OK… in my last article the other day, I asked if it was reality or if it was me. Now I think it’s reality. There really are more and more boutique “tuning houses” modifying and customizing Rolex watches.
I mentioned a few in that last post. And we’ve discussed this next one before, back on February 9. At that point, I thought Les Artisans de Genève might be a one-trick pony. But a quick look at their website shows that they’re reimagining several famous vintage Rollies in addition to the 6263 homage we discussed then.
Indeed, there are two reinterpretations of the 6263. There’s also a tribute to the Milgauss 1019, and another Daytona tribute, this time to the 6241.
Finally, there’s a limited edition series that’s an interesting take on a modern Submariner with an Explorer-style dial, entitled the Rough-Matt Carbon. The “rough-matt” comes from the matte finish applied to much of the case, bracelet and hands. And the “carbon” comes from the dial material.
Rough Matt Carbon - Les Artisans de Genève
The 6241, on the other hand, is a very Paul-Newman-looking Paul Newman homage. The crown guards have been milled away, and the homage is complete with pump pushers, Bakelite bezel, red seconds chapter ring around the dial edge, and restyled hands all around. But the beating heart beneath all is the glorious calibre 4130.
Daytona Paul Newman - Les Artisans de Genève
Still… those not versed in the nuances of the original 6241 may get fooled with this one. The give-away is the display case back which reveals the 22ct gold rotor and balance bridge.
Then there’s the 1019 Milgauss tribute. There are fewer mods here than on the other pieces. The dial’s been redesigned, the hands are now throw-backs to the originals, and the case and bracelet have been selectively re-polished. No display case back here. All you’d see is the soft iron Faraday cage.
Tribute to Milgauss 1019 - Les Artisans de Genève[/caption] And so it seems that, if Rolex is not willing to release new versions of their venerable designs that scratch vintage watch lovers' itches, aftermarket boutiques are more than happy to take up the challenge.
(Image credit for all images: Les Artisans de Genève)
- Ed Estlow