There have been many Rolex books published over the years. Most are way too esoteric for all but the most dedicated collectors, who obsess over the slight variations between references and wouldn’t dream of actually wearing the pieces they so assiduously acquire. So we welcome the publication of a more consumer-friendly, large format volume, an encyclopedic-feeling without being boring, beautifully illustrated, and aesthetically pleasing enough to merit space on any coffee table.
The “Watch Book: Rolex” by Gisbert L. Brunner
The Watch Book: Rolex by renowned watch expert Gisbert L. Brunner, will be released by German luxury publisher teNeues next month. It starts with an introductory section covering Hans Wilsdorf and the founding of Rolex in London in 1905. It then presents significant milestones in the history of the iconic brand by year, from the very first Rolex models to the latest pieces presented at Baselworld.
Inside Watch Book: Rolex
The text is in English, German and French which can be a bit distracting but not to the point of annoyance. The photos are very carefully curated from the top auction houses in addition to archival material provided by Rolex. The ones that are reproduced full-page are quite stunning, though the matte finish of the paper stock doesn’t always make them pop as much as we’d wish.
We love the inclusion of vintage Rolex advertisements from all decades, which are always fascinating to look at. Several chapters are devoted to landmark models like the GMT 1675, Explorer 1016, Submariner 5512 & 5513, and Paul Newman Daytona watches. The photo editing is brilliantly done, and though some more original photography would have taken things to the next level, it more than meets the requirements of what the book sets out to do.
The Good, The Rare, and the Ugly
There are some true gems to uncover, including the very first Yacht-Master prototype from 1965, based on a Paul Newman Daytona but with a jaunty nautical addition to the dial. Speaking of Newmans there are more than enough to get your heart racing here. Of course, seeing a Paul Newman Daytona next to the ugliest Rolex ever made, the so-called Leopard or “Tiger Lilly” Ref. 116598-SE from 2004, may give some purists an aneurysm. It’s good to be reminded that mistakes can be made, and certainly 99% of the pieces in the book are drop-dead gorgeous. So there’s just one further caveat before you pre-order your copy: even casually flipping through this Rolex encyclopedia from teNeues is going to make you want to buy a Rolex – probably even start a collection. Luckily, we’re here to help.