ROLEX DAY-DATE 40 WATCH HANDS-ON

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Rolex pairs this meteorite dial with baguette-cut diamond hour markers, making this a ritzy yet classy timepiece. Adding decorative elements, like diamonds, makes it challenging to retain the masculine identity of a watch, but the subtlety of the diamond hour markers makes it work. Of course, the dial has windows for the day of the week at 12 o’clock and for the date at 3 o’clock. In fact, when the Rolex Day-Date watch was originally introduced in 1956, it was the first wristwatch that had a dial which indicated both the date and the day of the week.

Baselworld 2018, Rolex introduced a new meteorite dial option for the 18ct white gold version of the Day-Date 40 (reference 228239). Rolex currently sells a version of the Cosmograph Daytona chronograph with a meteorite dial, but the natural material is otherwise uncommon in today’s collection of Rolex watches. Given its organic and metallic crystalline aesthetic, meteorite has been appreciated as a dial material for decades—that it comes from outer space adds another dimension of value as well.

I found the meteorite dial to be a beautiful and compelling addition to the Rolex Day-Date 40 theme. Rolex uses only top quality materials, especially for its higher-end collections, so you get a fantastic piece of natural material that is both legible and useful. One of the appeals of this watch is the accumulation of rare materials in one product, as it combines 18ct white gold, diamonds, and meteorite, all of which are considered precious materials. While the actual market scarcity of these materials can be debated, one of the purposes of integrating these materials together is to enhance the inherent worth of the watch.

At 40mm wide and not particularly thick, the Day-Date 40 ref. 228239 wears very nicely. One of the reasons that the watch is visually smaller than it is in reality is because the width of the bracelet seems to shrink the size of the case, which is in accordance with Rolex’s desire to emphasize the President bracelet. Very comfortable on the wrist, the rounded three-link-style bracelet benefits from having a “hidden” deployant clasp for a uniform look from end to end.

White gold is a very luxurious material, but it often doesn’t appear to be more than steel. The added weight of white gold means that it wears differently from steel, but unless you happen to be around a watch enthusiast who knows that the Day-Date 40 only comes in gold and platinum, the watch could easily be mistaken for stainless steel. With diamonds on the eye-catching meteorite dial, this particular Rolex President toes the line between extravagance and subtlety, further adding to its personality and character.

PATEK PHILIPPE NAUTILUS 5711/1A-010

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010 Watch Review Mens Watches Wrist Time Reviews

What was Patek Philippe aiming to achieve with the Nautilus? When it was introduced in 1976, it was supposed to be a maritime lifestyle luxury watch for wealthy men and their family members who spent time boating or living by the sea. Genta pulled in design cues such as boat portholes for the design of the bezel and flanks, and the horizontal lines on the dial are meant to resemble teak wood boat decks. Not only was the starkly contrasting brushed and polished finishing on the case common practice for other watches produced at the time, but it was also evocative of the metal hardware of a yacht deck.

At the time Genta became involved in design, product design for watches was just as significant as product design of, for instance, automobiles. Everyone had them and used them, so because of the wide variety of these items, people were genuinely interested in unique designs. Thus, Genta was designing something that would be both worn and seen by everyone. In this case, the people wearing those watches were the rich elite that comprised Patek Philippe’s consumer base in the 1970s, and it’s the same demographic, albeit in larger numbers, that still wear Patek Philippe today.

My conclusion is that the Patek Philippe Nautilus is an excellent example of a men’s bracelet jewelry that just so happens to have a watch attached to it. The steel construction of the case and bracelet prevents it from being overly pretentious as well. Not only does a very respected watchmaker give the design the finishing and construction it deserves, but it also equips the watch with the finest non-complicated mechanical movements. Unlike Rolex, the movement isn’t hidden behind a solid caseback. Rather, Patek Philippe wants Nautilus owners to strut and show off that shiny in-house made caliber 324 S C through the sapphire crystal caseback.

In my opinion, the Nautilus is a perfectly made, modern sports watch for guys who are equally unlikely to wear their watch into the water today as they were in the past. Patek Philippe has maintained the same Nautilus archetype, while continuing to make it a more efficient and reliable timekeeper. In a way, there is no real 21st century Nautilus, and I’m not sure there ever will be. Despite much of its former creative glory, Patek Philippe today is an extremely conservative brand. I would love to see a Nautilus 2.0 (so to say) that transports the concept of a luxury sports lifestyle watch into the modern era. It would definitely be of Patek Philippe quality, but it would be more representative of contemporary values and aesthetics. Would that happen? Could that happen? If Patek Philippe chooses to take on that project, they could create something very cool.