The Best of Times
In Charles Dickens book, Tale of Two Cities he wrote, in the opening line "It was the best of times, it the worst of times. Tale of Two Cities is considered to be one of the great classics, as is James Dowling and Jeff Hess' The Best of Time, ROLEX WRISTWATCHES–An Unauthorized History.
In my personal opinion, The Best of Time–ROLEX Wristwatches, is the MUST Have book for any person that is interested in learning about and celebrating Rolex and its amazing history. It would not be a stretch for one to argue that this book is the bible of Rolex.
The Bible of Rolex
I typically avoid using religious metaphors, but I think it is on-point for this book. The bible itself is broken up into two parts; the old testament and the new testament. The Best of Time is very similar in the sense it is really made up of two books.
The first would be vintage Rolex History, and the second is Modern Rolex History. First I will explore the vintage Rolex History, because this is where the book really excels.
James Dowling and Jeff Hess are considered to be two of the foremost Rolex experts on planet earth and the depth of research, history and photos in this magnificent book are absolutely stunning!!!
If you ask the average person who wears a Rolex, very few will know very much about the early history of Rolex. They know Rolex is one of the top brands on earth, and they understand the timeless design and world-class build quality that go into a Rolex, but very few will know much about how Rolex became Rolex.
Authors James Dowling and Jeff Hess walk you through every little detail of early Rolex History and go into great detail about the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf. I must admit James Dowling's use of metaphor is amazing, deeply engaging, witty and heartfelt.
When you are done reading about young Hans Wilsdorf, you feel like you know him personally and you feel like you have actually walked in his shoes.
One of the most amazing attributes of this book are the photos of early Rolex watches. I was talking with my friend, Leo (The Idle Swede) and he made a very interesting comment about the photos in the book. Leo said, "I love the design of all the old Rolex watches in this awesome book. I would buy and wear these highly interesting watches today."
I agree with Leo and think there is really something to be said for timeless design.
I would like to thank Jeff Hess and Schiffer Books for allowing me to share these superb images of Rolex watches with you, as well as Sotheby's.
There are thousands of magnificent photos in the book, but I thought I would share a few with you so you can get a taste for how great the photography and rare Rolex watches are.
We begin with this Sterling silver snap-back Rebberg Rolex watch from 1914. In many ways, in my mind, the early Rolex wristwatches look like a pocket watch on a strap. Notice the lugs are very fine.
As strong as this book is in vintage Rolex it also goes into detail on Modern Rolex watches. They cover Rolex Chronographs up through the Rolex Daytona, as well as covering the history of the Rolex Submariner, GMT Master, Milgauss, Day-Date and Datejust. You name it–it is in this fantastic book!!!
This superb book also tells the story of Apollo 13 and how Jack Swigert relied on his Rolex GMT to time the crucial rocket burns that saved the lives on the Moon Mission.
The authors go into great detail on many more Rolex watches including the Military Submariners and much, much, much more.
James Dowling and Jeff Hess' book is 400 pages and is a standard coffee-table size book. It measures 9.25 x 12.25 inches, or 23 x 32 CM. It has thousands of superb color photos and goes into detail on every chapter in Rolex History. There are also many vintage Rolex advertisements and brochures and all kinds of fascinating odds and ends.
If I had to get stuck on a desert island, and I could only have on Rolex book, this would be it!!! If you want to purchase a copy of this book for your collection you can save more than $45 dollars and get 37% off the cover price by clicking the Amazon link below: