Monday, February 24, 2014

My Rolex Story...Jake Ehrlich Editor and Publisher of Jake's Rolex World...

...My Rolex History...

Jake Ehrlich
Editor & Publisher of Jake's Rolex World

Hi Everybody! After 7 years of publishing Jake's Rolex World and 365 days a year, I have published more than 3000 stories with many, many thousands of high-qualtiy, high-resolution photos and stories that show people who have kept the time of their life with Rolex watches, so I thought it was finally time I share my own Rolex history with you. 

The photo below of me was taken in August of 2012, and I am wearing an Orange-Hand Rolex Explorer II. I am a self-admitted Rolex fanatic of the highest order, in case you didn't notice :-)

My objective with sharing my personal Rolex story is to give you insight into what makes me tick, and has inspired me to publish Jake's Rolex World. I am sharing my personal Rolex history with you today, for the first time because I have always been kind of shy. If you meet me in person, and get me talking, I am likely to talk you ear off, but in many ways I have zero interest in putting myself in the limelight.

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Rolex headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as receiving a super-detailed tour of all four Rolex manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, which was mind-blowing! In my story I will soon be publishing, I include a few current photos of myself, so I thought now would be as apropos as ever to share where my fascination for Rolex came from.

My First Watch Memories

I have been wearing a wristwatch since I was a small child, and in the picture below, at age 5, taken during Christmas in 1971, you can see me wearing a wrist watch, and I have a Sheriffs badge pinned to my shirt. Hey, what can I say? It was the early 1970s, and wearing and flashing badges was cool. Even, Elvis was into it. My older sister is sitting next to me in the photo with my niece on her lap.

I was actually born Jake Ehrlich III. My father Jake Ehrlich Jr., and my Grandfather Jake Ehrlich Sr., were both really into watches. My grandfather Jake primarily wore a Patek Philippe pocket watch in his vest pocket, and  also collected other fine Swiss watches. My father Jake wore a Patek Philippe wristwatch. 

In our home, my father Jake had a watch movement that was suspended in a solid cube of acrylic like the one pictured below, and as a small child I remember spending countless hours studying it, trying to make some sense of how the parts worked together. For me, it was like a Rubik's Cube in the sense I could never quite figure out how all the mechanical pieces fit and worked together, but was absolutely fascinated with it. 

My Inspiration
Discovering Timeless Design

When I was a young teenager, I lived in San Francisco and was a hardcore skateboarder. I used to street-skate on the very steep hills of San Francisco in Pacific Heights, and I used to also go down to San Jose, California to Winchester Skate Park. In the photo below I was 14 years old in 1980, and I am getting some air at the Winchester Skate Park in the Washboard.

My First Rolex
Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner
Reference 16800

My first Rolex I ever owned was a transitional stainless steel Rolex Submariner Oyster Perpetual Date Reference 16800 with a synthetic sapphire crystal, which I purchased for $1000 in 1982 when I was sixteen years old. My story of how I purchased this watch is pretty funny. The photo of me below was taken in late 1981 when I was late 15. As most of you know, when you are 15 to 16, you begin forming your adult identity and belief system. 

I transformed from a Surfer/Skater dude into a really preppy/sporty young man. In the photo below I was celebrating my seventeenth birthday, and this is what I looked like when I bought my first Rolex. I am holding my Aunt Dora Jane's hand in the photo. 

When I was 16 years old I used to go visit the Rolex Authorized Dealer in Mill Valley, California and I would just stare at the all-new stainless steel Rolex Submariner for hours. I made this a habit, and about once a month, I would go in and stare at and study the stainless Rolex Submariner, and I remember wanting it so badly, but it was $1000, which was really expensive at the time. Keep in mind this is in 1982.

The Rolex AD gave me a Rolex brochure with a photo of the Stainless Steel Submariner in it, and I would spend hours staring at it, and I even came across some Rolex Submariner ads in National Geographic Magazine, which I cut out and pinned on my bedroom dream vision wall, above my drafting table.

For some reason, I just could not get over how timeless and beautiful the Rolex Submariner was, and what stunning curves she had ;-) One day, I cut fifth-period, and went to the Rolex AD, and was staring at this beautiful Submariner for what seemed like the zillionth time. I thanked the salesman, who was an old man named Manny for showing it to me again, and he said "Geeze kid, are you going to come in here forever and stare at that Rolex Submariner!?!? Why don't you just buy her so you can put her on your wrist and, and then you can stare at her all day and night if you want to!?!?

I paused, and thought about it for a second, and said, "You know Manny, you are making a good point. I am going to go get the money, and I will be back before you close to pick her up!" Manny looked at me like I was insane, and shook his head and laughed, like I was crazy, and I was. 

I went home and emptied my piggy bank, then I went to the ATM machine and emptied out almost all my money, which gave me about $380. I only needed another $620, so I called up everybody that owned me money, and don't ask me how, but somehow I came up with the money. 

At five minutes of six o'clock–five minutes before the Rolex AD closed–I walked in the door with with a wad of cash, and a bucket of coins, and walked up to Manny, and said, "O.K., I'm back to pick her up like I said I would." 

Manny was shocked!!! He said "Congratulations kid, she's a beauty. Wear her well." He then removed the chrome Rolex Anchor, and the burgundy COSC medallion, and handed me the green box and papers. I remember walking out of the Rolex AD feeling like James Bond, and even singing the James Bond theme in my head. You know, Dow dow dow dow, dow dow dow, dow, dow dow dow dow. Ironically, when I fell in love with and bought the Rolex Submariner, I had no idea that every James Bond actor to date had worn a stainless steel Submariner, at least I did not consciously realize it.

The photo below shows the exact Rolex Submariner I purchased when I was 16. It had a synthetic sapphire crystal, and I thought it was so cool.

That was the thing I remember most about that first Submariner, is how it made me feel. It made me feel invulnerable, like I could do anything with it on my wrist. It was so sturdy, and it seemed like a miniature vault. 

I used to spend countless hours laying in bed in the dark, staring at the lume as it glowed bright green, watching the circle on the second hand as it hypnotically spun around in a large circle. Back then the Submariner lume was Tritium, so it really glowed brightly in the dark. 

Also I remember I used to really trip on the Mercedes/Peace sign circle on the hour hand. For some reason, I could never get over how stunningly timeless this art-deco design was and I wondered where its amazing design came from?

When I discovered Rolex I was also really into skiing, and I used to go skiing all the time at Squaw Valley, which is located in Olympic Valley in California near Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic games, and it is just as amazing a winter wonderland today as it ever was. 

Below I have pictures of my Season Passes from Squaw Valley, and I remember how much time I spent staring at my Rolex Submariner when I was on the ski-lifts or in the gondola. I would stare at it when I had my ski gloves on as well as without, and I remember tripping on how cool the melting snow looked on the impervious sapphire crystal which helped protect my vault-like Rolex.
I also remember how at the end of the day around 4pm, especially on the weekends, my pals and I would hang-out in the Squaw Valley lounge which was at the bottom of the ski runs, and I remember how much Rolex-spotting I used to do. 

I don't know why, but for some reason I used to always look at people's wrists to see who was wearing Rolex watches, and many, many of the skiers at Squaw Valley wore Rolex watches. At times Squaw Valley almost seemed like a Rolex convention since it was so common to see people wearing Rolex watches, and this may sound kind of tribal, but I always though everybody wearing Rolex were really cool.

The only photo I have of myself wearing my first Rolex Submariner is below, and you can barely see it, but I was wearing it in this photo taken in Arizona, where I attended Arizona State University. I am sitting in the car, wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers, and you can barely see my Submariner on my wrist. 

I remember one day, when I was 17 or 18, I was hanging out with my girlfriend Katherine. We were in my pal David's kitchen in San Francisco. Katherine asked me why I wore such an expensive watch as a Rolex, and I responded by saying, "Rolex's are the best watches ever made, and not only do they look great in a timeless way, and keep great time, but they are ultra-sturdy, and built-to-last a lifetime." She asked, is it really that much sturdier than every watch made?" 

I responded defensively by taking my Submariner off my wrist, and I said, "Absolutely. This think is built like a tank. Here, watch this!!!" I lifted my hand above my head as high as I could and threw my stainless steel Rolex Submariner at the tiled kitchen floor as hard as I could. It bounced off the floor, and made this really loud thud noise as it went sliding across the floor. 

I walked over to pick it up, and I remember having this sinking feeling, where I though to myself, "Oh my God!?! What did I just do?!?!?. I hope I didn't just destroy by Rolex Submariner, and make a complete idiot out of myself!?!?" 

I picked up my Submariner and inspected it and showed it to her and said, "See how strong it is. Not even a scratch". As impressed as Kathy may have been, I imagine I had to have been even more impressed ;-), and that was the last time I ever did that.

My Second & Third Rolex
Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust Models
Jubilee Bracelet

After purchasing my first Submariner when I was 16, I became even more fascinated with Rolex watches, and bought my second and third Rolex watches when I was 18 which, were both stainless steel Rolex Datejust models. I remember I bought them from my pal Andy Wasserman's father, Mel Wasserman, in San Francisco. I went to school with Andy Wasserman at Redwood High School in Marin County, and Andy's dad owned a Rolex AD. 

In the photo above, I am wearing my stainless steel Rolex Datejust.

I remember when I bought my first stainless steel Datejust from Mel Wasserman, he offered an additional four year warranty, on top of the original one year Rolex warranty. I asked Mel, why he offered a five year warranty on all Rolex watches. He told me that in all the years he had been a Rolex Authorized Retailer, he had never had a Rolex come in for warranty repairs, so he offered the extra warranty. I remember Mel Wasserman was friends with and used to go skiing a lot with Olympic Skiing legend Jean-Claud Killy. 

I also remember when I was 17 and 18 really growing into my personality and belief system. At that time there were six things I was really into. Obviously I was really into Rolex. I had always loved women since I was a small boy, but through my mid to late teens, you could say I was like a bull in a china shop with chasing girls, but I would say I was more like a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a china shop ;-)

I was really into cars and originally wanted to be an automotive designer, but the mid 1980s were one of the worst times in American automotive history. It was the time of super-cheesy cardboard cars like the Chrysler Reliant-K, and I thought the only way my design talent wouldn't be wasted would be if I moved to Germany, to design cars, and since I didn't speak German, that was not an option. Of course, I didn't realize at the time that most German's spoke English. Oh well...

So I ended up getting into clothing design, and started designing, making and selling my clothing designs when I was 17. 

When I was 17 years old, in 1984, I also purchased the original Mac the first day it was available on January 24, 1984. At the time there was nothing like it. Kind of like the first iPhone or iPad. I first learned about the Mac from an Apple employee many months before it was originally announced. I was skiing up at Squaw Valley, and one night I was talking with an Apple employee, and I mentioned how I couldn't understand the lack of innovation at Apple with the Apple II. 

He said, just wait, and soon Apple with introduce an all new computer that will change the world. I asked him for details and he told me the new Apple would have this really cool pointing device named a "Mouse" and that it was so small, it was transportable, meaning you could easily pick it up by its handle and move it from room to room. He told me it even came with a bag, so you could travel with it. 

After learning about the new Apple Mac introduction in 1984, I went to Compuland in Mill Valley and pre-ordered the new Mac. I paid $2500 for the Mac, and I also ordered an Apple dot matrix printer to go with it, which I believe cost an additional $595. 

Thirty years ago, I cut 5th period at Redwood High School, and drove to Compuland in Mill Valley, and waited for the UPS driver to show-up with my Mac. I remember bringing it home to our place in Sausalito, California and unboxing it. I set it up, and started rocking-out with MacWrite and MacPaint, which was like a black and white Photoshop. 

Just to be crystal-clear, I was one of the first people on earth outside of Apple to get a hold of a Mac, on January 24, 1984.  Today it is common for people to wait in line, sometimes for days, before a product launch, to ensure they are some of the first on earth to experience the new Apple tech. In 1984, this was not the case. It was for me, but I was a bizarre exception to what now is the rule.

To this day, I am still really into computer and technology, and I own a company that makes highly innovative accessories for Apple products, which you can always check out at

In my formative years, Ronald Reagan, was the President of the United States, and I had a great deal of admiration for how he gave American's a strong sense of pride again. I also could not help but notice how in many ways Ronald Reagan was like a Rolex watch in the sense that he had completely timeless style, which I will talk about more, a little later in this article.

The photo above and below shows me at 19 wearing my stainless steel Rolex Datejust. I had one with a white dial with raised white gold Roman Numerals, and another with a sky blue dial with baton markers. They both had fluted white gold bezel inserts.

My Forth Rolex
Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date
President Bracelet

When I was in college, I became obsessed with the yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, and decided I had to have one since it was the pinnacle of Rolex. So I saved up for a couple of years, and somehow I put together the money to purchase one. 

I paid around $10,000 for it, and it also had a white porcelain dial with raised yellow gold Roman Numerals. I remember thinking the Rolex President was "The International Mark Of Success." Wearing Rolex watches my whole life, always made me feel more serious about myself, and they also made me feel more grounded, which sounds crazy, but I am being completely candid with you.

Ronald Reagan's Timeless Style

My namesake grandfather, Jake Ehrlich Sr, was good friends with Ronald Reagan, and the photograph below shows my Grandfather Jake Ehrlich Sr., with Ronald Reagan during World War II, hanging out in San Francisco. Ironically, my grandmother Evelyn is sitting between them. The reason this is ironic, is because Jake Sr. was my paternal grandfather, and Evelyn was my maternal grandmother.

When I was an adolescent through my late teens I notice there was something REALLY, REALLY, REALLY different about U.S. President Ronald Reagan's personal style. He was bold, timeless, serious looking and charismatic. 

In 1980, when he ran against Jimmy Carter, The United States was in a deep, dark funk, and American men looked and dressed like idiots, with pork chop sideburns and bell bottoms, with platform shoes, and long hair. This was end of the Hippy/Disco era, and there was Ronald Reagan, who in 1980, looked like he just walked out of the 1950s. He looked like a real man, and his style, like my grandfather Jake's was timeless and elegant.

I noticed in many ways, Ronald Reagan's style, was really similar to a Rolex Submariner, in that it had an almost Art-Deco, timeless vibe, and I was obsessed with discovering why? In 1989 I had the chance to speak with President Reagan in person, and in the photo below, you see us shaking hands in his office.

At the time, in 1989, I was going full-speed ahead with my closing company named DOTT by Jake Ehrlich. My sense of style, came from watching old Cary Grant movies from the late 1950s and early 1960s. In particular, I loved the look from the JFK presidential period between 1960 and 1963, and as you can see, in the photo below I was wearing a suit, shirt and necktie from my DOTT collection, which today we would call the "Mad Men" look. At the time most men were wearing fat neckties with huge lapels, which was the opposite of what I liked and designed.

In the photo below, you see President Reagan and I talking about clothing design and his personal style. I asked President Reagan, "As a clothing designer, I could not help but notice that the cut of your suits, seems to have more of a 1950s "V" cut, than the standard "A" shape we see today. Your suits, look much more like a suit Clark Kent would have worn in the 1950s when he was not wearing his Superman outfit."

President Reagan was flattered, and responded by saying: "When I first came to work in Hollywood in the late 1930s, MGM sent me to their head tailor named Mr. Mariani, who was Italian, to get fitted for custom suits, and he and his son, Frank Mariani have been making my suits ever since. I would be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Mariani, who is located in Beverly Hills, so you can discuss this with him, and pick his brain."

President Reagan made the introduction and I met with Frank Mariani. Frank Mariani said, "You want to understand what why President Reagan looks like he just walked out of the 1950s, which is the opposite look of most men today? Follow me!" Frank took me in his pattern room and pulled President Reagan's suit pattern off the wall, and put in on the cutting table in front of me. 

I carefully studied it, and noticed it said, "Ronald Reagan. First Fitting, May 1938." Then Frank pointed out that while the original pattern had remained in perfect shape, over the past 50 years as Reagan had gained weight, they added more pattern paper to the edges of the pattern, by stapling it to the outer edge. Basically, it looked kind of like when you look at a tree after it has been cut down, you can see the annual growth lines. Same with Reagan's pattern.

Basically, when Ronald Reagan came to Hollywood in the late 1930s, the style of men's suits had an art-deco "V" shape, with what was called, a "full-drape" look. That day, I discovered Ronald Reagan's secret suit formula. Over the years, his pattern maintained the same silhouette, which gave him that Father Knows Best, 1950s look.

Rolex's Timeless Style

Years later, I also discovered what made Ronald Reagan timeless was in some ways what made the Rolex Submariner so timeless. The Submariner came to market in the early 1950s, and its dial was based upon a hardcore art-deco Rolex "California" dial which Rolex first began using in 1938.

Take a look at the dial (pictured below) on the Rolex Reference 3646 made for Panerai which features an art-deco California Dial made in 1938, and notice the upside down pyramid marker at 12 O'clock, and notice the 3, 6 and 9 markers are rectangles in a landscape orientation.

The art-deco movement began in the early 1920s, as a result of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt in 1922. The world was so stunned and blown-away with all the magnificent artifacts found in King Tut's tomb, that were originally made in 1332 BC, which was more than 3200 years prior! 

Talk about the power of antiquity! The Ancient Egyptian treasures found in Tut's tomb, had a unique style never seen by the world, which consisted of clean, simple, streamed lines which became known as Art-Deco.

Now look at the Rolex Oyster Reference 6154 made in 1954, which is pictured below. Rolex dropped the mix of Arabic and Roman Numerals, and replaced them with circular markers. Rolex also rotated the 6 O'Clock rectangular marker from its landscape orientation to portrait. 

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 above. 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 2014 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 more years to figure out this secret of Rolex design language, but it is made from the same magic that  gave President Reagan his timeless, clean-cut, masculine aesthetic.

The 2014 Rolex Submariner pictured above is considered to an ABSOLUTE CLASSIC, and the great take-away point is that everything considered classic today, was once considered to be modern

As a designer, I have devoted my entire career to the pursuit of studying and creating timeless design. A great deal of my early design influence and education came from studying timeless Rolex design language, which I am still to this day deeply inspired by. Timeless design by definition is when a product looks like it is from the past and present simultaneously, which the Rolex Submariner epitomizes and stands testament to.

My Fifth Rolex
Coke Dial GMT-Master
Oyster Bracelet

After I was done with collage, I almost went to work for Ralph Lauren in New York as a designer,  but instead I decided to start my own clothing design company in San Francisco named DOTT, which stood for Designs Of Tomorrow Today. Years later I stared a clothing brand named JAKEeJEANS, and in the photo below you can see me wearing my Rolex GMT-Master with the black and red "Coke" dial on an Oyster bracelet. 

I took the wrist shot below of my Coke Rolex GMT-Master in 1999, in the days before people took wrist shots. I was in-love with this beauty, and I loved the red, white and black look.

My Sixth Rolex
Stainless Steel Daytona
Zenith Movement

I purchased my first Rolex Daytona around 1996. It was a stainless steel Rolex Daytona with a Zenith movement and black rings on the sub-dials. I was madly in love with this watch. I took the photo of my Zenith movement Rolex Daytona below in 2002.

My Seventh Rolex
Stainless Steel Daytona
Rolex In-House Movement
2000 Reference 116520

When Rolex came out with the all-new Rolex Daytona with an in house movement, I fell madly in love with it, and liked the concentrical chrome sub-dials and improved maxi markers so I got one, and I took a photo of it below.

My Dream Daytona Date
Presented to Patrick Heinger
CEO of Rolex In 2000

When Rolex came out with the all-new Stainless Steel Daytona with the in-house Rolex movement and larger maxi markers I fell madly in love with it and as seen in the photo above, and I purchased and wore one. 

I used to stare at my stainless steel Rolex Daytona, and I thought it was such a perfect design, but I really wished Rolex offered a more utilitarian version with the Date, so I drew one in Adobe Illustrator and was so impressed with it, I sent a copy of it to then Rolex CEO, Patrick Heiniger. The photo below is of the actual photo illustration design idea I printed out and sent to Patrick Heiniger in Geneva, Switzerland in 2000.

The letter below, is a copy of the original letter I sent Rolex CEO Patrick Heineger, and in the letter I talk about how I thought Rolex should make a Daytona model with the Date. I received back a letter from Rolex, at the time, not from Patrick Heiniger, but from somebody else at Rolex telling me they thought adding a date to a Rolex Daytona was sacrosanct, and that Rolex was basically "too sexy for my cat." 

I disagreed with Rolex at the time and still do. Patrick Heiniger did an amazing job of consolidating Rolex resources, and converting Rolex into a completely vertical operation during his tenure, but during that same timeframe, Rolex only introduced one all-new model, which was the Yacht-Master. Rolex came out with more new Rolex models in the last ten years of Hans Wildforf's life than Andre and Patrick Hieniger came out with during their entire tenure of close to a half-century.

My point is that Rolex invented the "Big Sport Watch" with the advent of the Submariner and GMT which were 4OMM in the early to mid 1950s, and everybody thought they were crazy with these weird huge watches. Today, the Submariner and GMT are still 40MM, and now they are now considered to be the "Small Sport Watch". I am absolutely still in-love with Rolex design language today, and I love their amazing history, but I still think there is a great deal of room for Rolex to innovate like Hans Wilsdorf did during his tenure as CEO and director of Rolex.

In 2001 I started a new clothing design brand named JAKEeJEANS, an I met with Tommy Hilfiger in New York, to discuss some JAKEeJEANS related business, and in the photo below taken in Tommy's New York Office, you can see me wearing my stainless steel Rolex Daytona on my wrist. 

My assistant Kimberly is pictured on the opposite side of Tommy, and she is wearing JAKEeJEANS HOTeFIT jeans with a JAKEeJEANS Jacket, and I am wearing a pair of mens JAKEeJEANS with my matching Hermes belt buckle, which I remember Tommy kept staring at–probably because he thought it looked like a good idea to come out with a "H" buckle for Hilfiger.

My Eighth Rolex
Yellow Gold Yacht-Master
Blue Sunray Dial

My seventh Rolex was a really striking watch. It was a yellow gold Yacht-Master with a blue sunray dial, and it was really striking. I took the wrist shot photo below in December 2002.

I ended up starting a computer company in 2000 named BulletTrain, which I still own and run today and of which I am the CEO and Designer. I first met Mike Markkula to speak with him about investing in BulletTrain. Mike Markkula was one of the original founders of Apple Computers in Silicon Valley, California. Mike Markkula was a former Fairchild Semiconductor executive, and one day, back in 1976 he famously wandered into Steve Jobs parents garage where he met the two Steve's: Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak. 

Mike Markulla told Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak, he was interested in investing in Apple Computers and would not only invest $250,000 of his own money, but would also be willing to be the CEO of Apple–and the rest as they say, is history. Steve Jobs gets a lot of credit from building Apple, but it was really Mike Markkula who deserves the lions share of credit for building Apple Computers.

In the photo above I am pictured with Mike Markkula in a meeting in 2006 talking about BulletTrain, and I am wearing my yellow gold Rolex Yacht-Master with the blue sunray dial.  Mike Markkula introduced me to Steve Jobs who I had an interesting meeting with in the Apple Boardroom in 2005. Mike Markkula suggested to Steve Jobs that it would be a good idea for my company BulletTrain to do some advanced design work for Apple, so he put together the meeting with Steve Jobs and I, which took place in the Apple Boardroom. Steve Jobs was really a trip, and definitely a fascinating individual.

My Ninth Rolex
Yellow Gold Yacht-Master
Blue Sunray Dial

In 2007 I fell madly in love with the LV 50th Anniversary Submariner, and purchased one. I was so impressed with its design, and it make me think I should consider creating an online blog to share all of the information I had gained over the past quarter-century about Rolex.

At first, I was concerned about wether or not I could maintain a blog about a company that made six or so core watches, but I figured I would give it a try. 

The Rolex LV Submariner wrist shot below shows me riding on a vintage Klein mountain bike I had custom-made about a quarter of a century ago–speaking of timeless design.

My whole life, as a designer has really been about the pursuit of timeless design, which is why I love Rolex so much. Also, wearing a Rolex always made me feel grounded somehow–like I was somehow prepared for anything.

It is funny today, when I reflect back to when I was 16 years old, wearing my Rolex Submariner, and studying it for countless hours on end, I never would have imagined in my palmiest dreams that one day, more than 3 decades later, I would have ended-up researching and writing Rolex's definitive history–pretty crazy if you really think about it!?!?!

I usually don't speak very much on Jake's Rolex World about the price of Rolex watches, since I am much more interested in the design of the watches as well as the stories behind the people who wear them. I do have a fascinating observation to share with you, and that is the fact that out of all nine Rolex watches I have owned in my life, I got paid to wear them all. 

In other words, I made money by wearing Rolex watches. How so you ask? Rolex watches typically hold their depreciation value very well, and often times, due to price increases, appreciate, and go up in value. Every Rolex I have ever owned, I was able to sell for more than what I paid for them, and thus I not only was able to wear them for free, but actually got paid to do so. Most things in life depreciate over time, like computers and cars, but some things appreciate in value, and certainly Rolex watches have been one of them.

I just shared a bunch of my life story in the context of Rolex, and how and why I started publishing Jake's Rolex World, and now I would like to share a little bit more insight into how it evolved and what makes Jake's Rolex World unique.

Why I Publish Jake's Rolex World
An Inside The Fishbowl Perspective

Before I started Jake's Rolex World, every book and newspaper article and magazine article about Rolex just showed photos of the watches, which did not give the viewer a sense of scale and proportion. I remember seeing photos of vintage Rolex watches and thinking thy looked great, then I would see one in person, and they were so small, they looked like a little kids watch.

I never understood whey nobody ever focused on publishing photos of people wearing watches?

I think seeing photos of people wearing Rolex watches is much more interesting than just looking at photos of watches in a static, cold, sterile museum-like setting. So early on, I decided to make Jake's Rolex World highly people and photo-centric. 

I tried to make Jake's Rolex World like a combination between the original LIFE Magazine, coupled with National Geographic, and People Magazine, but revolving around EVERYTHING ROLEX.

Many of my heroes and positive role-models growing up wore Rolex, and I wanted to tell their Rolex stories, and at the same time I sought to dispel all the false myths that had been generated about Rolex, which I have done. 

Hans Wilsdorf

I was also naturally very curious to learn about Rolex's genesis, and I wanted to know what made Rolex tick, which I learned all came from Hans Wilsdorf. I actually became obsessed with learning and sharing everything I could about Hans Wilsforf, and ended up writing the definitive story on his life.

Mercedes Glietz

To my way of thinking, Hans Wilsdorf is the epitome of an ultra-succesful entrepreneur, and innovator. Not to mention, his marketing skills were second to none. Hans Wilsdorf was actually the first to incorporate using brand ambassadors for celebrity endorsements with Mercedes Glietze.  

Sir Malcolm Campell

I unearthed Sir Malcolm Campbell's Rolex History and wrote a super detailed article about his career achievements and Rolex history and I tied together the fact that he was responsible for putting Daytona Beach on the map, which ultimately led to Rolex developing the Rolex Daytona model.

I reached out to Rolex U.S.A, and Rolex in Geneva several times to see if they would be interested in collaborating with me to better aid me in sharing this history, but they ultimately did not seem to be very interested. Actually some of my biggest fans ran Rolex U.S.A., but without Rolex, Geneva there was no progress allowed.

In retrospect, I now understand the older generation that ran Rolex at the time, was afraid of the internet and bloggers. 

Rolex's lack of interest and cooperation did not really effect me. In my travels and research I realized there was so much amazing undocumented Rolex history, and I felt compelled to uncover it and share it. I felt like if I did not capture and share this amazing Rolex history it would be a crime against humanity, since it would likely be lost forever. Rolex's 20th Century history is second to none. So I decided to go it alone, and I ended up making tremendous progress.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Among other stories, I discovered the greatest explorer that ever lived, Jacqeues-Yves Cousteau not only wore a Rolex Submariner, but also helped test and develop the Submariner with Rolex in 1953.

Sir Edmund Hillary 
& Tenzing Norgay

I wrote an 8 part series on the history of the Rolex Explorer, named "The Complete History of Rolex Conquering Mount Everest" and I even located and was the first to publish photos of Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex Oyster he wore when he conquered Mount Everest.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I am extremely proud of all the Rolex history I have captured and shared over the past seven years, but my proudest Rolex story I have ever told is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his Rolex Datejust, which I highly recommend you read.

Brian Kelly

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren is also one of the most beautiful woman that has ever lived, and one of the most famous actresses in history. I documented how Sophia has kept the time of her life with Rolex.

Bill Cosby

I was also a fan of the 1960s TV Show named I Spy which Bill Cosby starred on, with Robert Kulp. I published quite a bit of details on this show and how both of them wore Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master Models.

Rolex Presidents
Rolex Leadership

President Dwight Eisenhower

I wrote an 11 Part series named "The Complete History Of the Rolex President" which I ended up working with the Eisenhower Presidential Library on. In that story I also located and showed photos of President Eisenhower's Rolex Datejust, as well as never before seen correspondence between Rolex and General Eisenhower.

President Lyndon Johnson

I have also written extensively about U.S. President Lyndon Johnson who was the first American President to wear a Rolex Day-Date, which quickly gained the nickname of The Rolex President.

President Gerald Ford

I documented how U.S. President Gerald Ford wore a yellow-gold Rolex Day-date, which I covered in photos.

President Ronald Reagan

In the story above, this section I spoke about how inspired I was by U.S. President Ronald Regan's timeless style, so it comes as no surprise Ronald Reagan wore a Rolex Datejust, which I discovered and showcased.

President Bill Clinton

I discovered U.S. President, Bill Clinton wears a Rolex Day-Date in Platinum, which is pictured below.

Rolex & The Right Stuff
Rolex Conquest Of Space

General Chuck Yeager
Air Force Test Pilot

William Knight
X-15 Test Pilot & NASA Austronaut

Scott Carpenter
Mercury 7 Astronaut & SEALAB Aquanat

As I previously mentioned, one of my specialties on Jake's Rolex World is busting false myths. The world previously believed that Omega was the brand of choice by NASA Apollo Astronauts, but that was not true. 

I learned this after I went digging deep into the NASA archives, because I couldn't understand why many of the NASA Astronauts who were formerly test pilots, would not have chosen to wear their Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master models to the Moon and back. I discovered and documented that many of the Apollo Astronauts did wear their Rolex GMT-Master watches to the moon.

James Lovell
Apollo 8 & 13

I discovered that NASA Apollo Astronaut James Lovell, who flew on Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 wore a Pepsi GMT-Master. In December of 1968, Apollo 8 became the first manned NASA Apollo mission to leave Earth's orbit, to circle the moon, then return safely to Earth. If you look a the photo below you see Jams Lovell wearing his Pepsi GMT-Master.

The more recent photo below was taken at the Kennedy Space Center and shows James Lovell still wearing his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master. This means he has been sporting his Rolex for close to 50 years.

Michael Collins
Apollo 11

The EAGLE Has Landed

Michael Collins is pictured below at NASA on April 16, 1969 during centrifuge training for Apollo 11. Three short months later he would fly into the history books as part of the first team to land on the Moon and return safely to earth. In the photo below NASA Astronaut Michael Collins is wearing a Rolex Turno-graph.

Jack Swigert
Apollo 13

Jack Swigert was part of the NASA Apollo 13 Mission that flew to the moon. He wore his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master to on that mission, and when he got back he gave it to Rolex, and Rolex congratulated him for his safe return to earth by giving him a yellow-gold Root Beer GMT-master as seen in the photo below. In the past, I have written extensively about Jack Swigert and his Rolex GMT-Master.

Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 14

Dr. Edgar Mitchell was part of the NASA Apollo 14 team that went to the moon. The photo below shows Dr. Mitchell preparing his two Rolex GMT-Master watches (One for each wrist) just before he took off for the moon on-board Apollo 14. Dr. Edgar Mitchell took the longest moonwalk in history, while wearing his Rolex GMT-Master.

Ronald Evans
Apollo 17

When I was doing research on Apollo 14, I wandered into the image below that shows the Apollo 14 crew having their traditional steak and eggs breakfast before they took off for the moon, and we also see the backup team crew members eating with them. 

When I saw this photo, after careful analysis in concluded that Ron Evans, who is pictured in the bottom right hand corner of the photo, was wearing what had to be a Rolex GMT-Master, and I published these findings at the time I discovered them many years ago.

Years later, from out of nowhere Ron Evans Rolex GMT-Master I discovered came up for auction, and ended up selling for $131,450. Ron Evans was on the backup crew for Apollo 14, and ended up going to the moon on Apollo 17, which was the last Apollo mission which in effect, ended the NASA moon program. His official NASA portrait is pictured below.

In the photo below we see Ronald Evans Rolex GMT-Master which went to the moon and back.
In the photo below we see evidence that when Commander Evans returned from the Moon he proudly hand-engraved the provenance on the back of this Pepsi Rolex GMT Master. He inscribed:


Apparently Commander Evans hand-engraved this without removing the Rolex Oyster bracelet. This evidence, along with all the other evidence in this story begs the question of, why were NASA Apollo Astronauts, wearing their Rolex GMT-Master watches to the moon and back? 

And since we are on the subject, what possessed Commander Evans to personally engrave this fact on the back of his Rolex? Was it due to the fact Apollo Astronauts trusted Rolex watches more than any other brand? Did it have to do with the fact they could keep time in multiple time zones? Or was it something else?

Eugene Cernan
Apollo 17

I also discovered the photo below of Ron Evans fellow crew member aboard Apollo 17, and if you look closely he is wearing a GMT-Master on the OUTSIDE of his space suit on his left forearm. You can click on the image to see more detail. These discoveries I made contradict the notion that Omega was the official watch of NASA. What does this all mean? Was NASA moving away from Omega, or was Rolex simply the choice of NASA Apollo Astronauts?

Dr. Leroy Chiao, PH.D
International Space Station Commander

Speaking of NASA astronauts who wear Rolex GMT-Master watches, I also published a story about Dr. Leroy Chiao, PH.D, who is one of the most decorated and experienced NASA Astronauts in history, and I even published a detailed podcast interview with him.

Athletes Wearing Rolex

Arthur Ashe

I documented and told the story about Arthur Ashe's amazing career and documented the fact that he only ever wore Rolex watches throughout his entire life, from the time he became a professional tennis player. Arthur Ashe remains to the day the only black tennis player to ever win Wimbledon.


Pele is considered to be the greatest soccer player in history, and I document how he has been wearing Rolex watches for 5 decades.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is considered to be the best basketball player that ever lived, and I document how he has worn Rolex watches his whole adult life.

James Bond Rolex History

Sir Sean Connery

I wrote and published a super-detailed 13 Part Series on "The Complete History Of James Bond Watches", which shares the entire story of the James Bond Rolex Watches.

George Lazenby

Sir Roger Moore

Roger Moore played James Bond and he also wore Rolex on and off screen, which I was able to document in great detail.

Pierce Brosnan

I discovered that Pierce Brosnan wore a Rolex, who also played James Bond.

Daniel Craig

I even discovered how current James Bond actor Daniel Craig is a die-hard Rolex collector.

Robert Redford

Robert Redford is one of the most successful and beloved actors in history. I did a special four part Profiles In Coolness series on his amazing career achievements, and showcased his Rolex Submariner.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman is one of the most successful actors and philanthropists in history, and I wrote an 8 part Profiles In Coolness Series on his incredible lifetime achievements, which included documenting in detail, his trademark exotic white dial Paul Newman Daytona.

Elvis Presley

I published a 4 part series on Elvis Presley's King Midas Rolex, which was previously undocumented.  I was fortunate to work with Graceland to document his Rolex and they took exclusive photos of his Rolex King Midas, which are very cool.

Pablo Picasso

One of the most interesting photos I ever published was of Pablo Picasso sporting his Rolex GMT Master, while wearing an American Indian headdress, as seen below.

Walt Disney

I discovered that Walt Disney wore a yellow gold Rolex Datejust, and ended-up writing a detailed story about his amazing career.

Sammy Davis Jr.

I told the story of legendary singer/dancer/actor/entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr., which was a big Rolex fan.

Fidel Castro

Many Communists wore Rolex watches and Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara wore Rolex Sports watches as tool watches when they overthrew Cuba, which I documented in detail.

Che Guevara

Sylvester Stallone

Legendary Hollywood actor, Sylvester Stallone is probably best known for his role as Rocky Balboa, and I chronicled his career achievements while wearing Rolex watches.

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges is an Academy Award Winning Actor with an amazing body of work behind him. Also, his father Lloyd Bridges, wore a Rolex Submariner which I chronicled in great detail.

Nick Nolte

I told the story about Nick Nolte, who starred in the seminal aquatic move, The DEEP in 1977, and chronicled him wearing his Rolex Submariner.

Jaclyn Smith

Jaclyn Smith is probably best know as being one of Charlie's Angels, and here beauty is eternal. I wrote an article about how Jaclyn Smith has kept the time of her life with Rolex.

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck has had an amazing career and I documented in detail how in his popular series, Magnum P.I. how he wore a Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master, and how he still wears Rolex today.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson is most famous for his role on Miami Vice, in which he wore several different Rolex models. I documented how to this day, Don Johnson still wears Rolex watches.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is one of the most successful comedians and actors in history, and I documented and showcased how Eddie has been wearing his Rolex Day-Date for three decades.

Clark Gable

Clark Gable is an Academy Award winning actor, who was named The King Of Hollywood. I documented his Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch, and documents photos of his Rolex watch.

Michael Caine

Michael Caine is an Academy Award winning actor who has an incredible career, and I detailed his love of Rolex watches.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando is considered by many to be the greatest actor that ever lived, and he certainly was amazing. He also kept the time of his entire life wearing Rolex watches.

Robert DeNiro

Robert DeNiro is pictured below wearing a Rolex Submariner in a photo from The Deer Hunter which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1976. Robert DeNiro has worn multiple Rolex models in his lifetime.

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman is one of the most successful actors in history, and has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor. I documented his Pepsi Rolex that he wore.

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford is one of the most sussesful movie actors of all time and his lifetime box office gross to day has exceeded $7 Billion. I documented how Harrison Ford has kept the time of his life with a Rolex Datejust.

Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm is the star of Mad Men, which is one of the most successful TV shows in history, and I documented how he wears a Rolex on and off screen. On a side note, Jon Hamm played my grandfather Jake Ehrlich Sr., in a recent movie named Howl

Ralph White

Ralph White is one of the greatest explorers in history, and he made significant contributions to finding and documenting the final resting ground of the Titanic. In the photo below Ralph is holding the Original Bell from the Titanic. It was a great pleasure sharing his amazing Rolex history.

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson is one of the first super-leggy-models to start wearing men's Rolex watches, and I document how she in here third decade of wearing Rolex today.

B.B. King

B.B. King is one of the greatest Blues Guitarist in history, and I documented his career in detail which showcases his yellow-gold Rolex Day-Date.

Brian Wilson

I was always a big fan of the Beach Boys, but after discovering that all the Beach Boys wear Rolex watches, I ended up writing a colossal story about their history, which was mind-blowing.

Miles Davis

I knew that Jazz legend and nine time Grammy winner,  Miles Davis wore a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, and wrote a detailed story about his career achievements.

John Mayer

I am a big fan of John Mayer, who is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter/guitarist. He is also a major watch nut, and big Rolex fanatic.

Dizzy Gillespie

I discovered and documented for the fist time, the fact that Jazz Legend and Trumpet Virtuoso, Dizzy Gillespie wore a Rolex GMT-Master from 1957 until he passed away in 1993.

Henri-Germain Delauze

Rolex history is sugar-coated with many highly successful explorers, and I was fortunate enough to interview and become pals with Henri-Germain Delauze who is the founder of COMEX. Not only did I work with Henri-Gemain to share his amazing lifetime career achievements, but I also got hime to take the exclusive photo below, which is the first where you can actually see him wearing his special Rolex COMEX watch.

James Cameron

James Cameron is one of the most successful movie directors of all time. He is most famous for directing Titanic and Avatar.

James Cameron is also one of the greatest Rolex explorers alive today, and I covered his amazing career achievements in great depth.

Inside Rolex
An Inside The Fishbowl Perspective

It took close to 31 years from the time I started wearing Rolex watches, and almost 7 years from the time I started publishing Jake's Rolex World Magazine, but Rolex finally invited me to visit and take a super-detailed tour of all four of their manufacturing facilities located in Switzerland. The photo below shows me standing in front of Rolex headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Later this week, I plan to publish my absolutely fascinating story, named, "Inside Rolex" which offers tremendous insight into what makes Rolex tick, so stay tuned...

Spirit Of Inquiry

In my Rolex travels, over the past 31 years, I had become aware of the Rolex Triple Date Moonphase models, which include the Reference 6062, and 8171, and made it my mission in life to document every single one I could. In my opinion, Rolex should have NEVER discontinued making these complicated beauties, and should bring them back to life. The ultra-rare Black dial with star indices Rolex Reference 6062 pictured below, in my opinion, is the most beautiful and exotic Rolex ever made.


In Rolex's entire history they only ever made watches for one other company beside themselves, which was for a company named Panerai, which made watches for the Italian Royal Navy Frogmen. I got so carried away with studying the Panerai/Rolex nexus, I ended up starting Jake's Panerai World, which I also regularly publish. Jake's Panerai World shares the entire history of Panerai in detail. 

The Panerai watch pictured above was the basis of the Rolex Submariner, as it was the very first Rolex made diving watch ever made in 1936, which included the patented Rolex "California Dial". As previously mentioned, notice how several of the dial elements, including the upside-down triangle and rectangular 3, 6 and 9 rectangular indices are the same as on a Rolex Submariner and GMT-Master, even to this day.

The Radiomir Panrerai model below was also made by Rolex and it features the same 8MM Brevet winding crown as found on early Rolex Submariner models from the early to mid 1950s.

In the photo below, we see the Rolex movement inside the Panerai watch. Rolex made the movement, case, and crown, but Panerai made their own sandwich dials with the super-simple classic 3, 6, 9, 12 dial.

In the close-up image below we see the 8MM Rolex Brevet Winding Crown with the Rolex Crown logo on it. Just to be clear this is a Panerai watch.

In the two photos below we see Rolex Reference 6154 models, that have Rolex Submariner like dials that were made in 1954. It is likely Rolex contemplated bringing these 47MM watches to life around the same time as the Submariner, but likely decided not to since they were so large and lacked the cool spinning bezel.

Even though Rolex never formally brought these Reference 6154 models to market, they are super cool. I would like nothing more than to see Panerai and Rolex collaborate again in the future, which would blow everybody's mind!!!


Andrew Luu said...

So much to take in!
Thanks for sharing this with us and thank you for

Also, please do more hour time podcasts!

David Aknin said...

What a great story Jake !!! One of the best i have read on your blog.
David, from Lyon France.

Chaz said...


I read your blog almost every day and can always feel the passion oozing out of you!
Please don't stop and keep pumping out as much as you can on the brand!
This year I'll go to my first ever Basel watch show and I am so stoked.
Though I have not been collecting Rolex as long as you have, I already have a decent collection of 4 very representative models that are quite iconic.
Wish you well in the future and LONG LIVE!!

FunintheFours said...

What a journey!
My own story doesn't stretch nearly as far back, but I would still be heartbroken if I had to sell my rolex. Its become such an integral part of my life.