If you’re reading this you’re probably a Rolex fan. And because you’re a Rolex fan, you probably know that Rolex basically invented the tool watch genre when they introduced the Submariner in 1953. But you could argue that tool watches go back to the pilot or “Flieger” watches of the 1930s and 1940s. or possibly the specialized stop watches used for timing sporting events that predated the Fliegers. You could even argue that they go clear back to the 1700s and John Harrison’s development of the chronometer. Well yeah, but we’re really talking about the modern concept of a tool watch. The working watch. You know… the watch which, at the end of a long day, you don’t know whether to put on your nightstand or hang on the pegboard next to your crescent wrench in the garage.
So, given that, does Rolex’s present Oyster Collection still qualify? Does it consist of tool watches. Well, as with most things, it depends. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the precious metal bejeweled and bedazzled Presidents, Submariners, Datejusts, and GMTs don’t quite qualify. Yes, they may be able to take some water pressure, but you’d never dive with them. (Although I did fish with a guy in Colorado two years ago, who wore his gold Sub all day every day during some hard fishing. And his wife wore her platinum & diamond Lady Datejust while she dramatically out-fished him.) Bump them on the corner of your granite kitchen countertop and you’re going to spend some time with your nose to the floor, looking for loose diamonds. And mark that precious metal? My sense is that you’ll be looking for the polishing compound or taking it to your local jeweler for a fluff & buff.
But… Rolex definitely has some tools (no, not that kind) in its lineup. The basic Submariner 114060 in steel is one. The Batman GMT is another. And of course, the DeepSea. One might argue the SkyDweller qualifies, but there’s that precious metal again. All in all, the entire Oyster line has the technical specs for tool watches – water resistance, tough, durable, accurate and precise movements. So if I’m pressed to answer Yes or No, I’d give in and answer Yes. Now help me find the little diamond I just knocked out of the bezel on my President while I was changing brake pads on my car.
*special thanks to A Blog to Watch and 100% Rolex for some images!