Rolex: Three Reasons Not to Buy One (Other Than Price)

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 (courtesy thetruthaboutwatches.com)

If you like your Rolex, you can keep your Rolex. Or can you? That could well depend on your ability to stop someone from stealing your Rolex. Someone who might choke you to death or cut off your hand to add a Submaratona to their collection (however briefly). Which brings us to reason number one for not buying a Rolex . . .

1. Wearing a Rolex puts a target on your back/wrist

Nothing says “I’m rich, rob me” with quite as much clarity as a modern Rolex. While the watch’s allure to the criminal class is a testimony to the brand’s power, I doubt Rolexophiles will be celebrating stories like this from the perfectly reputable weirdasianews.com.

Chi-yang Hu, 60, from Taiwan, was visiting his fiancee when he was mugged by three men who cut off his hand to steal his Rolex and gold ring, as well as about $600 in cash.

After the unfortunate situation occurred, Mr. Hu was rushed to the hospital later than he should have been, as the police needed to file a report.

In the end, it didn’t really matter, as the hand was apparently so badly damaged that it would have been useless if it were reattached.

Not one to let go of his own hand (pun intended), Mr. Hu requested it back. The kicker? Police refused, citing it as evidence. The man has stated that as a result of the incident, he will never return to mainland China.

Something tells me fascist bastards running The People’s Republic of China won’t be particularly upset by Mr. Hu’s boycott — as you’d expect from a government that prioritizes police paperwork over medical attention for a guy holding his freshly severed hand. But you’ve got to hand it to Mr. Hu: he’s learned his lesson.

You should too. Beware the ides of Rolex! Unlike a stainless steel Daytona, violent Rolex robberies are a dime a dozen, all over the planet. It happens in the UK, France, Miami, Springfield (MO), etc. The press called the Miami crew “Rolex robbers.” You ever heard of Blancpain bandits? I thought not.

2. Wearing a Rolex makes you look nouveau riche

If you’re nouveau riche, you’re forgiven not knowing what nouveau riche means. It means “newly rich.” But that doesn’t quite cover it. urbandictionary.com has the 411.

Nouveau riche is a term to describe persons who acquire wealth within their generation, and spend it conspicuously.

The implication is that, being of lower- or middle-class origin, these individuals lack the taste to properly use wealth. Hence, this class of people is sometimes ill-regarded by old money as culturally inferior, comparatively lacking in pedigree and subtlety.

The benchmark of the “nouveau riche” is their acquiring possessions which are touted to them as being the sort of things that rich people would possess.

I know: it isn’t that simple. More than a few Ivy League White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Swamp Yankees wear a Rolex, especially when YWD (Yachting While Drunk). But they do so because of the product’s reliability and classic good looks (note: we’re talking models without tons ‘o diamonds and gold AF bracelets). They do not wear a Rolex to advertise their financial status. That just isn’t done old chum.

If you’re a newly wealthy guy wearing a modern Rolex to tell the world, look, I made it, yay! Good for you! Thank God you live in a country where you can celebrate your success any damn way you please. But there’s no getting around it: a big blingy Rolex tells similarly situated peers that you’re A Man of Wealth and Taste – while also telling the ruling class that you’re the former but not the latter.

Look at it this way. Even President Trump – a man whose properties are to tacky what beef jerky is to salty – wore a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 in pink gold during his first election campaign. After selling “Rolex-inspired” quartz crap under the Trump brand name. ‘Nuff said?

3. Wearing a Rolex shows a distinct lack of imagination 

Rolexes ain’t cheap. That’s because they’re not cheap watches. You buy one, you’re buying a quality timepiece. There. Done. You and 800,000 other people, worldwide. per year.

Grand Seiko - is not a Rolex and that's a good thing

Even if we’re comparing new-to-new, there are literally dozens of other beautifully-made watches you can buy for the same or less (or more) money.

If it’s absolute quality you’re after, Grand Seiko kicks Rolex’s butt. If it’s heritage you seek, Rolex is hardly the only fish in the historical horological sea. There’s The Big Three (Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet) and a whole lot more (Blancpain, Girard-Perregaux, Jaeger-leCoultre, etc.).

If you don’t mind wearing a watch that people don’t immediately recognize — for good or ill — you’re spoiled for choice. How about the Tudor Black Bay 41? Or the iconic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph?

Why NOT buy something other than a Rolex? Because nothing else is a Rolex. Truth be told, I own the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 pictured and love it. It’s simple, elegant and discreet. An un-Rolex, if you will. I also added a Rolex Explorer 1 to my collection.

I’m a sucker for these relatively subdued Rolexes despite the three reasons not to buy one outlined above. You’re more than welcome to join me in ignoring Rolex’s potential downsides, too. As if I needed to say that . . .

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2 Responses to Rolex: Three Reasons Not to Buy One (Other Than Price)

  1. Jeremy S. says:

    It’s about time this website came around! I’ve been watching out for a place to learn more, as I’ve only heard second hand that collecting watches is very time consuming, which would tick me off. Too many complications for me to clasp, you know? I’ll keep my hands off that dial, as I couldn’t face missing out on new watch articles! ????

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