Friday, September 27, 2019

Real World Reviews: All-Electric Porsche Taycan


Real World Reviews

Porsche Taycan


Earlier this month I published a detailed story on the launch of the all-new, all-electric Porsche Taycan, and today I am excited to share real-world reviews:


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rolex Mythbusting.: The Mysterious Case of The Blueberry GMT-Master?



...Rolex Mythbusting...


The Mysterious Case of 



The Blueberry GMT-Master?


Separating Fact from Fiction

My readers know I specialize in separating-fact-from-fiction when it comes to Rolex history as I have busted pretty-much every falsely perpetuate myth ever put forth. If you're familiar with my series named "The Complete History of Rolex Mythbusting" you know I have done so on 23 major false myths, and I have done ever more that haven't made it into that story.


Hodinkee recently released a superb interview between Benjamin Clymer and actor Daniel Dae Kim which can be seen above. This video has created much controversy around a certain Rolex model which was nicknamed "The Blueberry GMT". 

If you fast-forward to the 5:05 mare in this video, we see Daniel Kim unintentionally put Ben on the spot by almost naively asking:

Daniel: "I recently heard a story about blueberries that I  would love for you to confirm?"

The screen shot below captures this really awkward moment which I believe caught Ben off-guard. I can relate to Ben in this confusing moment as I have been asked similar questions in the past where I have been positioned as this ultimate expert on a subject, and somebody asks me a question that I don't know the exact answer to. Of course I don't want to look stupid, but I have to answer the question. In this image you can see Ben (and yes I am speculating) saying "Oh no! He didn't just ask that!?!!" Ben sees this coming @ 5:14, and responds by looking away and laughing.. 




Daniel continues: I heard that there are no such thing as an original 'Blueberry' from Rolex?"

Ben responds: "That is a—nobody knows for sure. There's been a few guests on our series here. At least two—actually three that own blueberry bezel GMT's. One of them was told by Rolex U.S.A. that his blueberry bezel was not...correct. An assumption was made that all blueberry bezels were not correct!? (up-talking emphasis at end) 

I have heard that as well from some pretty reputable sources. I also know some pretty reputable sources that sell blueberry watches all the time. To be totally honest with you, and I'm not—this is not a copout, I really don't know. I believe they are real. I believe Rolex made them, but I think there are a lot of fakes ones out there. 

Daniel: No doubt. This watch (Points to the Blueberry GMT on his wrist) tends to be Frankensteined more than just about any other.


Ben: "I mean you are paying a significant premium for a bezel. Right? And I think some people get really into that, and some people don't. Bezels aren't signed, which a lot of people may or may not not know. So there is no real signature on a bezel. So it's pretty easy to fake that. There is only a certain accepted serial range where a blueberry could be? (up-talking) So if you have taken the time to research that, my guess is that you are probably O.K.? (up-talking) But you know when buy something like this, I'd really want to make sure it is from the best sources possible.



It's a Fugazi! Isn't it?




Today a reader wrote-in via email and asked: 

Hi Jake,

My name is Ary and I’m a big fan of your blogs, especially your Rolex blog.  I’ve been a collector myself for over 20 years and my love of all timepieces began when I was around 11 and held a Seiko my dad was given as a gift and I got my first watch, a Swatch “Calypso”. (No surprise I’d end being huge Cousteau fan lol) 

I just read a great article on Hodinkee https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/talking-watches-daniel-dae-kim and saw a Rolex “Blueberry” GMT. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve never heard of this version before!?! 

I immediately went onto your site to see what I’ve been missing only to find that you’ve never posted about it!  Being that you are the “Grand Poobah” of all things Rolex, I was wondering if you could share any insights you may have about this rare watch and if you were planning on posting anything about it. 

Looking forward to see what you have in store next for us fellow enthusiasts!  Your eloquent words and fantastic pics keep us wanting for more!  

All the best
Ary

So to Ary's point that he could not find anything on RolexMagazine.com and that I have never posted anything about it, I will point out that is not true. On the right side of Jake's Rolex World, there is an enormous list of labels and one of them is "Blueberry GMT".




Controversy


Just to be crystal-clear the issue at hand, is that 'Blueberry GMT" models sell for a huge $$$$ premium over a normal or standard spec GMT-Master. 

The challenge is that an all Aftermarket blue bezel can be purchased for $10, and repainting a 24 hour hand in all red is no big deal. We see this with all the customized Rolex watches today. If you examine many of the watches that are customized by companies like Bamford, the level of detail and craftsmanship easily matches Rolex quality, especially on a Reference 1675 that was made 30 years ago.

If the Blueberry models are real, then they would be rare and arguably worth the premium, but on the flip-side of the coin, if they are all fake if you assume Rolex never made such a model, then a lot of money would have changed hands unfairly.

Back in 2008, I chronicled this example of a Cartier dial "Blueberry GTM" [Reference 1675] on a Jubilee bracelet, which was sold at auction by Christies for $35,754.



I must admit that at the time when I saw this I assumed it was completely legit as it had been sold by Christies. In other words, I assumed it was the real deal.

Real or Fake? As I can imagine Jerry Seinfeld would ask "So what is the deal with Blueberry GMT Master watches!?!! Are they real or not?"




Separating Fact from Fiction

'Just The Facts Ma'am"


To the best of my knowledge Rolex NEVER has published a catalog, brochure or magazine add that showcased a Rolex GMT-Master with an all blue bezel insert. 

And we learned from Benjamin Clymer that Rolex U.S.A. made a bold declarative statement by saying Rolex never made such a watch.

Daniel Dae Kim's controversial 'Blueberry' Rolex GMT-Master is pictured below. Notice it not only has an all blue bezel insert, but another unique feature and that is a 24 hour hand that is all red. This is unusual as Rolex has only ever made GMT 24 hour hands that have a red stalk/arm on the Reference 1675, with a stainless steel arrow head?



Some experts say Rolex never made such a watch, but they offered an all blue bezel insert as a service bezel. I have also heard the same thing about the 'all-red' 24-hour hand. 

I know a Rolex collector and expert I would say is the equivalent of a 7th degree black belt in Rolex collecting, and he said:

"I don't believe Rolex ever made a GMT-Master with an all blue bezel insert! I NEVER saw a GMT with an all blue bezel before 1999 at any watch show, market or auction. It's Bullshit!"

Another very high-ranking collector/expert said:

"There has never been one born out of the (Rolex) factory with an all blue bezel. They were all discovered from various service centers. The UAE watch is put together and the  military claim is Bullshit."

Update on September 22, 2019: On our @Rolex.Magazine Instagram page, Paul David Maudsley who previously was a watch expert for Phillips & Bonhams Auction Houses chimed in and said:

"I can only say in my 20+ years in the acution world, sourcing and selling over 100 + GMT Ref:1675's, all mostly from original owners, not ONE had the blue bezel in question."

So what about the Blueberry GMT pictured below with the Arab dial? The myth perpetuated behind this one is that Rolex made special GMT-Master models with blue dials for the UAE (United Arab Emirates) Air Force, or something like that. 




Speaking of the UAE, Rolex watches have always been very popular in the Emirites state. In the photo below, discovered by Nick Gould, we see Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1965 rockin his Rolex Day-Date as he sits with his family while having a cup of tea near Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayad ruled Abu Dhabi for more than 30 years, and the photo below was taken just before he took over as the Ruler of UAE.




In conclusion, it appears Rolex never made or offered a 'Blueberry' GMT-Master for the retail market. This would suggest the 'Blueberry GMT' pictured below with the Cartier signed designation on the dial is a fantasy/frakenberry watch, as is the UAE watch.



Just as Ben Clymer said, "I don't really know". Over the past 12 years I have heard all sorts of rumors about this watch. 

In trying to logically deduce the truth, I ask the question, why would Rolex make an all blue service bezel? What purpose would it serve? It just doesn't make sense to me. 

Also, I am NOT aware of any time in Rolex's history that they made a watch with certain parts and then offered a later service part that was a retrofit that did not closely match the original.






Inside Baseball

I realize I may at this point be getting a little too Inside Baseball (i.e., Inside Rolex), but hey, that's what I do on Jake's Rolex World! I was speaking with Jose from Perzescope.com about this, and we discussed how some watch dealers had suggested that 'Rolex service centers', and in particular the one in New York somehow discovered all blue 'Blueberry' GMT bezel inserts in their inventory. Jose went out on a limb and made an interesting point I never would have thought of. He mentioned how it is a fact that Pepsi Bezels on 1675 models are known for having strong color shifts, particularly on the red section where they would turn from red to fuchsia, or to a really faint red as seen below: 




Today, these watches with faded/patina bezel inserts are considered to be desirable, but it was NOT always that way. In other words, from Rolex's inception in 1905 until about a hundred years later, everybody wanted their old Rolex watches to look as close to new as possible. Rolex is still this way, which explains why they switched over from anodizing bezel inserts which would fade over time, to making them ceramic, as ceramic never fades. Also, the whole Tropical dial thing is relatively new where dials look like they are rusted are more desirable as they take on a more antique vibe.

Anyway, Jose said if the rumor was true that all blue bezel inserts were discovered in Rolex's service parts inventory in New York, maybe at some point customers had complained that their Pepsi inserts had the red fade too much, so Rolex experimented with making all blue replacement bezels, that ended up not being popular, which might explain why they may have been discovered in service part bins—assuming this is even true. I realize Jose and I just went out on a limb with this speculation, but we were just trying to figure out why Rolex would have ever made such a replacement bezel in all blue.

Hopefully one day we will be able to answer this question definitively, so today I can only conclude that the Mysterious and now Mythical Blueberry GMT-Master models sure do look cool. In the future I will reach out to Rolex and try to get an official answer on this mysterious issue :-)




One More Thing

Back in 2008, I wrote an article about how I had discovered what was purported to potentially be a stainless steel Rolex Submariner with a blue bezel and matching blue sunburst dial as seen below. Notice the dial features nipple indices. Assuming this is a real prototype, how do we know it would be stainless steel and not white gold? Because Rolex ONLY ever made gold submariner models with solid end links. The Reference 1680, which came out in 1967-1968 which was the first gold Submariner model was also the very first Rolex sports model to feature solid end links.



Back in 2008, Rolex introduced a white gold Rolex Submariner with a blue bezel and matching blue dial as we see from this 2008 Basel world press shot from Rolex. This watch was nicknamed "The Smurf". 




On December 5, 2011 I published the following article about how somebody had modified a stainless steel Rolex Submariner with a bezel from a white gold Submariner:


Update on December 7th, 2011: It is amazing how many people have mentioned to me that they love the look of this combination! My girlfriend saw it and freaked out and said, "I love that watch! That's the watch I want!!!" Since she saw the photos first without realizing what she was looking at, I had to tell her it was not available, at least off-the-shelf that way. Hopefully Rolex will offer this option in the future, because it looks great!!!!




A True Blue Sub
A Beautiful Ceramic Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner 
Customized–Kinda? Sorta, Maybe!?!

There are several schools of thought when it comes to customizing Rolex watches. First, there are the purists who say you shouldn't modify a stock Rolex and if you do, you end up with a Frankenstein watch. There is another school of thought that believes it does not matter what you do to a Rolex as long as you make it look better. 

What does Rolex think about customizing Rolex watches? I don't know for certain, but from what I have put together, they frown upon it. Some might argue Rolex should not really care, because the customizer has to pay for a real Rolex.

There is a third school of thought, which has a lot of grey area. It is an option where somebody takes a 100% genuine Rolex watch, and a part or parts from another model and combine them together. A really good example of this would be Xelor's Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner which he modified by putting a bezel and bezel insert from a white gold Rolex Submariner.


Photo Credit: sBmRnR

An all-new stainless steel Ceramic Rolex Submariner retails for around $8,000 and a White Gold Rolex Submariner retails for around $34,000. Of course, the standard black bezel stainless steel Submariner comes with a black dial, and the white gold Submariner comes with a blue bezel with a matching blue dial. 

So Xelor, got the bright idea to somehow purchase the blue bezel from the white gold Submariner and put it on a standard Submariner and in my opinion it looks stunningly great!!! So if you want to obtain a blue bezel insert like Xelor did, how do you do so? I don't know? In the United States, as I understand it, Rolex does not allow you to purchase parts without trading-in the watch part that is being replaced. 

I have heard that in Europe it is easier to purchase just parts, but never having done so, I honestly don't know. I just hope Rolex sees how beautiful this combination is, and eventually offers it, because it looks great!!!


Photo Credit: sBmRnR

Friday, September 20, 2019

Pepsi in Winter Wonderland


...Wrist Shot Of The Day...

Quentin's Ice-Cold Pepsi GMT


We are heading into Fall in the Northern Hemisphere again, and soon we should see some snow. So I thought it would make sense to take a look at Quentin's vintage Pepsi GMT-Master.



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Letter To The Editor From The Netherlands



Letter To The Editor

From The Netherlands


I recently received this email from a reader in the Netherlands who wrote in to ask a quesiton about the Air King, and share some information and photos of his favorite films which features style icon, Toni Serviilo:

Dear Jake,

I admire your extensive blog on Rolex watches. Great photo’s and articles. I especially liked the entry on the airking, since I own a 114200 blue dial myself. However, there is no information with regard to Rolex dropping the “Air-King” designation on the dial at some point. My airking is form 2010, and still has it, but later 114200 watches are “just” Oyster Perpetuals, without any difference in the specs of the watch itself. Do you know an explanation for this?

Anyway, On of my favorite films is La Grande Bellezza (or “the great beauty”) Which won an Oscar for best foreign language movie.


The main character Jep Gambardella (Toni Serviilo)  is an absolute style icon, and he wears a steel Rolex Oyster. See attached pictures. It looks like an airking.

Kind regards,

Cees de Boer
from The Netherlands







Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Spruce Meadows 'Masters'


Spruce Meadows 'Masters'

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Porsche Taycan World Premiere






Porsche Taycan 



World Premiere

I have been publishing a lot of Porsche related stories recently including my Ferdinand Piƫch story, as well as yesterdays Japanese Tudor Submariner story so I thought it would be great to take a look at the world premier of the Porsche Taycan.


The Porsche Taycan is the very first real Tesla competitor to come to market, so kudos to Porsche for stepping into the future. 




The Porsche Taycan is available in a number of different colors including the Mamba Green Metallic pictured below, which I think looks kind of cool :-)



The Porsche Taycan is the first all electric vehicle to exceed the performance of the range of the original Tesla Model S as it was introduced in 2013. I first covered the Taycan when it was named "The Mission E" back in 2018.



Mark Webber who is legendary Formula 1 racer is a Rolex Brand Ambassador and he hosts the Porsche Taycan World Premier as we see above and notice he is wearing a Daytona. 


Below is a video I posted of Mark test driving the Mission E back in 2018.


My favorite feature of the Taycan is the option that offers 4-wheel steering. In other words, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction as the front wheels which radically increases the turning radius.




Speaking of Porsche firsts, Top Gear recently published this video of the very first Porsche ever made from 1939, which is crazy fascinating!!!




Updates

There have been some fascinating responses to the Porsche Taycan, which I will continue updating below. In particular it's really funny how Elon Must tweeted in response to Porsche's Taycan by pointing out that Porsche used highly inaccurate language to name the higher end Taycan models by calling the "Turbo Taycan" when in reality they are 100% Electric and have no turbo whatsoever :-) Using the word 'Turbo' do describe an electric car would be like referring to chocolate as pasta.


I will say I am not a treehugger, but I am adamantly opposed to ICE card (Internal Combustion Engines) as they are HIGHLY Toxic!!! It is amazing to me that most people completely ignore this FACT. Elon Musk's response on Tweet today perfectly sums it up:








Conclusion

So what's my take on the Taycan? I think the Taycan is REALLY COOL, BEAUTIFUL and STYLISH and from what I see I like it a lot! Do I LOVE it like the Tesla Model S? I don't think so, but I won't know for certain until I spend some time driving one at which point I will write a review. That being said, Congratulations to Porsche for bringing this masterpiece to life!!! Also, now that Tesla has some real competition to the Model S, I hope the introduction of the Taycan pushes Tesla to improve their game in every way...


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Scott Crossfield: A New Chapter In the History of the GMT-Master has been discovered....







The Complete History Of The Rolex GMT-Master



Rolex X-Files

...Rolex Supersonic Coolness...

Scott Crossfield
1921-2006

Record Setting U.S. Navy Test-Pilot


The Right Stuff

First Pilot To Fly @ 
Twice The Speed Of Sound 

Rolex GMT-Master


With this story, another previously undocumented chapter is being added to The Complete History of The Rolex GMT-Master.  I have been working on this story for many years, and I am so excited to finally publish it. This story is of particular significance as it provides yet another previously missing piece of the Rolex GMT-Master History Puzzle in the role it played in Rolex's Conquest of Space, as we see on Scott Crossfield's wrist in the photo below.



Scott Crossfield was an American Naval Officer and test pilot and was the first of twelve pilots who would fly the North American X-15, which was an experimental spaceship that was cooperated by NASA and The United States Air Force.  In 1953 he became the first to fly at twice the speed of sound. Ironically he passed away in a crash at the age of 84.




Albert Scott Crossfield was born on October 2, 1921 in Berkeley, California. Scott served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot and flight instructor during World War II. After the war he attended the University of Washington's where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1949, and in 1950 gained his Master degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Scott Crossfield was the first of twelve X-15 Pilots and  In the photo below we see Scott standing in front of his X-15.



Scott Crossfield joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight station as an aeronautical research pilot. NACA was later renamed 'NASA Dryden Research Center', and today is named the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

Crossfield flew many different experimental aircraft in tests at Edwards Air Force Base including the X-1, XF-92, X-4, X-5, Douglass D-558-I Skystreak as well as the Douglass D-558-II Skyrocket.




Chuck Yeager

In order to understand Scott Crossfield's achievements let's put things in perspective by taking a look at the context surrounding his world. We must begin by looking at General Chuck Yeager who was the first man to break the speed of sound barrier in 1947.



The photo below shows Chuck Yeager in his X-1 Airplane when he flew into the history books as the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, and he was wearing his trusted Rolex Oyster when he set this remarkable record.



The photo above is cropped from the photo below which is mind-boggling if you click on it and check out the detail. It was taken in 1947 and is a photo of Chuck Yeager haulin' in his X-1.



Chuck Yeager was a big Rolex fan and he sent in the photo below to Rolex in Geneva in 1954.






First Pilot to Break Break Mach 2





Scott Crossfield was the first pilot fo break the record for flying at twice the speed of sound back in 1953. 




In the photo below we see Scott Crossfield with the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket (front, center), with his support team: two North American F-86 Sabre chase planes and the Boeing P2B-1S Super-fortress mothership, at the NACA High Speed Flight Station, Edwards Air Force Base, California, 1 January 1954. 




In the zoomed in version below I think I see Chuck Yeager is standing closest to the Skyrocket. You are seeing the precursor to NASA which was NACA.





Scott Crossfield is picture below on November 20, 1953 just after he flew his Douglass D-558-2 Skyrocket into the history books when he flew it twice as fast as the speed of sound.




The video footage below showcases Scott Crossfield record setting Skyrocket flight in 1953.










North American X-15

As previously mentioned, Scott Crossfield was the first of a dozen X-15 test pilots. He was also the Chief Engineering test pilot for North American and played a huge role in the development and design of the North American X-15. Crossfield flew a total of 14 of 199 total X-15 flight tests and he reached Mach 3 (2,290 MPH). 



"I am an aeronautical engineer, an aerodynamicist and a designer. My flying was only primarily because I felt it was essential to designing and building better airplanes for pilots to fly."

—Scott Crossfield


Scott Crossfield designed the X-15 along with many of its innovative features. He first flew the X-15 on June 8, 1959, which featured an unpowered glide from 37,550 feet and he then landed it successfully. The X-15 was unusual as it featured skis in the back as part of the landing gear.





In the next photo below discovered by Nick Gould we see Scott Crossfield attending an event for the Society of Experimental Test Pilots on October 8, 1959, and notice he is wearing his Rolex GMT-Master.







In the video below shot on September 17, 1959 we witness Scott Crossfield's second X-15 flight, which was the first powered X-15 test flight.





Scott Crossfield's Number 2 X-15 is pictured above and below on November 5, 1959 after it cracked in half during an emergency landing at Rosamond Dry Lake, which is approximately 10 miles (16 Kilometers) southwest of Edwards Air Force Base in California. At the time of the crash the X-15 was still partially loaded with propellant fuel. 







Neil Armstrong

Scott Crossfield is pictured below on February 9, 1961 at Edwards Air Force Base with two other famous X-15 pilots: On the far right we see noted X-15 pilot Neil Armstrong who would go on to become the first man to set foot on the moon aboard Apollo 11, in 1969. In the middle we see U.S. Air Force Pilot, Major Robert White. Just 2 days prior, on February 7, 1961 Robert White has set a new record in the X-15 of 2,275 MPH.






The next two photos show Scott Crossfield recieving the Harmon Trophy Award from President Kennedy at the White House in Washington D.C. on December 1st, 1961.




Below is a U.S. Air Force 1960 X-15 Annual Report video presentation given by Scott Crossfield on September 15, 1961 which is absolutely fascinating. Notice Scott Crossfield is wearing Rolex GMT-Master in the video presentation!!!  









Pete Knight

The second man we need to explore in order to best understand Scott Crossfield's achievements is X-15 Pilot, William J. "Pete" Knight who is pictured below in front on an X-15.



I first became aware of Scott Crossfield more than a decade ago when I was researching my seminal story I wrote on Supersonic Speed King, Pete Knight. Notice in the third paragraph of the letter below, Rolex U.S.A. President, Rene Paul Dentan mentioned Scott Crossfield.



Former Rolex U.S.A. President, Rene-Paul Dentan is pictured below in a photo from 1980, which appears courtesy of S3C Private Collection.






Pete Knight to this day holds the speed record for level flight when he flew into the history books in 1967 when he piloted his X-15 at Mach 6.7. Pete Knight's X-15 he set the all-time record in was painted with a special abatement white to keep the spaceship cooler when it reentered the earths atmosphere. The X-15 was the precursor to the Space Shuttle.





Pete Knight wore his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master when he set the all-time speed record for level flight, and we see it pictured above in an exclusive photo. Today, this watch resides in Rolex's Private Museum Collection in Geneva. Pete Knight is pictured below in his later years wearing his beloved Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master which he wore his entire life.




The Right Stuff


Scott Crossfield was one of the key characters in the 1983 movie, The Right Stuff and was played by Scott Wilson.



Special Thanks to Nick Gould (@niccoloy) and Philip from Moon Watch Universe for their invaluable contributions to this story.