Gary Player's Rolex - Presidential Day Date

Golf Legend Gary Player wearing a Rolex Presidential Day-Date in Yellow Gold
Gary Player is one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport.  He is the third player to win the Career Grand Slam, which is winning all 4 major tournaments in a lifetime.  Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have done it since, putting him in the ranks of possibly the top 5 golfers in history.  He has won 9 majors including the Masters 3 times, the US Open, the Open Championship 3 times and the PGA Championship twice.  He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.  He has since excelled at the Senior's tour, winning many tournaments including the Senior British Open 3 times, the Senior PGA Championship once and the Senior U.S. Open twice.

Player has epitomized excellence in the sport.  He put on annual golf tournaments, designed over 300 courses in 35 countries, and has continued to win championships - a total of 165 to date.

Player has come from a poor family in South Africa.  His mother died when he was young and his father made very little as a gold miner.  Hard work, diet and healthy lifestyle epitomized Player - as he became known as one of the Big Three golfers of his era.   He has acquired many other nicknames: The Black Knight, Mr. Fitness, the International Ambassador of Golf, and the World's Most Traveled Athlete.

Player has a deep affection for Rolex.  His father once said to him after seeing his hard work and dedication, "You keep working hard like this and one day you might even buy yourself a Rolex".  After winning his first Grand Slam, he acquired his first Rolex.  He chose the Presidential Day-Date in solid yellow gold because it reminded him of his first Rolex and of his dad who toiled endlessly in the gold mines of South Africa.
The Day-Date was launched in 1956 and was the first watch to have the day spelled out in full and date split out.  It has adorned many world leaders and presidents - even other golf legends including Jack Nicklaus himself.

The current Day-Date is 40mm in diameter and constructed in 18 ct yellow gold with a fluted bezel and scratch resistant sapphire crystal.  There is a cyclops lens over the date and the timepiece is waterproof to 330 feet.  The new caliber 3255 has an enhanced power reserve of 70 hours. However, Player's Day Date probably has an older caliber and shorter power reserve.  The timepiece is adorned with a President's bracelet with semicircular 3 piece links.  This is truly the timepiece of champions.

Early Chronographs "Pre" Rolex Daytonas

Rolex 6238 produced in the early to mid 1960's
The Rolex Daytona is one of the most recognizable timepieces today and highly sought after in both the current market and the auction market.  However, you may not have seen some of the predecessors to the Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona.  This is an interesting history since the first chronograph was actually tied to the swimmer Mercedes Glietze who swam the English Channel in 1932 with a record setting 46 hours.  However, her feats were soon eclipsed by the "Speed King" Sir Malcolm Campbell who set several world speed records in auto racing on the salt flats of Utah and in Daytona Florida.  This became the first Rolex ties to the future of Daytona racing and to the Daytona name for its watch line.

Rolex registered the name Cosmograph to identify the chronograph by name.  However, they initially tried to tie the brand to the Le Mans racing by advertising the timepiece as a Le Mans Cosmogrpah.  However, the name didn't stick.  It wasn't until the late 1960's that the  with reference numbers 6239, 6240, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 and 6265 established the "Paul Newman" Daytona. 

However, the progression of detail is a beautiful history to observe.  I hope the below picture reel helps illustrate some of these exceptional timepieces and the changes over time.  You can see that Rolex tweaked and modified the dial design extensively from the first timepieces that had only 2 dials to the more modern 3, and tachymeter markings that moved from the on-dial position to the more modern on-bezel location.

The loveliest version is the Eric Clapton Reference 4500 which is in gold and has a very clean dial look even though the Tachymeter markings go to an astonishing 1000 which was quite high even by today's standards.  Interestingly, all of these models are self-winding timepieces.  The Daytona didn't get an automatic movement until 1988 when Rolex modified the Zenith El Primero to become the calibre 4030 movement.  Eventually, Rolex would bring that movement in house with their launch of the caliber 4130.
Rolex Reference 2508 - an early 1930's chronograph

An ultra rare Reference 4113 (1940's chronograph with 44mm case and split seconds pusher on the winding crown) Image: Hodinkee

Rolex Reference 4500 - from 1948 - part of the Eric Clapton collection - Image: Sothebys

Rolex Reference 6034 - from 1952

Rolex Reference 6234 from 1955 - blue coloring on white - Image: Hodinkee

Rolex Reference 6234 with tropical coloring - 1950's - Image: Sothebys

Rolex reference 6238 produced between 1963 and 1967

Early version of the Rolex Reference 6239 with Tachymeter markings including 300 and 275 before they were simplified to 200 in the below model.
Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" Reference 6239

Why Rolex uses Sapphire Crystal

Rolex and the finest watchmakers have turned to sapphire crystal to be the face to their exquisite timepieces.  There are several reasons for this.  However, to really understand the decision to use sapphire it is worthwhile to look at the various alternatives.  Not all watches manufactured today utilize sapphire.  Besides sapphire, acrylic/plexiglass/hesalite, and mineral/hardlex are often used.

Until 1970, Rolex utilized acrylic as the glass for their timepieces.  Acrylic is a low cost plastic and is quite hard.  It is practically shatterproof.  It is so hard that when it gets scratched, people often use a compound such as polywatch to buff out scratches fairly easily - returning the beauty of the glass to its original form with a crystal clear polished look.  Even today many timepieces utilize the acrylic crystal because of the low cost and ease to produce the glass.  However, the acrylic glass tends to be thicker than sapphire crystal glass, which can add weight and thickness to the timepiece itself.

Companies like Seiko have opted to upgrade their glass to a mineral based glass which they call Hardlex.  This is more costly than acrylic, but less than the sapphire.  It is shatter resistant and is less scratch prone than acrylic.  It is also fairly easy to manufacture and shape.  Mineral based crystal is one of the most common glass types used on timepieces - especially in the under $300 watch market. Like the acrylic, the mineral based glass can be buffed and polished to remove scratches.

Sapphire crystal requires a flame fusion process which requires diamond saws to grind and shape the glass, so it drives the actual cost of the glass to over $100 in the aftermarket.  Because of this, you will not likely see any sapphire timepieces under $300.

Rolex clearly wanted to create a scratchproof substance, which is both hard and durable.  It developed a synthetic sapphire crystal which is so hard that only diamond registers as a harder substance.  The hardness keeps the crystal from getting scratched because only a substance like a diamond really has the ability to create a scratch across a sapphire surface.  Although sapphire is far more scratch resistant than acrylic it is possible to shatter.  A shattered sapphire crystal could damage the Rolex timepiece significantly.  However, the rarity of a shattered crystal is what Rolex was banking on.  They found that it was far more common for an owner to scratch their acrylic glass than it was for them to shatter the sapphire.  A sapphire crystal would basically look new forever.  And, Rolex is all about timeless beauty.

Another key reason Rolex liked sapphire crystal is for the smoothness of the surface.  Because of the lack of pores in the sapphire surface, Rolex is able to add an antireflective and antiglare coating to the bottom side of the sapphire crystal.  This adds clarity to the timepiece even in strong sunlight.  It wouldn't be possible to add this antireflective coating to mineral or acrylic.  This antireflective coating gives a bluish glow under certain light, but keeps the timepiece from appearing cloudy.

Sapphire also has interesting refractive qualities.  For example, if you compare domed sapphire to domed mineral, you would see a distortion of the watch-face by the mineral crystal at certain angles.  However, the sapphire will produce a clearly visible timepiece face at nearly any angle. Although this is hardly noticeable unless you turn your timepiece to the side and look through the crystal at a sharp angle, Rolex does care about the details.

One last feature of sapphire crystal is its ability to keep water from streaking across the surface.  If you place a drop of water on a sapphire and a mineral surface, you would see a significant difference.  On the sapphire, the water will bead up and keep shape.  On the mineral it will spread out.  If you turn the crystals vertical, the sapphire water bead will gracefully and completely fall off the face of the sapphire keeping a very clean and clear appearance.  The mineral would streak and the water will leave a trail as it falls off the crystal.  The benefits for Rolex here are obvious.  Many of Rolex timepieces are engineered for diving and swimming.  The Submariner is a perfect example of this.  A sapphire crystal would help retain visibility and repel water naturally as swimmers exit the water.

Rolex started rolling out sapphire crystal on their timepieces as early as 1970 on their Oyster Quartz, and then Submariner in 1981.  By the mid 1990's Rolex had updated most of their timepieces to all utilize sapphire crystal, and today all Rolex timepieces have sapphire crystal.

Rolex has added the cyclops lens to the top of the sapphire crystal to provide access to the date window in models that contain a date window.  If you turn the crystal with the cyclops lens to the side, you will see that the lens is added to the sapphire glass rather than being molded inside the glass itself.

The Best Rolex for Sophia Vergara

Sophia Vergara Shopping for Rolex: Image by DailyMail
Sophia Vergara is one of the most iconic celebrities in the world. Currently 46, the Columbian actress, Vergara is on top of her game, currently staring in the ABC series Modern Family.  She has been in a number of movies, and has appeared in Diet Pepsi, State Farm, Comcast, and Rooms To Go commercials and became the face of CoverGirl in 2011.

Early on her fame rose as she co-hosted two Spanish-speaking television shows for Univision in the 1990's.  She is known for her sense of humor in addition to her style and beauty.
Image by Daily Mail.  

Daily Mail, caught Vergara as she was shopping for Rolex Timepieces in Beverly Hills California.  Of course, Vergara must have fantastic taste to invest in Rolex.  Since she is so busy, not only as a famous actress and model, but also as a mother and wife, I have decided to assist her with her shopping.  I have selected several timepieces that I think she could use to complement her style and beauty.

For the first Rolex, I would recommend this beautiful Chocolate dial Datejust.  It utilizes diamond studs for each of the hour markers.  The gemology used in this fantastic timepiece is illustrated by the diamond gems that are expertly selected and placed around the bezel.  One of the key pieces of this timepiece that truly fits Vergara's style is the Everose gold utilized on the Oyster case and band.  It truly fits her naturally dark skintone and yet is fashionable enough to complement both her high scale fashion and even casual style such as a pair of jeans.  

Since Sophia Vergara has lived in Miami and Hollywood, California - both cities that rest on large oceans where Yachting is a natural part of the culture, I have decided to offer two recommendations. Both recommendations are Yacht-Master models.  The difference is in the coloring.  The first is a black dial and bezel Yacht-Master, with a comfortable black rubber band.  This timepiece is stylish and can match Vergara's little black dress and many other outfits without becoming too distracting.  

In addition, I recommend a more casual appeal of the steel and platinum Yacht-Master.  It has a dark rhodium dial and a bright blue seconds hand.  This timepiece would look splendid with nearly any outfit and can be either casual or a dress watch with ease.  All three recommendations have new in-house calibres developed by Rolex which have a larger time reserve - 55 hours - than previous models.  Since Vergara is a mother and has a very active lifestyle, worrying about winding a timepiece should be farthest from her mind.  So, for this reason, I have refrained from suggesting vintage models of Rolex and opted for the latest and newest timepieces.  Whichever timepiece Vergara chooses, I know she will wear it well.  

Seiko SKX007K2 vs the Rolex Submariner

The Seiko SKX007K2 has made a real name for itself, as one of the best priced dive watches on the market.  If you look at it you will find that it even looks like a Rolex Submariner Date.  There are some differences, but at first glance you might not even notice the differences since the look, feel and even the design of the case pays close homage to the well recognized Rolex Submariner.  At just over $200 the Seiko seems like a bargain compared to the nearly $8,000 Rolex Sub.  However, there is a reason the Rolex goes for a much higher amount. 

Below is the Rolex Submariner.  Both have the black dial and 60 minute bezel.  Both use luminescent coloring for the hour markers.  The hour markers on the Seiko are a bit larger.  They use curved edges on the 9 o'clock and 6 o'clock markers rather than a rectangle hour marker. 

The date window for the Rolex uses the Cyclops lens.  The Seiko has both the day and day next to each other.  I do love this feature, but the Rolex has a much larger Date window and is much more legible.  However, the Seiko does provide a luminescent dot next to the date to indicate the 3 o'clock position.  However, it is oddly placed above the date and seems out of place.  Rolex opted to leave that hour marker hidden since the date window would not allow a symmetrical marker.  For purists, Rolex does offer a no-date Submariner option as well.
The seconds markers on the Submariner only appear between the 0 and 15 minute marks as opposed to the entire bezel of the timepiece on the Seiko.  Both timepieces use black for the bezel and dial.

The Rolex has some exceptional features that separate it from the Seiko.  First of all, the scratch resistant Sapphire crystal is a huge difference.  Over time, the Seiko will show some wear and tear.  The band is a 3 link band as opposed to the Seiko 5 link.  Many Seiko owners swap the band with other 22 mm bands.  Or, for those with a smaller wrist, the Seiko SKX013k2 is a 38 mm (as opposed to 42 mm for the 007) watch.  The 013 uses a 20 mm band.
The Rolex also uses 904L steel.  The band seems more solid with less gaps in between.  Yet, the 904L steel is far stronger and resistant than the standard steel used in the Seiko.  The Seiko supports a 200 meter dive depth, but the Rolex is far more robust at 300 meters.  The winding crown on the rolex is supported by thick protectors as opposed to the more narrow protectors on the Seiko.  The winding crown for the Seiko is also off center which may be an oddity for some standard timepiece owners.  

The most important feature that Rolex brings to the table is an in-house caliber that is officially certified.  Certainly there is no question that the Seiko is a quality entry into the dive watch arena and would make a good first watch if you can't spring for the Submariner just yet.  However, the wear and tear on the Seiko will not leave much in terms of longevity for the timepiece.  It is less likely to become an heirloom that one could hand down through the generations.  It is a great looking tool watch and can fit anyone's budget.  However, the Rolex would be the greater long-term investment.

How do you Find the Serial Number on Your Rolex Timepiece?

There are several reasons you might want to know the serial number on your Rolex Timepiece.  First, you might just want to know the exact model and manufacturing date of your Rolex investment for your insurance statement to protect yourself against loss or theft.  Perhaps if you need to send your timepiece in for service or modding, the Rolex vendor will want to know what they will be working on, in order to determine price.

Another and more specific reason is to determine the market value of your timepiece, either because you want to know its current approximate worth, or if you are considering selling.  Perhaps you want to upgrade to a different or newer model. 

Maybe when you were first starting out, you invested in a low cost Explorer I, which was in all steel. 

Not bad, but later on and many career advancements down the line you are ready to own your yellow gold Presidents Day Date or a hard to get Rolex Daytona.
Rolex Serial number engraved between the lugs.  Image from Bob's Watches.

The Rolex serial numbers are numbers with 4-8 digits and can be used to determine the date the timepiece was produced.  For many years the number was engraved between the lugs (the part/poles where the band attaches to the case) at the 6 o'clock position.  In order to find the serial number you would have to remove the watch band in the 6 o'clock position to see the engraving.  You may need a pin or a set of tools to remove the watch band carefully and return the band to working shape.  
Rolex engraves the serial number on the Flange at the 6 o'clock position on this Rolex Daytona.  Image from Bob's Watches

However, in 2005 Rolex started engraving the serial number on some of their timepieces on the flange or "Rehaut" (French word for flange) which is the piece between the dial and the crystal.  Typically you see ROLEX repeated around the flange, but at the 6 o'clock position you will see the serial.  In 2008, Rolex started to make all Serial number engravings on the flange and discontinued the practice of engraving between the lugs. 

For more information, check out the article at Bob's Watches which gives you more detail about how to interpret your serial engravings. 

How do you pick the perfect Rolex?

I get this question frequently.  Many people want to own their first Rolex and they are not sure where to begin.  The obvious first question is whether you have specific functional needs offered by the various Rolex models.  If you love racing the Rolex Daytona is a perfect fit.  Pilots would be ideally suited for the Sky-Dweller.  Divers would likely opt for the Submariner or DeepSea.  Yachtsman would likely lean toward the Yachtmaster or Yachtmaster II models.  Climbers would best be suited by the Explorer model.  Are you around high magnetic fields or are you a scientist at heart?  Then the Milgauss would fit your needs perfectly.

But let's assume you don't partake in any of these hobbies and want to pick a timepiece that fits your tastes.  Should you just opt for a DateJust and call it a day?  Not necessarily.  Although the Datejust is a perfect first Rolex for many people, it may not be the perfect first timepiece for you.
Yellow Gold Presidential Rolex Day-Date

One question I like to ask is "How you intend to use the watch?"  If you travel frequently, a GMT Master II is a great timepiece that allows you to keep track of 2 time zones.  If you are an executive a Yellow Gold Presidential Day Date would definitely make a statement that you are the top of your game and mean business.  And since it is a favorite of Jack Nicklaus, you know it would be a winner both in the boardroom and on the links.  I personally like the Day Date because of the Day of the Week function at the top of the timepiece - a feature that isn't on any other Rolex and something I chronically need.  However, a simple Cellini Moonphase would be the classic timepiece that would fit your suit and tie without breaking the bank and since it is battery powered, you can swap with multiple timepieces without worrying about keeping it wound. 
Rolex Datejust

If you just want a solid masculine looking Rolex timepiece that could function well both at work and at play without being overly ostentatious, I would say a stainless steel Datejust, a Submariner with Date, Explorer II, or a GMT Master II with a black bezel would be a perfect cross over timepiece.  Take your pick there.  They would all be perfect first Rolex timepieces, and many of them won't break the bank.

Another question you might ask is "How big is the Rolex?"  You will find men's Rolex sizes ranging from 36 mm to 44 mm.  So, depending on the size of your wrist, you may opt for a larger or smaller size. 
Rolex Yacht-Master II

Have a favorite color pattern?  If Blue is your thing, the Yacht-Master II has a beautiful look for you.  Yes, you can find a Datejust with a blue dial, or a GMT with a Red and Blue "Pepsi" bezel.  However, the Yacht-Master is a classic timepiece with the Red White and especially Blue to proudly wear. Check out the new Milgauss with Blue-Green coloring as well. 
Rolex Pearlmaster

Ladies have the luxury of choosing smaller size timepieces as small as 28 mm and diamond or sapphire encrusted bezels such as the Pearlmaster series, or having their wide choice of the men's Rolex collection.  It is more than fine for a woman to sport a Rolex Daytona, making Danica Patrick proud. In fact, my niece has been sporting a Rolex Daytona of her own for the last couple years and loves it. 

50th Annual Rolex Middle Sea Race

From the website
If you ever wanted to know why Rolex is held in such high regard by sea masters and yachting experts around the world, you need to just look at the 50th Annual Rolex Middle Sea Race.  Not only  is this international regatta sponsored by Rolex, but it is in its 50th year since the original race was held.  Rolex is known for its longevity, and its dedication and annual sponsorship to the Yacht Masters of the world is unparalleled. 

From the
Held in Malta Grand Harbor and launched on October 20th at 11 am, the race had 149 total entries.  The winner, Giovanni Soldini’s Italian Multi70 Maserati, completed the race in 2 days, 11 hours 54 minutes 58 seconds.  The Middle Sea Race capped a week of Yacht Racing, since the Coastal Sea Race launched only 3 days before the start of the Middle Sea Race, also sponsored by Rolex.  With so much sponsorship and dedication to Yacht racing, you might ask, what would the world of Yachting be without Rolex? 

Rolex sponsors several races around the world and is highly in tune with Yacht clubs and the needs of their membership.  The Rolex Giraglia is another example of Rolex's dedication to Yacht racing - an event that has been held since 1952.  The Giraglia was a challenge between the Yacht clubs of Italy and France shortly after the 2nd world war, but has since become a worldwide event.  Rolex has increased its sponsorship in 1997 and now the race carries the Rolex namesake at every event.

Rolex sponsors the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup held each September in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo on the Costa Smeralda. It sponsors the Rolex Swan Cup, which combines Rolex with the Yacht builder Nautor Swan. 

The Rolex Fastnet Race is a biennial challenge that attracts more than 300 yachts from 20 countries, bringing together some 2,500 sailors to attempt the 605 nautical mile race beginning at the Royal Ocean Racing Club off the coast of Ireland and England. 

The Rolex TP52 World Championship is a race that is held in different locales around the world but is the culmination of the TP52 series.

Why Does Rolex Use Jewels in the Movement?

Rolex and many other fine timepiece manufacturers utilize precious stones such as sapphires or rubies in the key pivot points in the automatic movement.  This reduces friction and wear. 

The idea of using jewels in the movement was introduced over 300 years ago, but is commonplace today. 

Depending on the complications in the timepiece you may find anywhere from 17 to as much as 100 jewels utilized in any given caliber.  The Rolex Submariner calibre 3135 utilizes 31 jewels.  The Rolex Daytona is powered by a calibre 4130 and has 44 jewels. 

Some jewels might be cosmetic.  However, many of the jewels used today are synthetic jewels, so they are inexpensive to produce.  Rolex utilizes synthetic rubies as a "bearing" to keep the parts of the watch friction-free for the most part.  The Rolex Daytona movement pictured above has a complex chronograph complication and so it requires more jewelry in order to keep friction to a minimum. 

Should Rolex Develop an Eco-Drive Timepiece?

Rolex has developed so many technologies over the years.  Although Rolex adopted the Oysterquartz--adding the Quartz powered technology to some select models of the Rolex family, we have yet to see an Eco-Drive timepiece produced by Rolex. 

So, first, what is an Eco-Drive watch?  A good example is that produced by Citizen.  It has a solar panel under the dial and it is powered by converting solar energy into electrical energy.  Most Rolexes are powered by the movement of one's wrist when wearing the watch.  So, daily use will power the timepiece just fine.  The newest calibers of Rolex even provide more power reserve than older models.  However, the power reserves are still far behind timepieces such as the Panerai which has a 10 day power reserve model. 

Eco-Drive models have been reported to have a reserve for several months to several years.  Citizen invented the Eco-Drive technology as early as 1976, and so its timepieces are quartz watches which can be powered by artificial, natural and even dim-lights without replacing the battery.  According to one of the Citizen manuals, a fully charged cell will function for 9 months with NO exposure to light.  Nine months is an incredible timeframe since most Rolexes are currently providing power for 48 hours to 72 hours - or generally no more than 3 days of power reserve. Even the exceptional power reserve of Panerai 10 day models look deficient against 270 days. 

The charging time for an Eco-Drive system is extremely efficient.  10 minutes of outdoor sunlight is all that is needed to charge up a timepiece.  Indoor lighting can charge the timepiece in 4 hours.  Indoor lighting takes much longer, but most people will have sufficient charging through normal use.

However, Citizen does recommend that you charge the watch under direct sunlight once a month for 5 to 6 hours. Although it doesn't say what would happen if the charge was completely depleted, our assumption is that the watch would stop working and may need a battery replacement to work again.  This might be why Rolex has opted to avoid the Eco-Drive thus far.  Rolex has hung its hat on building timepieces that can be long term investments which can work under most rigorous conditions. 

The advice gets grimmer the further down you read the specs.  Citizen warns to avoid charging the watch at high temperatures of 60C /140F or more, and to avoid high temperature light sources.  Even incandescent lights can cause heat damage.  The Citizen does seem to have a way to deal with overcharging.  However, heat sensitivities can be a big drawback for Rolex.  Since many of Rolex's watches are built for outdoor activities such as diving, climbing, yachting and more, sun heat and outdoor exposure is a given.  This is a critical flaw in the eco-drive technology.  Although the long battery life is a major plus, the potential for damage from sun or other light exposure is enough to scare the Rolex designers. 

It might work in a Day Date or Cellini which are typically used in an executive environment, but even then, these timepieces are ready for sport.  Certainly Golfers like Jack Nicklaus don't want to be worried about overexposure when donning their Presidential Day Date on the golf course.  Although he probably wouldn't have to worry about the 5 hour a month direct sunlight requirement since he is on the course regularly, most other owners might find that requirement an annoyance.

Although the technology is exceptional, it isn't quite up to the Rolex standard.  It is unlikely to see it appear in the Rolex lineup any time soon. 

The Best Places to Buy a Pre-Owned Rolex Timepiece

The biggest question I get is always "Where is the best place to buy a used Rolex watch?"  This is difficult because there are so many scammers on the internet and the Rolex is probably the most targeted timepiece for fakes of all kinds.  Even top sellers such as Amazon and Ebay are breeding grounds for unscrupulous sellers, trying to pawn off Rolex knockoffs or Rolexes that may have non-Rolex parts such as no-name bands which are not Rolex in any way.  Remember that Rolex takes great pride in the development of even the bands of the timepieces they make. 

The list is no specific order.  Also, I am not guaranteeing anything about what is sold on these sites.  This list is really a starting place for you to begin your research. These are the sites I look at when I am evaluating a Rolex Pre-Owned purchase.

King of the Hill Rolex Auctions
If you are a collector and you are looking for specific rare pieces then you want to first look at Sotheby's or Christies.  Both are auction houses and have low priced and high priced Rolexes for sale.  These are some of the best watches, but you are competing with collectors all over the world.  However, I find it important to look at what is sold here so that if I am looking at Pre-Owned, I know what really moves the needle in terms of value:

General sites to find Rolex Deals
Although I wouldn't recommend Ebay or Amazon, these three sites are worthwhile looking at.  You might find some good deals and also some rip-off artists here.  So, definitely beware.  However, it is a great place to find how much a timepiece is selling for and where the deals are.  There are reputable dealers selling through here. 
Watch Finder
The Watch Box
Chrono 24

Specific Dealers
I like to focus on specific dealers that have been around for awhile and have a reputation to protect.  There are many of them out there that sell Rolex, but these seem to me to be the most reputable sources for Pre-Owned Rolex timepieces.  Although I haven't purchased from all of these locations, I would say this is probably the Top-Shelf of dealers and that you would be able to get both a good deal and a Genuine Rolex which is serviced properly.  Most have a good return policy in case you find something you don't like about the timepiece. 

I would love to hear from my readers to see if anyone has had a good or bad experience with any of these.  Keep in mind that every time you go to these sites, the inventory will be different.  So, you might need to visit the sites regularly if you are in search of a specific model Rolex such as a Yellow Gold Rolex Day Date with Arabic numerals.  You can also let them know what you are looking for so that they can be on the lookout for the specific timepiece you are trying to acquire:
Timeless Luxury Watches
Moyer Fine Jewlers
Becker Time
Radcliffe Jewelers
Crown and Caliber
Watches of Switzerland

Do you agree with my list above?  Am I missing any Rolex Pre-Owned dealers that you had good experience with?  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. 

The Three Types of Movements Produced by Rolex

Rolex Produces three kinds of movements - Manual Winding, Automatic or Self-Winding, and Quartz.  Yes, Rolex does have quartz movements!!  

Automatic or Self-Winding - Rolex is primarily known for its wide variety of automatic and self-winding timepieces.  It is found in the large majority of all timepieces produced by Rolex for a half century.  The movement involves a rotor that gives power to a spring mechanism that keeps the timepiece powered for 48 hours on most older Rolex models, and now 72 hours on the new Rolex models.  Rolex made significant enhancement in the most recent calibers that provide more power reserve than the older generation of calibers did.  

Automatic watches are recharged by the movement of one's wrist.  As you move and are active, the timepiece uses that movement to gently wind the watch to increase power to the timepiece so that it becomes perpetually powered.  If you wear your Rolex Automatic each day, you will have enough power to run the timepiece without having to set it or wind it manually.  Some owners, have their timepieces on a winding machine, so that their collection of Rolexes and other brands are always ready to wear.  The machine moves in one or more directions in order to make sure all of the timepieces are at full charge when you put it on your wrist.  However, if you only have one Rolex, a winding machine is unnecessary.  Just put it on your wrist and wear it!!
Rolex Cellini Moonphase - Manual Winding Timepiece

Manual Wind - Automatic watches need to be manually wound when they run out of power.  So, although, an automatic can be self-powered, that is not the only way to wind the timepiece.  Many owners pop out the crown and carefully wind their timepiece even though it will gain power as they wear it, especially if the watch spent some time in a drawer or otherwise unworn.

Although it is commonly known that the Men's Cellini are manually wound, what you may not know is that the ultra popular vintage Rolex Daytona's also were powered by a Valjoux 72 manual winding caliber.  Each of these watches need to be wound daily in order to run and accurately display time.

Quartz - When quartz came out and popularized in the 1970's, many thought the fine timepiece industry would be crushed and that the horological mastery lost in the annals of time.  However, this did not come to pass.  In fact, Rolex, Patek Philippe and AP are more popular today than ever before.  However, with that said, the quartz movement is by far the most precise of the 3 types of methods.  It is necessary on occasion to have a need to change out the battery of the timepiece.  The quartz movement can be found in many Ladies Cellini models today.

What is the difference between a Rolex Chronograph and a Rolex Chronometer?

Rolex Daytona is both a Chronograph and Chronometer
Launched in 1963, the Rolex Daytona contains the Chronograph features such as the stopwatch functionality typically used in the racing industries.  Modern Daytona Chronographs have three additional subdials (also called registers) on the face of the timepiece.  These subdials are controlled by the two pushers on the right side of the watch, above and below the winding crown.  These pushers allow the racecar driver to accurately time the speed attained during a lap and the amount of time it takes to travel the whole course.  This can also be used in other active sports.

Rolex often rebrands certain things, as they have done in the photo above.  Instead of their Daytona, only being a chronograph, Rolex dubbed it a "Cosmograph."  Certainly there is a marketing element to it.  However, since the Daytona is both a Chronograph and a superlative Chronometer, I would say that the excitement leading to giving their Daytona a new nickname, is well deserved.

The Superlative Chronometer for a Rolex timepiece is quite different from a Chronograph/Cosmograph.  It indicates that the timepiece has been assembled with extreme care and tested to ensure that the watch meets the most rigid precision standards. 
Watches that are given the "Superlative Chronometer" label have been certified by the COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute.  It tests the accuracy of the movement for 15 days and under various conditions.  The time must be accurate to between -4 and +6 in order to pass the test.
As if not to be undone, the Rolex Marketing Machine also awards its chronometers with the Green Rolex Seal, which is boxed with all new chronometers. Again, I don't hold it against them.  The thrill of handcrafting each Rolex masterpiece is worth an extra award.  So, why not a green seal of approval?

Should You Buy a Rolex or the new Apple Watch 4?

Apple Watch 
Certainly digital watches have taken the world by storm.  However, that has not diminished the interest or value of time honored horological masterpieces such as timepieces made by Rolex.  So, if you are asking yourself whether you should buy the new Apple watch or a Rolex, you are not alone.  I will make a case for both.  Yes, both.

I have worn an Apple watch and it does have some benefits you can't ever achieve in a timepiece.  I'll talk about those in a minute.  However, after the initial awe wore off, I found myself moving the timepiece to my other wrist.  I wore both timepieces for a time, until I just stopped finding the need to wear the Apple watch except when I worked out.

Yet, I continue to wear my Rolex Submariner or Presidents Day Date every day.  Typically I wear the Day Date when I am dressing up for business or a party where we are dressed up.  I'll where the Sub all other times.  I know the Day Date could handle a beating, but I try to keep it in pristine form.  The Sub works great and I beat it up pretty well, doing yard work, swimming, and even running around town.  I never worry about it and it just plain works.

Initially I bought the Apple watch for the health benefits that were touted by my company's health plan.  And just like anyone who starts the year off with good intentions, I used it for several weeks as I increased my workout activity.  It is awesome being able to see how many steps you are walking, looking at your heart rate and monitoring your sleep patterns.

I don't own any gym equipment that I can pair with.  And the gym that I go to (part of my community) doesn't have any either.  I would expect this to be a cool feature.  I never shared my activity (or lack thereof) with my friends.  I know that the ability to share the activity rings is a popular feature.  But I am fairly private about that stuff and I don't see how that would be a benefit to me.  However, I did "get points" for my health plan so I did use the Apple watch to prove that I wasn't being lazy, so I could win points for myself and my team.

I use my iPhone 6+ with a belt holster which gives me a quick draw.  So, it never leaves my side.  Although it was great knowing who texted me or called me on the watch, I found that if I didn't grab my phone as I was used to, I could miss the call.  So, rather than look at the watch to "screen" the call, I would just pick up the darned call.

It was very cool to have a Knight Rider-esque watch having Siri on your wrist.  I am very interested to see what the new Apple watch 4 looks like and has added to it as it comes out.  Since my Apple Watch Series 3 still works fine, I probably will just do some window shopping at the apple store rather than purchasing it.  But you never know.

The new Series 4 is soon to be released on Sept 12 if reports are accurate.  It is supposed to have a "Walkie-Talkie" mode that might be a very good feature.  The battery life is supposed to increase significantly.  That was one of the negatives of owning an Apple Watch.  You still had to take it off every so often and charge it.  Since you would typically do this at night, you could miss out on the sleep monitoring features that are so highly touted.  Once off my wrist, I would forget about putting it back on.  My Rolex Sub would never come off, day or night.

The new Series 4 will come with the watchOS 5 which comes with new software, features and functions and the health sensors will be greatly improved.  I am trying to talk myself into the purchase, maybe for the holidays...  However, I would probably spend the money to upgrade my iPhone rather than invest in a new Series 4.

Golf Superstar: Jack Nicklaus with his Presidents Day Date
I love the story about Jack Nicklaus who certainly has the money to own any timepiece he wants to buy, but has owned one Rolex Day Date for his entire golfing career.  As a big fan of the Golden Bear, I started taking a liking to the Presidential Day Date myself.  I found that several luminaries and presidents were linked to the timepiece.

Personally, I like the additional feature of the day of the week at the 12 o'clock position and the day of the month at the 3 o'clock position.  I generally forget what day it is and it is a pain and embarrassing to have to reach to my cell phone to figure out those simple things. Although the day of the week is not on my Sub, I do have the date on there and that is generally enough for most situations.

One difference between an Apple watch and a Rolex is the fact that Apple keeps coming out with new ones.  Here I own a Apple 3 and now the Apple 4 is just to be released.  Already I feel my Apple 3 is worthless, and certainly I wouldn't be able to get anything for it in a week.  And those expensive Hermes bands and accessories are a further waste.  Who wants someone's old Apple 3?

However, even though Rolex recently came out with some new enhancements such as more power reserve in the newest Rolex timepieces, I don't feel the nagging urge to run out and replace my old timepieces.  Nicklaus certainly never felt the urge to get a new Rolex.  He owns the best.  Why change?

And of course, the resale on these seems to be spiraling upwards.  The Apple value depreciates fast, but the Rolex, for the most part, increases.  So, even though I enjoy wearing the Rolex, it doesn't undermine the value.  Someday I will gift them and so someone else will get further joy wearing these timepieces.  If I gave them my old Apple watch, I think they would be understandably disappointed.

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