In the pantheon of luxury goods, Rolex has a unique spot: The word conjures up not a logo or a covetable item, but rather the very idea of a beautifully made and enduring timepiece. It is nearly synonymous with the word heirloom, and for that reason, the watchmaker has earned an enormous and loyal following around the world.
For many, buying new gives them instant access to this legacy, but collectors and connoiseurs want something more, a watch with history as well as pedigree. The value of rare models reaches stratospheric heights at some of the biggest auction houses in the world. Phillips, Sotheby's, Christie's, and Antiquorum have all set records prices for notable Rolex watches that have come up for auction.
Stephen Watson is a freelance stylist and watch editor.