Salzburg Festival

The Salzburg Festival is a celebration of performing arts and music that takes place in Salzburg, Austria every summer. The first festival took place in 1920 with a performance of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann in front of the Salzburg Cathedral. The performance of Jedermann in the Cathedral Square has become a tradition of the six week festival. 

Salzburg, Austria during the 2014 Salzburg Festival (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tezenas)
Salzburg, Austria during the 2014 Salzburg Festival (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tezenas)
Salzburg's baroque city center, a Unesco World Heritage site and the birthplace of Mozart, hosts the event that has featured performances by Plácido Domingo, Francesco Meli and Cecilia Bartoli. Bartoli is currently the artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, which takes place in the spring. She will also be taking on the role of Maria in a new production of West Side Story at the 2016 summer festival.

The Trapp Family Singers performed at the festival in 1936. The performance is recreated in the filmic adaptation of the broadway musical based on Austria's von Trapp family, The Sound of Music. In the film, the performance takes place in 1938, a historical inaccuracy that was surely devised to heighten the film's drama.

Rolex has been the main sponsor of the Salzburg Festival since 2012. For more information on the 2016 festival, including the sold out production of West Side Story, visit the festival's official site.

>>BACK TO ARTS

Platinum Rolex Models

Rolex 950 Platinum (photo: Rolex/Cédric Widmer)
Rolex 950 Platinum (photo: Rolex/Cédric Widmer)
Platinum is a rare paramagnetic noble metal with a very high melting point. One of the least reactive metals, it is resistant to corrosion and mined mainly in South Africa. Its unique properties make it ideal for industrial applications and its scarcity makes it a valuable commodity. Rolex offers 950 Platinum versions of only three of their wristwatch models: the Daytona, Day-Date (36 mm and 40 mm) and the Lady Datejust. They also use it on the bezel of the Rolesium Yacht-Master and white gold Yacht-Master II. 

Rolex Platinum Lady Datejust 28 (Reference # 279136 RBR)
Photo of Rolex Lady Datejust 28 (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Lady Datejust 28 (photo: Rolex)
The Lady Datejust 28 is available in platinum with an ice blue dial and diamonds set on the bezel and hour markers. It is fitted with a president bracelet and a Cyclops magnifying lens over the date aperture at 3 o'clock. This Lady Datejust model is powered by a 2236 movement manufactured in-house by Rolex with a power reserve of 55 hours. The suggested retail price for this configuration is 54,300 Swiss francs or approximately $55,543 USD.

Rolex Platinum Day-Date 40 (Reference # 228206)
Rolex Day-Date 40 (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Day-Date 40 (photo: Rolex)
Rolex's offers platinum versions of their popular Day-Date model in 36 mm and 40 mm. The 44 mm version is shown in the photo above with a smooth bezel and president bracelet. The platinum Day-Date 40 is also available with a diamond bezel (Reference # 228396 TBR). It is powered by a 3255 movement with a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The suggested retail price for Reference #228206 is 59,600 Swiss francs or approximately $60,964 USD.

Rolex Platinum Cosmograph Daytona (Reference # 116506)
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (photo: Rolex)
The Cosmograph Daytona model is also available in platinum as shown in the photo above. This version features Rolex's Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert in a chestnut brown color. It too has an ice blue dial, but unlike the Day-Date, this version comes with an Oyster bracelet. Rolex enthusiasts refer to this model as the 'Platona' a combination of the words Daytona and platinum. The suggested retail price for this configuration, which also comes with diamonds on the dial, is 71,500 Swiss francs or approximately $73,136 USD.

As one might surmise, the reference numbers for platinum models end with a 6. They are all available with an ice blue dial, the Day-Date's dial featuring a diagonal pattern. All are also available with diamonds on the dial or the bezel. For more information on Rolex's 950 Platinum, check our my post on their production process. For more information on the platinum models, visit rolex.com

Top 5 Stainless Steel Rolex Professional Models Under $10,000

Rolex's stainless steel professional models are their most popular and many choose them as everyday watches or 'everyday beaters' as they are also known. These tool watches are beloved for the legacy attached to them even more so than their functionality. Rolex has remained consistent with their aesthetic through the years, controlling their configurations so that the release of a new color combination is met with much fanfare. 

I have listed what I consider their top five stainless steel professional watches below. While most are available with more traditional color combinations, I chose configurations that are unique to this time period and will likely be discontinued by the watchmaker once they release a new model upgrade. I chose to list models under (or around) $10,000 USD here for the sake of those who are looking for a watch within that budget.  

Rolex 'Polar' Explorer II (Reference # 216570)
Photo of Rolex Polar Explorer II (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Polar Explorer II (photo: Rolex)
With a 42 mm stainless steel case, the Rolex Explorer II is the largest watch on this list. It is also unique in that it is available with a white dial, which is where it gets the 'Polar' nickname. This watch, originally released in 1971, features an orange 24-hour hand and 24-hour bezel, allowing the wearer to tell the time in two places at once. It also has a very legible display with large minute and hour hands and luminescent hour markers. Its size makes it ideal for someone who wants a large watch that isn't as bulky as the 44 mm Deepsea, for example. This model is also available with with a black dial. The suggested retail price for the Explorer II is 7,700 Swiss francs or $8,076 USD.

Rolex GMT-Master II 'Batman' (Reference # 116710BLNR)
Rolex GMT-Master II BLNR (photo: Rolex)
Equipped with Rolex's patented Cerachrom bezel insert, the GMT-Master II BLNR or 'Batman' as it is also known, was introduced at Baselworld in 2013 and soon became a favorite amongst Rolex enthusiasts. It features a blue and black bidirectional 24 hour bezel and a 24-hour hand, allowing the wearer to switch between time zones with a turn of the bezel. This model was originally introduced in  1955 during the aviation age and bears a striking resemblance to the Submariner model. However, this model offers a more practical functionality than the popular dive watch. The bracelet has polished middle links that also differentiate it from the Sub. The suggested retail price for the BLNR is 8,500 Swiss francs, or approximately $8,847 USD.

Rolex Submariner Date 'Hulk' (Reference # 116610LV)
Rolex Submariner Date (photo: Rolex)
The Submariner was introduced by Rolex in 1953 and has become their most imitated timepiece. Like the GMT-Master II, this watch has a 40 mm Oyster case and a Cerachrom bezel insert. It has a depth rating of 300 meters and has a unidirectional bezel with a unidirectional 60 minute graduated bezel. Its simplicity in design and utility underwater makes it ideal for recreational and professional divers alike. However, most go for the Submariner because of its sporty yet clean aesthetic. The configuration shown above is known as the 'Hulk' because of the green-on-green bezel and dial combination. The dial has a sunray finish that gleams in the sun and while the combination of green and steel seems odd at first, it makes for a very interesting take on the classic Sub design. The Submariner Date goes for 8,600 Swiss francs, or approximately $8,957 USD. 

Sea-Dweller 4000 (Reference # 116600)
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (photo: Rolex)
Rolex's Sea-Dweller 4000 model offers the perfect compromise for those who can't choose between the Submariner and the Deepsea. It has a the same size case as the Sub (40 mm) so it is less bulky than the Deepsea, but it also has a 1,220 meter (4000 foot) depth rating, which is significantly higher than the Sub. Like the Deepsea, its date aperture has no Cyclops magnifying lens over it and features a helium escape valve that protects the case during decompression. It is the most expensive watch on this list at 9,900 Swiss francs or $10,130 USD. 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 'Ceramic' (photo: Rolex)
Introduced at Baselworld 2016, the stainless steel Daytona with the black Cerachrom bezel insert shown above has become one of the most sought after timepieces of the year. Featuring a white dial with contrasting black sub-dials and the black bezel, this is a configuration that Rolex enthusiasts have been patiently waiting for. It harkens back to the 1960s when the model was introduced and although most who get their hands on one will not use the chronograph or tachymeter functions on a daily basis, this is the holy grail of Rolex watches of the moment. Only the platinum and rose gold versions of the Daytona had become available with a ceramic bezel prior it its release. This is the first stainless steel version in ceramic and the configuration has become known as the 'Ceramic Daytona' in forums. It retails for approximately $12,400 USD, but the long waiting lists have made it go for even more on the secondary market. 

Rolex Arts Testimonee Cecilia Bartoli

Italian Mezzo-Soprano Cecilia Bartoli is a world renowned mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist. Educated in song by her parents, both singers, she made her opera debut in 1987 in Verona, Italy at the age of 21. She began her career at a young age, unusual for an opera singer. She is also known for the unique timber of her voice and being able to interpret both mezzo and soprano roles. 

Photo of Rolex Arts Testimonee Cecilia Bartoli  by Emmanuel Fradin
Rolex Arts Testimonee Cecilia Bartoli (photo: ©Rolex/Emmanuel Fradin)
Bartoli shot to fame with performances of Mozart and Rossini, making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1996 as Depina in Cosi fan tutte. Aside from her roles in the world's greatest opera houses, she is also known as a recital singer. She has achieved great success with her recordings of baroque music. In addition to her career as a singer, she also works as artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

In August of 2016, Bartoli will star as Maria in an opera version of West Side Story at the Salzburg Festival, sponsored by Rolex. All of the performances are sold out, a good sign for the new interpretation of the 1950s broadway musical. To check out the cast and read additional information on the production and festival, visit their official site.

Cecilia Bartoli has been a Rolex Testimonee since 1996. The video embedded below shows the opera phenom singing "Riedi al soglio" from Zelmira at Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, Italy in June of 1998. For more information on Bartoli, visit ceciliabartolionline.com.

>> BACK TO ARTS

Best Rolex to Wear With a Suit

While there are many differing opinions about what type of watch looks best with a suit, there are some characteristics that make some wristwatch models more appropriate to wear in formal settings than others. I have put together a few guidelines for anyone who is interested in finding the best Rolex to wear with a suit. 

Photo of man in suit by olu eletu
Best Rolex to Wear with a Suit (photo: Olu Eletu)
Case Size
While wrist sizes vary and oversized watches are very popular these days, not all case sizes work with a suit. A Deepsea, for example, may feel fine on a 7.5 inch wrist, but the height of the 44 mm case will likely cause the watch to get caught with the cuff of the shirt creating, unsightly wrinkles. A case size of 40 mm or smaller would be more appropriate. Most watches in that range will allow the cuff of the shirt and the suit to sit perfectly on the wrist.

Color
Generally speaking, the color of your watch should match your cuff links, belt buckle and any hardware on your belt and shoes. So, if you tend to choose belts, shoes and links in yellow gold, it would make sense to go with a yellow gold dress watch. Also, the bezel and dial color should compliment the color of the suit. Rolex offers many interesting color combinations on their wristwatch models. While a green bezel or dial may look great with everyday casual wear, it may clash with a blue suit. If you want a watch that will be able to transition from day to night, you may want to consider a black bezel and a neutral dial color.

Style 
Perhaps the most widely debated issue regarding wearing a Rolex with a suit is whether or not their professional models are appropriate to wear in formal settings. Many feel that a dive watch like a Submariner is inappropriate to wear to a formal affair. Others feel that it is totally fine as long as it matches with the suit and cuff links. Ultimately, it is up to the individual based on their personal aesthetic. However, if you attend formal events regularly and have not decided on a Rolex model yet, I would take a look at their Cellini line.

Rolex Cellini Date (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Cellini Date (photo: Rolex)
With the hype that surrounds models from their professional line, like the BLNR and Daytona, Rolex's Cellini line is often overlooked. However, it is the ideal dress watch. Most men's style blogs, like the Gentleman's Gazette, recommend the Cellini model for formal events due to its simple dial, leather band and low profile. To browse all of the current Cellini models, visit rolex.com.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE

How to Use the Chronograph and Tachymeter Functions on Rolex's Daytona 116500LN

The Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN is Rolex's new 'it' watch, with waiting lists to purchase one from Authorized Dealers going as far as 2017. While the hype is largely based on the aesthetic of this configuration, most notably its black Cerachrom bezel (lunette noir) with a tachymeter printed on it, it still offers a chronograph and tachymeter functionalities that can be used to keep time and measure average speed. 

Close Up photo of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN (photo: Rolex)
The instructions below are applicable to any Rolex Daytona manufactured after the year 2000, like the 116500LN shown in the photo above, with a Rolex movement and screw down pushers. The Daytonas released prior to this date are equipped with an El Primero Zenith movement that has a different configuration of the sub-dials.

Using the Chronograph Function
First, unscrew the pushers located at the 2 and 4 o'clock positions. If the long, thin seconds hand is not at 12, hit the pusher at 4 o'clock to reset. The chronograph function is initiated by hitting the pusher at 2 o'clock once. This will get that seconds hand moving around the dial. Once one minute has elapsed, the sub-dial at 3 o'clock will mark it. Once an hour has passed, the sub-dial at 9 o'clock will mark it. (The sub-dial at 6 o'clock is used to keep the seconds on the clock, not the chronograph.)

Using the Tachymeter
The numbers printed on the bezel of the Daytona are to measure the average miles per hour a race car driver goes per mile on a race track. As you can see, there is a 60 at 12 o'clock, meaning that if you travel a mile in one minute, you are traveling at 60 miles per hour (there are 60 minutes in an hour, after all). To measure your average speed per mile, hit the pusher at 2 o'clock to start and hit it again to stop it right when you reach one mile traveled. Wherever the chronograph seconds hand lands on the bezel would indicate the amount of miles you would travel in an hour at that speed.

While chronograph and tachymeter functions seem superfluous in an era where you can keep time and measure speed on your smartphone (and now smartwatch), the sub-dials and numbers printed on the bezel fill the space nicely and harken back to the 1960s when these watches became popular. Like many classic watches, chronometers offer more in the way of aesthetic and legacy these days than they do in terms of functionality. However, they possess a charm that is hard for horology buffs to resist.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000

Introduced in 1967, the Sea-Dweller 4000 (reference # 116600) shares characteristics of two of Rolex's popular dive watch models: the Submariner and the Deepsea. With a depth rating of 4,000 feet and a 40 mm case size, it also offers an alternative to those who may find the Deepsea's case too large or the Sub's depth rating insufficient. 
Photo of Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (photo: Rolex)
The Sea-Dweller is equipped with a 3135 self-winding mechanical movement manufactured by Rolex in-house. A Superlative Chronometer, this watch has a power reserve of 48 hours and comes equipped with Rolex's proprietary blue Parachrom hairspring that helps it achieve a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day.

This professional dive watch also features a unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel, allowing divers to keep track of their time underwater. The bezel insert is made of black Cerachrom, a ceramic material patented by Rolex that is virtually scratch-proof. It also has a helium escape valve to avoid damage to the case and crystal during decompression. A Triplock winding crown provides triple waterproofing protection for the Oyster case.

This model's Oyster bracelet is made from 904L stainless steel. Its Oysterlock clasp is fitted with Rolex's Fliplock extension link that extends the bracelet by 26 mm. It also comes with the Glidelock system that allows for an additional 20 mm extension in increments of 2 mm.

While the Submariner and the Deepsea receive more praise than the Sea-Dweller 4000, its features make it the perfect alternative to both dive watches. Like the Deepsea model, the Sea-Dweller 4000 does not come with the Cyclops magnifying lens that is customary on Rolex date models. However, it shares the same case size as the Sub.

The suggested retail price for the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (reference # 116600) is 9,900 Swiss francs, or approximately $10,130 USD based on current exchange rates. For more information on this model, visit rolex.com.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE  

Every Rolex Tells a Story: Roger Federer

With Wimbledon around the corner, Rolex has added a new section to their official website featuring Roger Federer recounting his record breaking performance at Wimbledon 2009. With his win against Andy Roddick that year, he broke Pete Sampras' all time Grand Slam record, becoming the first Swiss tennis player to be number one in the world.

Roger Federer holding his trophy at Wimbledon 2009 (photo: Rolex)
Federer is shown wearing his Datejust II in the photo above while holding his trophy. 'Every time I put on my Rolex, it reminds me of those great moments. It also reminds me that if you do not work hard, somebody else will, and they eventually will pass you. So you’ve got to be tough and even ruthless to some extent, but always be fair and play with style. I think that’s really important,' he wrote in his 'Every Rolex Tells a Story' piece. To read the entire story, click here.

Rolex has also added many letters written to the watchmaker about their timepieces to their website. They introduced the hashtag #everyrolextellsastory to encourage others to take to social media to share their Rolex stories. I have embedded video below of Federer recounting his victory.

Rolex is the official timepiece of Wimbledon. The tournament begins on June 27th, 2016 at the All England Club in London. Federer is expected to take to the court after a series of setbacks in his career over the past year.

>>BACK TO SPORTS


SaveSave

How to Set the Time on the Rolex GMT-Master II

A simple but useful function of Rolex's GMT-Master II is the 24-hour hand and bidirectional rotating bezel. While there are other models, like the Explorer II and Sky-Dweller, that allow you to tell the time in two locations simultaneously, the GMT's bezel makes the process as easy as possible - especially when traveling through multiple time zones.

Close up of Rolex GMT-Master II
Setting the 24-hour Hand to GMT Time
The benefit of the GMT being equipped with a bidirectional 24-hour bezel is that it allows you to set the 24-hour hand to GMT time once and then rotate the bezel to move between different timezones without pulling out the crown again. To set the GMT time, unwind the crown and pull it out two clicks. This will allow you to set the 24-hour hand and the minute hand to GMT time (same time zone as London).

Setting the Hour Hand 
Once GMT time is set, you can click the crown down to the first position and set the hour hand to local time or whatever time you want it set to. Once that is set, don't forget to screw the crown back in to seal the watch case.

Once the GMT time is set using the crown, you can move the bezel to reflect the time in any time zone around the globe. So, if you would like to set the 24-hour hand to your home time in New York City, you would move the bezel clockwise 5 clicks for Easter Standard Time (GMT-5). Or, if you are traveling with a layover, you can simply move the bezel to reflect the time in the layover city then move it again when you get to your destination.

You can always set the 24-hour hand without using the bezel, as would be done with the fixed bezel of the Explorer II, but setting the 24-hour hand to GMT time maximizes the potential of the GMT-Master II timekeeping functionality.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR

Introduced at Baselworld 2013 to much fanfare, the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (BLNR referring to the blue and black bezel) or 'Batman' is a favorite among Rolex enthusiasts worldwide. Its aesthetic is similar to the Submariner, but this timepiece has a 24-hour hand and bezel that gives it additional timekeeping functionality. 
Photo of Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (photo: Rolex)
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (photo: Rolex)
The GMT in the name refers to Greenwich Mean Time, which is the time at the Prime Meridian or 0º longitude. Every 15º that you move away from the Prime Meridian adds or subtracts an hour from GMT time, depending on the direction you move. The GMT-Master II allows you to set the 24-hour hand to GMT time, then move the 24-hour bezel to reflect the time in whatever time zone you are visiting while keeping your home time set on the regular hour hand, or vice versa.

The bezel of the BLNR model has the AM hours colored in blue and the PM or evening hours colored in black. This way, when you move the bezel to the desired time zone you can tell if it is day or night at that location. So, if you leave your family in New York City and fly to Europe or Asia, you can set the 24-hour hand and bezel to your home time (GMT-5 for Eastern Standard Time, depending on daylight savings) and the regular hour hand to local time. This way, when you want to call home you will be able to tell if it is night or day time there.

In terms of aesthetic, the two colors on the bezel of the BLNR can be off-putting to some. Many people choose the LN version of this model, which features a black bezel. However, the original GMT-Master model released in 1955 featured a blue and red bezel, commonly known as a 'Pepsi' GMT, and the coloring on the bezel does serve a functional purpose.

In terms of stainless steel GMT configurations, I have grown to appreciate the BLNR above the Pepsi, Coke (black and red bezel) and plain black versions. It may not be as dressy as an LN, but I wouldn't buy a BLNR as a dressy watch option, so that wouldn't factor into my decision. I would use it as an everyday beater and a travel watch. In those areas, the BLNR outshines the rest. The colors on the bezel offer charm and functionality and, as is the case with the Hulk and the new ceramic Daytona, Rolex will eventually stop manufacturing this configuration and replace it with something new, making the BLNR even more distinctive in the long run.

The BLNR retails for 8,500 Swiss francs, or approximately $8,847 USD. It is priced about $500 higher than the current LN version.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE

Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Teatro alla Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy that was inaugurated in August of 1778. It was approved for construction by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1776 after a fire burned down the Teatro Regio Ducale. It was built on the site of the Church of Maria alla Scala, which was deconsecrated and demolished to make room for the structure.

Photo of Teatro Alla Scala, Milan (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
Teatro Alla Scala, Milan (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta was the first performance in La Scala, which has hosted 'la prima' of many famous operas in its lifetime, including Verdi's Otella and Falsta, Bellini's Norma and Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The audience at this venue is known as one of the most vocal and critical in the world.

Rolex Testimonee Plácido Domingo's Otello made for one of the greatest seasons in the opera's history. Gustavo Dudamel conducted his first Don Giovanni here and Cecilia Bartoli returned to La Scala after many years absence. Rolex became their official timepiece in 2006.

The theater underwent a €61 million renovation from 2002 through 2004 under architect Mario Botta. The backstage area was expanded, allowing for larger productions in the space. Preservationists were initially against the renovation, but ultimately pleased with the updates to the building. 

How to Set the Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Chronograph

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is equipped with a unique chronograph function that is designed specifically as a regatta timer for yacht racing. It features a ten minute countdown with a fly-back function that brings the second hand back to the nearest minute with a press of the pusher at 4 o'clock. This allows the user to synchronize with the official race time to the second. See below for a step by step guide to setting the regatta timer function. 

How to Set the Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Timer (photo: Rolex)
How to Set the Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Chronograph (photo: Rolex)
Setting the Timer
To set the YM2's 10 minute countdown function, you must first unscrew the crown, rotate the bezel 90 degrees counterclockwise, depress the pusher at the 4 o'clock position and then wind the crown clockwise to move the hand with the red triangle to the minute you want to count down from. Once this hand is pointing at the desired start time, rotate the bezel clockwise back to the starting position with the 5 at the 12 o'clock position. Once the timer is set and the bezel is back in place, don't forget to screw the crown back into place to seal the case - especially if you are on a boat where the timepiece may be exposed to water.

Starting/Stopping the Timer 
Once the timer is set and the bezel and crown are back in place, you can start the timer by pressing the pusher at the 2 o'clock position. This pusher also stops the timer. Once the timer is going, you can hit the pusher at 4 o'clock to fly back to the nearest minute. This will allow you to synchronize your timer to the official time of the race. To reset the timer and start over, simply press the pusher at 2 o'clock followed by the pusher at 4 o'clock. This will reset the timer to the starting minute you chose when setting the timer.

While most people wouldn't use the regatta chronograph for its intended purpose, it still comes in handy when a countdown is needed. This timer is very legible with the large arabic numbers displayed on the bezel. It can be used to set a timer while grilling at home or during presentations at work when accessing a smartphone may not be appropriate.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

Rolex Submariner Date 116610 LV

Rolex's Submariner Date is easily their most recognizable model and probably the most recognizable dive watch on the market today. The most common configuration is the LN version, with the black dial and bezel. In 2010, Rolex introduced a provocative new configuration, the LV, which is still creating discussions about its aesthetic to this day. 
Photo of Rolex Submariner Date 116610 LV or 'Hulk' (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Submariner Date 116610 LV or 'Hulk' (photo: Rolex)
Known by Rolex enthusiasts as the 'Hulk', the Submariner LV shown above came after the release of the 50th anniversary Submariner with the green bezel and black dial known as the 'Kermit' in 2003. The green configuration is unique, making many speculate that the Hulk will increase in value once Rolex stops manufacturing it.

At first glance, the juxtaposition of the green dial and bezel with the cool tone of the stainless steel seems out of place. Rolex has traditionally paired green dials with yellow gold watches, like the yellow gold Daytona they displayed at Baselworld 2016. On those models, the yellow and green compliment each other and create a nice alternative to the more common black dials.

Every few weeks a thread about the Hulk pops up in the Rolex Forums with very mixed sentiments from members. Some find the green color cheapens the Sub and are very vocal about their disdain for the configuration. Others vehemently defend it, even going as far as asking the moderators to take down the threads entirely. I have also read many reviews where people express having originally hated the model, but later changing their minds and coming to appreciate its uniqueness.

I have to admit, I didn't like the Hulk at first glance. The green-on-steel look just didn't speak to me and I had trouble understanding why people were so enthusiastic about it. However, after my eyes got used to the, what I would now call interesting color combination, I began to appreciate it. Looking at photos of the dial gleaming in the sun and seeing how it looked in wrist shots made me realize that it wasn't so much a color mistake as it was a challenge to the traditional watch aesthetic. The odd combination of colors that originally put me off about the Hulk now makes me appreciate it more. It's also nice to see a color on the dial and bezel that isn't black, white or blue.

The suggested retail price for the Hulk is 8,600 Swiss francs, or $8,957 US. It is priced approximately $500 above the LN version. To check out all the Submariner Date configurations available, visit rolex.com.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE

Bloodhound Supersonic Car

The Bloodhound SSC is a supersonic vehicle currently being developed in Bristol, England to attempt to break the current land speed record of 763.035 mph set by British Royal Air Force fighter pilot Andy Green in 1997. Green has teamed up with previous world land speed record holder and engineer Richard Noble to head the project. Their goal is to surpass 1,000 mph on a 12 mile desert track in northwest South Africa. 

Photo of Bloodhound Supersonic Car (photo: the Bloodhound Project)
Bloodhound Supersonic Car (photo: the Bloodhound Project)
The Bloodhound SSC is named after the Bristol Bloodhound, a surface-to-air missile developed by Britain's Royal Air Force in the 1950s. The team of engineers and scientists working on the supersonic car did a dry build of the vehicle in 2015 and hope to have the project completed by the end of this year. Their goal is to have the vehicle ready to reach 1,000 mph by the beginning of 2017.

Andy Green, Richard Noble and the Bloodhound Team (photo: The Bloodhound Project)
In addition to the goal of setting a world record, the team behind this feat of engineering aim to inspire youth to cultivate an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. The offer educational programs for students of all ages to experiment with the sciences with exciting and hands on experiences. “The BLOODHOUND engineering adventure provides us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers,” says Richard Noble of the project.

Close Up of the Bloodhound SSC (photo: Rolex)
Close Up of the Bloodhound SSC (photo: Rolex)
Rolex is the official timing partner of the The Bloodhound Project. “I’m enormously proud that I’ll be wearing a Rolex on my wrist when we go for the record. It will take 3.6 seconds to cover the Measured Mile, and then the team will race like hell to get the car turned around for a return run within the hour with the world watching. It will be a split second business and terrifically exciting but the real prize is the creation of a lasting legacy that inspires young people to take up careers in science and engineering. It’s going to be a very special moment in time and I’m delighted to welcome Rolex, the leader in time, to the team," says Andy Green of the partnership. 

Photo of Bloodhound SSC (photo: The Bloodhound Project)
Bloodhound SSC (photo: The Bloodhound Project)
To support The Bloodhound Project, visit their official website at bloodhoundssc.com. They offer sponsorship opportunities, information about the vehicle as well as educational programs for students and teachers. 

Jennifer Aniston Wears a Gold Rolex Day-Date

Rumors have been swirling this week about a possible pregnancy for Jennifer Aniston and husband Justin Theroux. The couple was married in 2015 after being engaged for three years. Although many celebrity publications have reported the news, Aniston's reps deny that the couple is expecting a child. 
Jennifer Aniston wearing a gold Rolex Day-Date at Husband Justin Theroux's HBO Premier
Jennifer Aniston wearing a gold Rolex Day-Date at Husband Justin Theroux's HBO Premier (photo: mirror.co.uk)
Aniston, who shot to fame as a member of the ensemble cast of NBC's hit show Friends, has appeared in several feature films since leaving the show. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her gritty role in Cake. Most recently, she appeared in Gary Marshall's Mother's Day alongside Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis. She was married to Brad Pitt prior to this relationship and media questions about motherhood have plagued her since the split.

The beautiful and stylish actress has been photographed wearing several Rolex watches through the years. Her chic style of dress is complimented by the classical design of the watches. She is shown wearing a gold Day-Date in the photo above, showing off her engagement ring on the red carpet at the premier of Theroux's HBO hit show The Leftovers.

For more information on the gold Rolex Day-Date, click here. To check out Justin Theroux's Rolexes, click here.

>>BACK TO CELEBRITIES

How to Set the Time and Date on the Rolex Sky-Dweller

Equipped with Rolex's patented Ring Command Bezel, the Sky-Dweller model takes GMT functionality to another level. Setting each of the functions on this timepiece requires a turn of the bezel before the winding of the crown to the correct date and time. This process is explained below.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Reference # 326939 (photo: Rolex)

Setting the GMT or Reference Time
To set the GMT time on the 24-hour disc of the Sky-Dweller, you must first unscrew the winding crown and pull it out. Also, make sure that the bezel is in the home position, turned all the way to the right. Then move the bezel three clicks to the left or counterclockwise from the home position. This will allow you to set the 24-hour reference time with the winding crown.

Setting the Local Time
Once the 24-hour disc is set to your home time, you are ready to set the local time using the hour hand and the 12-hour display on the main dial. Turn the bezel one click to the right or clockwise to access the hour hand. Then wind the crown to move it to the local hour.

Setting the Date
Once the GMT time and local time are set, move the bezel one more click to the right or clockwise to set the date. There is a Saros annual calendar built into this model with a month indicator above each of the 12 hour markers. You can wind through the calendar to get the the indicator on the right month, then choose the correct day of the month.

Once the date and time are set, move the bezel one more click to the right or clockwise, returning it to the home position. Be sure to wind the crown back down to seal the case as well. If you need to make any adjustments to the time or date, simply repeat the process and move the bezel accordingly to access the desired function.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

Rolex Testimonee Plácido Domingo

Born in Madrid in 1941, Plácido Domingo was musically inclined from a young age. His parents were both singers and moved their family to Mexico when Domingo was 8 years old to start a zarzuela company. There, he began developing his musical talent at the Musical Conservatory of Mexico. He made his major zarzuela debut in Manuel Fernández Caballero's Gigantes y cabezudos.
Rolex Testimonee Plácido Domingo (photo: Rolex/ Mario Testino)
The tenor has sung over 150 roles in some of the greatest opera houses in the world including La Scala in Milan, London's Royal Opera House and The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. After establishing himself as an opera great in the 1960s and 1970s, he began recording popular and Latin music in the 1980s with much success. He became a Rolex Arts Testimonee in 1982.

The worlds of opera and popular music came together when Domingo joined Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras to form The Three Tenors in 1990. Their first album together, Carreras Domingo and Pavarotti in Concert, became the best selling classical album of all time.

In 1994 the trio performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for their second album of live recordings. Their performance of My Way is embedded below with Frank Sinatra giving them a standing ovation at the end. Domingo is currently the general director of the Los Angeles Opera.

Aside from his illustrious career as a tenor, baritone and conductor, Domingo also gives his time to emerging musical talents. He founded Operalia in 1993, a contest that travels the world looking for fresh opera talent. He is known to take an interest in the winners of the competition and spends time helping develop their individual careers. Rolex has sponsored Operalia since 2001.

>>BACK TO ARTS

What is a NATO Strap?

Arguably one of the most popular wristwatch accessories, the NATO strap is commonly seen on Rolex watches in place of the metal bracelets provided by the watchmaker. These long nylon replacement straps find their origins in the British Ministry of Defense and have become very popular with watch enthusiasts.
Admiralty Gray NATO Strap Available at monkeyswag.com (photo: Monkey Swag)
The name 'NATO' comes from the 13 digit North American Trade Organization (NATO) Stock Number that was used by NATO countries to identify this item when it was issued by the British Ministry of Defense in 1973. They also go by 'G10' straps, which refers to the form used to order the original straps.

The first NATO or G10 strap was issued in Admiralty Gray, like the one shown in the photo above from Monkey Swag, a producer of watch straps based in the UK. It was 280 mm in length and 20 mm wide with 12 holes and a chrome plated brass buckle. Now, they are available in many colors and styles. These straps have been seen on James Bond and celebrities like David Beckham in the past and are popular with members of Rolex Forums as well.

In terms of aesthetic, there are differing opinions on how these straps go with luxury timepieces. While some appreciate the vintage military look, others find them too casual. Nonetheless, they are the most common and widely available replacement watch straps on the market. These straps are priced at less than $30 US from most manufacturers.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City

The largest classical music organization in North America, The Metropolitan Opera saw its first season in 1883. After the industrial revolution created a large number of newly wealthy families in the late nineteenth century, The Academy of Music refused to allow them to purchases boxes for their performances. This inspired families like the Roosevelts and the Vanderbilts, who were considered 'new money' at the time, to band together and create what we now know as The Met.

Photo of The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
The Metropolitan Opera in New York City (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
The original building, or 'Old Met' as it is often called, was located on 39th and Broadway. It wasn't until 1966 that The Metropolitan Opera House moved to its current location at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The Met presents up to 27 performances in a season featuring classical works from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as more modern and minimalist presentations. Many of the greatest opera singers have performed on their stage, including Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti and Jonas Kaufmann.

In September of 1999, Rolex Testimonee Plácido Domingo set the record for the most opening night performances with his 18th appearance on the stage. The tenor, baritone and conductor has been an Arts Testimonee since 1982. Rolex has been the official timepiece of The Metropolitan Opera since August of 2011.

>>BACK TO ARTS

7 Things You May Not Know About Rolex

Rolex watches have been around for over a hundred years but there are a few things about the watchmaker that most people probably don't know. From the materials they use for their timepieces to their achievements in the luxury watch industry, Rolex follows a unique business model that was set in place by founder Hans Wilsdorf in the early 20th century. This has allowed them to remain at the top of their game for over a century with no signs of slowing down in the future.   

Rolex Makes Their Own Gold
Rolex Gold Foundry (photo: Rolex/Jean-Daniel Meyer)
One of the most interesting aspects of Rolex's wristwatch production is that they make their own gold. Rolex has a foundry in their Plan-les-Ouates site in Geneva, Switzerland, where they create gold alloys. Most notably, Rolex patented the composition of their Everose gold alloy in 2005. This falls in line with their vertically integrated business model, allowing them to control the materials that they rely on to produce their watch cases and bracelets. The watchmaker also produces their own 904L stainless steel alloy.  

The Rolex Deepsea Challenge Experimental Dive Watch Was Created in 4 Weeks
Engineer Working on Rolex Deepsea Challenge (photo: Rolex/Jess Hoffman)
While Rolex aficionados may be aware of their participation in James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge of 2012, they may not know that the watchmaker committed to the challenge only 4 weeks prior to the descent. Having the materials needed to create the experimental dive watch on hand, engineers and designers had to drop everything to get this watch completed and on the vessel in time. Another interesting note about the experimental watch is that it was not equipped with the Helium Escape Valve that is characteristic of the Deepsea model. 

Rolex is Not a Public Company
Rolex Founder Hans Wilsdorf (photo: Rolex)
Hans Wilsdorf and his wife May never had children, putting into question what would happen to his company upon his death. When May passed away in 1944, Wilsdorf created the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. He stipulated that, upon his death, the company would be controlled by the foundation and never become a public company. To this day, Rolex is under the control of the foundation and does not have to disclose their financial information to the public.

Rolex Watches Have a Certified Precision of -2/+2 Seconds Per Day
Rolex Superlative Chronometer Certification (photo: Rolex)
The Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (or COSC) certifies that mechanical watch movements submitted to them are precise within up to -4/+6 seconds a day. In addition to this certification, Rolex timepieces receive an in-house certification known as the Superlative Chronometer Certification that certifies their precision up to -2/+2 seconds per day. For more information on how their watches receive the green seal shown above, click here.

Hans Wilsdorf Founded Tudor Watch Company in 1946
Tudor Watch Company Founded in 1946 by Hans Wilsdorf
Hans Wilsdorf founded the Tudor Watch Company in 1946 to offer timepieces that boast the quality of a Rolex at a more moderate price. The company is still producing reliable, precise mechanical watches with varied model configurations like the popular Black Bay Bronze. The Tudor name is an homage to the Tudor dynasty of England and the original company logo was the Tudor Rose.  

Rolex is the Most Reputable Company in the World
2016 RepTrak Ranking 
The Reputation Institute placed Rolex at the top of their 2016 Global RepTrak 100 List, the largest global reputation study that ranks companies based on several metrics and across all geographic locations. Rolex beat out companies like Disney and Google due to receiving high ratings for their products and services. For more information on the metrics and ranking, click here 

Rolex Created the First Waterproof Wristwatch
Rolex Oyster Case (photo: Rolex)
Rolex introduced the Oyster case in 1926, making the first wristwatch that was completely waterproof. They still use this hermetically sealed case design to this day. The middle case is stamped out of a solid block of gold or steel and attached to a screw-down fluted case back and the crystal and bezel are friction fitted onto it. A Twinlock or Triplock winding crown is also screwed into the Oyster case for watertight security.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE

The First Rolex Arts Testimonee, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

New Zealand sporano Kiri Te Kanawa became the first Rolex Arts Testimonee in 1976. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982 for her services to opera just a year after singing for Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at the royal wedding. 

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
Te Kanawa began her career as a pop singer in New Zealand, enrolling as a student at London Opera Centre in 1966. Since then, she has appeared the most prestigious stages in the world like La Scala, Sydney Opera House and, of course, the Royal Opera House in London. She transitioned from playing royalty onstage to performing for royalty with much success.

Dame Kiri is best known for her riveting performances of Puccini, Verdi, Mozart and Strauss. I've embedded a video below of her performing George Gershwin's 'Summertime' with the Royal Philharmonic in London in 1989.

In 2004, she created to Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation to help foster young musical talent in her home country of New Zealand. “I had decided to leave money for a foundation when I died, then someone suggested it might work much better if I were still alive! The wonderful people at Rolex came along and helped me straight away.”

>>BACK TO ARTS

How Much Does the Cheapest Rolex Watch Cost?

Generally speaking, if you are starting your search for a Rolex wristwatch by using the words 'cheapest Rolex' as your search terms, you may be starting off on the wrong foot. After all, is there such thing as a cheap Rolex? However, the question does deserve a concrete answer that can help you decide if a new Rolex is the right choice for you. 
Photo of cheapest rolex, Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual 26 (photo: Rolex)
Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual 26 (photo: Rolex)
Strictly speaking, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 26 in stainless steel shown in the photo above is the cheapest of the new model configurations you can buy from an Authorized Dealer. The suggested retail price for this 26 mm Oyster Perpetual configuration is 4,600 Swiss francs, or approximately $4,773 US.

It should also be noted that the 34 mm version of the Oyster Perpetual is priced only 200 Swiss francs more and for 500 more, you can take home a 36 mm version of this stainless steel model. However, for if you are working with a budget of less than $5,000, I would recommend going a different route.

Tudor watches offer a wonderful value proposition for those who may not have the budget for a brand new Rolex. Tudor was founded by Rolex's Hans Wilsdorf in 1946 in an attempt to create a well-made Swiss watch at a more affordable price than a Rolex. They have a large, varied selection of model configurations including the Black Bay Bronze in the photo below.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze (photo: Tudor)
The Black Bay Bronze retails for approximately $3,975 US, making is more affordable than a new Rolex. Hodinkee recently published a review of this timepiece found here. I would encourage anyone who is looking for the cheapest Rolex around to visit tudorwatch.com to check out their selection of watches.

>>BACK TO SHOPPING GUIDE

How to Report a Stolen Rolex

News stories and forum posts about stolen Rolexes pop up all the time, unfortunately. As a result, one of the responsibilities that comes with owning one of these luxury timepieces is keeping it safe. The decision to leave a Rolex in a gym locker, car glove compartment or hotel room is risky and can result in a stolen watch in some cases. Most people are aware of these risks, but not everyone knows what to do when their Rolex is stolen. 

How to Report a Stolen Rolex (photo: Matt Popovich) 
The first and most logical step (that not everyone completes) is to file a police report wherever and whenever you realize you lost it. The theft of any item worth thousands of dollars comes with criminal consequences and a Rolex is no exception. The reporting of the incident not only protects the interests of the victim, it also provides the authorities with information that may help them apprehend the perpetrator.

The other reason that it is important to file a police report is to prove to Rolex that your watch was in fact stolen and not sold or bartered if it turns up at a service center later on. This brings me to the second very important step to follow if your Rolex is stolen: give Rolex the serial number of your watch and report it stolen to them, too. In the US, you can call Rolex Watch USA Inc in New York City at 212-758-7700 and ask to be transferred to the Lost and Stolen Watch Department.

Reporting your stolen watch's serial number to Rolex will flag it in their system. If it is ever taken to a service center for maintenance or repair after that, there is a chance that you can get your watch back if you're lucky. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that it will ever turn up. While many find that insuring a luxury timepiece is expensive, it may be a good idea to do so to avoid going without one in the long run.

>>BACK TO OWNER'S GUIDE

Rolex is the Official Watch of the Royal Opera House, London

In addition to its Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and testimonees like Plácido Domingo and Jonas Kaufmann, Rolex supports the arts by patronizing cultural institutions like The Royal Opera House in London. Constructed in 1732, this opera house is located in Covent Garden, central London and has gone by the name Royal Opera House since 1892. 

Photo of interior of The Royal Opera House in London (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
The Royal Opera House in London (photo: Rolex/Ambroise Tézenas)
This beautiful performing arts venue has seen many masters of classical music, opera and ballet take its stage. The first ballet was presented here in 1734 and baroque composer Handel presented his musical works here until his death in 1759. During World War I is was used as furniture repository and during World War II it became a dance hall. 

The structure has seen many renovations since, including a £213 Million reconstruction that took place between 1997 and 1999 which modernized the facility and created several new spaces and structures. Rolex became official watch of the Royal Opera House in 2008. They also sponsor the other major European opera houses, including the Ópera National de Paris and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. 

Rolex Announces Protégés for 2016-2017 Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative

Rolex's Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative began pairing masters of different artistic disciplines with protégés in 2002. Since, 50 emerging and talented artists have had the benefit of establishing a working relationship with artists at the top of their fields. 

Photo of Director Alfonso Cuarón and Protégé Chaitanya Tamhane (photo: Rolex/©Rolex/Audoin Desforges)
Director Alfonso Cuarón and Protégé Chaitanya Tamhane (photo: Rolex/©Rolex/Audoin Desforges)
Rolex just released the names of the protégés selected for their 2016-2017 program. I listed the mentors for this cycle in a previous post. They include Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, photographed above with his protégé Chaitanya Tamhane of India.

2016 Protégé, Discipline and Country of Origin
Simon Kretz, Architecture, Switzerland
Londiwe Khoza, Dance, South Africa
Chaitanya Tamhane, Film, India
Julián Fuks, Literature, Brazil
Pauchi Sasaki, Music, Peru
Matías Umpierrez, Theater, Argentina
Thao-Nguyen Phan, Visual Art, Vietnam

Mentors and protégés will be paired for a minimum of six weeks over the next year to work together and present their accomplishments at Rolex Arts Weekend at the end of the mentoring period. Each protégé receives 25,000 Swiss francs during the mentorship and an additional 25,000 to show work after the mentor year.

Vietnamese multimedia artist Thao-Nguyen Phan was chosen by visual artist Joan Jonas. “I am moved by Joan’s [Jonas] extraordinary power to reinvent, being so groundbreaking from one work to the next. This innovative spirit is something that I deeply admire and want to learn from her,” she said. The pair is photographed below by Robert Wright. 

Thao-Nguyen Phan and Joan Jonas (photo: Rolex / Robert Wright)

German Tenor Jonas Kaufmann Wears a Rolex Day-Date 40

German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is considered one of the greatest operatic talents of his generation. Since his career began in the late nineties, he has appeared on all of the major stages in the world, including The Royal Opera House in London and The Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
German Tenor Jonas Kaufmann (photo: Rolex/Benoît Peverelli) wearing a rolex
German Tenor Jonas Kaufmann (photo: Rolex/Benoît Peverelli)
The opera singer is married to mezzo-soprano Margarete Joswig and the couple has three children. Kaufmann released a documentary entitled 'An evening with Puccini' earlier this year documenting his unforgettable performance at La Scala, Milan in 2015. I have embedded his performance of Nessun Dorma below. The tenor has also shared the stage with Plácido Domingo and other opera greats.

Kaufmann became a Rolex Testimonee in 2009, joining opera greats like Cecilia Bartoli and Juan Diego Flórez. He is photographed above wearing a platinum Day-Date with an ice blue dial. Click here for more info about the documentary film 'An evening with Puccini'.

>>BACK TO ARTS

Featured Post

Rolex Online Resources