I often hear people say, “Ugh, Rolex are so common” or “Everyone and their dog has a Rolex” and yes, while this may be quite true, could not the same thing be said of Porsche as well? They unwittingly share similarities that are quite obvious, but does this cheapen their products or values? I don’t believe it does. I remember a close friend of mine once asking me why I had bought a Rolex. And while the answer to this question may be different for everyone, there is one thing I am sure: the brand’s illustrious history.
When you look at it pragmatically, both Rolex and Porsche more or less share the same values. One uses Swiss precision while the other uses German precision, and both can pretty much be summed up in one word: superlative. Rolex sticks to what they do best by creating moderately affordable sports watches that are not too dissimilar from their predecessors. Yes, some of the timepieces may have gained a bit of weight and also look a little larger on the wrist, but all in all they are fundamentally the same. The same goes for the Porsche 911—while it may have also gained a bit of weight and gone from air-cooled to water-cooled, it still practically looks the same.
Perfection through continuity
Either Rolex or Porsche could have made some drastic changes over the years and done things a little differently, but they haven’t; they’ve stuck to their guns and continue to use a tried and tested formula which they know works. They have fine-tuned and honed their product so today they can give you the best of what they can offer—in the same similar package they created years ago.
Now, I know many vintage Rolex and Porsche owners may say, “Nope, they’re not the same as they used to make them, they’re too clean, too clinical and lack emotion”. And while this may be very true, the fact remains that the lineage is still ever-present, and this clinical approach has led to a more robust product that just keeps going. Porsches and Rolexes are so well designed today that they are just perfect for everyday use, and by and large this comes down to the constant refinement of the products.
I definitely know some people who look at Porsche’s and say, “Yeah, they’re nice but they’re pretty basic”. But it is this – for lack of a better word – simplicity that makes them so special, and Rolex also shares these likenesses. While it may appear to be such a simply designed timepiece, that is also precisely what makes it so popular and instantly recognisable.
While we are on the subject of basic design, it is these very same traits that make the Rolex instantly recognisable, but unlike the Porsche, it is these very same traits that make the Rolex arguably the most clandestinely copied timepiece in the world of watches. However, if you think about it this only further demonstrates how popular Rolex are. Still, just to be clear, I don’t condone anyone buying counterfeit timepieces, as this is a sure way to completely kill the experience.
What I also like about these two brands is they are relatively affordable and in all trueness offer good value for your money – unless you start to delve into the realms of the super rare vintage models from both companies, at which point prices can reach dizzying heights, causing mere mortals like myself to instantly contract severe episodes of vertigo. However, if you are looking at the cost of your basic Rolex Datejust or a basic Patek Philippe Calatrava, then you’ll notice the chasm in price difference. Which neatly brings me to my next point: resale value.
Again, a point which is very true for both brands is their resell value—if you look at what a Rolex Submariner 5513 and a comparable similar age 911 costs today, you’ll find they cost much more than they used – albeit with some inflation thrown in for good measure – and that you are looking at some good return on your investment. One could even say their value is as solid as the Swiss currency.
I guess the really cool thing about both of these brands is that they’re accessible; people in all walks of life can own them. You don’t have to be super-rich, and in my opinion that’s what makes these brands so successful. They fit into your lifestyle, they’re very versatile and are perfect for everyday use. Most of the higher-end wristwatches don’t have this utilitarianism structure about them, and again the same could be said of the 911. It has been so well crafted it can be used everyday for just about everything. Where most other supercars can’t be used everyday simply because they’re just not practical enough, the Porsche just excels in this department. Even strolling around central London I’ve seen baby seats strapped into the back of a 911—which is rather strange, but cool at the same time.
I know there are going to be a lot of people who look at the points I’ve made and see reasons why one should not own any of these brands, most notably their commonness. But the fact is that you don’t need to be a watch aficionado to know that Rolex is a quality product, and I’m pretty sure that if you asked this very same person who knows very little about watches what an Audemars Piquet is, they’d probably glare at you with a very strange look and say “who?” And again, the very same could be said for a comparable Porsche 911 or a Pagani Huarya (pronounced: why-era).
I do think that when you take time to really have a good in-depth look at both Rolex and Porsche, you’ll find that they’ve created a product worthy of its popularity and which I don’t see dwindling anytime soon. However, it is the collectors who have looked deeply into these brands and their products and who have found one, two or even more of their products that resonate with them who will give birth to the next generation of Rolex and Porsche collectors. So after all that has been said, is a Rolex a Porsche on your wrist? I think it just may be.