Seems like every few weeks I come across another tuning house that’s working on current Rolex models, remanufacturing them into homages to the Rolexes of an earlier age.
Just today I discovered Blaken, a German company doing all sorts of work on Rolex. They’ve got several lines: the Collection, the Vintage Line, and Limited Editions. They also “cooperate” (team) with others to produce uniquely timepieces. And finally, they will customize watches within certain parameters for individuals. In fact, you can use their web app to customize your watch right on their website.
The majority of Blaken timepieces are DLC (diamond like coating) coated with a black finish said to be up to eight times harder than the 904L stainless steel that Rolex uses (which lies beneath the DLC, of course).
The Blaken line that’s most interesting to me is the Vintage Line. These are limited edition homages and most of the usual suspects are present. The 6358 Sub of James Bond and the Pan Am® GMT-Master (both are sans crown guards), two versions of the Paul Newman (panda and reverse), the Double Red Sea-Dweller, the Steve McQueen Explorer II, and the Explorer-dialed Sub.
There are no details on the exact base watches used, nor regarding the movements within, but one can assume these are modified modern versions of each watch. Most have hand-painted dials, and the watches have varying degrees of faithfulness to the originals. For instance, the big crown is missing from the Bond Sub, but the gild dial printing is there. The Pan Am® GMT-Master has an original vintage aluminum painted bezel and, like the Bond Sub, the crown guards have been milled away.
Some pieces, like the Explorer Sub, are limited to ten pieces worldwide while others, like the Pan Am® GMT-Master are apparently an open edition.
All in all, the Blaken Vintage Line is a most interesting line of vintage inspired watches, in case you can’t find an original within your budget. No pricing is available, but all watches come with a Blaken-backed 5 year warranty.
The tough part is choosing which one to order.
(Image credit, all images: Blaken GmbH)