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Thread: ROLEX: actually some of the most reliable watches or is it just marketing?

  1. #1
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    ROLEX: actually some of the most reliable watches or is it just marketing?

    I just had a chat about Rolex, their innovations, the credit they deserve, etc..
    And had quite different opinions during the discussion.

    For the most knowledgeable of you, is Rolex actually that great and it's a fact, or are they just very desired?

  2. #2
    While I haven't owned every brand, I can say that most Rolex watches I have had just kept keeping good time for years with no issue. unlike Omega, Seiko and a few others, I've never had one just stop, yet!

    I did have a Submariner that had not been serviced in over 21 years, and that was still keeping time to 1 second a day, with great amplitude!

    There are lots of comparisons of movement strip downs, and most (with the exception of a couple of movements, or parts within them) say that the Rolex movements aren't the prettiest finished, but are generally very robust.
    It's just a matter of time...

  3. #3
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Mass produced professional tool watches. They are desired because you can't buy them (human nature to want what we can't have) and they do have incredible residuals, in some cases double or more what you paid.

    Think of this, if you could walk into any AD and buy any Rolex at list price there and then and the minute you left the store the Watch lost 25% of its value - would people still be as keen to own one.

    Don't get me wrong, they are great watches, but there is better out there and most of the Rolex hype probably has little to do with the actual watches themselves.

  4. #4
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    They make good watches, but they're overhyped.

    They're not the top of the horological tree and there are direct competitors who are cheaper and more freely available.

    They've just managed to get an image of ultra desirability (effective marketing, you could argue) and that has driven demand that outstrips supply (for whatever reason) for some models, which has just increased the hype even further.

    Good watches at RRP, but good luck finding one of the sought after models at that price.

    If you just want a rock solid reliable watch, buy a G-Shock (not that I ever would )

    M
    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Mass produced professional tool watches. They are desired because you can't buy them (human nature to want what we can't have) and they do have incredible residuals, in some cases double or more what you paid.

    Think of this, if you could walk into any AD and buy any Rolex at list price there and then and the minute you left the store the Watch lost 25% of its value - would people still be as keen to own one.

    Don't get me wrong, they are great watches, but there is better out there and most of the Rolex hype probably has little to do with the actual watches themselves.
    True - but that was exactly the situation not that many years ago for anything but a Daytona or new release. At same time other brands were still 40%-50% loss of value as a used watch, and Rolex were still the best selling luxury watch maker then.
    It's just a matter of time...

  6. #6
    Grand Master
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    Our watchmaker at work describes them as tractors. Rudimentary time proven movements which just run and run and run.
    We dont see many in for repair because something has gone wrong, mainly for maintenance services or a polish. I cannot say the same for other brands.

    Personally, I think theyre great and would 100% suggest one as an only watch.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Mass produced professional tool watches. They are desired because you can't buy them...
    That only really accounts for the 'Professional' range though. My wife wants a Rolex, there's a nice selection of ones she likes in our local AD window and she wouldn't know what a Tool Watch was if it hit her on the head. Most people don't know about the supply issues, desirability of certain models or resale values. They just know Rolex is a luxury brand, and they cost a lot.

    As for the original question, yes they make some of the most reliable watches on the market, and no it's not just marketing, they rarely mention reliability in their marketing - they're lifestyle focussed brand, aligned to human achievement.

  8. #8
    Master
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    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-1/

    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-2/

    By the way Rolex are so anal that im sure i read they planned to sue this reviewer a new orifice for having the gall to give his honest opinion.

  9. #9
    Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verv View Post
    Our watchmaker at work describes them as tractors. Rudimentary time proven movements which just run and run and run.
    We dont see many in for repair because something has gone wrong, mainly for maintenance services or a polish. I cannot say the same for other brands.

    Personally, I think theyre great and would 100% suggest one as an only watch.
    Agreed. Although some modern Rolex I have with the 3235 movement - two had to be tweaked at RSC to get them to run within the quoted +-2sec/day. In the scheme of things - they are well proven robust movements, some of my watches are rather 'thoroughbred' - better some would say - so I treat with more care. The Rolex - industrial by comparison.

  10. #10
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    I’ve not had any issues with Rolexes so far, touch wood. I’ve had a few issues with other brands/movements.

    Definitely echo the workhorse sentimentality, but with iconic design and very good finishing. The marketing largely follows the substance for me.
    Last edited by Berty234; 23rd February 2021 at 19:51.

  11. #11
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    Omega is not less reliable.

  12. #12
    Lol, these threads are laugh a minute. Some people parroting the same drivel day in and out.
    And thanks OP for a very Ďoriginalí question. We had never thought of this before you joined:-)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Lol, these threads are laugh a minute. Some people parroting the same drivel day in and out.
    And thanks OP for a very Ďoriginalí question. We had never thought of this before you joined:-)

  13. #13
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandril View Post
    I just had a chat about Rolex, their innovations, the credit they deserve, etc..
    And had quite different opinions during the discussion.

    For the most opinionated of you, is Rolex actually that great and it's a fact, or are they just very desired?
    Fixed for accuracy.

    Bought my first one (and the only one I will still have when I go into a care home) back in 1981 - for the design and engineering in that GMT-Master. Yes, I was swayed by the advertising campaigns in National Geographic and the endorsements by famous people - but as I said to colleagues who couldnít believe that expenditure at the time - ďNo - this is a classic timepiece, the design, the engineering...............Ē

    In the intervening decades, it has cost very little in servicing, albeit a lot of that was done when Rolex et all - provided support for a token sum, rather than their more mercenary attitude nowadays.

    Itís now a 40yr-old watch, and gives me the same satisfaction today, as it did when I bought it.

    (Might have to pass it on to my nephew when I go into a care home - in case they nick it when I am doo-lally).

  14. #14
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Lol, these threads are laugh a minute. Some people parroting the same drivel day in and out.
    And thanks OP for a very Ďoriginalí question. We had never thought of this before you joined:-)
    Written without a hint of irony I presume?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Written without a hint of irony I presume?
    Yes, zero irony:-)

  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by verv View Post
    Our watchmaker at work describes them as tractors. Rudimentary time proven movements which just run and run and run.
    We dont see many in for repair because something has gone wrong, mainly for maintenance services or a polish. I cannot say the same for other brands.

    Personally, I think theyre great and would 100% suggest one as an only watch.
    Which are generally the worst out of interest?

  17. #17
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Yes, zero irony:-)
    Maybe it's time to call it a day then as nearly every Rolex comment seems to annoy you and repeatedly moaning about these comments is extremely boring.

    You moaning about people moaning is as predictable as Mick Ps advice on not selling.

  18. #18
    Craftsman M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Maybe it's time to call it a day then as nearly every Rolex comment seems to annoy you and repeatedly moaning about these comments is extremely boring.

    You moaning about people moaning is as predictable as Mick Ps advice on not selling.
    Wait a minute... are you moaning about him moaning about other people moaning?

    Hold on.... am I moaning about you moaning about him moaning about other people moaning?!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Wait a minute... are you moaning about him moaning about other people moaning?

    Hold on.... am I moaning about you moaning about him moaning about other people moaning?!
    Now that is irony well spotted:-)

  20. #20
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    But are they as good as a Grand Seiko?

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    But are they as good as a Grand Seiko?
    Come on, don’t waste a perfectly good idea for another Rolex thread by combining it with this one:-)

    Though I suspect we will find out when someone sells their 2021 GS for a loss after about 3/4 days (average duration of ownership):-)
    Last edited by RAJEN; 23rd February 2021 at 21:03.

  22. #22
    Master
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    I doubt you can build a world-class brand in any field without high levels of performance and reliability. Thats what buyers tend to want. And Rolex does perform. Itís the brand I would always recommend.

  23. #23
    Now, if Mick Never-sell-a-Rolex P. can have a final word on the subject, we cal lay this thread to rest.

  24. #24
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    A friend of mine services watches for a living and cannot speak too highly of the modern Rolex movements, which have apparently been designed with long-term reliability in mind and to make servicing quicker and easier. Makes a lot of sense.

    Just a shame about almost every other aspect, really...

  25. #25
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    But are they as good as a Grand Seiko?
    Who knows, only owned one GS that had a bright red dial and a monster on the case back, so a bit like comparing apples with house bricks. It was a stunning watch and worn on all 5 of the days that owned it.

  26. #26
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Now, if Mick Never-sell-a-Rolex P. can have a final word on the subject, we can lay this thread to rest.

    You're funneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee............................ .......

  27. #27
    Craftsman Euan Begbie's Avatar
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    Rolexís are solid and reliable. Even when very old.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  28. #28
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    I have two Seiko 5ís that are from the 80ís. Theyíve been abused badly. Still work never serviced and still tell the time. I never measure in seconds just minutes. Theyíre fine. My Milgauss needs a service.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  29. #29
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euan Begbie View Post
    Rolex’s are solid and reliable. Even when very old.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    So are 60s Omegas, Seikos, and stuff you’ve never heard of with AS movements.......when you work on watches it provides a totally different perspective.

    Generally, any half- decent watch will continue to perform well if it’s maintained, lubrication is the key. Trust me, I don’t make this up.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    Agreed. Although some modern Rolex I have with the 3235 movement - two had to be tweaked at RSC to get them to run within the quoted +-2sec/day. In the scheme of things - they are well proven robust movements, some of my watches are rather 'thoroughbred' - better some would say - so I treat with more care. The Rolex - industrial by comparison.
    Iíd agree. All my references have been bulletproof but for a 2017 3235 which had to get tweaked by RSC

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-1/

    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-2/

    By the way Rolex are so anal that im sure i read they planned to sue this reviewer a new orifice for having the gall to give his honest opinion.
    Yikes! That was absolutely brutal, but also very interesting.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Lol, these threads are laugh a minute. Some people parroting the same drivel day in and out.
    And thanks OP for a very Ďoriginalí question. We had never thought of this before you joined:-)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Lol, these threads are laugh a minute. Some people parroting the same drivel day in and out.
    And thanks OP for a very Ďoriginalí question. We had never thought of this before you joined:-)
    Iíd you came to a watch forum for original questions, youíre begging on both knees to be disappointed!

  33. #33
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Now, if Mick Never-sell-a-Rolex P. can have a final word on the subject, we cal lay this thread to rest.
    I havenít noticed any posts from Mick fir a while, I hope heís ok.

  34. #34
    Craftsman jonasy's Avatar
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    Roger W Smith wears one, whatís good for him ...

  35. #35
    Master endo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-1/

    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-2/

    By the way Rolex are so anal that im sure i read they planned to sue this reviewer a new orifice for having the gall to give his honest opinion.
    Interesting read, on the flipside, it does proove that decoration doesnt make a robust movement, and it really is a case of dimishing returns paying for extreme level of hand finishing that only loupe carrying nerds may have a passing interest in (and even then, probably canít tell the difference between hand and machine anglageĒ)

    God only knows how much Rolex would charge if they decided to jump on the the display back highly decorated movement route.

  36. #36
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verv View Post
    Our watchmaker at work describes them as tractors. Rudimentary time proven movements which just run and run and run.
    We dont see many in for repair because something has gone wrong, mainly for maintenance services or a polish. I cannot say the same for other brands.

    Personally, I think theyre great and would 100% suggest one as an only watch.
    This. If I only kept one watch it would be a Rolex.
    ďThe more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.Ē

  37. #37
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-1/

    https://www.timezone.com/2002/09/16/...-14270-part-2/

    By the way Rolex are so anal that im sure i read they planned to sue this reviewer a new orifice for having the gall to give his honest opinion.

    They can't have had much luck with their case - the article's 19 years old! Hopefully they're a good deal better made nowadays...

  38. #38
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    Canít fault my two for time keeping. Ones 36 years old with a service a few years back and the other 11 years old with no history and itís running spot on! Both better than my omega PO which had a service in 2017

  39. #39
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerner101 View Post
    Canít fault my two for time keeping. Ones 36 years old with a service a few years back and the other 11 years old with no history and itís running spot on! Both better than my omega PO which had a service in 2017
    Iíll bet a pound to a penny that the PO is running with better precision than a 36 yr old Rolex! With careful regulation ( thatís the hard part) the PO would give excellent results, Iím not a fan of Omega co- axials but the precision is excellent......or it should be!

    With careful regulation I can make my 1967 Omega Constellation keep time to within 1-2 secs/ day, adjustment to optimise positional agreement followed by careful regulation will make any good quality watch run well provided itís in good condition.

    Rolex are very good but so are plenty of other watches, if we turn the clock back to the 60s I think the Omega chronometer movements used in Constellations were every bit as good, possibly better.

  40. #40
    Craftsman Halitosis's Avatar
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    I've often thought that the 904L steel is a feature that sets Rolex above similar competitors, but then again, perhaps I've been sucked in by the marketing as I can't recall seeing very many rusty watches...

  41. #41
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halitosis View Post
    I've often thought that the 904L steel is a feature that sets Rolex above similar competitors, but then again, perhaps I've been sucked in by the marketing as I can't recall seeing very many rusty watches...
    Iíve never understood why people think that 904L is somehow better than 316 stainless steel. Yes, it has a slightly higher chromium content so itís a little shinier, but the higher chrome content also makes those susceptible to allergies, more likely to develop an allergy to chrome and therefore be unable to wear any stainless steel watch.

  42. #42
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    One of the things that Rocco always said when I chatted with him at Watchworks, was that Rolex movements were made to be maintained. The architecture of the movement allowed for utterly an relialbe strip, re-assembly and lubrication.
    There was never any question of having to fettle this, adjust that, allow for the other.
    His opinion was that the maintainability of the design was a considerable contributing factor to their reliability.

  43. #43
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    Thank you to all of you who started to give a bit of an answer to the question, it's really appreciated.

    I asked this question for a simple reason: everytime you hear rolex, most people are going all the way into an emotional side, preaching rolex like the bible based on nothing but rumours, and their perception of the brand.

    Everyone telling you to get a rolex just tells you it's great, bottom line. I want to know if it's true, and I want to know why. Not because they made great ads, I mean what is actually inside which is making it quality.

    Everytime I read on the matter, it goes this way, emotional and truths getting out of nowhere, hence why I tried to start this one.
    I heard a forum was a place for discussion, so I am trying to discuss.

    If some feel like it had been done plenty of times, or "you're just trying to get to the sales corner etc...", just don't stop at this thread, go and preach your absolute truth to someone else, you who are more legit than me because you have more posts...
    If you have something to say on the matter, say it, I'm eager to learn more about it, if you've got nothing to say on the matter, go use your time more wisely


    Now, what's interesting for me, is the feedbacks of people who have an experience themselves on the matter, long term owners who have been wearing the watch instead of keeping it in a box for value, the watchmakers who see what's going on inside of the watch and actually can talk about it, or people who have been discussing with watchmakers etc...

  44. #44
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweets View Post
    One of the things that Rocco always said when I chatted with him at Watchworks, was that Rolex movements were made to be maintained. The architecture of the movement allowed for utterly an relialbe strip, re-assembly and lubrication.
    There was never any question of having to fettle this, adjust that, allow for the other.
    His opinion was that the maintainability of the design was a considerable contributing factor to their reliability.
    That's interesting and good to know!
    The marketing around rolex, the luxury aspect, prestige, icon etc... I am not really bothered about it, if anything, it's making me want to get away from it.

    But if the movement really is made to be reliable, accessible to work on it, well thought about, then it is starting to get my attention!

  45. #45
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    It seems like quite often, people are mentioning long intervals between two services, but so is the case for the seiko 7s26 movement for example.
    That would be interesting to know if such long term seiko owners have been noticing the accuracy was still there, or if it still runs but totally off the tolerances

  46. #46
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    Iíve never understood why people think that 904L is somehow better than 316 stainless steel. Yes, it has a slightly higher chromium content so itís a little shinier, but the higher chrome content also makes those susceptible to allergies, more likely to develop an allergy to chrome and therefore be unable to wear any stainless steel watch.
    I've read on these allergy problems because of the higher level of chromium yes.
    You can hardly fault 316 stainless steel for corrosion in normal conditions of use, so I'm not personally too bothered about the 904 argument. Just like I'm not bothered about the use of white gold for the sake of avoiding corrosion marks on hands and indices, too me it's more for aesthetic purposes than actually just be able to tell the time in all conditions

  47. #47
    Grand Master
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    Other end of the spectrum in every sense, Vostok are pretty reliable, well consistent anyway, and the manufacturers advise they only need servicing every decade...though tbf I've not owned any long enough to test that but I've got a couple that are still stuttering away consistently after 4, 5 years of very hard use.

  48. #48
    Journeyman Wandril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paskinner View Post
    I doubt you can build a world-class brand in any field without high levels of performance and reliability. Thats what buyers tend to want. And Rolex does perform. Itís the brand I would always recommend.
    It's quite likely you could say the same of omega or another big swiss brand, if they're still here after more than a century, they must be doing something well indeed.
    And yet rolex seems to be the one mentioned as the absolute best. I'm aware of this statement, but I want to know facts about it, so it's more than just a battle of opinions

  49. #49
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    The facts are that Rolex make very good, very reliable, accurate watches in the middle tier of watch making. This is backed up by the large number still in existence today and performing well. The movements are simple and easy to maintain and Rolex are largely helpful in servicing for the majority of people who want their watch to look and perform as new (ignoring collectors like us who like originality).

    Rolex marketing has been very good and now people associate them with a luxury lifestyle - a distinct change from the exciting lifestyle they used to promote; this combined with the above result in a desirable product. It also helps that Rolex styling is quite conservative and is more of an evolutionary process than revolutionary, so they are instantly recognisable for most people with a passing interest in watches.

    As mentioned here, I would presume / confirm that Omega (and others) produce equally good watches that perform just as well if not better, it could be argued that the new co-ax movements are technically better (for minimal performance gains). Omegas styling has always been a bit more Avant Garde and some watches have dated horribly. This along with a slightly less effective marketing programme mean Rolex has the upper hand. Are Rolex better watches with more reliable movements? I do not think so.
    Last edited by Sinnlover; 24th February 2021 at 11:18.

  50. #50
    Apprentice AmosMoses's Avatar
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    They are fantastic watches, solid, reliable and a great place to park money. I'm not a fan of the newer ceramic stuff as I think they've strayed more into the blingy luxury market, but having said that they are still just as solid as before. I don't deem them to be special, and there's no real craftsmanship that goes into them when compared with GS,AP,PP etc. They have fantastic marketing though, I think everyone knows what a Rolex is.

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