I simply cannot wear my Rolexes anymore-and don’t much want to either.

From the movie Heat, 1995. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) plays a policeman chasing a sophisticated bank robber Neil Macauley (Robert Deniro) and they sit down face to face in a restaurant in a historic movie scene. Vincent and Neil are referring to their chosen professions which they love but have also contributed to their subsequent downfalls.

Vincent Hanna:
I don’t know how to do anything else.

Neil McCauley:
Neither do I.

Vincent Hanna:
I don’t much want to either.

Neil McCauley:
Neither do I.

Ever since I purchased my Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a in the spring of Covid20, I alluded to how light, supple and sleek it wore compared to modern Rolexes, particularly the maxi supercase. Well, I was reluctant to jab at the mighty brand for fear of never getting another piece from the golden crown. But now the dilemma has become a real all or none phenomenon and I simply cannot wear any of them (I only own models with the supercase). I say this with trepidation in this day, but I must be honest with my personal and simple truth.

Let me start by saying that they are great watches. They are robust. They are super accurate. They are elegant and pretty enough. They retain their value and they are iconic. But that is not enough…

They are just too heavy, bulky and clumsy and dare I say it, I just don’t love them enough to reach for them with the heart.

Even with the announcement of the new Submariners and the Oyster Perpetuals, the thirst and hunger to chase a new model lasted only a few days and then the feelings subsided until they were completely muted.

I iterate that they are exceptional watches for their price range and in game theory this brand would prove the logical choice. It is more value for my well-earned spoils. It is a more enduring and unbreakable timepiece. It will rise in value because everybody, ambitious or otherwise desires a Rolex sometime in their life.

But in this game, the watch game, it is emotion and primordial forebrain urges that dominate and not highly-evolved rational deductions.

I have strongly attempted to rotate my watches to get equal wrist time in my humble watch collection, but alas in vain. When I wear my Rolexes, after a very brief period of time (which my Rolexes keep very accurately), I inevitably and invariably revert back to my Aquanaut and recently my newly acquired Tudor Black Bay 58 which I will review eventually. The solitary and predominant reason is simply comfort. I just find the Aquanaut and Black Bay exceedingly more comfortable and light. And yes for me, those trump the impostors that the watch community reveres: collectability, resale value and desirability. But it is also more than the comfort factor, otherwise I would choose to wear a weightless digital plastic watch. I simply reach for the watch that the heart yearns for.

Therefore I prefer to save my earnings to chase watches similar to the Patek and Tudor, which is not to say I’ll never buy another Rolex again. I will definitely purchase another one provided they significantly trim the supercase, lighten their mechanism and manufacture a more elegant and trim wearer. While I have not ventured into the Rolex vintage world yet, I feel that I would be more akin to wearing the pre-ceramic pre-maxi case era watches. However, my trust in vintage provenance in this day and age is very skeptical. Too many counterfeits and too many amateur watchmakers who have opened casebacks and tampered with the original parts and God knows what they have done with them. Therefore, it will be a long gap before I trust and make the leap into the vintage world.

I truly gave it an honest effort to wear my Rolexes, but the forced attempts were just not genuine enough and in the watch journey, one simply cannot wear a watch because it is sitting dormant in one’s collection. One must fully immerse in emotion to want to wear a certain watch and I’m afraid the Patek and Tudor have superseded the Rolexes in this compartment of the brain. This begs the question of what to do with my current Rolex collection? Do I sell them or trade them in for better pieces or hold on to them as safety deposit queens? I am undecided about this issue and only time read on my Patek or Patek equivalents will tell. I may revert back to my Rolexes one day should some unforeseen event such as experiencing the sudden loss of cabin pressure in my Pateks but I seriously doubt that that will ever happen. The only other Rolexes I would consider are the 39 mm Explorer 1 or the former 39 mm Oyster Perpetuals which are thinner and light enough to emulate the comfort of the Aquanaut.

For now, I have been fortunate enough to experience the elegance and refinement of a Patek Philippe and that is all the time in the world (sidereal or otherwise) needed to know what I should chase next. Or rather, it gives me pause and relief to at least know what not to chase.

Adolescence into adulthood? Poverty to riches? Middle class to snobbery? Yes, all of the above.

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