Man you're difficult! But yeah, I agree about the date on the first one - a total red line for me on such an expensive dress watch. Actually, any dress watch. Although for the "sporty" RO I think I'd make an exception. It is pimptastic, and such a decent size and thickness that I think it would work just fine. But I don't have the dough and you don't have the love, so let's move on.
My mistake, you're right: they just had the Mayu in palladium with the smokey dial or white gold with the brown dial. I was thinking of the pink gold Monard with the brown dial as one you might like. The red gold Henry with the black dial is probably too chunky for you, maybe the pink gold/blue moonphase too, and that's a lot more pricey. Anyway, if you think the Monard's worth a push, I'll give it a shot for you: list is around the low $20ks, I'm guessing 40% is easily doable, maybe even 45-50. For an in house Geneva-sealed movement, solid gold watch new from the AD, I think that's quite exciting. I'm also thinking that, cf. the IWC conversation above, it's kind of the opposite face of Schaffhausen, in a good way! But it's still real money, so if you just don't drool for it, understood.
It was interesting to me. Of course, it's old, and maybe some processes have improved. But there is also a whiff of reality there: Rolex don't fuss about the beauty of their movements, and keep them hidden. And with a million watches a year (way more than when this was written), I'm sure it's even more true now that they will minimise the number of parts, simplify processes, and maximise commonality of components while keeping each of them as cheap as possible. Such is the business of major industrial production which, there is no doubt, is the business Rolex are in. That doesn't mean they're bad, any more than Sony or Mercedes Benz are bad. But they're not an exclusive, artisanal product either. I think his detailed observations are harsh in isolation, but overall, surely he has a point?
Which is this: just like Omega, or IWC, or even Hublot, Rolex spends massively on marketing. Their pruning of dealerships and increasingly intense protection of their pricing over recent years, has also been part of the same picture: with so much fierce competition, maintaining their position as both huge and exclusive, costs a lot of dough. As the writer said, there is no doubt that the watches work well - perhaps the most important thing in maintaining their respectable and admired status, and a massive achievement considering their production scale. But that doesn't change the fact that their marketing could well be more expensive than making their movements.
Most people on this thread love Rolex. There are several that I'd love to own myself, and at some point I have no doubt that at least one of them will be on my wrist. That doesn't mean it's wrong to say that we're paying for the brand as much as what's in it: the value proposition is very different from, say, Moser above: they will both work, but with one we're paying for beauty and romance, and the other, a rather more obvious form of status. Every time I see Rolex-sponsored golf updates on TV, or tennis tournaments, or clocks all over an airport, that is abundantly clear. It doesn't make it bad. But it's no less a fact that we are paying for the fluff with Rolex, than if it were the fifty-seventh moon watch or a Galapagos-saving special IWC Aquatimer.
You too. Watch looks good. Polo shirts are nicer than short sleeved dress shirts. I hate denim jeans, but I'm unreasonable. And I like these shoes more than the previous ones.