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The Life of a Collector Fun Rolex Watches Not Often Seen

Rolex creates reliable and durable timepieces, coveted by many different types of collectors. Today, we’re taking a look at some Rolex models that are more than your typical Rolex. Follow along with Tim Mosso and Josh Srolovitz as they explore over 10 different models from vintage to modern!

Expanding Your Rolex Knowledge

Can’t see the video? Watch it on the Govberg Jewelers YouTube Channel or read the transcription below!

Tim Mosso:
Hi. I’m Tim Mosso, Watch Specialist at Govberg Jewelers.

Josh Srolovitz:
I’m Josh Srolovitz, Senior Watch Buyer at Govberg Jewelers.

Tim Mosso:
Now, Rolex is easily the best known name in horology and a transcendent household name. All too often, because Rolex is such an institution in the business, people get the impression that Rolex is stayed, stolid, dower. Maybe just not fun, and we’ve got watches here that I think are going to blow that preconception out of the water.

Josh Srolovitz:
For sure, and the beauty of collecting Rolex once you really get into it is the hunt for watches with certain colors, special materials, different dials. Just things that fun, unique, and really kind of accentuate one’s character.

Tim Mosso:
What we’ve got here, actually a bunch of Rolex watches from many model lines and several eras that represent the outlandish, the imaginative, the post modern, and just the joyful qualities that Rolex can have and in the mainstream isn’t often recognized for having.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely. The first watch we have here is part of Rolex, the Cellini collection. This one’s a little bit more unique. It’s called the Prince. It’s a quintessential art deco piece modeled after a watch they produced for doctors back in the late 20’s, early 30’s. What makes this watch even more unique is not the hand grave dial, which is beautiful, but rather the exhibition case back. For Rolex to produce an exhibition case back is extraordinarily rare. Not only is it rare to have an exhibition case back, but also one with manual wind movement, and this watch has all that going for it.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, the Cellini Prince is interesting because it does recall the 1920’s and 30’s Rolex Prince. The real difference here is this is a modern watch with modern size, modern materials, the white gold on this watch being Rolex’s in-house white gold, is not plated, can’t wear through to a milky yellow sub-straight. Built for in 2005 to 2015, this is now a discontinued model. It can only be had as a pre-owned watch.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely, and even as a large Rolex authorized dealer and pre-owned dealer, we rarely see this come through our doors. They really are unique and special piece one really should have in their collection.

Tim Mosso:
It’s kind of the best of both worlds because you have Rolex, the name everyone knows, but you have the model that no one has. You get the equity of the Rolex name, you have the long term security of the value and equity in your watch, but you also have frankly the watch that everyone in your office isn’t wearing.

Josh Srolovitz:
Sure, and those are the kind of pieces for Rolex that have proven to be more valuable down the line. These underdog kind of pieces, the lesser preferred pieces. They’re the ones years later prove to be really strong, collectible pieces.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, this is the kind of model that people think about 20 years, 30 years down the line. They say, “You know what? I really wish I’d bought a Cellini Prince 5441 back when I had the chance.” This is a watch that’s different from the typical Rolex Oyster. Then we’re going to jump to a watch that is precisely the typical Rolex Oyster in all respects, but one. This is the latest generation of the Oyster Perpetual. Tell us a little bit about this guy and what’s going on here.

Josh Srolovitz:
This watch has got Rolex all over it. What I mean by that is that you have the traditional Oyster case, smooth domed bezel with the ever-loving Oyster bracelet. It’s quintessential Rolex. Where you see some more character and a little bit of differentiation is with the dial. Here we have the rich, purple, as they call it, “Red Grape dial.” A color like this for Rolex is not too common. It’s one they brought back in recent years, and I’m very glad they have done so.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, and it’s interesting to note that Rolex has been moving more in the direction of letting it’s hair down, if I dare say so. A big example of that was the multiplicity of colorful dials with highlights released in the re-born Oyster Perpetual line last year. Also in watches, frankly like the James Cameron Deep Sea. I think this is a watch frankly that shocked everyone. First because of the colors, and second because it was tied so literally to a living person.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely. Of course named after James Cameron, the director and the deep sea fanatic. This watch has some characteristics by Rolex. The innards are certainly audacious. You have the beautiful gradient blue dial that warms in the black. The green right on the dial, which just adds a lot of flare to it. It’s in a subtle way. It’s not overbearing. It’s just so tastefully done.

Tim Mosso:
It recalls an actual event. That little shock of green representing Cameron’s only homemade mini sub. When you’re James Cameron you get a watch named after you, and you get your own submarine, but anyone can own the watch.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely.

Tim Mosso:
Now in terms of just changing the look of a very well-known Rolex model, a lot of times with the Datejust we find that it’s so versatile because you can put it on any bracelet. You can get it with any bezel and dial combo. Here we’ve got one that’s decidedly different.

Josh Srolovitz:
What you see here that’s a little out of the ordinary is not necessarily the plain, white dial, which is beautiful, but rather the hand applied 18 carat yellow gold Arabic numerals. You don’t see these too often in the Datejust realm. It really is fantastic. Adds a little bit of structure to the watch, a little bit of symmetry, see some lines mentally which makes it appealing, at least in my mind.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, it’s definitely off the beaten path for Datejust design, and the distance of dials like this mean that a lot of times the deeper you go into the model, the more rewarding it is if you’re looking for something a little bit off beat and unique. That’s the common thread with all of these watches. If you own one of these, you’ve got the Rolex that in all likelihood, none of your Rolex collecting friends have. Honestly I would say that although it’s been around since 1992, the Yacht Master, especially with a sunburst blue or platinum dial as in this case, is definitely off the beaten path.

Josh Srolovitz:
It really is. You have the granulated platinum dial, which is a solid piece of precious metal there. It’s stunning in person. The camera doesn’t do it justice. Coupled with the relief engraved platinum bezel, the watch has a lot of really nice details. They just really make a fine piece.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, and it has kind of a brother that came out this year at Baselworld 2016, whereas this example has red accents with the seconds hand and the name of the watch on the dial, the latest version similar in all other respects features the same platinum dial with blue highlights.

Josh Srolovitz:
Which is pretty, although this one well in itself to be the classic sought after one.

Tim Mosso:
That’s true.

Josh Srolovitz:
Down the line.

Tim Mosso:
It’s the watch that people have in their mind when they think of the platinum dial Yacht Master.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely.

Tim Mosso:
Now one other way to go different is to go vintage.

Josh Srolovitz:
What you see here is a reference 1803, one of the original date eight models. This one here a yellow gold with a yellow gold Oyster case, presidential bracelet of course, and the lovely champagne dial. It just screams 1980’s. The coolest part about this watch is the Spanish day indication, which kind of makes you think of an Escobar type character. A lot of cool history to it. It just is very commanding, but in a very respectful kind of way.

Tim Mosso:
The thing about that watch is there are two things going on. There’s the vintage status, which makes it immensely appealing to collectors. Then there’s the joy of finding all the different language variants of the day date, because you do have the text of the week. I think upwards of 26 languages over the years?

Josh Srolovitz:
Correct.

Tim Mosso:
Again if you want something really different, look for one in Portuguese. Look for one with Arabic.

Josh Srolovitz:
Arabic, yeah.

Tim Mosso:
Sometimes you’ll even find royal signatures on the dial.

Josh Srolovitz:
Those are fantastic. It just goes to show that with any one of these model lines, the hunt is limitless for different configurations and special models.

Tim Mosso:
You don’t just have to look for off the wall models, like models that are just so manifestly different like the Cellini Prince. Sometimes it’s finding the variations on the most common models like the Datejust and the Day-Date that are the most rewarding.

Josh Srolovitz:
For sure. Here we have just another example of that. The yellow gold Rolex Daytona. This one is really kind of neat. It’s a little bit more vintage. I say that because this one has the Zenith El Primero chronograph movement. Not the in house Rolex Daytona chrono-movement. It’s fantastic. You have the gold trim on the sub-dials, which matches the case, a stark black dial, and the gold writing. It’s just another period piece that lends itself so well to just something different.

Tim Mosso:
It’s also important to note that when you’re trying to be different with Rolex, Daytona with an El Primero movement definitely is that. Many people say, “Well an in-house movement must be more desirable”, but the counter-intuitive logic is that because Rolex was dependent on Zenith for movements, they couldn’t make as many Daytonas as they liked. We wind up finding the Zenith movement Daytona is fairly scarce compared to the in-house, which is 16 years into its production virtually unlimited.

Josh Srolovitz:
Let alone that it’s arguably one of the best chronograph movements ever made. Of course Rolex trusted it for nearly 20 years.

Tim Mosso:
It’s rare because it does use Rolex’s own balance, Rolex’s own hairspring, Rolex’s own winding system. It’s rare to find an El Primero that’s chronometer and in the Daytona it is that. Plus, I mean to find a solid gold Daytona, there’s a fair number of two-tones out there. Despite it’s rarity when it was new, there’s still a fair number of steel ones out there. To see a Zenith powered Daytona in full gold is truly a treat.

Josh Srolovitz:
It’s special. Absolutely. Speaking of little more nuanced special pieces, if you take a look at a fairly common reference 16613, if you still look a little bit more closely, you realize this one is not so normal. The reason being, it’s a very early reference 16613. How do we know? Well if you look at those markers on the beautiful blue dial, there more the nipple style markers where they’re a little bit smaller, a little bit more kind of a pureed kind of style to them.

Tim Mosso:
The other thing that’s important to notice, that this is a pre-alphanumeric serial, so this is a 1987 watch before the introduction of the R code before the serial number. Not only is it iconic of it’s era, the two-tone, really I would say the two-tone submariner alongside perhaps co-equally with the Day-Date, is the icon of the 1980’s alongside wearing an Armani jacket with a t-shirt in Miami Vice, Magnum PI in the 308 Ferrari.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely.

Tim Mosso:
The two-toned period Submariner gives you that cool.

Josh Srolovitz:
Rolex really doesn’t do too much in the way of … Hasn’t done rather, special materials on the dials aside from the Yacht-Master. Within the Yacht-Master family yet again, you have a beautiful two-tone 40 millimeter example here with a gold bezel rather than a platinum. On the white dial however, you’re going to see black onyx markers, which are just so stunning to see in person, and it’s I think the only time they’ve done this to my knowledge in their collection.

Tim Mosso:
Absolutely. One of the bonuses too is that the Yacht Master compared to the contemporary Submariner, the Yacht Master has much larger indices. Not only is it a dramatic contrast, but you get the individual onyx markers so much bigger than those indices would be on the Submariner. It’s a perfect combination of a dramatic treatment on a watch that really favors the details of the dial. Plus you have that solid precious metal bezel Yacht Master fashion. This is a watch that is miles removed from the aesthetic of a steel Submariner. If you’ve got that raffish flamboyance and you’re looking to indulge that, a sub might just not do it. The Yacht Master might be the watch for you.

Josh Srolovitz:
Exactly. As Tim said earlier, from bathing suit to business suit it really covers all your bases in one watch.

Tim Mosso:
Now we’ve got two watches that are really a variation on one watch, and neither one of them is a run of the mill Rolex.

Josh Srolovitz:
For sure. These are both current reference Rolex Milgauss pieces. One with a black dial and white markers. The other white dial with orange markers. These are super cool, super retro, very unique, very un-Rolex kind of watches. If you look more closely here, you see how it’s a same case, same movement. The watches are completely different. They give different vibes. Having both of these in your collection is in no way a waste of space.

Tim Mosso:
It’s important to note that while some feel that the orange accents the dial, some feel that the lightening bolt shaping of the seconds hand is maybe a little bit post-modern, maybe a little bit too cute. You should also note that the original Milgauss was quite a daring watch in it’s day featuring the same lightening bolt seconds hand, featuring certain variants with honey-comb dials, versions that had brushed metallic dials, versions with and without rotating bezels. It’s always been an audacious model line.

Josh Srolovitz:
An audacious watch with an extraordinarily high value on the auction scene. These are nothing short of that.

Tim Mosso:
Yeah, I think a lot of people reach for a rotating bezel Rolex sports watch, and they can overlook the Milgauss, which is a shame, because with the symmetry of it’s dateless dial, this is done because there’s an iron core around the whole movement and they didn’t want to open another aperture. That shields the watch from magnetism, but it also produces a very handsome dress-appropriate time piece.

Josh Srolovitz:
It sure is. It’s balanced, well executed and just a no-nonsense kind of watch.

Tim Mosso:
Now to be entirely clear, you can go even more outside of balance of reality with Rolex. If reality is the steel black-faced Submariner rotating bezel meat and potatoes, well you can get prawn caviar and avocado with something like a contemporary Milgauss Z Blue. Now we’ve completely thrown away our inhibitions.

Josh Srolovitz:
Yeah, talk about audacity of a standard Rolex Milgauss with a striking blue dial, orange accents and a green crystal. It’s just so un-Rolex and that makes it Rolex.

Tim Mosso:
I think the message that you take away from the proliferation of Rolexes like the Cameron, like the Red Grape Oyster Perpetual, like the Milgauss Z Blue, is just that Rolex is getting more audacious and itself beginning to embrace that side of its character. It’s not all straight laced.

Josh Srolovitz:
Absolutely.

Tim Mosso:
It’s becoming more and more a thing among enthusiasts to try to find a way to differentiate themselves. Fortunately contemporary Rolex on the pre-owned side, everything from current list models like the Oyster Perpetual to the James Cameron, to discontinued models like the Cellini, there’s a wealth of pre-owned options.

Josh Srolovitz:
Yeah, it really is endless as we said within each family. There’s so many different configurations over the years. Once you get the bug, it will follow you around for the rest of your life.

About Govberg Jewelers
The Govberg Jewelers legacy began in 1916 on South Street in Philadelphia, opened by Albert and Sam Govberg. 100 years later, Govberg Jewelers is celebrated as a true Philadelphia icon, bringing exquisite timepieces, beautiful jewels and exceptional service to the people of a city rich in history and tradition. Govberg Jewelers’ collection of esteemed timepiece brands represents one of the largest selections of Swiss timepieces on the entire East Coast and expands internationally.

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