Should I Modify My Rolex?

Rolex models change very little from reference to reference, maintaining a classical aesthetic while increasing in reliability as technology advances watchmaking techniques. However, not everyone appreciates the slow and steady style evolution of these timepieces. For those who like their watch to reflect their personality, a modified Rolex can give them what they want, but not without some risks when it comes to servicing and resale value. Like most other commodities, the more personalized they are, the smaller the market for them when it comes time to sell them.
Light Blue Rolex Milgauss Modification Idea
The first thing to take into account when deciding whether to modify your Rolex is that the watchmaker will not accept one of their timepieces for service if it has been modified. So, if you would like to change the color of the dial, for example, you will have to put the original Rolex dial back on before sending it in to the service center. If you make more permanent modifications, like adding a coating through a company like Titan Black, they will not work on the watch at all. This means that you will have to rely on someone else to service or repair your watch in the future.

If being blacklisted by Rolex Service Centers doesn't bother you and you plan on keeping your watch forever, you can feel free to modify your watch without being concerned about anything other than the dirty looks you will get from brand loyalists. There are many ways to modify a watch, from something as simple as swapping out the hour markers to more drastic modifications like blacking out or engraving. The good thing about a Rolex is that you don't have to modify them too much to make them stand out since there is such uniformity in their wristwatch model design. The photo above shows a Milgauss (Reference # 116400GV) that I altered in Photoshop.

The Milgauss is a charming model that is often overlooked. I love the lightning bolt second hand and its scientific legacy. But when it comes to the aesthetic, I have a hard time with the black dial combined with its orange and green design details. The Z-Blue dial version does a better job of offering a fresh and bold configuration, but the black dial isn't as sexy. I took to Photoshop to tweak the hour markers and other design details to make them pop against the black background and stainless steel case. I chose a light blue color that looks just as fresh as the Z-blue dial, but a little more low key.

While modifications are looked down upon by the watchmaker and purists, it is up to the owner of the watch to decide what to do with it. As long as you are okay with the restrictions that come with modifying your Rolex, I say go for it. If I've learned anything about watches in the past few years, it's that the most important part of owning a watch is that you love the way it looks on your wrist.


Rolex Testimonee Yuja Wang

The daughter of a dancer and a percussionist, Beijing-born concert pianist Yuja Wang became a Rolex Arts Testimonee in 2009. The young piano prodigy began playing at the age of six and by the time she was eleven, she was already playing international music festivals. She is known around the world just as much for her technical skill as her nuanced interpretations of classical pieces, with a fashion sense and stage presence that is met with critical acclaim wherever she plays. 

Rolex Testimonee Yuja Wang (photo: Rolex/Hugo Glendinning)
Wang's musical education began at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. In 1999 she moved to Canada to participate in the Morningside Music summer program at Calgary’s Mount Royal College. After that she enrolled as the youngest ever student at Mount Royal Conservatory. In 2001 she was appointed as a Steinway Artist and the following year when she was offered a place at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Gary Graffman. She graduated from there in May of 2008 after already achieving success after her debut a few years earlier with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. 

In March of 2007 she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice in performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra to critical acclaim. After just a few seasons she was working with such masters as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, and Zubin Mehta. The Grammy nominated musician has also released several recordings, including a live recording of Prokofiev’s Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with fellow Rolex Testimonee Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Her performance of the Flight of the Bumble-Bee, embedded below, has received almost 5 million views on YouTube. 

For more information on Yuja Wang, including playlists, calendar and updates, visit To learn more about Rolex and the Arts, visit

2016 Rolex Explorer

When Rolex released the new 2016 Explorer model, I was not sure what the difference was between this and the version released prior. After reading up on it on the forums and in Rolex's promotional materials for the 2016 release (Reference # 214270), I understood why they felt the need to release a new version with such a subtle variation. It is hard to tell what has changed at a glance, but the differences are easier to identify with the lights out. 

2016 Rolex Explorer (photo: Rolex/Alain Costa)
The Explorer is Rolex's most understated professional model. In stainless steel with a simple and legible display, it is wonderfully symmetrical and easy to read. Its characteristic arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock have been filled with luminescent material in this latest version, making its Chromalight display look perfectly clear in the dark, as the photo below shows. In addition to the change in lume, this model also features an elongated minute hand for better legibility as compared to the shorter hand in the previous model, known as 'T-Rex', because the minute hand fell short of reaching the hour markers. Opinions differ as to which version better represents the Explorer, but when you look at the lume photo it is hard to deny that the luminescent numerals improve the display.

Chromalight Display of 2016 Rolex Explorer (photo: Rolex/Alain Costa)
The Explorer is powered by a 3132 self-winding mechanical movement manufactured by Rolex in-house. The Oyster case of this stainless steel sports watch measures 39 millimeters in diameter and features a smooth bezel and Twinlock winding crown. Waterproof up to 100 meters, it comes on an Oyster bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp that includes an Easylink 5 millimeter comfort extension link. The dial is black with a satin finish and the hour markers and numerals are made from 18 carat white gold and filled with long-lasting luminescence. The suggested retail price for the Explorer is 6,200 Swiss Francs or approximately $6,503 US. For more information on this and all of their models, including where to buy one, visit I've embedded the video below from their YouTube channel for additional information and beautiful shots of this classic Rolex.


Rich Kids of London Use Rolex Watches to Troll Instagram

Rich Kids of London on Instagram 
Amassing a following of over 150k followers in less than a year, Rich Kids of London is an Instagram account that posts photos of young British kids flaunting their parents' wealth. While many who are born to privilege prefer a lower public profile, these young Brits post photos of private planes and sports cars with cheeky captions about what their daddies' money can buy them. With the success of many troll accounts on the social media platform over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before one of them focused on the absurdities of youth and privilege.

When they're not pouring bottles of champagne into a jacuzzi or eating cereal over their iMac screens, they spend time placing their Rolex watches at the bottom of the toilet for a photo op, as you can see on their feed. Most of the photos feature cars, planes, bottles and watches with similar comments. While these photos may be insulting to people who have to work hard to afford such luxuries, it is clear that those posting them are looking for passionate reactions, as the definition of internet trolling suggests.

While controversial accounts like this will always be a part of the internet landscape as long as there is an element of anonymity involved, the notion of gaining popularity by mocking inherited wealth with frivolous photographs is certainly telling of the times. Technically speaking, posing next to a fancy car or pouring champagne on a luxury watch doesn't mean you're wealthy. It just means you're a special kind of person. This personality type has gone by many names over the years but most of those names are too vulgar to publish here so, for now, we can just call them Rich Kids of London.

See Frederik the Great at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is underway in New York City and one of the headliners is the most handsome horse in the world, Frederik the Great. This pure bred Friesian stallion will display one of the longest manes in the world as he has on his YouTube channel for millions of viewers. “Frederik not only captivates his audience with his breathtaking beauty, but also loves to light up a crowd with his outgoing and charismatic personality,” says Stacy Nazario, owner of Frederik. “We’re thrilled to be a part of Rolex Central Park Horse Show in New York City’s iconic Wollman Rink.”

Frederik the Great (photo:
Founded by Mark Bellisimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show was launched in 2014 to present the best jumpers and dressage riders in the world. With five days of multi-discilpine equestrian sport and performances, the outdoor event runs through Sunday, September 25th. One of the most anticipated equestrian events of the year taking place in Wollman Rink, it also features free events for families, kids and the general public including pony rides, demonstrations and presentations.

Frederik the Great's performances on Friday and Saturday evenings are highly anticipated. “Frederik has taken the world by storm and helped to shine an international spotlight on the equestrian world, allowing an unprecedented audience to appreciate these Friesian horses,” says Mark Bellissimo. “The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will bring Frederik to New York City to provide a special opportunity to showcase his majesty and beauty, giving New Yorkers and visitors from all over the globe a first-hand experience of this special horse.”

For more information on the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, visit their official website at To watch Frederik the Great in action, visit his YouTube channel. I have embedded a video below with captivating shots of the Fresian stallion.

The Most Masculine Rolex Professional Models

What is regarded as masculine differs from culture to culture, but there are a few design characteristics that make some watches appeal to the male demographic more than others. Based on my experience, a man that wants to maintain a masculine appearance would gravitate toward a large stainless steel tool watch with a black dial. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but generally speaking, size, color, utility and simplicity seem to be at the top of the list for men who consider themselves masculine. I have listed what I consider to be the most masculine Rolex professional watches below.

Rolex Explorer II (photo: Rolex/Justin Luebke)
There's something about the Explorer II model (Reference # 216570) that oozes masculinity. It has a 42mm case, on the larger side for Rolex, but it is more than size that makes model a favorite of manly men around the world. There is a lack of pretension in its bezel and dial that seems to appeal to those looking for a simple and straightforward watch. The dial is legible and luminous and the stainless steel case looks like it can handle a beating. If you are looking for an unassuming Rolex (as unassuming as a Rolex can be, anyway) this is the model for you. It is also priced very well given its size, making it attractive to those who want a reliable watch at a reasonable price.

Rolex GMT-Master II BLNR (photo: Rolex)
The BLNR configuration of the GMT-Master II (Reference # 116710BLNR) is one of Rolex's most popular models, coming in behind the Daytona and Submariner. While fashionable women are often photographed wearing Daytonas and Submariners, you rarely see them wearing a BLNR. Known as the 'Batman' by enthusiasts, the BLNR seems to hold a special place in the heart of men while going largely unnoticed by women. The use of blue and black on the bezel, colors generally used to market to men, may have something to do with it. However, even the BLRO configuration, with a red and blue bezel, looks masculine to me. I can't pinpoint what makes this so, but I would definitely consider the BLNR one of the most masculine Rolex models.

Rolex Deepsea (photo: Rolex/Manu Schwendener)
While many women have been photographed wearing a Rolex Deepsea (Reference # 116660), I still consider it one of the most masculine watches in the their professional collection. The case thickness makes it look bulky even on larger wrists, making it the perfect model for those who associate size with masculinity. The absence of the Cyclops magnifying lens adds an element that appeals to a lot of guys. There is also something about its depth rating that piques the interest of those who spent their youth dreaming of exploring the deep. Even though there are far more Deepsea watches in the world than deep sea divers, the ingenuity that went into creating this dive watch fills the wearer with a sense of pride and wonder that is unmatched.

There is more to masculinity than the characteristics usually attributed to men, but what appeals to most men in terms of watches is easy to see. Rolex may not release their sales and production figures, but you can look at the gray market and visit online forums to get an idea. For more information on these and other models, check out my Rolex Models page here.

Every Rolex Tells a Story: Tiger Woods

The only golfer in the modern era to hold all four professional majors simultaneously, Tiger Woods is no stranger to success. Though his marriage to the mother of his children reached a scandalous end a few years ago, the athlete seems to have moved on from that. He dated Lindsey Vonn seriously for a few years and has settled into a lower profile as a public figure since their break up. Woods is no stranger to fine timepieces, so it seems fitting that Rolex tapped him for their Every Rolex Tells a Story series.

Every Rolex Tells a Story: Tiger Woods (photo: Rolex)
"When I’m not playing golf, I want to be in the ocean. I grew up in Southern California, in the Pacific, surfing, and I dive all the time. Water has always been a part of my life... For all of this, I need a watch that is very reliable, that’s why for me the Rolex Deepsea is a natural fit. I love the way it feels. It’s heavy, it’s sturdy, it’s very manly," says Woods about his choice of Rolex. He describes his experience underwater as a break from the connectivity of modern life, something that makes sense given the fact that he has been under a microscope for years as a household name and top athlete.

Woods plans to stage a comeback to competitive gold with the first event of the PGA Tour's 2016-2017 season, the Safeway Open on October 13th. The golfer has been recovering from surgeries since participating in the at the 2015 Wyndham Championship last year. Though nothing is set in stone, this fall will see him return to competing in the biggest golf tournaments in the world. On his time away from the golf course, he spent time with his children, designing golf courses and, of course, in the sea.

"My watch has been part of wins, of losses, part of adventures with my kids, individual adventures. I was sceptical at first that this watch could keep up with me. And you know what, it can." For more on Tiger Woods and his Deepsea, check out the video embedded below from the World of Rolex YouTube channel.

2016 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Configurations

Originally designed to help race car drivers keep their pace, the Cosmograph Daytona is the watch for anyone looking for a chronograph with the precision and luxury that Rolex is known for. Introduced in 1963, the Daytona features a tachymetric scale on the bezel, freeing up space on the dial for increased legibility. A couple years after its introduction, Rolex introduced screw-down pushers that seal the Oyster case when not in use and help the wearer avoid accidentally pressing the them while keeping time. In 2000, Rolex released the first Daytona model with a self-winding mechanical movement, the 4130, that was manufactured entirely in-house my the watchmaker. Offered in a variety of configurations shown in the photos below, the Cosmograph Daytona offers the functionality of a sports watch with the classic elegance of a Rolex. 

2016 Rolex Daytona Models (photo: Rolex/Ryu Euiseok)
Baselworld 2016 saw the introduction of the stainless steel Daytona featuring a black Cerachrom bezel and either a black dial or a white dial like the one shown above in the center. The 116500LN is hard to get your hands on, with waiting lists and premiums required at most Authorized Dealers. The contrasting black and white dial and sub-dials harken back to Daytona models of the 1960s and the ceramic bezel is virtually scratch-proof. For those who prefer a combination of steel with gold, Rolex offers the Daytona in two tone configurations, like the one above on the left. You can choose between a white, mother of pearl, yellow gold or black dial with or without diamonds. If white gold is more to your liking, the watchmaker offers a white gold configuration with a blue dial, shown above on the right. It is also available with a silver or black dial, making the white gold configurations the perfect option for someone who wants a sleek configuration that isn't too flashy.

2016 Yellow Gold Rolex Daytona (photo: Rolex/Caleb George)
Available with a white, mother of pearl, yellow gold, black or green dial (shown above), the yellow gold Daytona offers the most formal configuration. The green dial combination looks more like a piece of fine jewelry than a tool watch. The monochromatic dial is not as legible as the contrasting dial on the steel configuration, but it makes up for it by offering an exotic and aesthetically pleasing color combination. In addition to white gold and yellow gold, the Cosmograph Daytona is also offered in Everose gold, Rolex's proprietary rose gold alloy cast in their foundry. Below on the left is the Everose gold configuration on a black alligator leather strap that features a black Cerachrom bezel insert and a chocolate dial. The rose gold version also comes on an Oyster bracelet, shown on the right, with dial options that include pink, black and ivory. This is a popular configuration amongst fashionistas like model Rosie Huntington-Whitely.

2016 Rolex Daytona Models (photo: Rolex/Joey Kyber)
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Daytona, Rolex released the platinum configuration shown above in the middle with an ice blue dial and chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel. Known as the 'Platona' by enthusiasts, this configuration combines the most beloved features of the model in cool colors that give this precious metal configuration an aesthetic that is unique and pleasing to the eye. While the price tag of the platinum configuration makes it a grail watch for most, it represents the watchmaker's commitment to offering a variety of Daytona configurations to meet the needs and desires of a diverse group of admirers. Rolex has been tied to the Daytona International Speedway for half a century and their popular chronograph solidifies the lasting relationship between the racing community and the luxury watchmaker. For more information on the Cosmograph Daytona model, visit

Discounts from Rolex Authorized Dealers

Do Rolex Authorized Dealers offer discounts? Are they allowed to offer discounts or charge more than the suggested retail price put forth by the watchmaker? I come across these questions on Rolex forums all the time and am always curious to read different people's experiences with dealer discounts. As with most topics relating to Rolex watches, there isn't one concrete answer to any of these questions and experiences vary based on several factors, all listed below in an attempt to shed some light on this issue.

Two Tone Rolex Yacht-Master II Model (photo: Rolex/Kyle Myburgh)
First and foremost, while Rolex Authorized Dealers are prohibited from advertising discounts on their timepieces, they are not legally bound to any price set forth by the watchmaker. Now, if you are wondering if Rolex dealers offer discounts, I think it's safe to assume that you are either a first time buyer or new to watch collecting to some extent. I point this out because your relationship with your dealer is a contributing factor to what sort of discount you can expect to receive from them. If you are a valued customer, you can and should ask for a better price than the first one the sales rep throws out. This applies to all but the current 'it' watches, like the ceramic stainless steel Daytona, that are hard for them to keep in stock and fetch a premium. However, if it is your first time walking into the dealer, you have to rely on your charm and negotiation skills to work down the price.

The model you choose usually dictates how much of a discount you can expect from any dealer, even one that you frequent. Generally speaking, Rolex's stainless steel sports models are the hardest to get at a discounted price simply because they are always in demand as there is a larger market for timepieces priced under $10,000 US. With precious metal configurations, you have a better chance of receiving a discount as they are priced higher and usually not as in demand as their stainless steel counterparts. However, this also depends on the dealer. If you walk into an AD in New York City while on vacation and expect them to offer you a discount, you may be disappointed.

To put yourself in the best negotiating position when purchasing a Rolex, you should think of it no differently than walking into a auto dealership and working down the price of a car. Go in after doing research on pricing, both suggested retail price and resale value. This will let you know how much room you have to negotiate and where to set your initial offer. Do not present your offer as an ultimatum, but as a budget that you would like to adhere to for this purchase. The idea is to create a long-term relationship that will allow you to continue to receive discounts in the future. In my experience, candor and politeness go a long way with salespeople, especially when you are willing to work with them to get a good price on your item without taking away too much of their commission.

The best way to ensure that you get the best prices and service from your dealer is to nurture the relationship over time. If they sell jewelry or other items that you may be interested, give them your business so that when it comes time for you to negotiate the price of your grail watch, you have a leg to stand on. Many dealers have private events and will even bump you up on a list for a hard to find watch if you are a VIP. However, if you are looking for a deeply discounted Rolex watch, you may want to check out the gray market and leave the dealers for those who want to sip beverages and attend events with the sales reps, owners and other valued customers.


Rolex Arts Testimonee, Conductor Gustavo Dudamel

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel (photo: Rolex/Monika Rittershaus)
A Rolex Arts Testimonee since 2008, Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel began his career young, making his conducting debut at age 12. He has remained busy since then, serving as musical director for several orchestras before turning thirty years old. Most recently he conducted the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra at the 2016 Salzburg Festival in collaboration with Testimonee Cecilia Bartoli on a new production of the broadway musical West Side Story.

In addition to serving as the musical director for the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, he has fulfilled the same role for the El Sistema project of Venezuela, a program that brings classical music to the country's youth. He has also directed the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the US. He has also been a favorite at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has an extensive discography that goes back a decade and has won Grammy and Classic Brit awards for his work.

More recently, the young musical talent conducted the opening and ending credits of the latest film from the Star Wars franchise. In the YouTube video embedded below, Dudamel conducts the Star Wars theme for the film's famed composter John Williams. For more information on Gustavo Dudamel's schedule, bio and recordings, visit his official website at


2016 Rolex Submariner Date Configurations

Introduced in 1953, the Submariner Date has become one of the most recognizable Rolex models in the world. Its 60-minute graduated bezel, now made using the watchmaker's patented Cerachrom insert, combines form and function to create a useful tool watch underwater that can also go with you anywhere on land. Rolex offers its most iconic dive watch in stainless steel, two tone and gold configurations, with dials and bezels in either blue, green or black. 

2016 Stainless Steel Submariner Date (Reference # 116610LV) (photo: Rolex/James Higginson)
In stainless steel, the Submariner Date comes with either a green dial and bezel combination (Reference # 116610LV) or a black dial with black bezel (Reference # 116610LN). The green configuration, known as the 'Hulk' by some, is shown in the photo above. The combination of stainless steel with green seems odd at first glance, but this version is very popular amongst enthusiasts. The dial has a sunray finish that looks particularly resplendent in the sun. The 904L steel of the case and Oyster bracelet have a satin finish and the Oysterlock clasp features the Glidelock extension system that adds 20mm to the bracelet in increments of 2mm.

In terms of precious metal configurations, Rolex offers the Submariner Date in either white or yellow gold or a combination of yellow gold and stainless steel, referred to as Rolesor. The photo below shows the white gold version with a blue dial and bezel combination (Reference # 116619LB) on the left, the yellow gold/black dial and bezel combo (Reference # 116618LN) in the middle and the two tone stainless/yellow gold Rolesor with blue dial/bezel combination (Reference # 116613LB) on the right. Aside from those shown in the photo, the watchmaker also offers a yellow gold Sub Date with a blue dial and bezel combo (Reference # 116618LN) and the two tone Rolesor with a black dial and bezel combination (Reference # 116613LN).

2016 Gold Rolex Submariner Date Configurations (photo: Rolex/Seref Yucar)
Equipped with a 3135 self-winding mechanical movement manufactured in-house, the Submariner Date features a depth rating of 300 meters and a power reserve of 48 hours. The precious metal configurations feature polished center links on the bracelet. Its 40mm case is sealed with a screw down Triplock winding crown, ensuring a watertight seal. Its hands and hour markers contain Cromalight appliqués that make it highly legible underwater or in darker environments.

The stainless steel Submariner Date configurations dominate the market, but the yellow gold and Rolesor versions compliment the nautical blue dial and bezel spectacularly. The white gold version is known as the 'Smurf' by some and is also a favorite amongst those who don't like yellow gold watches. Anyone who is looking for a solid and simple dive watch with a classic aesthetic should look no further than the Sub. The watchmaker offers a Submariner without a date function for those who like a cleaner dial display. And if the Cyclops magnifying lens is a deal-breaker for you, check out the Sea-Dweller 4000, a 40mm dive watch made by Rolex that has a date function without the magnification lens.

After decades on the market with very few changes to its aesthetic and functionality, the Submariner Date has proven to be a reliable dive watch. Its consistency has also helped keep its resale value high, something that is important to those who tend to flip watches in their collections. For more information on the archetype of the diver's watch, visit the watchmaker's official website at


Titan Black Rolex Explorer Oro

Titan Black is a family run business based in the Mayfair area of London that specializes in customization of luxury watches made by Rolex and other watchmakers. The company offers their own range of unique luxury watches modified using their DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating and also offer their modification services on any watch provided by the customer, even allowing one to come up with their own bespoke design on their website. 

Titan Black Rolex Explorer Oro (photo:
Horology geeks tend to turn their noses up at modified watches, but companies like Titan Black continue to find success with those willing to spend their money on timepieces that are truly one of a kind. The watches in their Titan Black Collection, like the Rolex Explorer Oro shown above, are all sold in limited quantities. They are also the only luxury watch customization company to offer modifications on any watch, not just watches from their collection. They also offer concierge services to watch collectors, helping their clients source rare and hard to find vintage pieces

The Explorer (Reference # 214270) is one of the simplest models in Rolex's professional line. The legibility and symmetry of its dial make it easy to tell time on it. The large arabic numbers at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock are unmistakable and its otherwise clean design makes it an excellent candidate for a modification. The Oro customization from Titan Black moves the watch away from the basic stainless steel and black configuration most commonly seen on Rolex sports models. With gold on the hands, hour markers, logo and model name and their DLC coating on the case, bezel and bracelet, this watch takes on a life of its own. However, the combination of black and gold isn't at all jarring or flashy, as one may expect when imagining a modified watch.

Most of the watches in their range are blacked out as one would expect, with some exceptions. The Lathbridge watches from their collaboration with designer Patrick Cox, like the Daytona shown in the photo below from the Titan Black Instagram feed, feature a cognac colored coating. The color is a bit more earthy and warm than yellow gold, but not as pink as rose gold. The polish is subtle and allows the timepiece to avoid being considered flashy or gaudy. In addition to working with Patrick Cox, the company has also created special edition Cartier, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet timepieces.

Customization may be considered a dirty word in the world of Rolex, but Titan Black's work offers an adventurous take on classic timepieces that is worth a look. Their pieces may not fit into everyone's collections, but they are designed to make the person wearing it feel unique and distinguished. If you are interested in seeing what a watch would look like with one of their modifications, check out the Design Your Own page on their official website,


Every Rolex Tells a Story: Vijay Amritraj

The story behind professional tennis player Vijay Amritraj's road to owning a Rolex begins in his home country of India during a childhood spent plagued with health issues. India's first professional sportsman spent most of his childhood in the hospital with a disease of the lungs. His doctors recommended to his parents that he partake in outdoor sports to help strengthen his frail body. Amritraj chose to take tennis lessons, an extraordinary expense for an Indian family at the time, which would not only help him get healthier, but also help pave his way to Wimbledon and other major tennis tournaments before he was twenty years old.

Professional Tennis Player Vijay Amritraj (photo: Rolex)
"I think tennis was my greatest education. It taught me about not just the world, but about myself and what one is able to achieve. Tennis gave me more than I could have ever asked for and my Rolex stands for exactly that. It makes you think of the impossible as nothing." Amritraj won the Newport Hall of Fame Tournament in 1976 and received a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date 36 in addition to his cash prize. At 23 years old, the athlete felt too young to wear a Rolex, but kept it on his wrist because it was a source of pride for him, especially given what he had to overcome to achieve his success in sports.

After forty years, the gold Rolex is still on his wrist, as you can see in the video embedded below. The athlete credits his health and life accomplishments, which include being named a UN Messenger of Peace and carrying the Olympic Torch for India, to his involvement in sports. He sees his Day-Date as a symbol of how perseverance and dedication can lead to excellence and he wears it proudly. For information on Vijay Amritraj's story and a closer look at his vintage Day-Date, visit


Lindsey Vonn Wears a Rolex on Running Wild With Bear Grylls

Lindsey Vonn on Running Wild With Bear Grylls (photo: NBC)
Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing and Rolex brand ambassador Lindsey Vonn appeared on NBC's Running Wild with Bear Grylls this week, an outdoor survival show in which Grylls takes a celebrity on an adventure in each episode. Vonn's episode was filmed on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea and while she spends most of her time skiing down mountains, climbing the rocky coastal cliffs of the island proved to be a challenge for the athlete.

Vonn tested her individual survival abilities during the 48 hour journey, letting survival expert Grylls know early on that she did not want help getting up the mountain. "One thing I've noticed with Lindsey is that everything's a competition," Grylls said early in the challenge. Her competitive nature combined with an intense work ethic have helped her become the successful athlete she is today, something she would like to pass on to her children someday. "I definitely want to teach my kids that they can be whatever they want to be. Nothing's going to be handed to them," she said. "There's no substitute for hard work."

The olympian entered the challenge wearing a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, a timepiece that accurately reflects her accomplishments. Vonn was featured in ads for Ladies models, including the diamond-encrusted Pearlmaster earlier this year, but it seems that she prefers the President's Watch for her personal collection. This makes sense to me after watching the episode. While most media outlets focused on her comments about Tiger Woods, I found it interesting that she expressed a desire to compete with men on the slopes as a skier.

Lindsey Vonn may model swimsuits and compete against women in her sport (for now) but what struck me the most while watching the episode is how her spirit resembles that of strong women from the past, like Mercedes Gleitze, the first woman to cross the English Channel unaided in 1927. Her pioneering spirit and commitment to excellence makes her a great representation for the brand and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the athlete.


Rolex Arts Testimonee Sonya Yoncheva

Another Rolex Arts Testimonee that has passed through Plácido Domingo's Operalia singing competition, young Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva's star burns bright in the opera world. One of the biggest talents of her generation, she has already graced the stages of the world's leading opera houses. Her performances of iconic roles have garnered critical acclaim for her work in operas from the Baroque era as well as on the concert stage. 

Sonya Yoncheva Wearing a Rolex Lady Datejust (photo: Rolex/Hugo Glendinning)
Yoncheva received rave reviews for her role as Violetta in Verdi's 'La Traviata' in 2015. "She is the finest Violetta since Maria Callas. The Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva is possibly the best Traviata in the world at present,” said Die Welt of the performance. In 2014, she stepped in as Mimi in 'La Boheme' at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, after having played Gilda in 'Rigoletto' there. She has also graced the most important stages of Europe, as Musetta in La Bohéme at the Royal Opera House in London and Lucia de Lammermoor at the Opéra National de Paris in 2013. 

A student of music since her childhood in Bulgaria, Yoncheva received degrees in piano and voice in her home country, studying under Nelly Koitcheva. She later obtained a mater's in voice at the Conservatory of Geneva under the tutelage of Danielle Borst. After receiving her formal training, the opera singer applied her vocal talent to singing competitions. Most notably, she won top prize and the special CultureArte prize at Operalia in 2010. The video embedded below shows the singer performing "E strano...Sempre Libera..." from 'La Traviata' in a concert in 2012.
Rolex Lady Datejust (photo: Rolex)
The soprano became a Rolex Arts Testimonee in 2011 and is photographed above wearing a yellow gold Lady Datejust. With diamonds set on the bezel and hour markers and finished with a Jubilee bracelet, this watch exudes elegance and represents Yoncheva's star quality very well. For more information on the opera star, visit her official website at For more information on the watch, visit

2016 Rolex GMT-Master II Configurations

The GMT-Master II has become one of the most sought after models in Rolex's professional line. While there are several notable configurations that have appeared since the GMT-Master was introduced in 1955, the watchmaker only produces certain versions each year. If you are currently on the market for a 2016 GMT-Master II, you can choose from the configurations below in stainless steel, two tone, white and yellow gold.  

Stainless Steel Rolex GMT-Master II Configurations (photo: Rolex/ Erez Attias)
In stainless steel, Rolex offers the GMT with a black dial and either a black bezel (Reference # 116710LN), shown above on the left, or a black and blue bezel (Reference # 116710BLNR), on the right. Known as the 'Batman' the BLNR is a bit harder to get your hands on than the LN. The colors on the bezel help the wearer differentiate between daylight and night time hours when using the bidirectional rotatable 24-hour bezel. All configurations feature an Oyster bracelet with polished center links and an Oysterlock clasp with their Easylink comfort extension.
Two Tone Rolex GMT-Master II and White Gold BLRO GMT-Master II (photo: Rolex)
If you like the look of yellow gold but the practicality of stainless steel, take a look at the two tone stainless steel and yellow gold configuration (Reference # 116713LN) shown above on the left. The bezel is made of yellow gold with a black Cerachrom insert. The green 24-hour hand offers a nice accent color against the black dial and the date aperture is magnified by Rolex's Cyclops lens, standard on all GMT models. To the right is the white gold version (116719BLRO) with a blue and red bezel, commonly referred to as the 'Pepsi' due to its resemblance to the company's logo. You can find a preowned GMT Pepsi in stainless steel online, but at present the white gold version is the only one available direct from the manufacturer.

Yellow Gold Rolex GMT-Master II Configurations (photo: Rolex)
If you're not afraid of a little flash, Rolex offers two yellow gold GMT configurations that truly shine. Available with either a green or black dial, this watch (Reference # 116718LN) combines practical functionality and a classical aesthetic that represents the watchmaker superbly. Like all of the GMT-Master II models shown here, its 40 millimeter case is fitted with a 3186 movement that is manufactured in house by Rolex. This simple yet sophisticated configuration is the perfect option for someone who likes the look of a Submariner but prefers a 24-hour bezel over a 60-minute graduated bezel.

The GMT was designed with travelers in mind, but you don't have to jump timezones to appreciate its simple yet useful complication. Do you work with clients overseas? Does your spouse travel for work? If so, you can keep track of their time alongside your own with this stylish timepiece. If you love the watch but prefer a different bezel, like the 'Coke' or 'Rootbeer', you may want to search the gray market for a pre-owned or vintage version. To find an Authorized Dealer that carries the 2016 models shown above, visit


Do You Need a Reason to Buy a Rolex?

When it comes to making a luxury timepiece purchase, many feel that a special occasion is necessary to justify the expense, while others feel free to purchase their favorite wristwatches on a whim. There are several factors that determine when and why one would consider a big ticket item, but the question remains: do you need a reason to buy a Rolex?

Rolex Daytona 116500LN (photo: Rolex/Stephan Cooper)
In my Rolex Shopping Guide, I usually break down Rolex watches based on pricing, as most people need to budget and plan ahead of making a luxury watch purchase. I find that it's best to avoid the pitfall of falling in love with a precious metal configuration when you only have the budget for a stainless steel sports model. And even if you have all the money in the world, it still makes sense to compare models of equal value when evaluating a purchase. However, for most people being able to come up with the money isn't reason enough to pull the trigger on a Rolex.

When it comes to luxury watches, there are many great companies that compete for the attention of watch collectors and enthusiasts. Most offer great wristwatches with competitive pricing, but not every luxury watch is created equal. When it comes to retaining their value, Rolex watches are hard to beat. That's not to say they are an investment - unless you are knowledgeable and connected in the watch world, the chances that you will find a watch that's going to earn you a return above the price you paid for it are slim. Many fail to understand the difference between an item increasing in value and retaining its value when discussing watches. That's not to say they aren't a valuable asset, though.

Aside from value retention, there are other reasons to consider a Rolex purchase. Their timepieces are well made and built to last a lifetime, even more with proper care. This makes them wonderful heirlooms for your children. The company's continued focus on excellence also makes their watches symbols of success and achievement, making a Rolex purchase a great way to mark an accomplishment. The style factor should not be overlooked, either, as a luxury wristwatch elevates one's aesthetic effortlessly.

Everyone has their own individual reasons for buying a Rolex, but do you need a reason at all? As much as I like to carefully plan all of my purchases, I have to say that the best reason to buy a Rolex is no reason at all. There is a pleasure in purchasing a beautiful watch that supersedes any logical reasoning attached to the transaction. Luxury purchases will always seem illogical to some, so my recommendation is to spend less time trying to rationalize your luxury watch purchase and more time enjoying the experience of wearing the watch on your wrist.


Shopping for a Rolex Dress Watch

The watches in Rolex's professional line get most of the attention these days, but the the company was started during a time when all wristwatches were dress watches. Even though times have changed in terms of fashion and style, a gentleman will always require a dress watch for formal occasions. While some find it appropriate to pair a dive watch like the Submariner with a suit and tie, opting for an elegant dress watch is the way to go if you are looking to capture the swagger of times past. 

Rolex Cellini Date (photo: Rolex)
Of all the classic watch styles Rolex offers, the pieces from their Cellini line are the most representative of traditional men's dress watch. The Cellini Date shown above features a blue alligator leather strap, a beautiful blue dial and low profile case. Cellini watches are unique in that they don't come with the Oyster case that we come to expect when we see a Rolex. Their clean lines and simple elegance allow them to slip under the cuff of your suit, only visible when you would like to check the time. It may be trendy to show off a sporty watch with a large case on your wrist, but when dressed in a well tailored suit, a low profile dress watch completes the look without competing with the suit or other accessories. 

Close Up of Rolex Datejust (photo: Rolex)
If you want a watch that looks like a Rolex, but can still work in formalwear, I would suggest either a Datejust or Day-Date. The Datejust comes in a variety of sizes and configurations, like the yellow gold and stainless steel DJ shown above. This classic Rolex model has changed little over the years, with a smooth or fluted bezel and iconic Cyclops magnifying lens over a simple dial. The Datejust 41 shown above is available with the champagne dial in the photo and the option of diamond hour markers. This model is also available with a 36 millimeter case for those who find a 41 millimeter case excessive. Most come with a combination of stainless steel and white, yellow or pink gold on either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet.

Platinum Rolex Day-Date (photo: Rolex)
Known as the President's watch, the Day-Date, shown above in platinum with an ice blue dial, walks the line between a classic dress watch and a modern masterpiece. The aperture at 12 o'clock for the day is instantly recognizable and very legible and the motif on the dial adds an artistic touch to an otherwise simple and elegant watch. After decades on the market, it is still the watch of choice for many of the most influential people in the world. If you are on the market for a precious metal configuration from Rolex and prefer a clean aesthetic, this is the watch for you. The platinum and rose gold versions have a fresh and modern look, while the yellow gold still harkens back to the golden age of Rolex watches.

If your career or your social life calls for formal attire, it is always a good idea to have a dress watch to go with your suit. The Datejust and Day-Date models also come in leather strap configurations, giving you even more formal options. Check out my previous post about the best Rolex to wear with a suit here for more information on dress watches. And as always, you can visit to check out their entire line of wristwatches and authorized dealers.


Rolex Arts Testimonee Yo-Yo Ma

Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most accomplished classical musicians of our time, releasing over 100 albums and winning 18 Grammy Awards. He was born in Paris, raised in New York, studied at Juilliard and graduated from Harvard all by 1976. Ma, also a UN Messenger for Peace, was most recently named Artistic Advisor at Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

Rolex Arts Testimonee Yo-Yo Ma (photo: Rolex/Marco Grob)
Ma became a Rolex Arts Testimonee in 1998, the same year that he began Silkroad, a non-profit organization with the goal of facilitating the intersection of the arts, business and education by developing  new music, education programs, cultural partnerships and other contributions to the world through music. Rolex is exclusive partner of Silkroad and the organization works with Harvard University to assist in music education training for arts educators.

The Silkroad Ensemble, formed by Yo-Yo Ma in 2000, is a critically acclaimed ensemble of musicians from all over the world. The group has recorded six albums together, creative innovative sounds that cross cultural boundaries and bridge ancient rhythms with modern instrumentation. Their latest recording, Sing Me Home, was released earlier this year as the companion album for The Music of Strangers, a documentary film directed by Oscar winner Morgan Neville. The film puts together performance footage, interviews and archival films to tell the story of the ensemble. Following the performers around the world, it provides a glimpse at the personal journeys of the ensemble's musicians. I have embedded the trailer for the documentary below.

In the photo above, Ma is wearing a classic yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, a perfect match for the accomplished musical artist and philanthropist. The cellist has performed for 8 US Presidents, giving the President't Watch a new interpretation. For more information on the Rolex Day-Date, check out my post on the singular model here. Visit Yo-Yo Ma's official website for a schedule of performances, multimedia and music. Check out for more information on the organization.


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