It has been rapped about in hip-hop hits to (shout out to Iggy Azalea and Jay-Z), written about in books (James Bond didn’t wear just any watch, “it had to be a Rolex”) and got its fair share of coverage in the media, thanks to industry experts and diehard celebrity fans alike (where do we even start?).
Rolex is undeniably the world’s most famous watch brand, not to mention the most valuable, if Forbes’ 2020 list of the 100 most valuable brands is to be considered. Yet, if its latest offerings for the year signify anything, it’s that the Swiss watchmaker is not about to rest on its world-famed laurels and twiddle its thumbs: It has made firm moves to pave the way for the next generation of watch seekers to find its shores—with designs that will up your street cred as easily as they show your standing as a valued member of any elite yacht club.
Class of 2021
For those looking for a refined sports watch, there’s the Explorer, which is now available in a Rolesor edition (or what Rolex calls its gold- and-steel watches) for the very first time. With a black, lacquered dial graced with hour markers and hands coated in the brand’s exclusive Chromalight for improved luminescence, it comes equipped with an automatic movement that was launched just last year for greater precision and reliability, and has an improved power reserve and resistance to shocks and magnetic fields. Now that it has reverted to the original 36mm size of its 1953 launch, its polished sports-luxe looks make it a strong contender for people with smaller wrists.
Over at the Cosmograph Daytona department, Rolex has injected a touch of celestial romance into its freshest trio, with meteorite dials making an appearance once again. Travelling through the expanse of space to land on your wrist, the meteorites—originating from an asteroid that crashed millions of years ago—were painstakingly selected by Rolex and its team of leading experts to ensure that each disc produced bears particularly well-formed crystallisation markings. Available in yellow gold, white gold and Rolex’s proprietary Everose gold, the watches continue the legacy of the collection’s coveted stature with ultra-luxe looks that’ll make any seasoned heart skip a beat.
Then there are the new Datejust 36 models with palm-motif dials that make them a great choice for those in the market for a first watch with a twist (or those looking to expand their existing collection with a playful number, for that matter). Three versions are available: An olive green dial on steel, gold on Yellow Rolesor and silver on Everose Rolesor. There is also a model with a gilded, fluted-patterned dial for classicists at heart.
Rounding off the collection with posh finesse are the brand’s perennial diamond-cloaked numbers—or, as hip-hop duo Ayo & Teo once put so eloquently, rollies “with a dab of ranch”. Completely pimped up in stones are two Lady-Datejusts and three vibrant, special-order Day-Dates to ensure that you remain the main attraction of any event. The former is dressed to the nines with over 1,000 stones, leaving no white or yellow gold surface untouched. In the latter, enamelled Roman numerals in turquoise (for the white gold model), coral (yellow gold) and burgundy (Everose) are accompanied by alligator-skin straps in matching hues and over 800 diamonds.
Instantly recognised in a split-second glance, complete with all the associated prestige that comes with it, a Rolex is what most people think of when the words “luxury watch” are mentioned. Yet, the question still remains: Is a Rolex truly worth all the hype and hefty price tag? The answer depends on how far you are willing to go for par excellence—because that’s the system of belief you’re buying into when you lay your credit card on the counter for one of the crown-emblazoned timepieces.
It’s not just the brand’s insistence on proprietary materials developed in-house, such as Oystersteel, Everose gold and Cerachrom, which look, perform and weather the passage of time better than industry standards. Nor is it merely its spirit of innovation, which has resulted in the registration of over 500 patents in the course of its 116-year history. Each Rolex comes with a guarantee of not just high quality and reliability, but also an elevated level of trust—that the brand has you covered for all your Rolex needs no matter where you are in the world. This is thanks to an extensive global network of dedicated after-sales service workshops, staffed by watchmakers who are regularly trained by the brand for consistent care and expertise. (Furthermore, your watch is covered by a two-year international service guarantee for parts and labour once it leaves a Rolex World Service workshop after maintenance.)
Rolex watches are built to last a lifetime or two. And with the brand promising to be there for the long haul, the only thing you need to be concerned with is this: Which rollie are you going to get?
This article was originally published in Harpers Bazaar.