The aura of Rolex
As far as watches go, and collectible watches in particular, Rolex holds a special place for me. I believe it is the collector’s brand of choice – and for very good reasons. These days there are so many brands, models and auction houses trying to get in on the action.
All of them hope to catch that next horological wave that sweeps over the industry before receding and another one take its place.
Not every watch is a good investment, however, and you won’t easily find a hidden gem to turn into a quick fortune these days. There are seemingly countless factors that play into the price a watch will fetch when the auction gavel falls. Age, condition, authenticity and provenance are just a few.
The brand name, of course, is the number one factor, and there are two in particular that remain consistent – Patek Philippe and Rolex. I love them both, but for different reasons. The latter holds an emotional attachment, I confess, but one that is purely personal.
I bought my first Rolex from a fellow dealer in 1995. To be more specific, it was a fine Oyster Precision, made back in 1961. It has a manual winding movement, and all things considered, it’s not on the high end of the market. It cost me around Dhs2,000, but it came with a proviso: “If you ever decide to sell this watch you will only sell it to me!”
Well, I can report that twenty years have passed, and I still have the watch in my possession. It’s worth five times as much today, and that brings me back to the point: Rolex has an aura. It has a special something that continues to make it one of the most worthwhile brands to invest in.
There are many reasons why it holds this appeal. Firstly, let’s compare it with other brands. Some try to occupy a vast plateau of types, catering to many tastes, but never getting very high up in the market. Others will produce extraordinarily costly and complicated pieces, but at the same time offer something at entry level too – vertically they excel. Rolex, on the other hand, holds its ground on both counts.
Rolex also delivers the reassurance that you will be getting a superb movement, made from top notch materials. The Rolex workhorse mechanism is renowned for reliability and dependability. This matter a lot if you want to hold on to a watch for a long time.
If you are very lucky (or wealthy) and could buy a Rolex with provenance and uniqueness you will be sitting on an even better investment. Take the rare Rolex Daytona Albino 6263, for example. In early 2015 it broke records in Geneva, selling for $1.4 million. What made it special, you ask? The piece featured in a book belonging to Eric Clapton and, on top of that, it is an oddity in terms of colour and design. Those factors combine to make it stand out, and therefore a hugely sought after piece.
Not every Rolex is going to perform quite as well. Since Hans Wilsdorf founded the company in 1905, Rolex has produced a staggering amount of timepieces, and some models in their tens of thousands. This will always count against the final resale value, so choose wisely. Doing your homework before purchase is part of the fun, however, and especially when it is the legend that is Rolex. That’s why for me it is the first port of call for investing.
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