Rolex – a name that is synonymous with luxury watches, that most people aspire to own, that is just unmistakable; the Rolex branding machine has been working overtime for decades, and it’s perhaps one of the greatest worldwide brands of all time. Strap a Rolex to your wrist and everyone knows that ‘you’ve made it’.
And for me, that’s part of the problem.
I see too many people using Rolex as a gauge of their success, as a not-so-subtle way of telling people that they’re one of life’s go-getters, or at the very least, they’re on their way up the corporate ladder – rarely have I met someone that has bought a Rolex for the engineering, the history and the craftsmanship, it’s all about one thing – ROLEX.
Love, Thy Name Is …
I love Rolex watches, the engineering, the ‘firsts’, the technology – things that actually give value to the brand, but I’ve never owned one, purely for the reason mentioned above.
That could all be about to change though.
While researching the article for Baselworld, I came across the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’, and it has my heart, but only the Oystersteel on a Jubilee bracelet. I want.
A Little History
The GMT-Master was originally designed for airline pilots – it aided with navigation and displayed two time-zones simultaneously, it was the perfect companion for world travel, all the way back in 1955. It soon became something of a style icon though, and it’s been worn by the likes of Fidel Castro, Dizzy Gillespie, Che Guevara, Pablo Picasso and more recently, Orlando Bloom. (Even Omega brand ambassador Daniel Craig has been spotted wearing a Pepsi).
The Jubilee bracelet was made especially for the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust back in 1945, and the only model available today with the Jubilee bracelet was the same – the Datejust, but now the GMT-Master II is available with it, and for me, it beats the Oyster bracelet hands down.
So what are you getting for your £6,800?
Fitted to the GMT-Master II is the new calibre 3285 movement, a new generation designed and manufactured entirely by Rolex, it has ten patents and features the ‘Chronergy’ escapement with a guaranteed power reserve of about 70 hours and a 15% gain inefficiency.
Of course, it has the famous Blue & Red bezel, but unlike the originals (made from aluminium), the bezel is made from a ceramic base, called Cerachrom, which is guaranteed to last as long as the watch does, and again, unlike the originals that have faded over time, the new Cerachrom insert should be fade-free. (Although collectors of original vintage Pepsi’s pay more for the faded look).
The last GMT-Master was only available in precious metal, it was a sticking point for serious enthusiasts that wanted a hard-wearing watch, and thankfully, Rolex saw sense and offered the new Pepsi in Oystersteel.
With a diameter of 40 m/m, the watch is in no-way small, but my preference is something just that little bigger, having said that, the fact that it doesn’t shout “LOOK AT ME” like some oversized watches is a good thing – it may even put a few buyers off.
Is It Tempting?
Finally, a Rolex that could possibly tempt me into the brand?
Despite claiming that a 40 m/m size gives for an understated look and that it should put off some of the buyers that want to be noticed wearing a Rolex, I fear that it may just be on the small side for me – I suit bigger watches, my taste is for bigger watches (not oversize), I like my watches to be noticed (which I know is hypocritical). I could put aside two of those points, but the fact remains that my shape is better suited to bigger watches.
Am I tempted?
Let’s just say that I’m off to my local dealer tomorrow for a look, my plastic is flexing getting ready to jump in, I’m calculating just how many of my small collection should go to make way for a new arrival, or how long it will take me to pay back … either way, my brain is saying absolutely not, yet my heart is yearning.
Would I be such a bad person if I was to succumb to the marketing genius of Rolex? Millions of people better than me have fallen into the trap, I don’t see that I’d be too wrong, and after all, I’m not buying it because it’s a Rolex, it’s despite it’s one.