Saturday, June 16, 2018

What Is Going On With Rolex Supply?




...Separating Fact from Fiction...



What Is Really

 Going On With

 Rolex Supply



Is it possible to know the number of 

Angels dancing on the head of a pin?



Back in the mid-1980s, I remember when I would visit different Rolex Authorized Dealers, they would typically have EVERY Rolex model on display, under the glass case. Fast forward to today, and depending on where you live, many ADs will still have a wide selection of Rolex models, but you may notice their selection of professional/sports models in all stainless steel is almost non-existent. 

If you are a regular reader of Jake's Rolex World you are likely aware of the huge supply shortage of many Rolex sports/professional models at retail in many parts of the world. If you visit many different Authorized Rolex dealerships you just can't help notice a lack of stainless steel Rolex sports models, like the Submariner, GMT-Master, Daytona, and Explorer II. I recently visited a local Rolex AD, and the only all-stainless steel Rolex sports watch they had in the display cabinet was a black dial Explorer II. Captain Danny Crivello recently published a story on this subject titled: "Vintage Rolex Special: Pivoting to the Vintage Market."




"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." 


—Oscar Wilde [1892]



Many readers are confused and have been asking me what is going on? I noticed A LOT of people speculating online about what is occuring, which often results in false-narrative conspiracy theories. As a result, I would like to take this opportunity to separate-the-fact from-the-fiction and share and delineate what I believe is really occurring.

Yesterday, a very long-time reader from the U.K. wrote in and asked me about this subject. After responding, I asked his permission to share his email with you, so long as I redact his name and some details. He graciously agreed. Below is his email I received on June 14, 2018


Dear Jake

I want to know what are your thoughts on the matter of Rolex waiting lists? Currently, they are more than a decade for a Daytona White dial, 3-5 years for any steel professional models. Some ADs are not even taking orders as the waiting lists are ridiculously long. One AD in XXXXXX refused to even take my name down. 

I have thought deep & very hard to analyse this myself. One thing is clear - Rolex hasn’t reduced their production. So it’s not a matter of supply: demand disparity. Certainly with China cracking down on corruption has dried up the huge Chinese market & the economic meltdown in the west has brought down our buying power. Hence overall the demand has gone down. Which I think is the main reason, paradoxically, the cause for the long waiting lists. Let me explain, it has come as a shock, but it’s true:

Rolex needs to survive the second biggest threat in its history, since the quartz watch, i.e. the silly ugly little “smart” watch. Note the brag by Tim Cook “Apple has sold more Apple watches than the entire Swiss watch industry”. The timing of this couldn’t have been more coincidentally inopportune. It’s a double whammy for Rolex. 

Rolex has a certain number of watches the ADs need to sell for the cash flow to happen. Likewise, the ADs need to sell a certain number of watches to keep their Rolex ADship.

Hence the ADs are keeping themselves afloat (at least this is what they are doing in the UK) by selling to the grey market. You go to Watchfinder.com (now bought by the Richemont group & a very clever move) & you can buy any rare to find Rolex less than a year old. These are all AD shocks sold to the grey market. The ADs are no longer that keen to sell to an individual as they are under pressure by such big grey market companies to mop up their stock. I suspected this all along but when I saw this YouTube video I realised I was correct all this while:


My AD in XXXXXXXX told me he will sell me another Rolex only if I bought a datejusts from him first!

I have even heard that Rolex is buying back from the ADs their unsold stock of datejusts to melt them down back into their metals to keep the price point up. 

The waiting lists have become ridiculously long only since all the above economic problems started. 5-6 years ago one would have to wait a maximum of a month or two. Now, none of the ADs have steel professional models on display. Only datejusts. 

You go to all the Rolexforums & they are all these simple folk who are totally ignorant of all this sleazy world of Rolex dealings. 

Kind regards

XXXXXXXX


I responded to my reader's email above by saying:

Hi XXXXXXX,

I am working on a story about this Supply & Demand issue, which is confusing many people. From everything I have seen, and I have seen a great deal, Rolex demand is at an all-time high!


It is a fact there are far more millionaires in the world today, and the middle class of almost all countries has been growing quickly. These customers drive demand. Rolex is obviously aware of this but it is not easy for them to expand as Rolex watchmakers are very highly trained—so they can’t just hire a bunch of people and expand overnight. Also, in order to expand requires new buildings and equipment. 

Don’t forget Rolex makes around 800,000 watches a year to a -2/+2 standard which is quartz-like precision in a mechanical watch. This is roughly 70,000 of each key model per year. Yes, they could just make sports watches, but that is not how their factories are set up.


Further, I believe the Apple Watch has had the same effect on Rolex the 1970s Quartz Crisis had. In other words, I believe Rolex is the ultimate beneficiary of Apple watch popularity. I had a friend contact me a few weeks ago and say, “This stupid Apple watch I bought a couple of years now can only make it through a half day before running out of charge. I think it’s time to step up to a Rolex, which will never have these issues. Plus, I realize the Rolex will likely increase in value over time, where if I buy a new Apple watch it will depreciate and quickly become obsolete."

Hope this helps :-)

Warmest regards,


Jake




The Truth About Rolex Demand


“The vision recurs; the eastern sun has a second rise; history repeats her tale unconsciously, and goes off into a mystic rhyme; ages are prototypes of other ages, and the winding course of time brings us round to the same spot again.” 


—Mystic Rhyme 1845


On Jake's Rolex World, I specialize in separating fact from fiction, as well as busting false myths.  There has been a tremendous amount of conjecture, hypothesis, hyperbole and false narrative spewed forth into the world about why Rolex sports watches are so hard to find at retail these days. In this vacuum, people have speculated and made things up—some of which seem logical until you dig deeper.  In it important to not believe everything you read, or that people say. I encourage anybody reading this to form your own opinions and think for yourself.

Below is a comprehensive list of reasons I believe—in my personal opinion—there is a crazy demand for stainless steel Rolex watches:

1. Growing Middle Class: In my email response above I mentioned the significant recent growth of the INTERNATIONAL middle class. It is important to understand the power of Rolex is and always has been more with the middle class than the upper class. In other words, Rolex is a highly aspirational brand and as a result remains relatively affordable. Compare this to a brand like Patek Philippe, which is considered to be a high-end brand. Basically, if Patek Philippe is the Rolls Royce of watches, Rolex would be the Mercedes-Benz of watches. In other words, there are many more people today that strive toward owning a Mercedes than a Rolls Royce.


2. Increase in Millionaires: There is a significantly growing segment of millionaires in the world today. Couple this with the fact Rolex is THE Category leader in a fundamentally dying category. As a result, more people can afford to purchase Rolex watches. This increase in millionaires is not only in first-world countries like the United States but in places like Indonesia and Africa. Speaking of a growing middle-class, the Chinese marketplace has been growing by leaps and bounds. 

Bloomberg came out with a story yesterday discussing this very subject which you can see below:

Millionaires Now Control Half of the World's Personal Wealth.



3. Rolex heavily invested during last economic downturn: Rolex consolidated heavily under the leadership of former CEO, Patrick Heiniger. In doing so they purchased many of their suppliers and evolved into a fully vertical organization. Essentially this gives Rolex complete independence from just about any and all manufacturing and market conditions and makes them largely immune to market trends.


4. Rolex embraced the digital age early on: Rolex made a very good digital transition as they understood early that the future was online. This is significant as Rolex historically seemed to not only detest change but also initially ran for cover when the internet began the new information age. Rolex had two choices early on. They could either embrace a new era of openness or bury their head in the sand. Rolex chose the former, which was likely not their natural historic choice. 

Rolex spends way more money on an enhanced digital presence than any other watch brand. This is genuinely remarkable as Rolex is able to intelligently occupy digital space while remaining true to their heritage and who they are. This adroit approach significantly contributed to Rolex staying relevant while reaching a MUCH broader audience.



5. Not increasing supply capacity which could have a negative effect on quality—The Rolex Rule Book: Rolex is FANATICAL about quality and precision. The best way to understand this hyper-focus is to examine the Rolex Superlative Chronometer Certification Standard which Rolex imposes upon themselves. This is really nothing new or genuinely surprising for Rolex as the classic vintage 1960s Rolex ad seen below stands testament to this fact:



Also, it is important to take into consideration Rolex's standard not only guarantees new watches will keep super time between -2/+2 seconds per day, which is AMAZING for a mechanical watch, but they also include a 5 years international warranty. Talk about a company that stands behind its product!

If Rolex wanted mass-produce watches like Apple, they could but it would likely result in having to make Rolex in other countries beyond Switzerland. Rolex, first and foremost is a Swiss company, through and through. If Rolex woke up tomorrow and decided to make twice as many Submariner models in order to meet demand, it would likely result in creating a glut in the market which would not benefit the market, the customer, nor Rolex. 

This is where it is very important to understand Rolex's model taxonomy. Rolex makes 12 different core series of models as delineated below:

         
          • Submariner
          • SEA-Dweller
          • GMT-Master
          • Daytona
          • Milgauss
          • Datejust
          • Day-Date
          • Yacht-Master & Yacht-Master
          • Explorer & Explorer II
          • Sky-Dweller
          • Air King
          • Cellini

This taxonomy or classification when broken down mathematically, and yes this is a complete conjecture, but bear with me :-) make much sense and illustrates my point. Let's divide the number of Rolex models/classes (12), by the annual output of 800,000 watches. With my hypothetical argument, this would mean Rolex would make a little over 65,000 watches per model, per year. If Rolex decided to double Daytona supply, then it would cut into other models, and as previously mentioned, would likely end up with a huge market glut. In other words, Rolex is not going to stop making Datejust models so they can make more Daytona models.

Think of Rolex as being like BMW or Mercedes with their classification system. If BMW only made 3 Series, or if Mercedes only made E-Class models, it would be a huge mess. Mercedes is just like Rolex as their cars range from C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, G-Class, Maybach, AMG, even into heavy-duty trucks. It is important for any major brand to maintain a typology matrix of choice and options.

Keep in mind Rolex in NOT a marketing company. Unlike most other companies in the world, Rolex is NOT in business to try to fulfill demand with supply. Rolex is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that donates a significant portion of its proceeds to charity. In other words, Rolex is so wealthy as a company, they don't need to cater to the marketplace in any way.

As previously mentioned, Rolex produces around 800,000 watches per year today, but this wasn't always the case. From the time Rolex began making watches in 1905, it took them a half-century to make the number of watches they make in one year today as witnessed by the Rolex ad seen below which I believe was published around 1962-1963. That is REALLY profound if you think about it; the fact they make more Rolex watches annually today than they made in total for their first 50 years in operation!





6. The fluidity with the grey market: The grey market, in case you are not familiar, would be non-Authorized Rolex dealers who resell current new models. It can be argued the grey market perfectly represents the perfect supply and demand components of the marketplace. A new Pepsi GMT-Master recently sold for double the retail price on the grey market and many people cried foul. But wait a minute, if there is a person who is willing to pay such a premium to be one of the first people on earth, so be it. In other words, the grey market is based to a large extent on supply and demand, which is the cornerstone of capitalism. 

As a result, such a marketplace really keeps things in check. I know that movie studios are experimenting with offering movies online at the same time as they hit the movie theaters but at a higher price. Rolex has never done anything like this, but one could argue that perhaps they should. Rolex also does not sell their watches online. It is believed they don't sell online since they want to protect their dealer network, but one could suggest in order for Rolex to really immerse themselves into the digital/internet age, they should offer their watches for sale online. 

The logic would be that buyers would conveniently and efficiently purchase online, and a local Rolex Authorized Dealer would answer any questions and hand-deliver and fit the watch. This way Rolex would not be stepping on their dealer's toes. It's highly paradoxical and a profound irony if you think about it, that you can buy a Rolex from just about any watch reseller online, with the exception of Rolex.com!?!!


7. Strong desirability: Let's face it: Rolex watches are beautiful objects of art that people all over the world love and lust after and trust in. Rolex is like an international currency in-and-of-itself. Rolex represents The International Mark Of Success. 


8. The Apple Watch Effect: I would add the Apple Watch effect in the sense Apple made watches popular with a whole new demographic. Many people probably get sick of Apple and want something different or more enduring after a while. With an Apple watch, you have to charge it every night, which is a pain. With a Rolex, it just keeps running indefinitely as long as you wear it.


9. The Internet: People are talking. Websites like Hodinkee, Jake’s Rolex World, a Blog to Watch and online forums have increased awareness of the world population significantly. As a result, an increasingly larger number of people are exposed to the world of horology. In turn, this creates more knowledgeable and passionate brand ambassadors as well as loyalists. In other words, if a user goes to Google and does a search, they can now spend many hours immersing themselves in the details of Rolex's amazing history. 

Since Rolex's history is so deep, meaningful and profound, a new generation of Rolex brand evangelists has been spreading the tremendous value proposition of Rolex all over the world. Jake's Rolex World alone has the equivalent of many dozens of books worth of Rolex history, that can easily be accessed for free on any smartphone almost instantly.


10. Rolex is a no-brainer: Everyone knows Rolex is one brand where you’ll retain value and quite possibly earn money in the long run. People don’t want to lose money, and they perceive Rolex as a safe investment. Especially with Rolex sports models, if you think about it, owning a Rolex is almost like getting paid to wear it as you will likely be able to sell it if you hold it long enough for more than you paid. Very few things in this world endure like a Rolex.


11. Reputation Institute: The Reputation Institute ranks international brands from 1-100. Rolex has maintained the NUMBER 1 Position for the past three years running according to the Reputation Institute. This puts Rolex above Apple, Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton, BMW, Nike, Google, Sony, Amazon, as well as many other trusted brand names. Arguably this ranking makes Rolex the most prestigious brand in the world, or as I alluded to earlier, Rolex is THE International Mark Of Success.


12. The torch has been passed to the next generation with a new Rolex CEO who gets it: Jean-Frédéric Dufour took the helm at Rolex in May of 2015 and is more open and more aggressive in a typically quiet Swiss kind of way than his predecessors. 


The very aggressive expansion of the Tudor brand is a great example of Dufour's shrewd, adroit, resourceful approach. While Rolex retail prices have continued to increase, the Tudor brand, which is owned by Rolex offers vintage Rolex style watches at typically less than half retail price of Rolex. Ironically, Tudor is now competing very successfully in the marketplace with brands like Omega and Panerai.




The Tudor Pepsi Black Bay GMT pictured above was introduced at Basel World this year and retails for only $3900, which is far more affordable than the new Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master which was also introduced at Basel World, which retails for $9.250.

Jean-Frédéric Dufour in many ways represents the fact the torch has been successfully passed to the next generation. I think the quote below is perfectly on-point and sums up this notion: 

"Progress doesn't saunter into the world; it staggers. Grown-ups don't often change their minds about the important political and social questions of their time. Change arrives because their children are born into a whole new set of assumptions different from those of their parents." –Stephen Marche



13. Value Proposition: People have become increasingly more value conscious, and the internet has contributed significantly to this. A prime example would be the fact Paul Newman's Daytona recently sold at Phillips Auction House for $17.8 Million. Everybody and their mother heard about this, and the interesting backstory is that Paul Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward purchased his Rolex Daytona watch for around $200 back in 1972. Talk about an amazing ROI. Even if the average Rolex owner knows they can't realistically expect to get anywhere close to this kind of return, it still resonates in the back of their mind.


14. Inheritance: Since Rolex watches endure better than just about anything else in our world, many people buy Rolex watches to pass down to the next generation, as they believe they will likely increase in value over time as a family heirloom. Nobody buys an iPhone or car thinking this will occur. A great parallel to Rolex is likely residential real-estate. As populations grow in cosmopolitan cities around the world, home prices rise. Same thing with Rolex...More educated world populace equals more demand for Rolex watches. It's that simple...


15. Rolex spends more than any other watch company on advertising: If you look closely, you will see Rolex ads everywhere. In magazines, online, on billboards, on TV, at the Oscars. Also, there is not a week of the year that goes by, without a Rolex sponsored event occurring somewhere in the world. It could be a tennis tournament, like Wimbledon, or an Equestrian event, or a Formula 1 race, or a Sailboat race, or the fine arts. Often times multiple internationally sponsored Rolex events take place concurrently. This omnipresent advertising pedigree comes from Rolex's founder, Hans Wilsdorf and is ingrained in their DNA.

16. The Counterfiet Rolex Market: I don't speak much about fake Rolex watches on Jake's Rolex World since I dislike things and people that are not authentic. That being said, I feel obligated to point out that the counterfiet Rolex market has played an extrem role in the popularization of Rolex. Most fake Rolex watches are made in Asia, and the higher-end ones are made in other contries like Italy.

It is likely that China probably makes an order of magnitude more Rolex watches per year than Rolex, and have been doing this since the 1970s. In other words, if Rolex makes 800,000 watches per year, the Chinese make more than 10 Million per year. You would assume this would be a bad thing for Rolex, but I would argue that this has likely served Rolex well. How so you ask? Fake Rolex watches have exposed many, many people to timeles Rolex design language that probably could not have affored to by them. Don't forget, Rolex is an aspirational brand, so over time many people who bought and wore fake Rolex watches strive toward and perhaps one day end up purchasing a real Rolex.

This is perhaps most prevelant in China. When the Chinese started makeing counterfiet Rolex watches, it was in the late days of the Communist state. [Don't forget that the Chinese basically invented capitalism. Think Marco Polo trading spices and gunpowder and pasta with the Chinese in the 11th Century.] As China returned to a capitalist economy, thier middle class began growing quickly, and as citizens got wealthier they wanted to distinguish themselves by doing things like wearing a real Rolex. This explains when Rolex is so popular in China today. A trend I belive will continue as the Chinese are very status conscious.


17. Timeless Design: We live in an increasingly polarizing world that seems to be rapidly changing, which is why people gravitate toward timeless design and the notion of simpler nostalgiac times. There is really something to be said for timeless design. Have you ever wondered why watches sold at auction, or just about anything else sell for what they do? In other words, why do Patek Philippe and Rolex auction results typically dominate the top of the sales curve pricing? It has to do with how timeless the designs are. 

I'll give you a great example. In April of 2011 Christies Auction House sold a 38MM 1943 Patek Phillipe Perpetual Chronograph [Reference 1527] for $5.6 Million which is pictured below. 


So why would anybody in their right mind pay $5.6 Million for this watch? Because of its unusually timeless design characteristics. Think about it for a second. This magnificently complicated watch was designed an made in 1943, which means it sprang to life in the middle of World War II. It was also unusually large for its era, but since watches evolved after that point to get larger, it makes this Patek Philippe more relevant today.



This Patek Philippe is like Cary Grant in the sense that if the man in the photo below from the 1950s got in a time machine and traveled to today, and showed up in a corporate boardroom, he would look perfectly in place. This is a very rare characteristic, which is more an anomaly or fluke, but it governs value proposition. In other words, the more something or someone can transcend time, the more valuable they are to society.



If Patek Philippe's best watches were a person and they would be Cary Grant, who would Rolex be? In my opinion, I would say Rolex watches would be JFK. JFK had a definite MAD MEN, super clean-cut timeless aesthetic as seen in the photo below. 




Let's get in the Rolex Time Machine and travel back to the early 1950s to add perspective. In the early 1950s, Art-Deco had evolved as a design language, based upon a world that sought and appreciated absolute simplicity, coupled with bold, clean lines. The 1950s saw Art-Deco evolve into a late, and mature stage of know as Populuxe. Populuxe design pervaded all countries of the world and was a conjunction of the words Popular and Luxury.


Just for frame of reference, the photo below shows a 1954 Rolex Submariner, which basically has the same dial as the Rolex watch pictured below it. It is important to examine the historical context of this 'late' art-deco style found in the Rolex watches pictured above and below, and recognize at the time, it was a very modern looking watch.






Now, look at the dial on the current Rolex Submariner pictured below. Notice the Rolex Submariner is and always has been a beautiful piece of serious art-deco design, and remains highly modern and timeless today.


So basically, the Rolex Submariner is one of the serious art-deco wonders of the world, including other outstanding examples like the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chrysler Building. It took me many years to figure out this secret of Rolex design language, but it is made from the same magic that gave President Kennedy and years later, President Reagan their similar timeless, clean-cut, masculine aesthetic.




The current Rolex Submariner pictured above is considered to an ABSOLUTE CLASSIC, and the great takeaway point is that everything considered classic today, was once considered to be modern

The photo below of a 5513 Submariner from the 1960s is one of my favorite photos as it shows off the completely timeless aesthetics of Rolex.



The photo below of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and was taken in 1953, and in this photo we see Cousteau wearing a prototype Rolex Submariner which pretty much looks the same today as it did 65 years ago. If you think that is not unusual look at a car from 1953 and compare it to cars today. They look and perform like night and day.






Conclusions

I believe Rolex is well aware of their product shortages and likely doing everything they can to address them. This is obviously a great first-world problem to have. Once again, I must reiterate the fact Rolex is not like Apple, which means with their supply chain they don't try to always meet demand with supply. Rolex simply tries to make the best watches they possibly can.

When thier is a void of true, meaningful and logical information on a subject people specualte and make up false naratives which is somewhat understandable. In the final analysis I belive that all this fake news about Rolex suppy and demand is a nothing-buger, fuled by false assumptions. In this story I have done my best to not only seperate the fact from the fiction, but also to offer real and meaningful insight into the Rolex marketplace dynamic.

Earlier today I was talking with my great friend and fellow Rolex fanatic, Stan Barrett about this article as I was writing it. In case you are not familiar with Stan Barrett, he was Paul Newman's stunt-double, and he also was the first man to break the speed of sound barrier on land. Stan is the real-deal and he is pictured below as he prepares to drive his Budweiser Rocket Car into the record books in 1979 while wearing his Rolex Daytona and Pepsi GMT-Master.






Stan Barrett is pictured below in a recent photo, and he chimed-in today while I was writing this article and said:

"I am giving away my Fitbit and Apple Watch. — Electronics, technology, and age do now mix well... I want the real thing. My Rolex has never interfered with my circadian rhythm. My Rolex keeps all my secrets. My Rolex can't hear me. Good brother and good sister (Siri) are 'watching' but it ain't through a Rolex. Rolex is a trustworthy symbol of enduring quality. Rolex is family."




Stan Barrett is pictured below with his best friend, Paul Newman back in the day...



Update: Stan Barrett read this story and mentioned he thought it was very insightful. Then he added his two cents again:

"I believe the reason Rolex sports watches are in such demand today is due to Paul Newman's Daytona selling for such a high price at auction. I believe Paul's Daytona forever changed the value proposition of Rolex and their potential worth forever."


Paul Newman pictured above wearing his exotic dial stainless 
steel Rolex Daytona which recently sold for $17.8 Million




My Advice

People ask for my advice all the time regarding which Rolex to purchase and how much to pay for them. They ask me about new and vintage Rolex watches. Since new Rolex sports watches are becoming increasingly more challenging to aquire I will share my perspective with you.

Buy what you absolutely love. Don't focus so much on the price you pay, so much as finding a watch you absolutely LOVE. I also advise people to NOT look at a Rolex so much as an investment vehicle, but as an beautiful, highly utilitarian object that will serve them well for many years. The fact that Rolex watches hold thier value so much better than many other things in this world is just icing on the cake.

Owning and enjoying any Rolex watch is a great achievment. So be resourceful, do your homework, research the market and most importantly figure out what you love and can't live without.

Friday, June 15, 2018

1970 Rolex USA Catalog Shots...



...Vintage Rolex Hotness...

1970s Rolex Brochure

Strange as it may or may not sound, I think many Rolex watch designs and brochures are high-art and these images from the 1970 Rolex USA catalog are no exception. I really like this first vintage Rolex Hotness image. It is remarkable how timeless the photo, watch, clothing and hairstyle is, and I love those beautiful light pink nails.








Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rolex Lume Shot of the Day: LV Lumepower...


...Lume Shot Of The Day...

LV Lume Power

Chris B took this stunning shot of his LV Submariner and he really captured the power of those Maxi Markers...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rolex Coolness: Tom Kristensen: The New Face Of Rolex Racing





...Rolex Super Coolness... 

Tom Kristensen

The Face Of Rolex Racing

9 Time Winner Of The 24 Hours Of Le Mans

Rolex just launched this killer new Every Rolex Tells A Story video on Tom Kristensen, and since I have been doing so much Steve McQueen coverage lately, I thought this would be perfect. Le Mans and all...Plus Tom Kristensen kind of has a similar ultra-cool vibe to Steve McQueen and looks like him. One detail that is really interesting about the Loren Janes/Steve McQueen Submariner story is the actual story behind it which is fascinating. Compare the first photo of Steve McQueen on the set of Papillon in the story below to Tom Kristensen. They really do look a lot alike...



Le Mans racing legend Tom Kristensen has been a Rolex Ambassador now for close to eight years now. Tom Kristensen is from Denmark and he is 51 years old. His racing career achievements are amazing!!!

Tom Kristensen not only holds the record for the most 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, with nine wins, but six of them were consecutive back-to-back—from 2000 to 2005!!!



Tom Kristensen is known as "The King Of Le Mans." The 24 Hours of Le Mans is considered to be the most prestigious endurance auto race in the world and it is also the oldest, having been around for 8 decades.


Tom Kristensen has won the 24 Hours Of Le Mans a record-setting nine times!!! Tom Kristensen says "To win, you need to be fast and steady, you need to manage and extend the performance of your car while staying consistent and accurate in you driving–every lap, every second, every hundredth of a second counts!!!"



In many ways Tom Kristensen makes the perfect Rolex Ambassador. He kind of looks like Steve McQueen, with his clean-cut, cool style, doesn't he?









Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Strange Case Of The Steve McQueen Submariner




The Strange Case Of

The Steve McQueen Submariner?



"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t." —Mark Twain [Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World.]

As seen above, Mark Twain once pointed out that 'reality is stranger than fiction', and that is certainly the case with this story. Just when I thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, they did!

BTW, as I write this, the song Axel F from "Beverly Hills Cop" just started playing on my computer, which is probably the best possible soundtrack that is perfectly on-point for this story. So you may want to hit the play button and listen to it as you continue reading. Loren Janes ironically was a stuntman in the Eddie Murphy movie named, Beverly Hills Copy, according to his daughter, Erika Janes...




If you are reading this, chances are you are already familiar with the story I began writing on June 5th, named "Another Steve McQueen Submariner?"

When I first began working on that story I believed the narrative put forth by Phillips press release named "Phillips To Sell Steve McQueen's Rolex Submariner",  as well as Forbes.com article named, "Exclusive: The Secret History of Steve McQueen's Rolex Submariner.

Being a huge Steve McQueen fan, I thought this was going to be another great chapter I could add to my story titled, "Profiles In Coolness: Steve McQueen, The King Of Cool."

I am typically a very trusting person, but as I began exploring the details in the Loren Janes Submariner story, I noticed what appeared to be gaping inconsistencies. I called my great pal, Stan Barrett on the phone and asked, "Did you know Loren Janes?", to which Stan simply replied, "Submariner!" I believe Stan responded like this since we are both huge Rolex fans.

I read the provenance letter from the story to Stan and he started poking holes in it. Stan knew Loren Janes well and pointed out he strongly believed that Loren was not in many of the movies enumerated in the provenance letter. Stan put me in touch which many people who had worked on those movies, and sure enough, Stan was correct.

On June 6, I interviewed Michael Eisenberg, the current consigner of the watch to the Phillips Auction House in great detail. I also interviewed Loren Janes daughter regarding the history, and she shared some profound details with me. I even spoke with Chad McQueen, who is Steve McQueen's son about this story.

I have also been interviewing many other people regarding this story, and I have to share with you that I am completely stunned by the sheer amount of new information and evidence pouring in. This evidence supports and contradicts all sides of this story. 

This story reminds me of a crazy mystery story. It's like Columbo meets The Hardy Boys, meets Sherlock Homes, meets Rockford Files, meets Perry Masson, meets Daniel Steel. Choc full of intriguing characters, plot-twists, and cliffhangers.


As I write this, the whole story would appear to be a cliffhanger of sorts, so why don't I simply present all the evidence I have collected from both sides of the story and let you, the reader make your own determination? As previously mentioned new evidence and witnesses are pouring in. So quickly in fact, I don't think it would be responsible for me to share what I have unearthed without being able to share ALL the facts. In other words, it is still as much of a cliffhanger for me as it is for you...

I am also surprised by how quickly this story developed, and every time I think it is concluding more intriguing events change the game. This much I can promise you: As soon as I conclude my investigation, I will present all the facts from both sides and let you draw your own conclusion. 

The adrenaline is definitely pumping like it would in any great Steve McQueen movie. I find it ironic that 38 years after Steve McQueen passed away, his legacy is still leading us on an epic high-speed chase.


Monday, June 11, 2018

In Memoriam: Anthony Bourdain



In Memoriam


Anthony Bourdain


Lover of Food, Travel, Rolex

 By Capt. DANNY CRIVELLO           


I was touched by the announcement last week that American celebrity chef, author and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain has passed away at the age of 61, survived by his 11-year-old daughter (below).



Bourdain and a CNN crew were preparing to film an episode on Alsatian food for the CNN hit show "Parts Unknown." I grew up and lived in Alsace, the beautiful and culinary-rich region of Northeast France

For me, Alsatian food will always be the perfect combination of the clarity of flavor the French are known for, with the German heft and heartiness that leave you full and satisfied. We will never see Bourdain's episode on Alsatian food, but I'm sure he found it delicious.



Another kinship I've felt with Bourdain is our profession. As a pilot for a major airline, I know what it's like to discover new countries and new cultures, and partake of the local cuisines without fear or prejudice. 


Bourdain has admitted he'd occasionally get sick from the local food. "I have to take one for the team," he'd say. As a pilot, I have to be careful that the food I eat is always fresh. Pro tip: When I go to a local restaurant abroad, I ask my waiter two questions: What is his/her favorite dish on the menu? And what do patrons order most?



I love Bourdain's blacked-out Rolex Milgauss. He is wearing it as he is preparing food for an episode with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.  




I read in an interview that Bourdain’s original pitch for the series was, roughly, “I travel around the world, eat a lot of sh*t, and basically do whatever the f*ck I want.” I'm sure glad he has a Rolex on his wrist while he does all that! Below, he meets former President Barack Obama outside a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. 



“I’m a guy who needs a lot of projects,” Bourdain once said. “I would probably have been happy as an air-traffic controller.” 

He would have been happy in the cockpit of my jet as well. 









Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is one of my favorite people in the world spoke on CNN about Anthony Bourdain's authenticity.


Anderson Cooper is featured below doing a special on Anthony Bourdain.

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