How Far Would You Go To Personalize Your Rolex?

Artisans de Geneve Rolex 116508

Artisans de Geneve have done it again. The Geneva-based watchmaking workshop, becoming more and more known within the watch industry for their modification of watches for clients (including modifications of some of the most iconic Rolex models), have partnered up with globally recognized singer/songwriter Adam Levine for a watch that matches the celerity's unique style. We first got a look at this masterpiece during the most recent episode of Talking Watches, where it is quite prominent on Adam’s wrist as he explains his passion for watches and the collection in front of him. Almost immediately Instagram was inundated with screenshots of this customized 116508 Rolex, sending many watch collectors, including myself down a rabbit hole to discover the story behind the Neon Daytona.

Artisans de Geneve Rolex 116508

Image Source Artisans de Geneve

According to the Artisans de Geneve website, Adam Levine approached their team to personalize his gold 116508 Daytona (a dream watch as it was for so many of us). His desire was to take that lifelong companion that contained so many memories and stories and turn it into something unique that would reflect his journey, music, and life. Adam’s initial requests were to have something that fully glows in the dark, is vintage-inspired with modern twists, has color, and includes an open-worked rotor. The end result - NEON. 

Living up to every bit of its name possible, the Neon is quite possibly the most luminescent Rolex ever made. Taking lume to a whole other level, not only will you find neon green luminescence on the hands and indices, but also the full dial plate and the bezel. It is really a lume-lovers dream watch! One of the more interesting features of the dial (other than the fact that it was crafted from a single block of natural sapphire) is that it is partially skeletonized. Adam and the Artisans team transformed the entire 4130 movement so that the beauty of the movement could be appreciated via the open-worked subdials on the watch dial as well as through the exhibition caseback. A specially crafted “X” shaped luminescent insert was also added onto the rotor of the movement to tie the Neon theme into the back of the watch as well.

Lume Shot of the Artisans de Geneve Rolex 116508

Image Source Artisans de Geneve

In my opinion, the watch does exactly what it was designed to do - bringing an iconic vintage watch and making it modern and unique. It is both innovation and tradition, for a price of CHF 35,530! *bear in mind that is only the customization price

Rotor of the Artisans de Geneve Rolex 116508

Image Source Artisans de Geneve

I realize customized timepieces aren’t for everyone. And the topic, as well as the work that Artisans de Geneve do is often highly debated. Many watch purists find it to be blasphemous to modify vintage and iconic watches to this extent. And part of me understands that. I recently finished the series Downey’s Dream Cars in which Robert Downey Jr takes iconic vintage (and a few more modern) cars from his collection and turns them eco-friendly, leading to his own bit of criticism. And I’ll even admit, as a huge Corvette fan, I cringed a bit at the episode where Downey took his 1963 Corvette Stingray and converted it to an electric vehicle - which I imagine is how most watch collectors feel about these sorts of projects. But I think there’s something pure about them as well that I hope we can all appreciate. 

Cut out dial for the Rolex 116508 created by Artisans de Geneve

Image Source Artisans de Geneve

Hear me out. Watches are incredible. They contain our life stories and memories (both the good and the bad) even long after we are gone. But they are our stories to tell, in our way. At the end of the day, a watch is just an accessory. And just like any other accessory we wear, we want it to make a statement about us. Who we are. What we are about. Our style. Like everything else, we all have a different style and that’s what makes everyday life so fun! It’s why we love to see colorful new dials from our favorite brands. Or a new dial texture and pattern that has us running to our local dealers so that we can get a glimpse. Because the world would be boring if we all wore the same black dial watches that so many of us started this journey with on our wrists. 

I say have fun! They’re just watches at the end of the day (don’t tell my watches I said that though). Personalize your watch as much as you want - or don’t. If you’re looking for a bit of a change in your everyday watch, start with a new strap. Throw in some new texture, material, or color that you would usually shy away from, and have fun with it! Adam put it pretty well in saying “A watch is the embodiment of all your achievements. It’s a very personal object. I like classic watches, but I also want mine to be unique: it was very important for me to have something that resembles me, a unique piece that stands out from all the others.”

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