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I don’t think so, no. For the most part, Rolex evolution has been incremental and iterative. Finishing and materials have gotten more luxurious to be sure, but not at the expense of originally-intended durability and function. In fact, durability has generally gotten better. Ceramic bezels and solid link bracelets are some key examples. Overall, like them or not, Rolex tends to march to its own Rolex-defined beat.Isn't that a sin that Explorers, Daytonas, Subs, etc have been committing for much longer? I'm genuinely curious about your reasoning to give Rolex a free pass here.
Could it be you encountered this board's very own ursine member?True - but that person explicitly told me they were a grey market dealer/reseller. That, plus saying something to the effect of "look, I'm making a sale for you" in front of the ADs just sits really poorly, especially in light of the Chicago lawsuit. Again, they can sell to whoever they want, just flagging my own experience.
Tourneau doesn't have the best reputation, primarily due to the alleged cluelessness of their sales associates regarding the product they are selling. (I've only been in one Tourneau, the same one you were in, so I can't say if this is true.) All things being equal I would rather take my business elsewhere, but I would certainly buy from Tourneau if they offered me a desirable watch. You may also want to check out Lenkdersdorfer in Tysons Corner Center and Liljenquest & Beckstead in Tysons Galleria. Both are family-owned businesses, as is Tiny Jewel Box.Nope, talking about Tourneau in Northern Virginia. Had a really terrible experience last week actually. I went in to check in, talk with a sales rep and just say hello in advance of today's new watches. Instead, a grey market flipper was speaking with the only sales rep, saw me looking at the limited stock they had, and struck up a conversation while the rep went to the back. It was fine to start, but he started to discuss how the game is played, having to go to all these ADs and beg for watches to flip, etc. and making clear he was a flipper. The rep came back with the manager, and IN FRONT OF THEM, tried to sell the explorer I off his own wrist for a grey market price, and the reps laughed.
Honestly it was clear to me that the sales rep and manager were clearly selling something to the grey market flipper. That itself isnt a black mark, but the unprofessionalism of both the sales rep and manager to just straight up laugh was horrifying. It has completely ruined any possibility I would do business with Tourneau.
I have spoken to Tiny Jewel Box, but they were clear that I needed to come in person. Happy to do so when I am fully vaccinated, but that will be a little while. (Edit - I realize this is contradictory with going to Tourneau in person, but Mrs. Ides needed something from the Pentagon mall).
Good point re: IWC's gimmicky design details. I agree, now, that IWC is a worse sinner.I don’t think so, no. For the most part, Rolex evolution has been incremental and iterative. Finishing and materials have gotten more luxurious to be sure, but not at the expense of originally-intended durability and function. In fact, durability has generally gotten better. Ceramic bezels and solid link bracelets are some key examples. Overall, like them or not, Rolex tends to march to its own Rolex-defined beat.
In contrast, IWC model changes and introductions are much more driven by broader market trends and tend to be entirely about fashion, which can make the watches worse at what they were originally designed for. See the pilot watches as an example. They have repeatedly made the dials less legible in order to look more “aviation-inspired”—including stupid gauge meter-styled date windows, airplane-shaped hand ends, and removing the soft iron inner case to make way for display backs.
It’s not either / or. The “luxury” improvements are often also functional improvements. Better finishing and better steel improve resistance to corrosion. White gold dial markers and hands resist oxidation. Ceramic bezels are scratch and fade proof. Solid bracelet links resist stretching. Forged clasps are more secure. Refined movements are more precise, shock-resistant, and easy to maintain.Good point re: IWC's gimmicky design details. I agree, now, that IWC is a worse sinner.
But I do think that Rolex have gone in a direction that crosses some lines in terms of their original design philosophy. You say: "Finishing and materials have gotten more luxurious to be sure, but not at the expense of originally-intended durability and function." But not compromising function and durability is too weak a condition. Even setting aside the added non-functional bling/polish (and why should we, really), it seems to me that for the core line of steel tool watches the design philosophy was to achieve maximal durability and functionality while keeping finishing quality at a sufficient level--indeed arguably just the level that didn't compromise function and durability. This sort of no-nonsense, almost Waspy approach is what made Rolex the choice of mid-century tastemakers. It's a very Eames-like design philosophy, if you like. My sense is that Rolex started treating finish quality as something to be maximised only after the quartz crisis, when they effectively decided to become jewellers. Basically I'm a curmudgeon but from a design perspective I just can't see the point of a modern, post-quartz crisis Rolex (and I say this without even having to get into Goldberger/Montanari's usual points about manufacturing techniques and such, about which I have mixed views). But don't let me beat that dead horse again.