Now, let’s face it, which man does not love to have a Rolex watch? Rolex is more than just about that famous crown logo. Some vintage watch collectors like Patek Philippe and some the Panerai. Others are simply keen watch collectors.
Rolex is among the world’s most recognisable luxury brands because Rolex lovers tend to get a little passionate about their timepieces.
Here are just a few of the reasons why.
Rolex watches are purpose-built
Rolex watches have always been considered the original ‘tool watch’. Collectors of vintage Rolex watches love the romantic notion that so many of the classic models were created for specific, functional purposes, often very adventurous ones and not purely for the simple use as jewellery or decoration.
For instance, the GMT-Master was created at Pan-Am’s request for its pilots, who were experiencing a new phenomenon called jet-lag. They wanted a watch that told time for two time zones at once. Another classic example is the Submariner, which was made specifically for divers. The Milgauss was introduced in the 1950s for people who worked amid highly electro-magnetic environments, like early nuclear research labs. It was an anti-magnetic watch that could withstand one thousand ‘gauss’, which is a measure of magnetism, hence the name, Milgauss (literally, ‘thousand gauss’). It was unusual for ordinary people to wear watches like these back when they were created. But this eventually changed and people started to wear them every day and this remains so to this day.
It is all down to details
The nuances one can see in a Rolex watch such as the various dials, bezels, crown guards and other features vary so widely even for specific models. These add so much to the value and collectability of a watch. Some features such as the ‘underline’ dial, the ‘exclamation’ dial, or even the ‘Bart Simpson’ dial (a model made very briefly during the 1960s, where the Rolex coronet insignia were flatter with shorter tines, resembling Bart Simpson’s hair) can boost a watch’s value enormously. Tiny details of which can increase the value of a collector watch significantly.
To add to this, Rolex watches contain many unique features, and each wristwatch takes about a year to make (sometimes even longer). Nearly every single part of the watch is created in-house at one of the four Rolex manufacturing locations scattered over Switzerland. The in-house quality control is more than rigorous; the watches do not leave the factory unless they are absolutely perfect. This is one of the reasons why Rolex has been able to keep up their impeccable image for over a century.
Rolex watches are tough
Rolex watches are known to be exceptionally durable. For instance the Rolex Explorer was created with special lubricants in the movement so that it could withstand extreme changes in temperature. This was specifically designed for high-altitude mountain climbers who might encounter profound temperature changes between day and night. Another classic piece – the Rolex Oyster Perpetual chronometer accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on the first summit of Mount Everest in 1953. It is still in working condition today and is on display at the Beyer Watch and Clock Museum in Zürich.
Many watch lovers are familiar with the fact that Rolex uses a type of steel that no one else uses. Most brands use steel made from a type of stainless steel called 316L. Rolex watches, on the other hand, are made from 904L. In around 2003, Rolex makers moved to use this type of steel that is more rust and corrosion resistant and is somewhat harder than other steels. When worked properly, it is also able to take (and hold) polishes well. If you've ever noticed that steel on a Rolex watch looks different than other watches, it is because of 904L steel, and how Rolex has learned to work with it.
A watch which can be dressed for every occasion
Rolex watches are versatile in ways that many other haute watch brands are not. Changing the entire look and feel of a vintage Rolex can be as simple as popping off of a bracelet and adding a super-cool Italian leather strap or a nylon NATO strap. One watch can so easily become many different watches simply by accessorising it. The latest trend is to swap in a hand-stitched Italian distressed leather or suede strap which real Rolex aficionados love, to add a vintage Rolex tang buckle to complete that classic look. It’s all about the way it looks. Accessorising vintage Rolexes has always been an accepted thing which is not the case for most other fine watchmakers.
It gets more valuable over time
Vintage Rolexes have strong intrinsic values and these values may increase for watches that are in good condition. Rolex collectors get excited about owning a wearable investment, which is really what vintage Rolex has turned into — particularly with sports models such as the Submariner, the Daytona and the Explorer. These are models that continue to grow in value faster and steadier than most other existing classic watches.
Why men want to buy this brand could be many reasons. It could be for the status symbol when worn or its reliability and strength as a timepiece with a long history. No reason is better or worse, but basically one can agree that Rolex really isn’t like any other watch brand.
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