All posts in “Rolex”

This Rolex GMT Master Was Featured in One of the Best Movies of All Time. And It’s for Sale

Today seems to be a “cool Rolexes” kind of day. Thought to be lost to time (so to speak), the Rolex GMT Master ref. 1675 worn by Marlon Brando as Col. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now,” Francis Ford Coppola’s incredible adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” set during the horrors of the Vietnam War, has surfaced and is hitting the auction block on December 10th. Phillips’s “Game Changers” auction “will be a tightly curated thematic auction dedicated to watches owned by extraordinary people who are considered “game changers” in their fields.”

Interestingly, the watch has no bezel, as Brando removed it during filming when someone remarked that the watch seemed too clean to belong to his character. Otherwise, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill (though beautiful) matte-dial reference 1675 Rolex GMT Master, though — and here’s the kicker — this one also happens to be hand-engraved with “M. Brando” on the back, done by the actor himself.

Evidently Brando gifted the watch to his adopted daughter, Petra Brando Fischer, in 1995, after which she in turn have it to her husband in 2003. Following the sale of Paul Newman’s 6239 Daytona, Fischer decided to bring the GMT Master to auction. A portion of the proceeds will go to a foundation set up by the Fischers benefiting children living in hardship due to neglect, poverty or abuse, a cause that Petra says would have been particularly important to her father, who was himself a noted supporter of several charitable causes.

Expect bidding to begin “in the six figures,” according to Phillips.

The 12 Best Watches of Baselworld 2019

This guide covers the best watches released at Baselworld 2019. You can read our other Baselworld 2019 coverage here, or skip right to the best watches below.

There were a couple of surprises at Baselworld 2019, but the show also saw some anticipated iterations, updates and a lot of vintage re-releases. With the Swatch Group’s many prominent brands absent from the show this year for the first time as well as more brands participating in SIHH earlier in the year, Baselworld felt smaller and more focused than in the past. Brands continued to draw on their heritage with many new releases celebrating notable anniversaries of some kind or another — among them, the 50th birthdays of major watchmaking innovations in 1969.

Even if technical or design innovation wasn’t the show’s central theme, there were a lot of satisfying new watches to enjoy. Reproducing “heritage” watches or new watches based on them has often allowed brands to focus on simple models with mass appeal and proven design longevity. This intersects well with trends toward smaller, more wearable sizes and entry-level pieces. While industry insiders may see creative stagnation, many consumers will welcome retro styles with modern specs.

Tudor Black Bay P01

Why It Matters: Given the teaser photos on Instagram, the watch community at large may have been expecting a new Submariner, but what it got was something decidedly different. The Black Bay P01 is based on a model Tudor designed for the U.S. Navy and patented in the 1960s — but the government never purchased it, and Tudor never put it into production. With a unique bezel-locking mechanism and bracelet, 12-hour bezel and automatic Tudor calibre MT5612 powering the time-and-date dial, the P01 is most definitely a departure for the brand, and a welcome one at that. Even if you’re not keen on the aesthetics, it’s hard to argue that this watch doesn’t follow the brand’s “Born To Dare” ethos, a sentiment that’s sometimes lacking in the watch industry.

Price: $3,950
Diameter: 42mm
Water Resistance: 200m / 660 ft.

Itay Noy Reorder

Why It Matters: While Itay Noy may not be a household name, the Israeli watchmaker has been making unique timepieces in Tel Aviv for nearly two decades. The Reorder is Noy’s newest attempt to rethink the watch dial, and splits it into analog and “digital” sections — a conventional set of hands in the center of the dial indicates the time, while a series of numeric windows cut into the watch face seem to fill as if by magic, indicating the hour. Though the design is eccentric and not for everyone, Noy’s timepieces never disappoint those who are searching for something just a little bit different — and willing to embrace the inclinations of a designer who’s following his instincts.

Price: $6,800
Diameter: 44mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Monta Atlas GMT

Why It Matters: Monta has been batting 1,000 lately with its no-nonsense tool watches — the Ocean King was one of our favorite divers under $2,000, and the Skyquest, one of our favorite GMTs at any price point. The Atlas GMT happily takes the best design cues of both and integrates them into one kickass GMT that features a thin 38.5mm case. While the Skyquest is a tank and gives you three time zones in a dive-ready body, the Atlas flies completely under the radar while still giving you that tough Monta quality. Available in three dial colors, this is a watch that’s hard to argue with for the price, and another sure-fire hit.

Price: $1,410 – $1,615
Diameter: 38.5mm
Water Resistance: 150m

Patek Philippe Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A

Why It Matters: The Calatrava family in many instances has represented the platonic ideal of a simple, time-only dress watch. But the truth is that this iconic line has taken many forms over the years, occasionally operating as a design platform for complicated watchmaking. The new reference 5212A includes a weekly calendar with time, date, day of the week and a pointer hand that indicates the week number between 1 and 53. While this last bit of information may not be strictly useful for all, the design is beautifully executed and exudes a sense of whimsy and classic Patek elegance. What’s more, the watch is non-limited and available in steel. Considering how rarely Patek uses non-precious metals, that’s enough to turn heads by itself.

Price: $29,500
Diameter: 40mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Rolex Datejust 36

Why It Matters: Sporting the newest Rolex 3285 movement, the new Datejust 36 features a steel and white gold case, black sunburst dial and the iconic Jubilee bracelet. In production since 1945, the Datejust is by no means a new model, however this particular iteration is a timeless execution of one of the most recognizable watches in the world. Comfortable and classy on-wrist, the combination of white gold and steel flies under the radar, but gives the watch some heft that lets you know that you’ve made it. This is a forever watch, and one that’s meant to be passed down.

Price: $8,200
Diameter: 36mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Doxa SUB 200 LE

Why It Matters: When one thinks of modern Doxa, oversized, cushion cases, incredible water resistance ratings and the liberal use of the color orange all probably come to mind. But in celebration of its 130th anniversary, the brand went back to the archives and released the Sub 200 130th Anniversary Edition, a steel diver limited to 130 pieces with vintage design cues galore. Though you could easily confuse this with a vintage model, it features all the tech requisite of a modern Doxa (albeit with a water-resistance rating that has been pared down to 200m). Best of all, the price is right at $1,190.

Price: $1,190
Diameter: 42mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Porsche Design Globetimer UTC

Why It Matters: Porsche Design had been developing innovative watches in conjunction with companies like Orfina and IWC for years, but it’s been exciting to watch the company grow into its own watch fully fledged brand. The new Globetimer UTC is built with the traveler in mind — the pushers on the side of the case allow the user to advance the hour hand in hour increments in order to quickly jump time zones, and a handy pointer date function displays the date. Available in three dial colors in titanium or with a black dial in solid yellow gold, this is a luxury tool watch in a funky, futuristic package.

Price: $6,350+
Diameter: 42mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Bell & Ross Bi-Compass

Why It Matters: We’re sorta cheating here, as the Bi-Compass came out shortly before Baselworld, but we included it for the following reason: though we love the flight jacket-inspired B&R MA-1, the Bi-Compass simply takes the badass factor to a whole new level. With a design taken from another cockpit instrument, the Bi-Compass is the wristwatch embodiment of functional, cool instrument making. There’s a reason Bell & Ross stands out from the crowd, and this 42mm watch, with its striking dial colors against a matte black background, perfectly embodies the brand’s ethos.

Price: $3,900
Diameter: 42mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Zodiac Aerospace GMT

Why It Matters: A modern update of a classic from the 1960s, the new Aerospace GMT is a welcome addition to the current Zodiac lineup, which until now featured buckets of affordable dive watches but no GMT. Though the modern version is a tad chunkier than the incredibly svelte original (40mm instead of 36mm wide), all of the classic design cues remain, including the two dual-color bezel options, Oyster-like bracelet and simple, legible dial. The use of an ETA movement means ease of service, and, as usual, Zodiac is delivering a ton of watch for not a ton of cash.

Price: $1,695
Diameter: 40mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Breitling Navigator 806 1959 Re-Issue

Why It Matters: Under Georges Kern’s direction, Breitling has been pumping out attractive reissues lately, not the least of which is one of the brand’s latest, the Navigator 806 1959 Re-Issue. Fans of vintage Breitling will undoubtedly be familiar with this reference, an iconic watch with a distinctive beaded bezel. In re-creating the original, the company consulted with one of the top Breitling collectors in the world, and the result is something that wears and looks very much like the original, down to the exact number of beads used on the bezel.

Price: $8,600
Diameter: 40.9mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Zenith Defy Inventor

Why It Matters: In 2017, Zenith introduced a fascinating technology that reinvents the traditional watch escapement using the naturally springy properties of silicon, and it represents one area of real innovation in the current watch world. The Defy Inventor felt notable at this year’s Baselworld because it took the next step toward industrializing this fascinating technology, with production volume now in the hundreds. Some elements have been updated from the 2017 Defy Lab for the 2019 Defy Inventor, but the new model’s aesthetics — with the strange texture of its Aeronith bezel and a skeletonized dial that displays the large silicon oscillator twitching madly away beneath at 18Hz — are somewhat avant-garde. It’s exciting to imagine where this and similar technologies will lead for the future of mechanical watches.

Price: $17,800
Diameter: 44mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Seiko Prospex LX Spring Drive Collection

Why It Matters: Seiko continues to redefine itself and push upmarket. The new heavy-hitting LX series introduces a tier within Seiko’s Prospex family of tough sport watches in each the Land, Sea and Air categories. These include GMT as well as time-only functionality, but also the brand’s extremely cool Spring Drive movements which are not often found outside of Grand Seiko watches. They also approach Grand Seiko in terms of price points, but they raise the profile of the Prospex name and amount to some seriously cool sport watches for those with the wrists, wallets and appreciation of Seiko’s impressive watchmaking to take them on.

Price: $5,000 (Land); $5,500 (Air); $6,000 (Sea)
Diameter: 44.8mm
Water Resistance: 200m (Land & Air); 300m (Sea)

More from Baselworld 2019

See more of our favorite new releases from Geneva. Read the Story

5 Questions with Vintage Watch Retailer “Those Watch Guys”

Those Watch Guys met when Craig, the older of the two founders by four years, started dating Samuel’s sister in high school. The romance didn’t endure, but Craig and Samuel had bonded over watches, so much so that they now run a thriving vintage watch dealership together. The watch fascination began when Craig chose what he remembers with a dose of insider shame as, “a Victorinox quartz chronograph thing,” for his high school graduation present. That quartz thing inspired Craig to learn more about watches, and Samuel followed him deep into the rabbit hole of horological discovery where they found a mutual love for vintage mechanical watches.

Their fascination with vintage watches led to the inevitable flip-and-fund cycle, which led to the Instagram account @thosewatchguys as a flipping platform, which led to HODINKEE featuring that account, which blew them up. In response, these young men built a proper dealership website, an impressive service network, and a stellar reputation. They now offer a steady stream of exceptional vintage watches in top running condition with six-month guarantees. In a sea of vintage watch dealers, Those Watch Guys stand out for all the right reasons.

Q: What are the requirements for a watch to make it into your inventory?
A: Craig: It has to be a watch that we like, for starters, and that’s usually going to be something a little different. We are into these older sport chronographs, for example. We see the value of a Datejust, for sure [Craig is wearing one, in fact], and we sell those because they’re so versatile—dress it up or down—but we get excited by some funky alarm watch, or a watch with an interesting colorway that we’ve not seen much of. The other thing we need to do is make sure the condition is solid. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be good enough that we can feel confident selling it with our guarantees. But mostly it’s about finding watches that we feel excited about, and that we think our customers will be excited about.

Q: Who repairs and services the watches you sell?
A: Craig: I’ve got a guy down here (in Baltimore) who does some of the work. If it’s a time-only watch, I’ll send it to him. If it’s a chronograph, I’ve got a guy in Texas who works on those. And Samuel has some watchmakers up in Boston who we also work with. It’s really a case-by-case thing, so we send the watch to the person who is best qualified to fix that specific watch. But we also try our best to buy from people we know and trust, people who can help us understand the service record on a watch. That helps in terms of making sure we’re starting in a good place with any given piece.

“Mostly it’s about finding watches that we feel excited about, and that we think our customers will be excited about.”

Q: Prices for vintage watches have been rising steadily for a number of years. How has that changed your business?
A: Samuel: Well, it hasn’t all that much, really, though the prices have gone up on some watches, so that does change things. We tend to sell in the $500 to $4,000 range, and some watches have moved beyond that price range lately. Heuer as a brand just keeps going up, for example. Rolex hasn’t gone up all that much in comparison, so we can still get and offer vintage Rolex pieces pretty reasonably. Certain Omega’s aren’t increasing as much as others, like Seamasters, so we sell quite a few of them still, often just around $1,000.

Craig: One thing that’s changed is that there are a more people out there who aren’t dealers asking for dealer prices through their Instagram accounts. These folks aren’t necessarily unreliable, but they’re pricing like a dealer without providing the service and guarantees that dealers provide. In some instances, those people don’t really know much about the watch they’re selling, and that’s a problem when it comes to service records.

Samuel: eBay has changed a lot, too. It used to be possible for us to get decent watches there at reasonable prices. We could go on and get a Gallet for around $400, and now they’re through the roof. It’s not that we don’t still sift through that website — trust me, we do — it’s just that every year it gets more difficult to find quality pieces there.

Craig: We do a lot with Gallet right now, because we really like them and they’re pretty hot. It’s amazing to watch these specific brands from the past take off like that. But generally we pay a bit more now, and we sell for a bit more now, so it’s not all that different from our perspective as a dealer.

Q: Do you see this business becoming a full time job?
A: Samuel: I would like to see that happen, but I think it’s good to keep it part time for now, maybe for a couple more years, as I’m still in the early years of college. That way we don’t put too much stress on ourselves or the business, and we can let it grow more organically. I work as a photographer at European Watch Co. in Boston part time, and so I’m pretty happy with my current situation.

Craig: I’m about to finish up college (at Loyola in Baltimore), and I think I’ll keep the watch business part-time for now. I aim to get a job in marketing once I graduate, and I can still keep the watch business going alongside that. The good thing is that we do it because we love it, and we don’t want that to change.

“First of all, figure out what you like. That’s not as simple as you might think.”

Q: What advice do you have for someone buying their first vintage watch?
A: Craig: First of all, figure out what you like. That’s not as simple as you might think. I’ve met people our age, guys under 30, who have built up this cool collection with a very specific vintage aesthetic, and then I see them a year later and they’ve sold it all and are wearing a Royal Oak. That happens way more than you might realize. People’s tastes can swing. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be expensive.

Samuel: Yeah, I think that’s a good reason to not spend your whole budget on your first vintage piece, and instead try to get as many as you can in order to learn what you’re into. For example, if you go spend $7,500 on a Heuer Camaro, there are many watches you aren’t getting to know. Buying many lower priced watches quickly and learning what we liked was a big benefit for the both of us.

Craig: Another reason to start on the lower end price wise is that if you’re new to vintage watches then you’re still learning, so the risk of getting burned is a little higher. Everyone gets burned once in a while, even dealers, but if you do your research and don’t spend too much, you can minimize your risk.

Samuel: Another thing to keep in mind is that vintage watches are pretty different from today’s watches. You might buy a vintage Datejust, for example, and find that it feels really light. If you go drop $6,000 on a new Rolex, that watch will feel like a tank compared to a vintage one, so people kind of have to learn about vintage, how it feels, and figure out what they’re into by getting their hands on more vintage pieces.

Top 13 Most Expensive Rolex Watches In The World

Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual — $440,000

The 13th most expensive Rolex watch in the world in our list is the Gold Oyster Perpetual that was once owned by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, hence the name. Aside from its jaw-dropping estimated value of $444,000, this elegant timepiece also has a rich story that comes with it and how it came into being.

Rolex had custom made the Gold Oyster Perpetual for Dr. Prasad in 1950 to commemorate India’s first Republic Day. Some say that this special wristwatch was given to the president as an inauguration gift.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s Gold Oyster Perpetual is completely made of 18-karat pink gold. The watch’s custom dial in black and blue features a map of undivided India. It also displays January 26, 1950, India’s first constitutional day, etched across it.

In 2011, this exorbitant priced Rolex watch was supposed to be put up for the Sotheby’s auction for important timepieces that belonged to well-known leaders from around the world after World War 1. However, the Indian government stepped in on Prasad family’s stead.

Apparently, the historical watch was reportedly stolen in 1964 and made its way back to Geneva, Switzerland 47 years later. Sotheby’s had to postpone the auction while the authorities do their investigation on the theft case.

In addition, there are two more Rolex timepieces worth mentioning here. First is Steve McQueen’s Rolex Submariner, which costs about $234,000. This invaluable watch debuted in the year 1967. The fans of the iconic actor saw him wearing this piece named after him in the 1971 movie, Le Mans.

The other one is the Rolex Platinum Pearlmaster 18956 that has a price of $276,000. This Rolex watch is ultra-rare in contrast to the brand’s image of understated elegance.

The Platinum Pearlmaster 18956 wristwatch is bedazzled with real diamonds encrusted lavishly in its platinum case and bracelet. The watch has a total of 71 baguette diamonds and inner bezel engraving.

So, there you have the list of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world. As it appears, Rolex is simply synonymous to extravagant luxury that only a privileged few can afford in a lifetime.