ROLEX COLLECTIBLE MERCHANDISE
Collecting Rolex watches has spawned yet another sub hobby for me -collecting Rolex related merchandise and “collectibles.” Books, signs, pens, shirts, key chains – you name it. The interesting thing is that many of these items are harder to find and acquire than Rolex watches themselves. Many Rolex logo items are supposed to be supplied directly from Rolex to Rolex dealers, and never intended to end up in consumer hands (watch stands, dealer signs, tools, etc.). But thanks to profit motive, and good old, items do turn up for sale. The following are some pictures and descriptions of items I’ve found over the years – be sure and check back often as this collection tends to grow and is constantly changing.
Here’s a photo of some of my favorite Rolex related items:
I began acquiring these items to use as “props” for some of the photo work I do. I didn’t intentionally set out to begin collecting Rolex related stuff, but soon the thrill of the finding some of these next to impossible to locate items becomes rather addictive. Of the above, the Rolex gloves, and the Rolex watch stand were probably the most difficult to acquire – I’ll bet I asked 20 dealers for a pair of those white gloves they use when showing a Rolex watch before one agreed to let me have 2 pair. Mind you, I wasn’t trying to bum these gloves off of dealers – I had money in hand and wanted to purchase them, and was flat our refused more times than I can count. Finally a dealer just gave me a couple of pairs of gloves (I kept one in the original packaging and use one pair to clean watches before I photograph them – quite handy actually). Same with the watch stand – Rolex controls this stuff with an iron fist. The other items in the photo are promotional items that Rolex used to make available to dealers as nice gifts for their good customers. Pens, key chains, pocket knives, memo pads, wallets…all made in very limited supply and very hard to find. The red Rolex pocket knife pictured above is probably the rarest item rolex submariner green photo I own. I’ve never before or since seen one available, though I have seen the same knife in green.
THE WORLD OF ROLEX
Now here’s an item you certainly won’t see every day – this binder is a training manual that was apparently part of Rolex USA’s training for dealers and sales people.
Again, this is an item that was never intended for release to the general public, and is a Rolex proprietary item. It’s not current – memos in the book date it to 1997. But the book is chuck full of interesting information about Rolex policies, standard operating procedures, and sales guidelines that every Rolex dealer and sales person should know. Some of the information is clearly dated, but interesting to the collector nonetheless:
The book was apparently used during a 2-3 day seminar (I guess Rolex dealer training is pretty extensive!) as the binder has tabs for “Day 1” and “Day 2”, etc. In the above photo, you can see a catalog of available Rolex promotional items that dealers used to be able to order as gifts – apparently Rolex discontinued this program a few years ago, which is one of the reasons why Rolex logo items are so hard to come by.
The binder contains a really nice guide to Rolex bracelets (with product ID #s) a complete guide to Rolex’s product segmentation, and even a dealer stock display diagram. Fascinating stuff!
For several years (though no longer as far as I know) Rolex supplied their authorized dealers with booklets which helped sales staff with “at a glance” facts and selling points about the various Rolex watch models. Here’s the earliest such example I’ve come across – it’s not dated on the inside, but based on the models in the booklet, it must have been produced in the late 60’s to early 70’s – It’s called “Rolex Facts” and includes information about Tudor:
Now here’s some photos of a later edition of the same type of Rolex sales aid. Again, the publication isn’t dated, but the models inside place it in the 1980’s to early 1990’s. This edition contains no information about Tudor models, which could mean it was produced for the US market after Rolex stopped selling Tudor in the US. The name of this book is called “Rolex Talking Points.”
PERPETUAL SPIRIT MAGAZINE
On a recent trip to Grand Cayman, I walked into the local Rolex authorized dealer to try on some watches and chat. After finishing, I look over at some magazines which were on the counter and found this:
PERPETUAL SPIRIT is a magazine published by Rolex USA! I was dumbfounded! I never knew previous to this day that Rolex published a magazine (though I’d often wondered why they didn’t). The dealer in Grand Cayman was kind enough to provide me with the magazine. Upon returning to the states, I did some research and discovered that Rolex publishes the magazine several (not sure exactly how many) times a year, and distributes them to key clients (dealers), events they sponsor (like the 24 Hours of Daytona), etc. Don’t bother calling Rolex USA to try and subscribe to the magazine – not many folks at Rolex USA even know about the magazine, and they don’t offer a subscription service or even have a mailing list. The magazine simply isn’t available unless Rolex hands you a copy. The magazine mostly focuses on profiling Rolex ambassadors, articles about Rolex’s charitable activities, some watch related articles – it’s quite fascinating. Certainly not in depth from an technical standpoint – it’s mostly a public relations tool. But, it seems to be a rather well kept secret by Rolex USA and I’m quite proud to have a copy of the magazine in my collection of Rolex memorabilia.
I know of about 4 different Rolex logo pocket knives which exist, and so far I have three of them. This first knife is, I believe, the oldest Rolex logo knife of the editions I’m aware. It comes in a nice logo case pictured below:
The green outer case is made of plastic, which I’m not too fond of, but when you open the knife, it does have some useful tools – two nice blades and a nice pair of scissors:
Like all the genuine Rolex knives I’ve seen, this one was made by the original Swiss knife maker Wenger, and in Switzerland, not the US.
Now here’s the other one I own. I believe this knife was made later than the green one above, and is a newer model though I’m not certain when exactly Rolex started and stopped issuing these knives (a dealer only promotional give away item I believe). I’m fairly certain this knife exists in two different versions, the red one which I have, and a green version too:
This one is definitely my favorite of the two I own. The red outer casing of the knife is very attractive (my favorite color) and is metal, not plastic. It has two blades and would make a fine pocket knife. Like the previous knife, this one was made by Wenger Switzerland – as I believe all authentic Rolex logo knives are:
As these knives were made in very limited quantities and are quite rare, they are unfortunately quite expensive.
This is the newest Rolex pocket knife I’ve acquired. I became aware of it around the later part of 2006, and it took me until mid 2008 to actually find one:
As you can see, this knife is made of stainless steel, and has a high degree of detail on either side of the knife handle. It’s the same size as the green knife above, and has the same three “blades.”
This knife, like all other authentic Rolex pocket knifes, was made by Wenger.
Here is a side by side comparison of the two knives – to me, the stainless steel version is much more desirable as it has a higher quality construction and greater detail:
A shot of my three Rolex pocket knives – I’m still on the look out for the fourth and final one to complete the collection.
While this final knife I have to show isn’t directly Rolex related, it is quite a handy little tool. The knife, also made by Wenger as are the two above, was produced in cooperation with the top name in watch tools – Swiss manufacturer Bergeon.
The knife is quite thick as it’s packed with all manner of genuine Bergeon made tools that any watch enthusiast would want to have handy – including flat head a screwdriver attachment that’s useful for Rolex bracelet screws, and a bracelet tool attachment useful for removing the bracelet of a Rolex watch. Here’s a view of the knife opened up:
During a recent trip to New York (Manhattan) I was invited to Rolex USA’s corporate headquarters (you can read all about it on my Travel Reports page). Before we left, we had a very nice meeting with Rolex USA President and CEO Allen Brill, and Mr. Brill asked me “how do you write most of your articles?” I replied “with a computer.” He handed me a box and said, “maybe this will help on the next one.” Here’s the box:
When I opened the box I could hardly believe what was inside:
It was a Rolex memo pad and BEAUTIFUL gold pen!
Being not only a collector of Rolex logo items, but also a pen collector, I fell in love with the pen! It’s yellow gold plated and of exceptionally high quality for a ball point pen:
The detail work on the case and of course the “crown” are simply stunning! It’s also quite rare – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.
This pen and memo pad are a marvelous memento from my trip to Rolex USA, and one of my most coveted Rolex logo collectibles!
About a year after I received the above pen, I started seeing a gorgeous white gold version of the pen on eBay and discussion forums. The white gold version seems in shorter supply and is harder to come by than the yellow gold version – both seem to sell in the 0.00-0.00 range on eBay. In 2009, Rolex kindly sent me the white gold version as a Christmas gift:
It’s great having the “matched set” of these very special Rolex collectibles:
There are actually at least four or five different pens that Rolex has made and handed out over the years. This one was made by pen manufacturer Caran d’Ache:
This particular pen is my least favorite, and it was also produced in fairly high numbers – I’ve never done an eBay search for “Rolex Pen” and not seen one for sale. It can be had for as little as.00.
This is an item which I’ve picked up that I’m not entirely sure was ever actually made by Rolex, or is an authentic Rolex promotional item which they produced. These cufflinks are however of excellent quality. Whoever manufactured these cufflinks did so in a fairly small quantity as I don’t often see them for sale on various sales forums and auction sites. There are two different versions of these cufflinks – the polished stainless steel version (pictured), and a gold plate version (not solid gold).
Here’s another specialty item which was presented to my wife and I during our meeting at Rolex USA. Based on the box I wasn’t sure what it was:
I briefly questioned whether I should remove the sticker, then the marvelous aroma met my nose, and the brief pause was long forgotten…
Rolex chocolate candy! Moca, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate!
Just look at the exquisite detail in these candies…and just like the watches, each one is filled with goodness inside! Can you imagine a sweeter gift?
ROLEX STANDS & DISPLAYS
Because of the photography work that I do, these Rolex watch stands are among the more useful Rolex accessory items I own. I use them quite a bit when I photograph watches. Pictured below are examples from contemporary to vintage editions – all of which are only provided by Rolex directly to dealers for use in dealer display cases. As such they are extremely difficult to acquire. Some Rolex dealer display cases are made such that the “C” cups (the part which actually holds the watch on the stands) fit into holes within the display cases themselves. When a watch is sold, and an empty spot opens, the little gold Rolex logo “peg” in the front left of the below photo is used to fill in the hole until more inventory arrives. Also pictured is the ultra-rare green crystal Rolex winding crown – a Baselworld giveaway item from a few years back.
OK, I’ll admit it – I enjoy golf. Mind you, I’m not the greatest golfer – my passion for the game far exceeds my ability unfortunately…. But, I have managed to pick up a few golf related Rolex stuff. Pictured below are my Rolex logo golf shirt (from the Kentucky Derby, of which Rolex is a sponsor), some Rolex golf tees, some Rolex ball markers, and of course, a nice metal Rolex divot repair tool.
I managed to track down a sleeve of three, unplayed and in mint condition Rolex logo golf balls too from one of their golf events. I normally play with Titleist balls, so there’s no temptation for me to hit these. 😉
Here we have a Rolex golf towel – another hard to come by item. Pictured on the towel are various Rolex wallets which were produced as promotional giveaway items a few years ago. The one at the top of the picture is a ladies wallet for a purse, but the others are more unisex – one is a coin holder, another is for keys, and one is for credit cards and money. Very well made and high quality.
ROLEX PAPER WEIGHT
A friend of mine sent this to me last week – it may well be one of the rarest and most interesting piece in my collection of “Rolex goodies.” It was an early birthday present – here’s the box it arrived in:
Let’s open it up and see what’s inside:
It’s a beautiful green (of course) crystal paperweight, made to resemble the Rolex winding crown. Notice the two dots? That means its a twinlock crown, event though the crown itself bares more of a likeness to a triplock crown:. Apparently these extremely rare items were made in Venezia (Venice) Italy by a rather famous Italian crystal design maker called Salviati. It’s quite beautiful.
Here’s a photo with my Sea-Dweller to give you some idea as to the size. I’m told this item was a special present given by Rolex at a past Basel watch fair in Switzerland. It’s exceedingly rare and quite beautiful!
ROLEX CURIO CABINET
I’m often asked where I store all my Rolex collectible items – the answer is, I bought a curio cabinet which I display in my home office:
It’s packed up pretty full – but makes a great display case.
You can discuss this article in the of my online luxury watch discussion forum community.
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Written by: on November 13, 2010.
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