There’s Rolex and there’s . . .

. . . Rolex!

I suppose I must be in the minority, as for me Rolex watches are just not my favourite watch, though perhaps I should qualify this by saying “modern” Rolex models.

Modern but not for me!

Modern maybe, but not for me!

The older model such as the 1981 Rolex 1006 or perhaps the 1979 Submariner 5513 for example, or models that were basically around until the mid 1990’s I’d say, were and are still are the best of the bunch for me personally.  In fact the earlier vintages are much better in all cases for me.

Since then nothing has really appealed.  From then till now a sort of “sameness” seems to have occurred and no amount of tinkering with the models has altered my perception.  That said maybe the Cellini models are a step in the right direction, reflecting as they do some of those early models, but today’s mainstream models do nothing for me and especially the Sub this and the Mariner that range.

1950's Rolex two tone thunderbird bezel classic

1950’s Rolex two tone thunderbird bezel classic

It’s also true to say in my opinion anyway that maybe back in those pre-1990 days there wasn’t the same overbearing hype surrounding the Brand and folks who owned these Rolex models, actually appreciated the watch for what it was and not for the silly “I’ve got a Rolex” status symbol.

And in the early vintage days there were so many wonderful variants and styles that you were spoiled for choice and certainly to get one today will set you back a fair amount of cash, so perhaps I’ve created a rod for my own back, as these vintages are indeed the only models that attract me – and attract me they do!

1940 steel red centre sweep seconds - luminous hands

1940 steel red centre sweep seconds – luminous hands

Seems to me these days too many wearers seem far more interested in being seen with the big shiny “Rolex ” on their wrist, than in the attributes or otherwise of the particular model.
They value the status over the product – in other words the Brand, dare I say it, has gone too far and become synonymous with Bling.  And yes I accept – expensive Bling at that!

A bit like the UK expression “Oh my other car’s a Mercedes” when someone queried your 4 year old Volvo.  It’s the status aspect that assumes importance and the interest and not actually the car at all.

And that is surely a real shame as Rolex are a very good Brand indeed, but I see at Auction, people who obviously wouldn’t know a Rolex from a plastic kitchen clock, buying by description.  They just have to buy one – because they believe incredibly if they own one, they’ve made it!  They are now one of the elite – yes one of the “I’ve got a Rolex” brigade.

The sheer number of Rolex watches that come up for sale and offered on the market from Pawnbroker stocks, is staggering.  Usually dumped by those same folks who bought the watch as a status symbol in the first place and one of the first items to go, when financial reality comes home to roost.

There are so many of them, Rolex’s I mean – the market is awash with them and there are also thousands of fakes sloshing around.  Some Replicas these days look as good as the real thing.  Now that says to me, either the fakes are getting very much better or the Rolex itself is becoming old hat and boring – and I’m not really sure which.

So I’ll stick to my classic Vacheron Constantins, Pateks, Jaegers and yes to my true “vintage” Rolex models if I may.

1928 Rolex rectangular exploded numerals with sub seconds.

1928 Rolex rectangular exploded numerals with sub seconds.

Now they certainly don’t have the over-hyped status appeal of the big shiny modern Rolex, but do have a certain old “Classic” sophistication and that’s fine by me.  They are sleek, comfortable and discrete and with a subtle elegance and charm that usually goes un-noticed on my wrist.

And furthermore I have to say I’m actually rather pleased in the knowledge of ownership and when confronted with the Rolex bling – and it happens so, so often – I just smile to myself – quietly . . . . . .

However recently on a river cruise in Europe, I was at dinner and one of my companions who was wearing the biggest shiniest Rolex I’ve ever seen, did actually notice my watch which was just visible at my cuff.  In fact he always seemed to make a point of trying to see the watches of his fellow travellers.

‘You didn’t buy that on board did you?’ he commented.  ‘It looks real neat’.

‘It’s an old Rolex’, I said.

‘Rolex! Well it sure doesn’t look like one’, he said.

‘Ah well’, I replied, ‘there’s Rolex and there’s Rolex’.

NoteThe images of the vintage Rolex are from and are featured on www.vintagewatchcompany.com web site and are currently available for sale.  The vintagewatchcompany have the widest range of pre-owned Rolex and well worth a look.  Who knows you may be tempted!

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