Rolex: As Unique As They Are Common

The majority of people who don’t like Rolex attribute this to one perception, that the brand is ‘common’. I’m not going to argue with that, of course the brand is common, it’s the most iconic watch company in the world and the most collected. Why is it the most collected? Because it’s arguably the most interesting company in the history of Horology.

Any Rolex collector will be able to nominate the differences between serial numbers within specific models, it’s what they do. I’m not saying you should all download the 100 Years of Rolex app listing every serial number they’ve ever produced and rote learn them all so you too can pick the intricacies between each serial number. (You should download it, it’s fantastic – $11.99 well spent) I’m just trying to make everyone aware that among the plethora of serial numbers and models that make the brand ‘common’ to the eye of the average Rolex beholder are some serious watches that are far more unique and collectible then your co-workers ‘limited edition’ Breitling for Bentley.

Nothing excites me more than the thought of being approached by your typical ‘Watch Guy’ rocking his oversized U-Boat and having him make a snide remark about the Submariner on my wrist. The poor chap, to the ignorant it is just a Submariner but to the educated and insightful it’s a very special Submariner because it bares the name Tiffany & Co. on the dial.

1960’s Submariner ref. 5513 with papers

The Tiffany & Co. Rolex are ‘ordinary’ watches and possess no technical superiority. What they do have is the retailer’s name added to the dial, often completed in the New York City store by a watchmaker with a pencil and paint or by the dial manufacturer under control of the store. Tiffany & Co. started putting their name on all Rolex models they began selling in the 1950s and there are important variations of the font type used for the dial markings over the decades, which makes the expertise of these watches very complicated. What we do know is they are highly sought after and a man who wears one is certainly considered knowledgeable and respected amongst Rolex elite.

Late 1950’s Explorer with very rare markings.

Late 1970’s Submariner ref. 1680 (for sale on Ebay)

These interesting models are what makes Rolex such a desired brand. I’m not an expert on vintage Rolex by any means, but if I saw any gentleman wearing such a watch I would admire his taste maybe even more than I would seeing a man wearing a modern day Patek or A.Lange*. As a buyer you show depth and a keen interest in Horology by purchasing a Rolex like this and these are the values one must admire most in a watch enthusiast.

*I would be outrageously impressed to see any man wearing either of these brands as long as he appreciated it.
The absolute grail. ref. 6239 Daytona Paul Newman. This one sold recently at Christies for $143,000 US.




James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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