The MAD Paris Daytona: Should you customise a Rolex?
Rolexes are big business, the brand itself had a 2018 turnover higher than Omega, Longines and Cartier combined. Naturally then, it comes as no surprise that customised Rolexes are also big business. Is this something you should do or are some things best left alone?
For the most part, there are four things you can do ‘after-market’ to your Rolex. You can change the strap (the most inconsequential of the customisation options), you can change the dial, you can add extra stones, or you can change the look and feel of the case.
The fresh MAD Paris Red Rolex Daytona Ruby is a good example of the kind of things you can get if you go custom.
Priced at a whopping US$123,709 on Browns' website, the new Red Ruby is a rose gold-finished 40mm Daytona with custom floral engraving you'd never see on a regular model Rolex. It is also fitted with an exposed sapphire case back and adorned with ruby sapphires around the bezel. Adding to its exclusivity is a custom dial with the word 'MAD' in a familar Rolex red font.
The MAD Paris-retrofit puts the watch's retail at more than three times what a classic rose gold Rolex Cosmograph would go for. The unique style of this Daytona is a big draw, giving you a one-of-a-kind Rolex that Rolex would never make itself.
Watches like the Red Ruby however have both positives and negatives. Here's our take on the world of custom Rolexes.
Owning a custom Rolex quite obviously means owning a custom piece. This sounds painfully obvious, though it is more multi-faceted than you might expect.
Rolex is the most probably the world's most popular watch brand, if you’re the kind of person in the position to own a Rolex, chances are a lot of people you know also own a Rolex. It can be a bit annoying to walk into a room and have the exact same Submariner as five other people there.
If you go ahead and customise your Rolex though, you’re going to stand out and differentiate yourself between all those other Yacht-Masters or Sea-Dwellers out there. You maintain the clout of having that little crown on your dial and bracelet, without fading into the hordes of people that own similar or identical Rolexes.
Another perk to owning a Rolex is being able to make the perfect Rolex for you, combining your own tastes with that of the brand. Rolex is notorious to moving at a very slow pace for its design and style innovations. Rolex does not shy away from its tried and true formula for watches, and why would it? Most people buy a Rolex for the iconic Rolex look.
If however you’ve been yearning for years for the brand to launch a bright pink bezel, a blacked-out case or a watch with diamonds in more places than just the bezel, a custom Rolex might be for you. It allows you to push the innovation and style forward with your watch where Rolex would never dare. Using colours Rolex would never do like all-black, neon, or beiges.Companies like Titan Black and MAD Paris work hard to just make custom Rolexes, a lot of them end up as exclusive pieces, limited editions that often have a higher retail price than standard models.
After-market Rolexes can ‘SOMETIMES’ be more valuable than an original, more often than not, those that manage to be more valuable are ones with very minor customisations. Things like using an after-market strap can boost value for the simple reason it means the original strap is kept in pristine condition, perfect if you’re looking to resell your piece with the original parts. One of the few custom Rolexes to skyrocket in value is that which was once owned by Marlon Brando. Brando removed the bezel of his GMT and also etched into the caseback himself. The watch is said to have a value of around US $20,000 but thanks to Brando's tampering and association, it's expecting to fetch millions at auction in December.
The growing popularity of customisation in the luxury world also lends itself to the custom Rolex, more and more people these days want a fully catered luxury experience, being able to provide people with a fully customised watch is something that would have quite a high retail value, it’s the ‘RESALE’ value that often plummets.
It’s a big decision to deck out your Rolex, you’re tampering with your warranty-approved, Swiss-made timepiece after all. For that reason, more often than not, custom Rolexes are not a good thing in Rolex’s eyes, the brand considers most custom pieces to be counterfeit and the warranty will be void. Good luck taking your blacked-out Rolex to the dealership for a repair.
Rolex watches almost always hold value, they are considered an investment. A 2018 Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose can be sold at retail for one price (around US$92,000) and go for triple (around US$291,000) at resale in just a single year. Pristine Rolexes are a good business choice, custom Rolexes however often drop in value, sometimes less than the value of an untampered version.
Rolex’s policies and law stipulates that any Rolex with foreign parts (i.e., diamonds) is no longer considered a genuine Rolex. Therefore, it’s technically counterfeit and, in order to be resold, most likely needs to be stripped of its diamonds and restored, rendering it worth far less than the original watch.
Referring to Chrono24, a 2012 Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’, which is one of the most popular models of all, is going for US $11,493. This watch is customised with a black PVD coating, giving it a black case over steel. Normal ‘Hulks’ on Chrono24 however go for around US $15,000-$20,000. This means that just by coating your Rolex, you have cut a sizable chunk off of the value.
Chances are if you’re modifying the most sought-after models of all, the only people willing to fork out extra will be any rappers or boxers you have on speed dial – which you probably don’t.