It is only now, writing this memoir of seeing the 116759SARU that I realize, I had not answered the question. The question is not whether I would wear this watch, but rather what doing so would make me. In all seriousness, such a watch is a window – though a decidedly difficult to see out of window – on our society, on our constraints and our values, on what we think and what we think others think to be appropriate or inappropriate. So, the question still stands: what would wearing this watch make me – or make you, or make a random guy you see boarding first class as you make your way to the barbed wired section of the plane? this is an all-gold Rolex GMT-Master II on the full white gold bracelet, with a factory-set pave dial and a bezel with high quality and painstakingly color-matched stones and massive baguette diamonds.
Rolex makes these rather difficult to get. They, at least in parts of the world that I frequent, never put this sort of watch out into the shop windows – it’s presented to you if they deem you worthy. It’s a win-win in the sense that it helps improve the idea of exclusivity, and it also is not driving away Regular Joe (i.e. you or I), who just wants “an Explorer I with the properly sized hands.” I am absolutely sure that placing a watch like this out in the windows would result in a noticeable drop in sales to ordinary people, at least in most parts of Europe for sure. this watch actually is a good value, when you consider the amount of work and the value of the components that went into it, compared to a car made from reinforced plastic or a flight that’s over in 8-12 hours where all you have after it is a memory of getting mildly drunk in a plane.
So, with all this in mind, perhaps we are getting closer to answering the question, “what does wearing this watch make me?” I am dead serious when I say I’d wear this watch. At this point I’d go so far as to say if I had to make a deal of having to wear this watch and no other for the rest of my life, I think I’d still go for it. Weirdly, though, this motive is not fueled by a lust for perceived social status, but rather by my thinking that this watch stands above the rest in a weird way, as though the general rules of watches did not apply to it.