What Would You Like to See from Rolex in 2017?

With 2016 coming to an end, the Internet is abuzz with predictions for which models Rolex will update and introduce at Baselworld 2017. As a creative professional, I have indulged some of my own ideas with Photoshopped concepts and shared them on this blog. While the likelihood of many of these concepts coming to life may be slim, I always prefer to err on the side of imagination. 
Rolex Bronze Explorer II Concept
The image above is a bronze Explorer II that I put together to express my desire for a new and bold Explorer configuration. Since they currently don't offer Explorer models in any material other than stainless steel, I figure it wouldn't hurt to introduce a bronze version. Check out my post on this concept for more information on why I think a bronze Rolex would be a great addition to their professional collection.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000
I put together a post with my 2017 Rolex model update predictions that focuses on their past behavior in terms of model updates. The most likely prediction is a 50th anniversary model update for the Sea-Dweller 4000. There are a couple other models with anniversaries and I also list other factors that may influence the watchmaker's model updates, like sizes and materials.
Rolex Oysterflex Bracelet 
One of the innovations that I feel will most likely be introduced on new model configurations is the Oysterflex bracelet shown in the photo above. With the popularity of rubber straps for Rolex watches, it makes perfect sense for the watchmaker to capitalize off the trend by offer more rubber strap models in addition to the Everose gold Yacht-Master that is currently offered with the Oysterflex.

Blacked Out Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Concept
Another concept that I chose to bring to life is a blacked out Sea-Dweller 4000. Although this would be a big move for the watchmaker, who usually maintains a classical aesthetic on their wristwatch models, I feel that it is entirely in their wheelhouse considering that they already use a PVD coating on their Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark. It may be pie in the sky, but it doesn't hurt to dream.

When it comes to making predictions, I find that it is more important to express my desire than try to be dead on. We lose nothing by letting the watchmaker know which models we love, which we think could use an upgrade and what we want our Rolex watches to look like in the future.

Regardless of what we see at Baselworld 2017, I hope that their model updates combine the precision and innovation Rolex is known for with an emboldened aesthetic that incorporates some of the aspects of their Tudor brand that we have come to love. The only question left for me to ask going into the new year is: what would you like to see from Rolex in 2017?

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The Swiss Watchmaking Industry Reports a Softening in Decline

Rolex Chêne-Bourg Site (photo: Jean-Daniel Meyer)
According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, the decline of exports for the Swiss watch industry softened from October to November of 2016. While exports of precious metal configurations saw a decline, stainless steel models offset the loss with a small increase. Watches priced over 3,000 and between 200 and 500 Swiss francs saw the most significant decline, with wristwatches at other export prices showing a small increase.

Sales rose in mainland China and the United Kingdom, with Hong Kong remaining stable. The rest of Europe and the United States saw declines, however, bringing exports down. These numbers are seen as somewhat positive according to the Swiss watch industry, as the months prior showed a steady decline in imports overall. Whether the steadying of exports will signal an end to the decline remains to be seen. With watchmakers buying back inventory this year to offset their declining sales, it seems that they have their work cut out for them in the first quarter of 2017.

Rolex is not a public company, so their sales figures and production numbers remain shrouded in mystery. However, these numbers make it clear that the Swiss watchmakers need to create a significant amount of fanfare at Baselworld 2017 in the hopes of changing the negative trend in watch exports in the coming year. It would be wise to focus on the segments that are currently trending upward, so I don't expect as many precious metal configurations as interesting stainless steel models. Rolex is known to focus on their long-term goals as compared to other companies that tend to go with current trends. This will make it interesting to see how they position themselves at the trade show in March.

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Rolex Turn-O-Graph Reference 6202

Rolex Turn-O-Graph Reference 6202 (photo: Phillips)
One of the first Rolex models to feature a rotating bezel, the Turn-O-Graph model (Reference # 6202) was released in 1953. It wasn't popular at the time, but this stainless steel wristwatch was the predecessor to the brand's most famous professional models, including the Submariner. The 6202 shown in the photo above was part of the Rolex Milestones auction held by Phillips in Hong Kong last month and sold for approximately $32,225 US.

The Turn-O-Graph above features a black lacquer dial that is still relatively shiny given its age. This model was also available with a honeycomb dial at the time, similar to that of the Explorer (Reference #6350) that also sold at the Milestones auction. Given that this model features its original dial, bezel and bracelet, it is very rare due to the fact that this model was quickly discontinued due to the popularity of the Submariner and GMT-Master in later years. The numerals have an orange patina as does the lollipop seconds hand.

What makes this reference interesting in the current market is the fact that the Turn-O-Graph model was short-lived, making vintage pieces like this hard to find. It looks so similar to the Sub and GMT that it is familiar to collectors in terms of aesthetic, but still holds its own value in its uniqueness. For more information on this model and the others sold at auction in Hong Kong, visit phillips.com.

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Will 2017 Be the Year of the Blacked Out Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000?

UPDATE: The short answer is no! Check out the 2017 Sea-Dweller model here

Blacked Out Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Concept
While Tudor Watch Company offers their Heritage Black Bay Dark model with a black PVD coating on it, we have yet to see Rolex come out with a blacked out model. When thinking of how they might commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Sea-Dweller 4000 at Baselworld 2017, it occurred to me that offering a blacked out version is not only within their production capabilities, but also something that already has a market. Many companies offer after-market modification services and it might make sense for the watchmaker to apply a dark coating onto the stainless steel watch in-house to cut out the middle man.

The image above is a Photoshopped SD4K with a blacked out Oyster case and bracelet and the name and depth rating in double red to honor dive watches of years past. What I love about this concept is that it still maintains the Rolex aesthetic while bringing into the 21st century in terms of style. They are not known for following trends with their collections for the Rolex brand, so this would be a bold move that would revitalize a professional model that is usually overlooked. It would also be wise to invest in marketing another stainless steel configuration this year as precious metal watches aren't moving as much in international markets.

Even with all of my arguments for a blacked out Sea-Dweller 4000 in 2017, I know that it is a pie in the sky prediction based on Rolex's modus operandi when it comes to updating models. However, I don't think it hurts to daydream. As much as I respect the brand, I do crave a bold move from them in the coming year that would show watch enthusiasts that they are capable of more than building upon classic models and 20th century aesthetics.

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Should I Wait for Baselworld 2017 to Buy a Rolex?

UPDATE: Check out the watches Rolex introduced at Baselworld 2017 here

For the past few weeks, watch forums have been buzzing with rumors and predictions about the new models Rolex and other watchmakers will introduce at Baselworld 2017. The international trade show features all of the major players in horology from around the world and introduces the their latest configurations. However, while these new models will receive much attention from the press, blogs and social media after making a splash at Baselworld, it will be a while before they will be available for purchase - something to think about if you are trying to decide when to buy a Rolex. 

Rolex Baselworld 2016 Stand (photo: Rolex/Cédric Widmer)
2017 Rolex Model Predictions
When it comes to making predictions about which models will be updated in 2017, it's anyone's guess. Rolex Passion Report published a post predicting that the Day-Date model will be updated with an annual calendar complication. They also predict a precious metal GMT-Master II with a "Coke" bezel, more ceramic Daytona configurations and more Yacht-Master models fitted with the Oysterflex bracelet.

The watchmaker has nothing to lose by adding more YM Oysterflex configurations so I think that's a safe bet. With people still waiting for their 116500LNs from 2016, I'm not sure that it makes too much sense to release even more Ceramic Daytona models just yet. With the SD4000 coming up on its 50th anniversary, we can expect a new configuration on that model as well. In previous posts, I discussed my hopes for a bronze model similar to the Black Bay Bronze from Tudor, their sister company. I wrote about the likelihood of the Oysterflex making a splash at the event and summarized my predictions and reasoning.

2016 Rolex Model Releases
Predictions aside, there are factors to consider when deciding weather to wait to purchase a 2017 Rolex model. Even though you can see the new models at Baselworld, the earliest that these configurations will ship is summer 2017. Last year Ben Clymer and John Mayer were among the first to receive the Ceramic Daytona and that was at the end of May. According to Clymer, he sent an e-mail to reserve his while attending Baselworld 2016 and the watchmaker was likely more than happy to fulfill that order early to get press for the model. So, even if you are the first to request one, you will still be waiting months to get a new model.

Aside from the wait, you should also consider the fact that people are willing to pay a premium for new models that are hard to find. So, even if you can get a dealer to put you at the top of their list, you can expect to pay at least the suggested retail price. If the long wait and premiums don't scare you, I would recommend staying tuned to the Rolex model introductions during the first days of Baselworld 2017 and contacting a dealer immediately if interested. That way, at the very least, you can assure yourself a seat at the table for 2017 models.

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Is My Rolex Watch Clasp an Oysterclasp or Oysterlock?

When making a Rolex purchase, it is always important to familiarize yourself with the specific details of the reference you are interested in. With so many working parts, some details can be overlooked, even after you take the watch home. The difference between the Oysterclasp and Oysterlock is subtle, but it is important that you know which one you have in case it ever needs to be replaced or you purchase a strap that incorporates the clasp.

Rolex Oysterlock Clasp on Oyster Bracelet (photo: Rolex)
The photo above shows a brushed Oyster bracelet with polished center links fitted with an Oysterlock clasp. You can see the snap-fit lever with the Rolex crown logo opened to expose the folding blades. When snapped shut, the crown is used to open the clasp. When the clasp is locked, you can see a small piece of the clasp cover exposed between the crown and the links.
Rolex Oysterclasp Clasp on Oyster Bracelet (photo: Rolex)
The Oysterclasp, shown above on a brushed Oyster bracelet, is a more simplified clasp. The crown logo is imprinted on the clasp cover, not on the lever. On this clasp there is no space between the lever and the bracelet like on the Oysterlock. This is the easiest way to tell the difference between this and the Oysterlock - that and the position of the crown logo.

Rolex also offers a Crownclasp option which conceals the clasp below the bracelet, with only the crown logo visible between links. You can check out all of the bracelet options and the clasps that go along with them in my previous post on Rolex bracelet options. If you're curious about the difference between the Glidelock and Fliplock extension systems, check out my post on that.

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Rolex 3186 Self-Winding Mechanical Movement

Rolex 3186 Movement (photo: Rolex)
Manufactured in-house by Rolex, the 3186 self-winding mechanical movement powers the popular GMT-Master II model in its 40 millimeter configuration. According to an article by luxurytyme.com, this movement was also used on the last five digit reference Explorer II. After that, the watchmaker sized up the Exp2 to 42 millimeters and began using the 3187 movement it uses to this day. In addition to the hour, minute and second hands, this movement offers a GMT complication with a 24-hour hand and display.

Like most of the movements that have come from their manufacture since the early 2000s, the Calibre 3186 is equipped with Rolex's blue Parachrom hairspring. It beats with an oscillation frequency of 28,800 beats per minute which allows for optimal precision and reliability. Since 2005, the watchmaker has used their Paraflex shock absorbers to increase shock resistance in their movements. To this day, the movements are powered by a Perpetual rotor that the watchmaker patented in 1931. A half-moon shaped weight rotates bidirectionally with the movement of the wrist to capture the energy required to power the movement.

Of of Rolex's movements undergo rigorous testing to ensure their precision before going out to customers. They are all certified as chronometers by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The watchmaker also adds their own certification indicted by a green seal that certifies their watches as Superlative Chronometers. For more information on Rolex watchmaking, visit rolex.com.

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Rolex's Time Tested Testimonee Concept Lives On Today

The First Rolex Testimonee, Englishwoman Mercedes Gleitze, in Daily Mail, 1927 (photo: Rolex)
In English, the word "testimony" refers to a statement of fact made by a witness in a legal case that can be used as evidence. Since the earlier half of the twentieth century, Rolex has used the term "Testimonee" to refer to the celebrities who agree to lend their names to endorse the brand and its product offerings to the public. The clipping from the Daily Mail above shows the first Rolex Testimonee, English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze.

As demonstrated by their choice of an athlete who attempted to be the first female to swim across the English Channel, Rolex ties their brand to "exceptional personalities whose accomplishments bear witness to the excellence of Rolex watches." More recently, their roster of Testimonees includes opera greats like Plácido Domingo and Rolando Villazón, athletes like Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn and other notable personalities.

The watchmaker uses their celebrity Testimonees for ads and features on their official website and social media accounts. They focus on the watches themselves in most of their print ads in magazines like The New Yorker and high end Condé Nast publications, though. However, they recently added a section to their website titled "Every Rolex Tells a Story" featuring mainly athletes sharing their experiences with the Rolex watches in their collections. They also feature their Arts Testimonees on a page dedicated to their involvement in the arts. Many rappers and R & B artists wear Rolex watches in their music videos and live performances, but none of them have been featured as Testimonees to date.

While most of their advertising and marketing today caters to the sensibilities of conservative baby boomers with a taste for luxury, the idea of using celebrities to promote their products was an innovation at the time. It lives on today with most luxury retailers using similar celebrity endorsements to tie their brand identities to the achievements of exceptional individuals.

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Check Out This Rare Vintage Rolex Explorer Ref. 6350

Rolex Explorer Ref. 6350 (photo: Phillips)
At the Rolex Milestones auction in Hong Kong last month, a very rare Rolex Explorer (Reference # 6350) exceeded expectations by selling for approximately $46,600 US. This may seem like a lot for an uncomplicated stainless steel watch on a worn leather strap, but this beloved Rolex professional watch has a special place in the hearts of the watchmaker's loyal admirers.

The stainless steel case of this 6350 Explorer measures 36 millimeters in diameter and is equipped with an automatic A296 movement. Introduced around 1953, the watchmaker tied the legacy of the Explorer with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's summit of Mount Everest that same year. Rolex had provided them with Oyster watches before their trip and still include the historic climb in their marketing materials for Explorer models.

What is unique about the 6350 reference in particular is the "Officially Certified Chronometer" above 6 o'clock. The characteristic 3-6-9 hour markers and hands are filled with the original radium luminescence that draw a clear contrast with the black honeycomb dial. This particular piece retains the original Brevet crown and sharp edges that have not been worn down by polishing.

The original intention for the Explorer model was to create an extremely legible watch, something the watchmaker achieved. While other model configurations can suffer from a congested dial and lack of luminescence and symmetry, the Explorer stands along as a simple and uncomplicated cult classic for Rolex. Even vintage models like this one look remarkable similar to the current configuration, save the size and leather strap.

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Check Out These Sizable White Gold Rolex Watches

On the larger side of Rolex's Oyster collection, the Sky-Dweller and Yacht-Master II models come in white gold configurations that combine innovative functionality with a cool luxury aesthetic. White gold has become far more fashionable than yellow gold in recent years. With both models released in the past decade, it makes sense that they would feature outstanding white gold versions to capitalize on the trend. Even though white gold tends to scratch more than stainless steel, its status as a precious metal allows it to fetch a lot more on the market.

White Gold Rolex Sky-Dweller (photo: Rolex/Maxime Le Conte des Floris)
The white gold Rolex Sky-Dweller shown above (Reference # 326939) features a 42 millimeter case, a brushed Oyster bracelet with polished center links and a fluted Ring Command bezel. A 9001 self-winding mechanical movement gives it a power reserve of 72 hours and interacts with the bezel to offer functionality. In addition to center hours, minutes and seconds, the Sky-Dweller displays the date through an aperture at 3 o'clock with a 24 hour display on an off-center disc and the month displayed through twelve apertures around the circumference of the dial. It is available with either the ivory dial shown above or a black dial in white gold on Oyster or black leather strap.

White Gold Rolex Yacht-Master II (photo: Rolex/Maxime Le Conte des Floris)
With a 44 millimeter case, one of the largest in Rolex's professional collection next to the Deepsea, the Yacht-Master II shown above (Reference # 116689) is the largest white gold configuration currently available from the watchmaker. The bidirectional Ring Command bezel is made of 950 Platinum with raised numerals and controls the regatta timer function along with the pushers at 2 and 4 o'clock.  It comes on a brushed gold Oyster bracelet with polished center links and features a Triplock winding crown. This model does not come with a date function as the dial is dominated by the 10-minute programmable countdown display. A Calibre 4161 powers this robust Rolex professional model with a power reserve of 72 hours.

The suggested retail price for the white gold Sky-Dweller is $48,850 US and the white gold Yacht-Master II goes for about $48,150 US. While their price tags are in the same range, these are very different timepieces. The Sky-Dweller has characteristics of Rolex's dress watches and offers a combination of classical design with watchmaking innovation. The Yacht-Master II has an innovative complication as well, but adheres more to the aesthetic of the watchmaker's professional line. For more information on either of these white gold Rolex watches, visit their official website at rolex.com.

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The Rolex GMT-Master 2 in its Attractive BLRO Configuration

With the same bezel colors as the original GMT-Master model released in 1955, the white gold Rolex GMT-Master II (Reference # 116719BLRO) combines the legacy of the model with the prestige of a precious metal configuration. It is also known as the "Pepsi" by watch enthusiasts due to its color combination. By any other name, this reference is just as attractive to those looking for a robust professional watch with all the luxury appeal of a gold Rolex. 

Rolex GMT-Master II BLRO (photo: Rolex)
Technical Information
The GMT-Master II BLRO is currently available in white gold with a black dial as shown in the photo above. It is powered by a 3186 self-winding mechanical movement manufactured by Rolex in-house. It features a bi-directional rotatable bezel with a 24-hour display that corresponds with a 24-hour hand to provide GMT functionality. It is waterproof up to 100 meters due in part to its Oyster case and Triplock winding crown. The BLRO features a power reserve is 48 hours and it functions with a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day after casing. The 18 carat white gold bracelet is brushed with polished center links and the sapphire crystal features the watchmaker's characteristic Cyclops magnifying lens over the date aperture at 3 o'clock.


First GMT-Master Model from 1955 (photo: Rolex)
Legacy 
Introduced at a time when international travel was a novelty, the original GMT-Master featured the same color combination as the current BLRO. However, it was made from stainless steel and other materials that were more common at the time. Releasing it now in white gold elevates the new configuration while still paying homage to the original aesthetic. As the official timepiece of airlines like Pan Am, the GMT-Master paved the way for GMT watches and forever linked it to the legacy of air travel. Rolex still offers the GMT-Master II in stainless steel, with either a blue and black bezel or a plain black bezel.

The retail price for the white gold GMT-Master II BLRO is approximately $38,250 US. This price point makes it less common than the BLNR and LN references, which is wonderful for those who own one. It may not be considered a dress watch, but the BLRO is certainly on the high end of watches made by Rolex today. For more information on this model visit rolex.com.

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The Explorer 2 is an Interesting Watch Choice for a Prince

Prince Harry of Wales Wearing a Rolex Explorer II 
While most international publications have been focused on Prince Harry of Wales' current romantic relationship with American actress Meghan Markle, what I find interesting is his choice of watch. Shown in the photo above during his service in the British Army, he wears a Rolex Explorer II with a white dial (Reference # 216570). I dubbed this model the watchmaker's most underrated model in a previous post, as it is often found at a discount online as compared to other models.

Someone who can wear any watch in the world, Prince Harry's choice of Rolex is surprising considering that it retails for less that $10,000 US. If you want to steal his look, you can even find used versions of this stainless steel professional model or its smaller predecessor (Reference # 16570) for lower than $7k. The photo below shows a close up of the Explorer II, a legible and understated tool watch with a GMT function.

Rolex Explorer II Reference 216570 (photo: Rolex)
After having come across Rich Kids of London, an London-based Instragram troll account dedicated to obnoxious displays of wealth, it is refreshing to find that Britain's Royal Family opts for a more subdued approach to wealth. For more information on the Explorer II model, check out my profile on the reference or visit rolex.com.

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Is Explorer 2 the Most Underrated Rolex Professional Model?

The redheaded stepchild of the Rolex professional collection, the Explorer II doesn't get as much love as popular models like Daytona, GMT-Master II and Submariner. However, even though it flies under the radar for the most part, the Explorer II is a simple and solid watch that is ideal for daily wear. It combines the minimalism of the Explorer with the functionality of the GMT2 to create an understated - and underrated - tool watch that can go with you anywhere. 

Rolex Explorer II (photo: Rolex/Sam Ferrara)
Technical Information
The Explorer II (Reference # 216570) model is available in stainless steel with a 42 millimeter case and either a black or white dial. It is equipped with a 3187 self-winding mechanical movement that is manufactured in-house by the watchmaker. It features a fixed 24-hour graduated bezel made from brushed 904L stainless steel and an orange 24-hour hand. Its highly legible display features Chromalight appliqués with long-lasting luminescence. Its Oyster bracelet is fitted with an Oysterlock folding clasp and Easylink comfort extension that extends the bracelet by 5 millimeters.

Celebrities Wearing the Explorer II
While the Explorer II model is often tied to Steve McQueen, this seems to be a misnomer as the King of Cool was never photographed wearing the Rolex model. Someone who has been photographed wearing the Explorer II shown in the photo above is the Oscar-nominated English actor Tom Hardy. He is not the only Brit to sport the model, with Prince Harry also shot wearing the Explorer II in paparazzi photos. While most celebrities opt for the flashier Daytona and Day-Date models, this rough and tumble wristwatch is the ideal choice for pragmatists looking for a low-key timepiece.

Rolex Explorer II and GMT-Master II Models
Explorer II Model Comparisons 
The Model Comparisons section of this blog features detailed comparisons of Rolex models including photographs, pricing and technical information. I include side-by-side comparisons of the Explorer II with the Submariner Date (Reference # 116610LN) and the GMT-Master II (Reference # 116710LN), shown in the photo above next to the Exp2. It is also featured in the comparison of Rolex professional model case sizes alongside the Yacht-Master II and Deepsea models. As you can see when placed next to the GMT case, this model offers a slightly larger case size that isn't as bulky as the Deepsea at 44 millimeters.

History and Legacy 
Introduced by Rolex in 1971, the Explorer II was given the name of the original Explorer model, but functionality more similar to the GMT-Master. It actually used the same movement as the GMT at the time, either a 1570 or 1575. For its 40th anniversary in 2011, the Exp2 was given a larger case size - 42 millimeters up from 40 millimeters. The watchmaker ties the legacy of this model with that of the original Explorer and its ties to explorers like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. One of the benefits of the 24-hour function is that it allows you to tell the difference between day and night without daylight. This is useful in the poles, where the sun goes away for weeks at a time. The "Polar" Explorer II with the white dial seems to pay homage to this aspect of its functionality.

While the Explorer II may not be as sexy as the Daytona or as ubiquitous as the Submariner, it possesses a charm that rounds out Rolex's professional collection. In a previous post I mentioned that it oozes masculinity, something that I believe makes it attractive to those who may not like the flash of other models. Although the idea was shot down in forums, I would love to see the Explorer II in a bronze configuration in 2017, maybe with a leather strap. It would be nice to see this underrated model get some love from the watchmaker in the future. For more information on this model, visit rolex.com.

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Is There Such a Thing as a Cheap Rolex?

While most would not admit to it, there is a large number of people searching for cheap Rolex watches online every month. I have covered the topic in posts about the cheapest Rolex model available and recommended that those looking for a timepiece priced under $5,000 US check out Tudor, the watchmaker's sister company. However, if you have your heart set on a Rolex and don't mind buying one on the gray market, there are a few models that you can find to fit your budget. 

Rolex Explorer II (photo: Rolex)
Affordable Pre-Owned Models
If you are looking for affordability when it comes to your Rolex purchase, you should take a look at pre-owned models. There isn't a large selection of model configurations prices below $5,000, but you can find a few stainless steel options. The photo above shows the Rolex Explorer II, a model that you can find pre-owned priced between $4,000 and $5,000. The Explorer I is also usually available pre-owned for as low as $3,500 in some cases. You can find a stainless steel Submariner for just under 5k, but the most common model at this price point - and lower - in the gray market is the Datejust.

Where to Look
There are a few different ways to find pre-owned Rolex watches priced to sell. Rolex Forums has a classifieds section where sellers post watches for sale. The benefit of going that route is that you can vet the seller with forum members on the general information forum before making the purchase. There is also WatchRecon, a site that aggregates sale posts from Rolex Forums and other watch sites like WatchNet and Watchuseek. If you or someone you know has a relationship with a brick and mortar jeweler or watch dealer, that may also be a good place to look. Dealers often need to move inventory and you can come across a good deal if you are patient and persistent.

What to Look For
When shopping for a pre-owned Rolex, regardless of where, you should be scrupulous with who you deal with. If you find a timepiece priced well below market, it may be a fake, a scam or a misrepresentation. Finding a reputable dealer or seller is the first step. Once you are comfortable with who you are dealing with, make sure that the watch you are looking at is represented accurately. I have seen instances where someone was presented photos of one watch and sent another after the deal was done. If you are going to spend thousands on an item, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for detailed information, including photos and documentation. Many buyers are fine with buying a pre-owned watch without the original paperwork, but that requires a trust in the seller and authenticity of the piece.

Anyone who has worked hard for their money would say that there is no such thing as a cheap Rolex. Sure, you can find some models at a discount if you look hard enough, but that doesn't make them cheap. Even the pre-owned models I mentioned above go for more than many people make in an entire month. With that being said, there are still ways to get a good deal on a Rolex if you shop smart. For more information on any of these watches, visit the Rolex Models page or rolex.com.

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Should I Wear My Rolex Submariner to a Black Tie Event?

If you have ever wondered if it's appropriate to wear your Rolex Submariner to a black tie event, the watchmaker has an answer for you in the "Featured Selections" section of their official website. The short answer is yes - as long as it has a black dial, that is. They have paired some of their most popular professional wristwatch models with brand ambassadors like Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn in their formalwear to illustrate the point in the "Black Dial Meets Black Tie" photos shown below. 
Rolex "Black Dial Meets Black Tie" Featured Selections (photo: Rolex)
In my post about which Rolex model goes best with a suit, I share my feelings about wearing a professional wristwatch with formal attire. I feel that a dress watch like the Cellini makes more sense in a black tie setting. Based on the models they chose for the black tie photo shoot, it seems that Rolex is making the statement that their professional watches are appropriate for black tie affairs. Your stylist or tailor may disagree with them, but I think it makes sense for the watchmaker to elevate their aesthetic in this way. With big watches dominating the market, it is now common to find people wearing large tool watches in formal settings.

Scotsman Sir Jackie Stewart shows that it is okay to add a little flair to your formal attire, showing off his tartan plaid pants in his black tie photo. If you are still wondering if you should wear your Submariner to a black tie event, you should ask yourself what's stopping you. You can find a variety of opinions on the subject online and in print, but nobody can tell you what works best for you. If I can offer any advice, it would be to put on your tux and Rolex Submariner and stand in front of the mirror. If you think you look good, go with it. If the watch catches the cuff or creates a bulge that throws off the look, opt for a dress watch with a slim case instead.

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Rolex Celebrates Throwback Thursdays With Videos of Vintage Watches

The #tbt hashtag used on social media platforms like Instagram is used to feature 'Throwback Thursday" posts. Though Rolex takes a very hands-off approach when it comes to traditional marketing techniques, they have been posting #tbt videos on their official Instragram account of their most famous models. I have embedded videos below that show vintage versions of the Submariner, Explorer and Day-Date watches. 
#TBT First Rolex Submariner, Day-Date and Explorer Models
If you find the videos below a bit short, you can take a look at the original watches in the photo above. These are arguably three of the most popular Rolex models, save the Daytona and GMT, so it is interesting to see a vintage version in working condition, even if just for a few seconds.


The yellow gold Day-Date above looks like the original from 1956. Click here for more information on the first gold Day-Date, known as the 'Presidents' Watch.'.


The Submariner above from 1973 looks like the Reference 5513 used in the James Bond film 'Live and Let Die.'


Finally, the Rolex Explorer was released in 1953 and has not changed much since its debut. To find out when all of your favorite Rolex models were released, check out the Historical Timeline on this blog or visit rolex.com.

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Vintage Rolex Sells for Over $1 Million US at Phillips Auction

On November 28, 2016 Phillips held an auction in Hong Kong dedicated exclusively to vintage Rolex watches. Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Changed History presented various references that were expertly curated by John Goldberger, the author of 100 Superlative Rolex Watches. He flew across the globe to personally inspect all of the watches chosen for this auction and the result of his efforts was a collection of the rarest and most interesting vintage Rolex models of all time. The watch shown in the photo below, known as the "Padellone" which translates to "large frying pan" from Italian, sold for approximately $1,016,000 US, exceeding the estimate from Phillips prior to auction. 

Rolex "Padellone" Reference 8171 (photo: Phillips)
Introduced around 1950, the Reference 8171 features a large 38 millimeter case and complications like a moon phase indicator on a sub-dial at 6 o'clock that you rarely find on a Rolex, vintage or otherwise. This particular timepiece is unique in that it is one of the few stainless steel versions that still has its original ivory dial, which has remained unblemished over the years. The stainless steel configuration was seen as a watch for everyday wear at the time, so it is very difficult to find one in good condition with its original parts. The dial features a day and month aperture under the crown at 12 o'clock and the date indicated by blue numbers on an outer ring. The aesthetic of this model is vastly different from the models Rolex is better known for, looking more like something from Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Söhne.

Half of the timepieces presented at the auction sold, including the "Paul Newman Oyster Sotto" which sold for approximately $753,000 US and the Paul Newman "Panda" with the tropical dial that went for about $629,000 US. Another ultra-rare Rolex that sold in Hong Kong is the Rolex Reference 4645 "Neptune" that went for approximately $753,000 US. To check out the rest of the watches that sold over the weekend, visit Phillips.com. For more information on the models mentioned in this post, visit the Rolex Models section of this blog.

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Should I Add Variety to My Watch Collection?

Watches owned by collectors are as varied as the collectors themselves. If you have spent time on watch forums you may have come across collectors posing questions about which timepiece to add to their collection next. As one could imagine, the answers usually run the gamut and offer more insights about the responders than the watches in question. However, there are a few factors that one might take into consideration when deciding which timepieces to add to their collections. 

Stainless Steel Professional Rolex Models
Functionality
Perhaps the most logical way to decide which watch to add to your collection is by functionality. Dive watches like the stainless steel Submariner are a popular first choice for watch enthusiasts. Those who have an affinity for nautical watches may add a Deepsea next, but it may be more sensible to go with a GMT-Master II instead as it adds a different complication to the mix. Other popular complications include chronometers, regatta timers, moon phase indicators and, of course, date displays. The choice to vary a watch collection based on functionality is ideal for those who would rather stick to one aesthetic, like the combination of black and stainless steel shown in most of the watched in the photo above. 

Aesthetic 
Those who are fine with owning several watches with the same complications usually vary their collections by choosing watches made from different materials. Many start their collections with stainless steel models, adding precious metal configurations as they go along. Yellow and rose gold may not be for everyone, but they certainly add color to any collection. The yellow gold Yacht-Master II model is a fine example of a nautical watch that stands out amongst the rest of Rolex's professional models. I've also seen many collections consisting of Submariners in various materials. While gold may be a little flashy to wear as a daily beater, it makes for a classic addition to any watch collection.

Rarity
Anyone who collects vintage watches loves to find rare references that are hard to come by. Many such configurations were sold in the Phillips auction in Hong Kong this past weekend. While they fetch a large amount, rare timepieces like the "Paul Newman Oyster Sotto" make excellent additions to any collection. In addition to increasing their monetary value, the rarity and legacy of these timepieces make them the perfect piece de resistance for any collector. This also goes for new watches as well. The watches in the 2016 and upcoming 2017 Rolex Oyster Collection that are less popular now and thus not produced as much as, say, the Submariner, may increase in value after production ceases and only limited quantities are out there. This was the case for the Paul Newman Daytona, so it is worth considering as well. 

As I usually conclude when making suggestions about which watches to buy, the ultimate decision is up to the collector. While there are many reasons that motivate people to buy the watches they buy, the most important reason is weather you feel that you would be better off with the watch in your collection. For those who are less adventurous with their aesthetic, there are many black and stainless steel Rolex models for you to choose from. For those who prefer a bold statement, they make many gold models that demand attention. For more information visit the Rolex Models page on this blog or visit rolex.com

Every Rolex Tells a Story: Steve Guerdat

Every Rolex Tells a Story: Steve Guerdat
Olympic equestrian Steve Guerdat, born in Switzerland and coached by his father Philippe Guerdat, was riding horses before he learned how to walk. The young but successful show jumper won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva in 2013 wearing an Everose gold Rolex Daytona and he shares his passion for horses and his timepiece in the latest installment of the watchmaker's Every Rolex Tells a Story series on rolex.com.

"You really need to be addicted to it because you basically have to give your life to the horses. It is a beautiful school of life: what horses can teach me makes me a better person. The success comes after," Guerdat says of his passion for riding. Rolex is a company that has always tied itself to excellence and achievement, so it is no wonder they tapped Guerdat for his Rolex story. His Cosmograph Daytona (Reference # 116515LN) features a black Cerachrom bezel on the rose gold case and a black leather strap.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (Reference # 116515LN)
This Daytona reference is the first to feature the black Cerachrom ceramic bezel introduced by the watchmaker in 2005 on the GMT-Master II model. It is powered by Rolex's 4130 self-winding mechanical movement manufactured in-house by the watchmaker. For more information on the Everose gold Cosmograph Daytona on leather strap, check out my previous post about the top Rolex rose gold watches. For more information on Steve Guerdat, visit his official website.

Will Rolex's Oysterflex Bracelet Make a Splash at Baselworld 2017?

Introduced in 2015 on the Yacht-Master 40 model, the Oysterflex bracelet offers the comfort and unique style of an elastomer strap with the technical innovation that Rolex is known for. As I mentioned in my post about my Rolex Baselworld 2017 predictions, it is speculated that this bracelet will be featured on more configurations than it is now. The question that remains is if it will be featured only on the Yacht-Master 40 or if they will also release an Oysterflex configuration for for another model. 
Rolex Oysterflex Bracelet (photo: Rolex/Thomas Hensinger)
Developed and patented by Rolex, the Oysterflex has a metal blade made from a flexible titanium and nickel alloy at its core that attaches the clasp to the case. The blade is then enveloped with a black elastomer that is both durable and resistant to environmental effects. It is equipped with a longitudinal cushion system to stabilize the watch on the wrist. The photo above shows the bracelet with a rose gold Oysterlock safety clasp as it appears on the Everose gold Yacht-Master 40 model. 

If the watchmaker does add the Oysterflex to additional configurations, I believe it will keep its black color but maybe appear on white gold or stainless steel models in addition to the Everose YM. If they do go ahead and add it to another model, my prediction would be that they would add it to the Sea-Dweller 4000 as 2017 represents an anniversary year for the model, something Rolex likes to commemorate with its latest innovations. For more information on the 2016 Yacht-Master 40 model that features the Oysterflex, check out my post here. To check out all of Rolex's bracelet options, check out my post here

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 Oyster Sotto

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 Oyster Sotto (photo: Phillips)
The Phillip's Rolex Milestones auction in Hong Kong is less than a few days away and it will be interesting to see how much the "Paul Newman Oyster Sotto" Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263 will fetch. It is estimated to be worth anywhere between $600,000 to $1,200,000 US, more than the "Panda" that I wrote about in a previous post. This is due to the rarity of the "Oyster Sotto" configuration that was introduced circa 1970.

One of the interesting aspects of this early 6263 reference is the addition of the word "Oyster" under the words "Rolex Cosmograph" on the Mk2 dial under the crown logo at 12 o'clock. According to John Goldberger in the Rolex Milestones catalog, the word "Oyster" was added in different lettering to reflect the fact that it features new waterproof pushers that weren't on the previous references that used this dial. The word 'sotto' means beneath in Italian, hence the name for this Paul Newman configuration.

This legendary Rolex features its original dial with a stainless steel bracelet from the period. For more information on this magnificent chronograph and all of the other Rolex models that will be up for grabs in a few days, visit phillips.com.

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DJ Khaled Gives Rapper Future a Rolex Sky-Dweller For His Birthday

Rapper Future Receiving a Rolex Sky-Dweller from DJ Khaled (photo: DJ Khaled Instagram)
DJ and record producer DJ Khaled, known for offering major key alerts to his popular Snapchat account, gifted rapper and collaborator Future with a Rolex Sky-Dweller for his thirty-third birthday last weekend. Video of the presentation of the luxury timepiece, embedded below, appear on Khaled's Instagram feed.

It looks like the configuration Khaled chose is the Everose gold on Oyster bracelet with what looks like a chocolate dial. Future has been photographed wearing many luxury watches, but I have yet to see him sport a rose gold Rolex, so it seems that it was a good choice. Khaled has an extensive watch collection of his own, including a Sky-Dweller which he has worn on other occasions.

Giving a Rolex to a friend and colleague as a birthday gift is something that not everyone has the opportunity to experience. This tradition only further ingrains the watchmaker's legacy of excellence in the minds of yet another generation. Check out the rose gold Sky-Dweller in my previous post about the watchmaker's top Everose gold models.

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Which Wristwatch Models Will Rolex Update in 2017?

UPDATE: Check out the watches Rolex introduced at Baselworld 2017 here

2016 Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (photo: Rolex)
With 2016 coming to an end and Baselworld 2017 approaching, many wonder how watchmakers like Rolex plan to change their collections to mark the passage of another year. Forum members and bloggers have already begun speculating which models will receive new configurations and which may be discontinued. I have put together a few of my ideas on the subject based on past years below while we wait for the official announcement leading up to Baselworld next March.

Anniversaries
One thing that I have noticed about Rolex is that they like to mark the anniversaries of their models' introductions with special edition watches. The biggest anniversary being celebrated in 2017 is that of the Sea-Dweller, originally introduced fifty years ago. It is more than likely that this milestone will be marked with a new configuration, maybe featuring a blue bezel or dial, an Oysterflex strap or a size increase. Other models with anniversaries in 2017 are the Yacht-Master with its 25th anniversary, the YM2 introduced ten years ago and the original GMT-Master II which was introduced thirty-five years ago. Will Baselworld 2017 bring a GMT-Master II 'Coke' as many predict? Or will Rolex present a Sea-Dweller on Oysterflex Bracelet instead? We will have to wait and see.

Materials
One of the biggest model configurations introduced in recent years, the ceramic Daytona (Reference # 116500LN) proved that the demand for models with their Cerachrom bezel insert is high. Their Oysterflex strap is another interesting feature that I feel may appear on more models in the coming year. The watchmaker introduced many Everose gold configurations in 2016 on their sports and dress watches, making it another popular material to look out for. As I mentioned in a previous post, I also hold out hope for a bronze configuration, though many enthusiasts find it improbable. The idea of an Explorer II with a bronze case and leather strap still excites me, though.

Sizes
One of the ways in which Rolex introduces new model configurations is by changing their case sizes. The Datejust and Explorer models have seen increased case sizes in recent years and the big watch trend does not seem to be going anywhere, so I think it is likely that they will come out with new case sizes for one or more of their models. With the current selection of Sea-Dweller and Submariner models sized at 44 millimeters and 40 millimeters, I think that there is a possibility for a 42 millimeter Sea-Dweller 4000 configuration. I also see the possibility for a Yacht-Master configuration in a new size.

Predictions
One of the 2017 Rolex model predictions that has already gained traction on forums is the discontinuation of the 44 millimeter Deepsea. While I am not entirely convinced, I do think that the watchmaker would benefit from positioning a new Sea-Dweller configuration closer to the Deepsea in size while slowly phasing out the Deepsea over time. I think it is also more likely to see more Everose gold configurations than the introduction of a bronze model, though I think bronze would be a bold move. The Cerachrom bezel insert and Oysterflex strap may make appearances again, perhaps this time on more colorful configurations.

For more information on the 2016 Rolex model lineup, check out my Rolex Shopping Guide or visit rolex.com.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 with Tropical Dial

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with the "Paul Newman" dial (Reference #6263) comes in two different dial configurations. The one with a white background and black sub-dials shown in the photo below is known as the 'Panda' and is up for sale by Phillips Auction House in their Rolex Milestones auction set to take place on November 28th in Hong Kong. One of the differences between this and the "Oyster Sotto" version, with the black dial and white sub-dials, is the sequence of the words "Rolex Oyster Cosmograph" on the dial. On the black version the word "Oyster" is at the bottom, hence the name. 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 with Tropical Dial (photo: Phillips)
Estimated to take in between $350,000 and $700,000 US at the auction, this reference is unique not only due to the limited quantities of the "Paul Newman" dial that exist on the watch market, but also because of the tropical coloration of the outer track on the dial. In this case, the word "tropical" refers to the brown tone of the once black outer track of the dial. The discoloration, while a sign of age, is also an indication of the authenticity of the piece. With the rarity of "Paul Newman" Daytona models due to their unpopularity at the time of their release, finding one with its original parts, including its original bracelet, makes it even more attractive to collectors.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 with Tropical Dial (photo: Phillips)
There are a few other Cosmograph Daytona models set for auction by Phillips later this month, including an "Oyster Sotto" estimated to take in anywhere from $600,000 to $1,200,000 US. For a model configuration that was so unpopular at the time of production, the "Paul Newman" Daytona has certainly come a long way from sitting in stock for years at dealers in the seventies and eighties. Bringing in up to seven figures, it is a testament to the every changing sentiments and tastes of watch collectors over time. For more information on all of the pieces up for auction, visit phillips.com.

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What is the Difference Between Watch Precision vs Accuracy?

What is the Difference Between Watch Precision vs Accuracy? (photo: Niklas Rhose)
Generally speaking, the idea behind wearing a wristwatch is being able to tell the time with a glance at your wrist. While there are many other reasons for choosing to wear a watch, its ability to tell time accurately is of utmost importance. However, there is some confusion regarding the difference between the precision of a watch and its accuracy. Watchmakers test a watch's precision before it leaves the manufacture, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will tell time accurately when it is on your wrist. 

Precision

When watchmakers test precision, they are looking for how close one measurement is to another. For example, when shooting archery, the measure of precision refers to the grouping of the arrows on the target independently of how close those arrows came to the bullseye. Similarly, if a watch measures time with the same variation every day, it is precise, even if it is losing 6 seconds a day. As long as the loss remains at 6 seconds each day, the watch is measuring time precisely, though perhaps not accurately.

Accuracy 

Using the archery example, you can think of accuracy as how close the arrows get to the bullseye. Accuracy is measured against a standard measurement, in the case of watches a measurement of time. So, your watch is only accurate if it tells the right time, even though it can be extremely precise while telling the wrong time every day. There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of your timepiece, including behavioral factors like how much you move your wrist throughout the day and how you store your watch when not in use.

Watchmakers like Rolex publish the precision of their watches after testing them in-house. While the watch may be precise up to -2/+2 seconds per day, that doesn't mean that it will not gain or lose more when on your wrist. However, it is a good indication that the timepiece is capable of keeping accurate time. For more information on how Rolex tests their watches, visit rolex.com. For information on their Superlative Chronometer Certification, check out my post on the subject here.

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