In a recent article on Hodinkee, author James Stacey tackles the question: What really is a beater watch?
It’s a great question as it’s a term that is widely used by watch enthusiasts, but does it mean that it’s a watch that you can use in rough and rugged activities, or does it just mean a watch that you don’t have to worry about while wearing?
Stacey’s take: “In my book, ‘beater’ is a simple shorthand for a casually endearing watch that manages some measure of enthusiast credibility without any additional baggage. Beaters function as a unit of my watch enthusiasm while also giving me a break from the concerns that come with wearing watches that are subjectively precious, fussy, or otherwise demand protection, even from life’s most casual hazards.”
Photo by Millenary Watches
We agree with his take. In fact, we believe that no material object should be treated too preciously. Rolex watches, after all, should be worn and enjoyed and not worried about. It should be a fun, stress-free experience to wear one a lot.
So, yes, we believe that your Rolex can be a beater watch. It’s also OK to have some Rolex watches that you only wear for certain occasions too. We’re huge Rolex fans, naturally, so we encourage you to use one as a beater.
Photo by Classic 390
For me it’s my Submariner 14060M. It’s been serviced by Rolex so it’s water-resistance rating is good to go. I have it insured. And the movement and overall construction is pretty bombproof.
That said, there’s no way that I would abuse this watch or unnecessarily subject it to conditions that might damage it. I do wear my Sub without worries. If something goes wrong it can be handled during a service or maintenance visit. In fact, one day the clickspring in my bezel stopped working. Rolex actually fixed it for free and it came back with an improved tighter bezel action.
Also, some watches look really cool with genuine wear. I witness people paying top dollar for scratched up vintage watches. Why pay that much when you can earn your own wear marks? After all, your modern watch will be vintage some day.
Photo from Rolex Forums
But your beater Rolex does not have to be a diver or more rugged sport watch. One could argue that all steel Rolex models with an Oyster case are sport watches, but let’s just say we love seeing Datejusts and 34mm Air-Kings being worn daily without care.
Even with the difficulty of getting a new steel Rolex these days, we can all learn to appreciate and enjoy the Rolex watches we already have. Embracing one as your beater watch just means that you are getting the maximum pleasure from your investment.