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Will Wearing a Rolex Make You More Popular? It’s Complicated

September 13, 2018

BY Paul Altieri


Without doubt there are many people who will initially be looking to buy a Rolex because of its unquestionable appeal as a status symbol. However we’re convinced that Rolex’s watches are so beautifully made and intrinsically valuable that, even if your motives for buying one are superficial to start with, you’ll be won over to their true worth and excellence the moment you try one on.

Scientists and researchers being what they are, however, are always looking to measure and quantify the actual social value of such items. And while we don’t need an exhaustive study to tell us that a Rolex is indeed an object of attraction for many people, and can of course even open doors given its ability to signify the wealth and taste of the wearer, especially in the absence of any other indicators, it seems the bigger picture isn’t quite that black and white.

Rolex watches are intrinsically valuable and often appreciate in value (status symbols)

Rolex watches are intrinsically valuable and often appreciate in value

In point of fact a new study by the University of Michigan into status symbols like Rolex watches actually indicates that in some way, if you’re wearing a Rolex for the “wrong” reason, in certain situations it might not work out as planned.

“Often times we think that status symbols – whether a luxury car like a BMW, a brand name purse like Prada, or an expensive watch like Rolex – will make us look more socially attractive to others,” says Stephen Garcia, the study’s lead author, according to the London Daily Mail. “However, our research suggests that these status signals actually make us look less socially attractive, not more.”

1803 President

An expensive watch like Rolex – will make us look more socially attractive to others

Before you start worrying, however, note that this only applies to the “formation of new friendships,” and that all such research needs to be taken with a grain of salt in any case. “Status symbols [like Rolex] may very well be beneficial at other times and in other settings, such as when trying to establish new business contacts,” explains Patricia Chen of the National University of Singapore.

To arrive at their conclusion researchers conducted six studies which assessed how people present themselves and how people view strangers. “People who choose to wear higher status items tended to get a negative response, but people wanted to be friends with people who preferred lower or neutral status symbols,” the paper notes. “The study took the role of the luxury item out of the equation in order to see if it was possible the expensive item itself payed a part in people’s reactions.”

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126711 is getting a lot of love for no reason at all

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126711 is an instantly recognizable and stylish watch

To that end, one of the studies involved asking people which of two otherwise plain t-shirts they would wear to a picnic if they wanted to make friends – one that said “Walmart” or “Saks Fifth Avenue.” Apparently the Saks t-shirt was seen by some to be a bit snobbish and socially off-putting.

Now obviously it’s a bit of a stretch from that to a Rolex, but such is the nature of studies like this. So if you want to wear your Rolex to a picnic – or better yet a cocktail party – and you’ve chosen it well, it suits you, and of course it’s a gorgeous work of mechanical art in its own right – then we can say with assurance that anyone who’s turned off by it probably isn’t the kind of person you’d want to know anyway.




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