What a strange last few years we’ve had as a watch community. Pandemic. The extreme scarcity of the most sought-after Rolex models. Omega updates the Speedmaster. Instagram draws in many more new people into the hobby. Mainstream fashion publications like GQ now have watch writers, including a column by Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer.
Photo by The Watch Company
Is the boom in interest in watches, especially America’s obsession with Rolex, a good or bad thing? Our gut, selfish reaction is that it’s a bad thing because we can’t just walk into a Rolex authorized dealer and select our desired piece out of the case and pay retail for it. We predict that the market will eventually settle down, and in the meanwhile it may be time to dip into other brands beyond the crown.
We know: Nothing quite feels like a steel Rolex sport model on the wrist, both is the actual feel as well as the feeling you get from wearing a watch that is recognized by many as the “luxury” watch to own. Not to even mention how well Rolex watches hold value with its glorious 914L steel cases just standing out in its category. In my opinion, as much as Omega has been, on paper, crushing Rolex with its technological innovations and quantity of new designs, Rolex just does what it does and continues to dominate the watch market.
Photo by Monochrome Watches
The aforementioned new Speedmaster is notable and perhaps the most significant now watch for 2021 for watch enthusiasts. But to the general public, it’s not going to outshine the look of the ceramic Daytona. We at Everest are admitted Rolex fanboy and fangirls, so we’re still going to hold out to land the Rolex on our lists. (Yes, we do have spreadsheets for our watch targets.)
Photo by Hodinkee
So perhaps the solution is to step away entirely from the $5,000 and up category and try one of the smaller brands or even some high-quality watches in the $1,000 range. The risk to try is low as these watches are relatively easy to resell on the watch forums at a slight loss, which we’ll accept as part of the hobby of experiencing different watches in the journey.
I did this with DOXA. I had always been drawn to the brand and had the chance to meet Rick Marei, the man responsible for reviving the brand in its modern incarnation. At Baselworld, he talked me through the lineup and was smitten by the substantial wrist presence and unique design. I purchased the DOXA 300 Sub in its Caribbean colorway (blue dial with orange accents) and enjoyed it very much. Ultimately, it wasn’t a keeper, but I’m glad that I scratched that itch. It was a really enriching, fun experience as a watch collector.
If you are looking for this type of experience, I suggest checking out our sister company MONTA’s lineup of course. Objectively speaking, these watches have fit and finishing that need to be experienced. I love my Oceanking and have been wearing it a lot this summer.
Christopher Ward has been recommended to me by my trusted watch friends and their designs appear to be well executed. The Seiko Prospex line has been embraced by two of my favorite watch writers, James Stacey of Hodinkee and Zach Weiss of Worn&Wound. The SPB143 (pictured above) is a throwback to the brand's past and is said to be a very satisfying watch for just above $1,000.
So perhaps this article is just my way of coping with my inability to get the Rolex I’ve been after, but trying a new watch in the meanwhile has helped me further appreciate my Submariner and Oyster Perpetual even more.
What are your favorite brands in the $2,000 and under range?
We also recommend simply changing your strap for a new look on your Rolex, so check our options here.