance and ties to regal fame, but also to its iconic Rolex features including the Oyster case, a Rolex "perpetual" in-house movement and of course the rare full calendar complication featuring a moonphase display. 
This Rolex watch is also in fantastic shape, with no noticible wear marks or imperfections.  The yellow gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet adds to the effect of the watch, while not overly large, it is comfortable to wear. 

Truly a Rolex fit for a king.

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