PaperCity Magazine

June 2019- Houston

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45 Rolex Boutique, and where the average watch sells for $14,000. The boutique draws a constant stream of clients from around the globe. "I've never seen anything like it," says Deutsch, who is wearing a stainless- steel Submariner with a green dial from his personal collection. "There's been a huge increase in demand for Rolex watches over the past three or four years. And the supply for certain models doesn't come anywhere near meeting the demand." Rolex has long collaborated with exceptional personalities from the fields of sports, exploration, and culture. In 1935, race-car driver Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the world's speed record wearing an Oyster, as did test pilot Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier in 1947. The Oyster has been worn on numerous Himalayan expeditions, including the historic first summit of Everest by Sir Edmund H i l l a r y a n d S h e r p a Tenzing Norgay in 1953. In the 1950s, Rolex developed Professional (or tool) watches with dedicated functions for specific activities, such as the waterproof Oyster Perpetual Submariner diver's watch, equipped with a bezel for displaying immersion and decompression times. The Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master, which launched in 1955, was the world's first watch to display times from different locations around the globe. In 1953, the Submariner was launched as the first diver's watch, and the 1956 Oyster Perpetual Milgauss, equipped with a Faraday case to block electromagnetic fields, was designed for scientists and engineers. Its most legendary watch, the Cosmograph, was introduced in 1963 and served as the official watch for NASCAR's Daytona 500. The watch has been nicknamed the Daytona ever since and was the same style worn by motorsport enthusiast Paul Newman. Historically, Rolexes have been worn by Sir Winston Churchill, who owned a Rolex Datejust with a personalized coat of arms; Martin Luther King Jr.; and presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, Reagan, and Obama. John F. Kennedy's Rolex Day-Date was gifted to him by Marilyn Monroe in 1962 and inscribed on the back with the message: "JACK with love as always from MARILYN." Elvis, Picasso, Hemingway all wore Rolexes. Today, the watch is on the wrists of Jay Z, whose Perpetual Calendar was customized by watchmaker Franck Muller; Eric Clapton, whose collection features a rare stainless-steel Milgauss with white and orange luminescent hour markers; and Brad Pitt, whose Rolex collection includes an elegant gold Day-Date II with black dial. Sport watches are the most coveted of all Rolex categories, and include the Submariner, GMT, Sky-Dweller, Yacht- Master, and Explorer. But nothing comes close to the global appetite for the Daytona. "People can wait three to five years for one," says Phyllis Trogdon, director of the Houston Rolex boutique. "It just makes people want them more. I don't have any stainless-steel sport watches in stock right now, and as fast as we get them, we sell them. That's the case worldwide; demand for Rolexes is up 30 percent from last year." Deutsch divulges a key to Rolex's long- term success: "The brand's designs rarely change (a new Oyster looks much like its vintage predecessors). Yet Rolex is always innovating with new materials and technology. There's simply not a finer watch made on the market." Rolex designs, develops, and crafts watches at its four high- tech facilities in Switzerland. It's the only watchmaker to have an in-house foundry to smelt and cast gold and platinum, and the only one to use costly 904L steel, which requires special tools and skills to machine. All its movements, cases, dials, and bracelets are hand-built. Gemstone watches have only flawless, colorless diamonds, along with rare naturally colored sapphires. Since 1960, Rolex has been owned by a private family trust, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. Known for its aura of secrecy, Rolex guards all its information, including production and sales numbers. According to Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), which last published figures in 2015, Rolex produces around 800,000 watches each year. Industry analysts have put the company's annual sales between $5 billion and $8 billion, making it the world's most valuable luxury watch brand. Which vintage Rolexes are the most collectible right now? "Any of the sport watches are the most desirable, with ones from the 1960s and 1970s being super hot," Wolf says. Some 30 to 40 vintage Rolexes are on offer at this month's Heritage Auctions' Watches & Fine Timepieces Signature Auction, including an extremely rare 1967 stainless-steel Submariner, originally retailed by Cartier and with documented provenance. Many vintage Rolex models sell for more than new, notably the Rainbow Daytona, which debuted in 2012 and became an instant cult item among rock stars and prominent collectors. With a bezel set with 36 rare, naturally colored sapphires in a rainbow gradation, it's flashier than other models and counts as Rolex's most artisan piece yet. The watch originally retailed around $106,000; that same watch now goes for as much as $300,000 on the vintage market. Rolex introduced a raft of variations to its existing lineup this March at Baselworld, the international watch and jewelry show held in Basel, Switzerland. Two in particular are generating buzz among collectors: the "Batman" GMT-Master II and the "Pepsi" GMT-Master II, both with upgraded bracelets and movements. Even the slightest changes in models with limited production generate a flurry of excitement. Rolex Yacht-Master 42, 2019 Rare 1967 stainless- steel Rolex Submariner, to be sold in June by Heritage Auctions The world's first self-winding watch, the 1931 Rolex Oyster Perpetual

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