Forget about buying THE MOST EXPENSIVE ROLEX! Go for these luxury brands instead
Think exclusive, unique, forward thinking and innovative for your time piece to become the talk of the board room.
Rolex has been part of the uniform of corporate America for decades now. The kind of watch you would have seen your grandfather wear when you were younger, can still be seen today, across boardrooms and negotiation tables all over the world.
And the reason is that Rolex has the image Rolls Royce has in the car world. Both brands value timeless, slick design, that doesn’t change as fast as everything else in the world does. They are therefore viewed as reliable, precious, collectibles. They say things about you. Good things. That is if you resist the urge of re-tuning your Rolls Royce or adding aftermarket strings of diamonds and tiny pearls to your watch.
Rolex is a brand that became synonymous with expensive good taste, trustworthiness and vetted charm.
And there is more. If you wear a Rolex people will know you mean business. The kind of business that requires you to project the image of a well rounded, dependable individual that succeeds. The ultimate display of understated glamour and finesse functionality. And that is exactly what an iconic man such as yourself needs to project.
Rolex comes packed with the image all men should aspire too, and that is one of the reasons it is the largest luxury watch manufacturer in the world.
Why then, should you not buy the most expensive watch from this timeless company? What are the alternatives and what will they convey to the world about your persona?
With a starting price of $89.000, this collection includes the most expensive Rolex production watches you can buy right now. How expensive? Well, it all depends on your satisfaction with the 18k gold it uses and the more than 700 diamonds it displays. Rolex will make a custom version with your hand-picked choices if that is what you fancy.
The most expensive production Rolex. Rolex Pearl Master Collection.
This certainly unique watch model matches elegance and refinement with the world's most beautiful diamonds. Or at least, that is what the company says. The case is an adorned, gold version of a Rolex Datejust and at the heart of it, you can find a caliber developed and manufactured by Rolex. The movement is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute and tested again by Rolex, which upholds it to precision criteria twice as exacting as those used for an officially certified chronometer.
This unmissable marvel of engineering has a bi-directional, self-winding mechanism, via a perpetual rotor, that ensures a power reserve of nearly 70 hours. The glass is a scratch-resistant sapphire with the iconic Rolex Cyclops lens over the date.
You can admire this watch for being so beautifully crafted, or you can hate it for being too flashy. One thing is sure. Rolex knows good business when they see it, and this watch seems to be just that.
But what if you were to look for a less flashy alternative, one that doesn’t look like you have just stepped out of a rap video? Or one that is true to the principles that have made Rolex the most successful manufacturer of luxury watches? As I recall, part of what Rolex has been pushing for so long, was that their watches can make a great addition to whatever you are wearing, be it a suit or a smart-casual outfit. A day to day, dependable, elegant and expensive watch that you can use as a timepiece and a status accessory.
And bearing in mind that the most expensive Rolex Watch is based on a Datejust, let’s take a look at the alternatives that come without all the diamonds. (OK, some of them do have a diamond version, albeit not as bling). So what are the luxury options in the three-hand, stainless steel, automatic, all-rounder class?
This alternative from Omega promises the same versatility as your Rolex, with almost identical winding and anti-magnetic properties, at a lower price. Of course, we are talking about the stainless steel case version, but the same can be said about the gold version, which has a long way to go to become as flashy. The Globemaster is part of the Constellation collection and it is one of the most iconic wristwatches you can find today. The name is not new to watch enthusiasts, but what is new is the fact that omega proclaims it as being one of the best movements in the world.
A movement so good that upon purchasing this watch you will get a copy of the rigorous Swiss Federal Institute for Metrology (METAS) certification. Omega has been the first watch manufacturer to apply for and obtain such a certification, which certainly stands testimony to the anti-magnetic properties of this watch. Overall, the technology behind this Omega is at worst on par with that of the Rolex, and it’s looks are not bad either. The design is subtle and elegant, and the pie-pan dial, with the date in the 6 ‘clock position, looks very stylish.
All in all an excellent choice for an everyday watch if you are businessman, entrepreneur or upcoming professional, that strays away from the beaten path to discover what is new when it comes to the magnetic properties of a watch.
Breitling Transocean (Day and date version)This is one of the biggest of our contenders. It stands at 43 mm, and it comes from a company known for its innovative watch design. This time Breitling found its inspiration in the 1950’s when transatlantic air travel was just beginning. It has refined and simple lines doing away with all things ostentatious.
Those very fine cross-hair lines that adorn the dial are a very sporty and classy vintage design reminder. A very interesting addition to a watch that used an ETA 2365 movement and has now switched to a Breitling in house movement, the Calibre 01. But the movement is only as important as your desire to make this watch your daily driver. And use it daily you will, because the Transocean is one of the best exquisite statements an iconic man can make.
The big dial and timeless appearance make this watch the best choice for people who want to stand out in a room full of coworkers, or managers, and makes the Rolex look almost dated. What it does share with the Rolex is the 70-hour power reserve time and the fact that you can take it diving up to 100m. But it is the subtle design that will win all admiration.
This self-winding alternative to the Rolex Datejust is released by a Swiss manufacturer known for using gold as its most inferior material. Why is it a great alternative to the Datejust? Because it comes from a famous brand that uses a comprehensive design language. And with the advent of a stainless steel case, Vacheron can lower the price just enough for you to take it consideration.
Vacheron Constantine fifty-six
It is still more expensive than the watch used as a basis for the Pearlmaster, but it does come with most things you would expect from a luxury brand, including a 22 karat rose gold rotor bearing, with an open Maltese cross on the back. The movement is a caliber1326 automatic, and it’s not the best of the bunch, but it is decently finished and calibrated to the highest Vacheron standards.
The Swiss manufacturer wanted to try a more modern approach to design as opposed to the other watches in their lineup. While at the same time, build a quality affordable timepiece for elegant businessmen. Elegance is key with this expensive, fine quality wristwatch. It will more likely be, best suited to formal events, important meetings, and refined dinner parties.
It’s technical capabilities rival all the best on this list, but you have to agree that sometimes the name is almost as important. So if you are looking for a Rolex alternative that can be an awesome addition to any of your suits, making the fifty-six is one of the most compelling alternatives.
Zenith El Primero EspadaThere are many reasons the Zenith is on this list, but one of them has to do with the praised El Primero 4650B, a development of one of the most successful movements the company ever launched. It has several moving parts, simplifying the original to use just 210. But it will surely deliver. This might very well be, one of the features that recommend it as your everyday watch.
The Zenith will not try to impress you with a conglomerate of features, but it will soldier on, and be great at what it is designed to do. Speaking of design, this timepiece from Zenith resembles the Rolex and provides you with great versatility. It will be equally at home on a date as well as a business meeting. If you have a sporty nature, it may not be the one for you, as this El Primero does not even come with a stop-seconds function. But if you want a watch that you can wear anywhere and meets superb manufacturing and quality standards, then the zenith will surely be a contender In strictly objective terms, the movement is not on par with the Rolex, but the functionality and dependability win it a spot next to the best of them.
That, and I am a sucker for the double clasp bracelet mechanism, as well as the satin finish, which looks amazing to behold and touch. And last but not least, this watch uses a box-shaped sapphire glass, a more expensive solution than a flat or domed dial cover.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic 1955This watch is another truly great example of three hands, stainless steel, automatic all-rounder from a luxury watch manufacturer. The outer case and bezel are high polished stainless steel. It has 120m water resistance which makes it the best in our list, in that respect.
The Ingenieur is a reminder of a previous series, that IWC released in 1955, and as such it retains a small arrow at the end of the second's hand, reminding you that the original was a precision tool for technicians. The movement is a hi-grade variant of the sw300, with a 42-hour power reserve. Compared to the Rolex it offers greater exclusivity, as you are less likely to meet 4 people a day sporting the same watch. It will certainly be the talk of the town over meetings.
And seeing that is an original incarnation of model reference 666, rooted in 1955, it comes from a time when watches had fewer complications and were defined by smooth running and accurate timekeeping. IWC is a unique luxury watch, from a company that is located in eastern Switzerland, and founded in 1868 by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones.
The Ingenieur Automatic has a stainless steel back so you can’t see the mechanism as it is the case with all other watches in our list, but that 120m water resistant feature and especially the fact that not everybody has one will turn you into a connoisseur compared to your Rolex wearing colleagues.
Buying a watch from Rolex's Pearlmaster collection may prove to be a valuable investment. But it will not be as versatile and wearable as the model it took much of its design from. That is why we recommend you give these watches a test before you make up your mind about your first, or your next luxury watch. Pick wisely and time will always be on your side. Luxury, automatic, time.
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