Rolex is the best known watch brand in the world, and with prominence comes controversy. Rolex watches are difficult to find in stock at dealers, require years of waiting to buy new, and often reach prohibitive prices on used watch markets. But Rolex also does a great deal the right way: integrity of prices, immunity to planned obsolescence, and willingness to be weird are among Rolex's brand virtues. Not only is Rolex the most desired watch in the world, but it's a company with passion and principles.
Rolex rejects obsolescence of designs. Unlike automobiles, smart phones, and conventional fashion, Rolex products are designed to endure through generations. The original 1960s and 1970s Rolex Daytona chronographs are recognizably related to the 2022 Rolex Daytona 116500LN. Likewise, the current Rolex Submariner 126610 maintains strong visual links to 1950s Submariner models including the first references 6204 and 6205. Rolex changes its watch designs slowly so that no model year stands out as a rejection of previous design conventions across the Rolex collection.
Rolex maintains relative stability of pricing. Consider the current Rolex Daytona, which debuted at Baselworld in 2016. The watch launched with a U.S. retail price of $11,800. Today, the Rolex Daytona costs $14,550. $11,800 is $13,815.29 in 2022 money, so the real increase in price over six years is only $734.71. That's an inflation-adjusted price increase of only six percent.
Finally, Rolex is willing to create watches that are strange, weird and wonderful. From the electric blue dial, green sapphire crystal, and orange accents of the Milgauss Z-Blue (116400GV) to the "Bloodhound SSC" dial of the Rolex Air King (116900), Rolex has a sense of humor that expresses itself in design. The James Cameron inspired Rolex Deepsea D-Blue is a festival of colors that reference the director's dive to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in a submersible featuring the colors of the Rolex dial. Rolex generally eschews co-branding, but it maintains a longstanding tradition of creating Dominos (pizza) -branded Oyster Perpetuals. And of course, the legendary Rolex "leopard" Daytona 116598 SACO continues to shock and baffle Rolex fans eighteen years after its debut at Baselworld.
All of this plus watch collector wrist shots will be featured in this episode of "Watches Tonight!"
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