Interview: Panerai’s Alessandro Ficarelli On Sustainable Watches, COVID-19, and Panerai’s Future

Watch Manila had a chance to get the thoughts of Alessandro Ficarelli, Panerai’s Product Director, on what’s ahead for Panerai.

Recently, Panerai has gone to a direction which only a handful of watch brands went: the direction of sustainability. In the 2021 Watches and Wonders (W&W), Panerai unveiled watches which were largely made up from recycled and eco-friendly materials. Along with that, Panerai has continued to churn out innovations which make their watches more accurate.

Here’s the full interview with Mr. Ficarelli:

How has Panerai coped with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Alessandro Ficarelli: The pandemic really took us by surprise because, even though we were aware of what was happening in China, we never imagined that it would arrive so quickly in the rest of the world. The first priority was to ensure that our organisation was safe. There have been cases of COVID-19 in all the places where we have a presence. Initially, it was a nightmare to handle because there were different regulations and protocols on lockdowns and partial lockdowns in different countries and cities. The goal was to maintain business continuity, despite warehouses being closed.

Panerai Boutique in the Philippines.

How important is Philippines as a market for Panerai? 

AF: Philippines, which is part of the Southeast Asia Oceania region, plays an important role for us, not strictly in terms of sales, but mainly for the general interest shown in Panerai by the local press.

Our clients in the Philippines are very active, we are proud of the community that was born there and we will keep boosting it.

Can you share with us how the digital landscape is evolving in relation to the watch industry and business?


AF:
The watchmaking industry has always been very traditional and linked to the past, but due to COVID-19 all the brands had to reshape their strategy and think about future customers’ needs. Social media represents an important touchpoint for us and during the previous months we organized several IG Live in order to keep alive our relationship with the audience, but at the same time we decided to organize also e-commerce exclusive watch launches.

PamCast- Panerai’s digital program to keep in touch with clients.

How important is your online presence both through your website and social media, and through the online media? 

AF: Online channels played an important role during the past two years, as they allowed us to stay in touch with our customers and to keep the dialogue running. In order to do this, we launched PamCast, a digital program that represents a journey through Panerai’s fascinating history to curated travel guides to the world’s most inspiring places. Of course, Panerai.com has been very important for us, as it was the only sale channel and this forced us to invest more energy on it.

You’ve had a big year this 2021 especially with your releases in Watches and Wonders. Can you walk us through the biggest highlights from Panerai?


AF:
Despite the negative aspects of the pandemic, we are really proud of 2021. During W&W, we decided to broaden our chronograph product line, reaffirming Panerai’s role in the sphere of chronography and providing the right timepiece to ensure a long-lasting accuracy in every moment of life. The introduction of the Piccolo Due corresponds to a versatile and eclectic expression of Italian taste, enhancing its emblematic identity through an unusual interpretation tinged with a charge of unexpected femininity. Another milestone is then represented by the Submersible eLAB-ID, a rule-breaking masterpiece in Panerai history, which emphasizes the deep concern of Panerai towards the status of global environmental crisis, as well as the Luminor Marina eSteel. Last but not least, the Submersible Bronzo Blu Abisso, a key element in Panerai’s history.

One of the biggest introductions of Panerai this year was its usage of recycled materials (up to 98.6%) for 1 model. Can you tell us more about this path of Panerai to promote the eco- friendly approach of watchmaking?

AF: To co-create this model, Panerai has partnered with 10 suppliers coming from different industries, all eager to work toward creating a more sustainable future based on a circular use of natural resources. The main difficulties came up because some suppliers never worked with a watch brand before and we all wanted to find out the best and most suitable materials, which are also durable and appropriate for a watch.

Will the eco-friendly approach of watchmaking find its way to all models or will it be for select releases only?


AF
: Panerai’s goal is to have more sustainable products, reaching 30% of the models made of sustainable materials by 2025.In the next years, we will keep working with our R&D team and will constantly implement our product line with recycled or upcycled elements.

How are the preferences of people in Southeast Asia different or similar from those in Europe, US, and other markets?


AF:
All the markets are very different from each other. Usually our Asian customers look for smaller cases and are highly interested in having watches with precious materials, such as GoldtechTM, while in the US people buy sporty and bulky timepieces.

Panerai Piccolo Due PAM 1280

Panerai initially has appealed to a more masculine population. We’ve also seen the introduction of the 38mm Piccolo Due. Do you plan to expand your offerings which are a bit more inclined to the female population? Is Panerai exploring smaller sizes?

AF: During W&W 2021, Panerai introduced the Piccolo Due line, known for its 38mm case, and it has been positively welcomed by our female customers. At the moment, our goal is to broaden the Piccolo Due collection with new features and elements, and not to create a smaller line, but we will see in the future.

Has the watch industry recovered from the effects of COVID- 19?

AF: The effects of Covid-19 are slowly disappearing, but it will take more time to go back to our old habits. In the past two years, the watch industry, as all the others, learned to cope with this situation and slightly changed its attitude, giving more importance to online channels.

How do you think the watch industry will look like once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lowered?


AF
: The pandemic forced us to question ourselves, taking on new issues. For many brands product and supply chain sustainability will be more important, introducing recycled or upcycled products or components in their collections. At the same time, all the brands can’t wait to start organizing physical and live events, interacting with their customers, so some aspects won’t change that much.

What can we expect from your brand in 2022 and in the future? 

AF: 2022 will be an important year for Panerai, as we will open new boutiques with a brand-new concept and design. This will be then followed by the organization of Panerai Experiences, which will be at the core of our strategy for the next year.

You may visit Panerai at their boutique in Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City, Philippines. You may get in touch with them at +(63)277290392

Alessandro Ficarelli has been the Product Director for Panerai since 2011.

The interview has slightly been condensed and reorganized.

Rolex issues statement on the scarcity of its watches

Rolex is known to be a very private company. It rarely issues statements in response to certain issues. However, Rolex issued a statement recently in response to Yahoo Finance’s article “Why the Rolex watch shortage is a ‘perfect storm'”. Essentially, the issue involved is why it is very hard to get a Rolex watch from your authorized dealer these days.

Rolex pushed back on the rumors that the company is controlling the production numbers in order for the demand to grow and for the aftermarket prices to increase.

The following is the full text of Rolex’ statement:

“The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part. Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised. This level of excellence requires time, and as we have always done, we will continue to take the necessary time to ensure that all our watches not only comply with our standards of excellence, but also meet the expectations of our customers in terms of quality, reliability and robustness. Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches.


All Rolex watches are developed and produced in-house at our four sites in Switzerland. They are assembled by hand, with extreme care, to meet the brand’s unique and high-quality standards of quality, performance and aesthetics. Understandably, this naturally restricts our production capacities – which we continue to increase as much as possible and always according to our quality criteria.

Finally, it should be noted that Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers, who independently manage the allocation of watches to customers.”

—end of statement—

Based from the statement of Rolex, it appears that the scarcity of the watches is due to the high demand and due to the limitations on the current production of Rolex. Further, Rolex emphasized that each watch is made with the highest quality in mind. As such, if they increase production haphazardly, quality might suffer. As a final note, Rolex took a shade against the gray market as it reiterated that the availability of their watches are only with the official retailers.

Many people have grown frustrated over the difficulty to get certain Rolex models at authorized dealers. This situation has opened the floodgates for non authorized dealers to price Rolex models at sky high prices.

It is still to be seen how long certain Rolex models will remain difficult to get at authorized dealers.

Professionals and their Watches: Charm de Leon (Entrepreneur and Vlogger) and Jet Luga (Writer and Vlogger)

A Professional and his Watch is a section where Watch Manila features individuals in certain specific fields and their watches which help them in their specific fields of work.

Newly engaged couple Charm de Leon and Jet Luga both followed paths which are not often taken. Instead of going for “regular” jobs, Charm and Jet opted to pursue their respective passions. The decision to take the road less traveled has paid off for both of them as they are experiencing success in their respective endeavors.

Charm is the founder of the hit YouTube channel Ready2Adult PH

Charm de Leon

Charm de Leon is known by many for her hit personal finance YouTube channel called “Ready2Adult PH” wherein she makes videos mainly about investing and being smart with your money. Aside from her channel, Charm has also invested in a handful of other businesses.

Charm wearing her Omega

According to Charm, she only got into watches when she met her boyfriend, Jet. In an effort to connect with him better, Charm learned more about watches and asked her father about it. Her father had an Omega from the 1970s which was given to him by Charm’s mother as an engagement gift. Aside from the Omega, the father of Charm also had a Rolex Datejust from the late 1980s or early 1990s. Both the Omega and Rolex were handed down to Charm. 

As Charm is expanding her career, businesses, and investments, she is trying to improve her time management skills. She believes that a watch is more than just a tool. It also represents your hopes and dreams and everything you aspire to be.

Being a financial literacy advocate, Charm believes that aside from the sentimental value which timepieces may have, there are some watches which actually retain monetary value good enough to be considered as investments.

Jet is a writer and a co-host of Fiction Friends podcast

Jet Luga

Jet Luga is a writer and a co-host of Fiction Friends podcast. Jet also recently started his YouTube channel which focuses on productivity, tech, and wellness. According to Jet, he’s already had an affinity for watches when he first started working as a writer. After climbing his way up in the industry, Jet was able to purchase a timepiece with his own earnings. The watch he first purchased was the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chrono Le Petit Prince Edition. The IWC is special to him as the watch is a tribute edition to one of his favorite books and it also constantly reminds him of how far his writing can take him. In the same year, Jet, a self-confessed James Bond fan, purchased an Omega Seamaster 300 due to the versatility of the watch and due to Omega’s affiliation with James Bond. He describes the Omega as a perfect watch from “beach to boardroom”.

Jet wearing his Omega Seamaster 300

According to Jet, time has always been important to him as he is obsessed with productivity and efficiency. More than that, the watches of Jet always reminds him of what his focus and hard work can accomplish.

The watches of Charm and Jet (from top to bottom): Omega Automatic, Omega Seamaster 300, IWC Pilot’s Watch Chrono Le Petit Prince Edition, and Rolex Datejust.

Charm and Jet are only at the starting line. With the early success experienced by this beautiful couple, there is no denying that the future is bright for them. Clearly, when passion is pursued with hard work and efficient time management, anything is possible.

You may follow Charm’s popular channel Ready2Adult PH here. You may also follow Jet Luga’s YouTube Channel here. If you’re interested in books, you may listen to Fiction Friends podcast, co-hosted by Jet on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other streaming services.

Watch You Wearing: Alice Eduardo

Alice Eduardo: Master of Time

A respected leader in business, Alice Eduardo is the President and CEO of one of the largest construction companies Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation. She is also fondly called as the “Woman of Steel” in reference to her involvement in the construction industry.

What many people do not know is that one of the key pillars behind her success is her mastery of time. This mastery of time and her love for machines is manifested through her vast collection of timepieces. Alice was gracious enough to share with Watch Manila some of her favorite timepieces. 

Before we take a peek at some of her watches, let us first understand how Alice has commanded time to be on her side.

Master of Time

Most of the people usually deal with the struggle of work-life balance. This, however, is not the case with Alice. Instead of drawing a fine line between work and life, Alice strives to harmonize both. This is how she manages to exceed both the strong demands of work and family life. 

Alice Eduardo with her children (standing) and her parents (sitting). Image from Alice Eduardo.

Aside from being a full-time boss at Sta. Elena, Alice is likewise a hands-on mother to her wonderful children. Furthermore, Alice makes sure to have breakfast daily with her parents. Weekends are usually reserved for bonding with her children, her parents, and her siblings with their families. 

Her close relationship with her family fuels her with positive energy to hurdle her work throughout the week. This is why Alice is laser-focused when she’s working, resulting to success. Her business success, in turn, allows her to spend more quality time with her family. The cycle which Alice has created is one worth emulating as both work and family do not sacrifice for each other. 

When the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, Alice gave an even greater emphasis on family bonding and quality time. Alice knows that time is something which you can never buy. And this is why she makes sure to give time and prioritize the people and the things that really matter in life.

To be constantly reminded of how precious time is, Alice has steadily collected a handful of fine timepieces.  

Beginnings of her Collection

Alice’s first notable watch was a Rolex Datejust similar to this.

As with many watch collectors, Alice Eduardo’s first notable and expensive watch was a Rolex Datejust in two-tone. The Datejust was the standard go-to watch for business leaders from the 1980s up to the 2000s. Not long after, Alice purchased a gold Rolex Datejust in a President bracelet. Next, Alice moved deeper into the world of watches as she purchased a Patek Philippe Nautilus and a Patek Philippe Aquanaut.

Richard Mille

Alice with one of her Richard Mille RM-07 watches and an image of a similar Richard Mille watch.

By the late 2000s, Alice’s watch collection was already notable. This is the time when she stumbled upon a then little-known brand called Richard Mille. Alice recalls that when she first saw a Richard Mille watch in a boutique window in Singapore it was “love at first sight”. She describes the watch design with the brand’s tagline “a racing machine on the wrist”. Alice then entered the store to try on the RM-07 which she initially expected to be heavy. To her surprise, the watch was very light. Not long after she visited Singapore, Alice purchased her first Richard Mille, the RM-07, in the brand’s boutique in Beverly Hills.

Some of Alice’s Richard Mille models: RM-067 (L) and RM-037 (R). Below the two watches is a dedication written by Mr. Richard Mille to Alice.
Alice’s RM-023.

The RM-07 would soon be joined by several other Richard Mille models, including the RM-037 and the RM-067. Her love for the Richard Mille watch brand has led her to become friends with Mr. Richard Mille himself and his family. In fact, during one event which Mr. Mille hosted in Paris, he confided to Alice that the RM-023 is so “you”. Eventually and unsurprisingly, Alice purchased the watch.

Other Watches

From left to right: Rolex Daytona with diamonds, Rolex Daytona (Panda dial), Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167R.

Alice also adores her other watches aside from Richard Mille. Among her other favorites are her Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Patek Philippe Aquanaut. She also has watches from other well-loved brands such as Cartier, Audemars Piguet, and Roger Dubuis, among others. 

Lessons in Buying Watches

Alice Eduardo with Watch Manila Founder Sieg Suarez

Considering her extensive experience in collecting watches, there are three lessons which everyone can learn from Alice when buying a watch: 1. You must like the watch; 2. Buy to commemorate; and 3. Always remember that the most important thing the watch represents is time itself.

When you buy a watch, you have to keep in mind that you will be the one using it. As such, you have to make sure that the watch is comfortable and is visually appealing to you. The watch you purchase will accompany you for a long time and it is important that you choose a watch which you like and not what others like.

Alice is one who believes in commemorating certain milestones with watches. She points out to several watches in her collection which represented some of the major projects which she closed. You may also purchase a watch to commemorate the birth of a child or an important anniversary milestone. At times, you do need to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved so far in life and a timepiece serves as a great reminder.

Lastly, Alice knows that all the watches she’s accumulated are merely reminders of God’s gift of time. While we can appreciate the beauty, the craftsmanship, and the complications of a timepiece, we always need to be reminded that the biggest value in watches is what it ultimately represents: time itself and how we spend it.

Alice Eduardo is a truly inspiring woman. With time on her side, Alice continues to work on her projects and dream even bigger. Alice lives by the quote “if you are willing to work hard, you can achieve anything. No structure is too grand, or task too difficult. No dream is out of reach.” Alice is living proof that hard work coupled with the understanding of time pays off.

A version of this story was published by ABS-CBN.

Hands On: Stefano Ricci Octagon Diamond Lux Edition

When you hear “luxury timepiece or watch”, you are likely to think of Rolex or Patek Philippe. But one brand which aims to make a noise in the watch segment is Stefano Ricci. Just what or who is Stefano Ricci?

For starters, Stefano Ricci is a luxury lifestyle brand, named after himself. The brand, which is based in Florence, Italy, is known for their menswear, home, and lifestyle pieces. In the Philippines, Stefano Ricci is present through their standalone boutique in Solaire Resort & Casino located at the Entertainment City in Metro Manila.

While the brand has been around since 1972, it was only in last year when Stefano Ricci entered the world of high horology with their SR Octagon watch line. Locally, the Philippine boutique has a stock of the SR Octagon Chronograph Diamond Lux Edition which is limited to 10 pieces worldwide. 

SR Octagon Chronograph Diamond Lux Edition

Design

One of the inspirations for the watch design: the octagonal dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy.

The design of the watch is definitely unique and a little polarizing even. The first thing that might come to mind for people is that the watch is either inspired primarily by Chinese beliefs or the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak due to its octagonal shape. But this is not the case. According to Mr. Stefano Ricci, the main inspiration for the watch springs from his hometown. Further, the reference to the octagonal shape of the watch is from the notable structures in Florence: Battistero di San Giovanni, the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the Tribuna of the Uffizi. Mr. Ricci intends for the watch to be an entire tribute to Florence. 

On the left, you will see the intricate cover of the casebook. On the right, once you flip open the cover, you will see the movement.

The case of the SR Octagon Chronograph Diamond Lux is made of 18K white gold and it has a watch face diameter measuring 45.5mm and a thickness of 14.8mm. The dial is in a deep blue shade and features the chronograph function and a date window, aside from the time. This Diamond Lux model has 88 diamonds, totaling to over 8 carats, throughout the watch set with the ancient a battuta method wherein the metal is hammered around the precious stones before being polished. When you flip the watch to see the back side, you will be amazed with the intricate hand-etched caseback cover. The cover can be flipped open to reveal the beautiful movement powering the watch.

The SR Octagon Chronograph Diamond Lux on the wrist of Watch Manila’s Atty. Sieg Suarez. On both images, you will observe how large the watch actually is on the wrist. On the picture on the right, you will notice that there are diamonds set on the side of the case aside from those set on the bezel and on the clasp.

The SR Octagon wears big and will definitely suit those with large wrists. The heft of the watch is really evident from all angles. Further, as with any other watch in gold and with diamonds, the watch naturally wears heavy on the wrist.

The clasp, like the bezel, is octagonal in shape and features 24 diamonds.

Despite the size and the heft, the strap of the watch feels comfortable as it is made from alligator leather. Notably, the watch clasp is also octagonal in shape and features 24 diamonds.

Movement

The SR Octagon Chronograph features a self-winding mechanism with a power reserve of 42 to 50 hours depending on the usage of the chronograph function. The base of the movement is by watch manufacturer Parmigiani Fleurier (PF331) combined with a Dubois-Dépraz Chronograph module. As a chronograph, the watch indicates sub-dials for small seconds (at 3), chronograph hours (at 6), and chronograph minutes (at 9). 

Thoughts

The SR Octagon watch line was created in order to expand the Stefano Ricci lifestyle to fine watches. 

The design of the watch is definitely a conversation-starter. Stefano Ricci will definitely have the watch industry talking. As to whether the watch design will be embraced or rejected, this is yet to be seen. 

Going beyond the design, you will realize that the watch is really well-made. To their credit, Stefano Ricci really tried to put together a watch with the best possible case, material, and movement. While the brand cannot boast of centuries of watchmaking heritage, their maiden attempt at watches is respectable from a quality standpoint.

The SR Octagon Chronograph Diamond Lux watch retails for just a little over P13,000,000.00.

You may visit Stefano Ricci at its boutique located at The Shoppes at Solaire Resort and Casino. You may also contact them at: +63 2 9754369 and manila@stefanoricci.com

Apple Watch is not a watch

Ask the buyers of the Apple Watch on the reason why they bought it. How many people bought it primarily to tell time? The answer you will get will probably be close to zero.

Clearly, the Apple Watch is not a watch. Despite this, I’m not saying that the Apple Watch is not good. In fact, the Apple Watch brings to the table a lot of features which may be useful for your daily life.

It can be said that the Apple Watch is a portable media device with a watch display as its main background. As with other Apple products, the Apple Watch has so many varied functions such as calling, messaging, fitness tracking, location services and GPS positioning, and music controls, among others. After considering the features, you realize that the watch portion of the device is simply the standby display.

The Apple Watch is firstly an extension and a miniature version of the iPhone, and secondly a display which shows the time. 

Where does the Apple Watch fit?

Apple has done well in selling the Apple Watch to: 1) existing Apple users who do not wear a watch/fitness tracker; 2) fitness and exercise buffs, and 3) those who are curious simply because it’s an Apple.

Having said the above, the Apple Watch has no dramatic effect on the mechanical and luxury watch industry. Six years into its life, clearly it will not have the same effect as Quartz when it threatened the Swiss watch industry in 1970s. Many analysts have put out figures showing that the Apple Watch has “outsold” the major watch players. What these analysts failed to consider is that the Apple Watch does not fully fall in the category as a “watch”. The Apple Watch has eaten some of the market for watches and some of the market for wearables. As a product, it could be seen as an in-between. Really, the biggest impact of the Apple Watch is more on the digital/electronic wearables sphere. Apple has brilliantly created a demand for a portable device disguised as a watch.

Image from Bloomberg.

Watch industry remains strong

With Apple taking a different market, the Swiss watch industry can breathe better now. Swiss watch sales have been strong and solid in the past few years. 

People who collect and appreciate timepieces know that the watches are not only instruments in telling time, but are also artworks. Timepieces stand the test of time and are usually passed down from generation to generation. The Apple Watch is not an artwork which you can collect and pass down. Further the Apple Watch falls into the same trap like other consumer electronics as it will be replaced by a newer model sooner than later.

The victory of the Apple Watch as an electronic device is also its downfall as a timepiece. While the Apple Watch may be functional as an electronic device, it will never outlast your ever reliable watch.

Dr. Yong Larrazabal, President of CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, wears an Apple Watch on his right wrist and a Rolex Day-Date on his left wrist. Image from Dr. Larrazabal’s Instagram @yonglarrazabal

Apple Watch in the Future

The Apple Watch has found a purpose: an additional personal accessory which Apple will market to the people. Apple has done a great job with it by incorporating key features such as the ECG and the SOS functions. In this regard the Apple Watch has revolutionized the wearables industry as it has slowly made people wear an additional electronic device. In fact, there is an increasing population within the watch collecting community who wears the Apple Watch on one wrist and a timepiece of their choice on the other. The Apple watch has slowly found itself co-existing well with traditional watches.

But as to whether Apple will be able to convert people to dump their Seikos, Omegas, Rolexes, and Pateks, it just won’t happen en masse. Regardless of what functions they add to the Apple Watch, it will never replace a proper timepiece.

A Professional and his Watch: Paolo Maceren, Pilot

A Professional and his Watch is a section where Watch Manila features individuals in certain specific fields and their watches which help them in their specific fields of work.

Paolo Maceren is a pilot for a local airliner. He has been flying for 12 years now, and he has been collecting watches for those 12 as well.

Paolo’s favorite watch to take flying is his IWC Mark XV.

The IWC Mark XV is a perfect companion for Paolo when he is flying. According to Paolo the watch is easily legible, not too big a size to be intrusive, matches his uniform, and is anti-magnetic to protect against the cockpit environment. Lastly, in the unlikely event of a water landing, the watch waterproof.

Why is Rolex so expensive?

If there is one name which is most synonymous to luxury watch it would be Rolex. Why is Rolex so expensive and why is it the most famous luxury watch brand in the world? There are four factors which are responsible for why Rolex is expensive:

  1. Quality
  2. Rarity of Certain Models
  3. Advertisement
  4. Endorsers

Quality

Rolex watches are notorious for being overengineered. Before a Rolex rolls out of its factory, the movements are sent to COSC, a center which certifies accurate movements, to ensure that all Rolex movements are up to the best standards. Once the movement has passed all the tests, they are certified as chronometers. 

It is also important to note that Rolex is focused on one thing: making some of the highest quality watches in the world. Rolex has steered clear of highly complicated watches and decided to concentrate on improving their movements. This is the reason why the Rolex watches are some of the highest quality watches you can buy.

In essence, it can be said that Rolex makes simple watches and they make them really good.

Rarity of Certain Models

Try to go to an authorized dealer and look for sports models (such as the Daytona, Submariner, and GMT-Master) and you will find none or close to none. The sports watches of Rolex are difficult to find with your authorized dealer and that is why it commands a premium at the secondary market. In the Philippines, the waitlist for the GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO a.k.a “Pepsi” is too long to even ask. A similar waitlist stands for the GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLNR a.k.a. “Batman”. The high demand coupled with low supply from the authorized dealers have led to the spike in the prices of certain Rolex watches.

For reference, the GMT-Master II steel models retail around P500,000. However, due to the unavailability, prices in the black market range from P800,000-P1,000,000. A Daytona has a listed SRP of P703,500. In the black market, the Daytona starts at P1,400,000 and goes up to around P1,700,000.  

Advertisement

Rolex has always used the media to portray the power and the strength of its watches. Look at the following iconic advertisements which will make you want to buy a Rolex.

The clear message which Rolex is sending is that the common factor behind successful people is that they were all wearing a Rolex watch when they made history. 

Endorsers and Wearers

A Rolex watch has been seen in the wrists of many famous men and women. Most recently in the US, newly-elected President Joe Biden was spotted wearing a Datejust. His two immediate predecessors, Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, were also seen wearing Rolex watches.  

Casino mogul Steve Wynn and Centi-Billionaire Warren Buffett both wear the Rolex Day-Date watch.

From the business industry, notable people who wear Rolex watches are Warren Buffett and Steve Wynn. Locally, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Enrique Razon, Jr., and Alice Eduardo, among others have been spotted wearing Rolex watches. 

(L-R) In the Philippines, construction magnate Alice Eduardo wears a Rolex Daytona, Ayala Corporation boss Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala wears a Rolex Explorer, and ICTSI and Solaire owner Enrique Razon wears a Rolex Yacht-Master II.

In the entertainment industry, Michael Buble and Jay-Z are known to wear Rolex watches. In the Philippines, two of the three mainstays of Eat Bulaga, Vic Sotto and Tito Sotto (Senate President), have recently been seen wearing Rolex watches in the image uploaded by Joey de Leon.

Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto (with his Rolex Yacht-Master), and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto (with his Rolex Sky-Dweller) Photo from Joey de Leon’s Instagram page @angpoetnyo.
Known artist Dingdong Dantes and his Rolex Sky-Dweller. His Rolex was a gift from his wife Marian Rivera.

The personalities shown in this page are just a fraction of people who wear Rolex watches. In the deep roster of Rolex patrons and endorsers, it is almost sure that there is someone wearing a Rolex that you look up to (and you hate). The impact of seeing someone you admire wearing a Rolex is very strong.

Combination

The combination of the four aforementioned factors has surely driven the prices for Rolex watches up. Despite the increase in the price of Rolex, the demand for their watches has not yet slowed down. It appears that people still reward themselves with a “Crown for Every Achievement”. Expect Rolex to continue its hold and dominance in the luxury watch industry in the coming years and decades.

Business Leaders and their Watches (Most Liked Posts)

For the past year, Watch Manila has been identifying the watches of the men and women who lead Philippine business scene. We look back at the most liked posts of business leaders and their watches.

Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala

Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala (Rolex Explorer and IWC Portuguese)

Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala has just recently relinquished his post as the President and CEO of Ayala Corporation, one of the largest and oldest conglomerates in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. Currently, he has stepped back to a more relaxed role as Chairman of Ayala Corporation.

Jaime has been seen wearing different watches. So far, Watch Manila has identified a Rolex Explorer 39mm (Mk I), Rolex Air-King, an IWC Portuguese, and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

The first ever post of Watch Manila features Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala wearing his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Fernando Zobel De Ayala

Fernando Zobel De Ayala and his Patek Philippe Nautilus

Fernando Zobel De Ayala ascended to the position of President and CEO of Ayala Corporation on April 2021 after his older brother Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala stepped down. Ayala Corporation has business interests in real estate, banking, telecoms, energy, and infrastructure among others.

In the image, Fernando is seen wearing the much coveted Patek Philippe Nautilus. The current iteration of the plain steel Nautilus (ref. 5711) has been discontinued earlier this year. A limited run of green ref. 5711s have been introduced at the recently concluded Watches and Wonders.

Felix Ang

Felix Ang and his IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar

Felix Ang is the President of Auto Nation Group, the general importer and distributor of Mercedes Benz vehicles, parts, and accessories in the Philippines. Aside from this, Felix is also responsible for the presence in the Philippines of Jaguar, Land Rover, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Harley-Davidson, among others.

Felix has been seen wearing an IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar IW5021. The IWC features a moonphase, date, month, day, and a perpetual calendar which doesn’t need to be adjusted until the year 2100.

Carmen Jimenez-Ong

Carmen Jimenez-Ong and her Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Carmen Jimenez-Ong is the CEO and Founder of Menarco Development Corporation. Her first project, the Menarco Tower, is known as the healthiest building in Southeast Asia and is certified gold in both LEED and WELL. Carmen is the daughter of one of the owners of GMA Network, Menardo Jimenez.

Carmen is seen wearing one of the earlier versions of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut. The Aquanaut was launched by Patek Philippe in 1997. The case was inspired by that of the Nautilus.

Alice Eduardo

Alice Eduardo and her Rolex Daytona

Alice Eduardo is the President and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction. Alice is often referred to as the “Woman of Steel”. Her company is responsible for the foundations of several landmarks in the Philippines such as the SM Mall of Asia, Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, among others.

Alice has been seen wearing a Rolex Daytona and a Richard Mille RM07. The Rolex of Alice in the image above is the so-called Rolex Daytona “Panda” due to the design which resembles in some way the color scheme of a panda. This is one of the most difficult models to get from Rolex.

Why Everyone Should Have a Seiko

Alongside Rolex, Seiko is a watch brand which is loved by both casual and serious watch collectors. Like many Swiss brands, Seiko has been around since the late 1800s. It is also notable that most people who have very expensive and rare Swiss watches in their collections also have Seikos. What’s with Seiko and why do most people love it? Why should everyone have a Seiko?

The following are the reasons why everyone should have a Seiko:

  1. Superb watch quality
  2. Affordability and range
  3. Functionality
  4. Widely available to men and women
  5. Highly respected brand

Superb watch quality

Seiko watches are built with tremendous quality. You hear it time and again: “Seiko watches never break down.”. Generally, it remains true up to today. You can buy a Seiko watch and you can wear it everyday and it will not give you major problems.

In recent years, there has been a surge in interest for Seiko watches, both new and vintage. The primary reasons for the existence of this growing community of Seiko lovers are because the vintage Seikos still work well and Seikos, in general, have timeless designs.

It is almost a certainty that your Seiko will likely outlive you.

Affordability and range

Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”

To put it simply, there is a Seiko for every price range. What is amazing is that, for the most part, you really get what you pay for in every price range. A Seiko will always be a bang for your buck.

Aside from dominating the entry-level watch market, Seiko has started to pour more attention to its premier Grand Seiko brand. While the Grand Seikos have not yet reached the status of Rolex and other Swiss watch manufacturers in terms of popularity, the quality of the Grand Seiko watches are arguably on par. There are even some people who will argue that Grand Seiko watches are perhaps better than many other Swiss brands.

This range of Seiko watches demonstrates Seiko’s understanding and mastery of watch manufacturing from the bottom to the top.

Functionality and design

Seiko SKX007

Seiko watches are built for different purposes. The most famous Seiko line is its diver’s watch line (most of these are under Seiko 5 and Prospex). Seiko has done a great job with ensuring that the watch can do its task and at the same time be presentable. It can be noted that Seiko watches often have very simple and minimalist designs. It’s rare that you will find an outrageously designed Seiko.

The other known model lines of Seiko are the Presage and Astron.

Widely available for men and women

Seiko Lukia SPB141J1

Seiko has expanded to accommodate both men and women. While Seiko is really known for its men’s watches, the women’s watches are also created equally beautiful. Seiko applies the same approach to women’s watches as they do in men’s.

Seiko watches are very much accessible as they are sold not only in Seiko boutiques but also in most department stores here in the Philippines and globally.

Highly respected

Seiko Presage SRPD37J1

Globally, Seiko watches are regarded as some of the best quality watches which you can purchase. Seiko is one of the brands which transcends language and cultural barriers. A Seiko is as respected in the Philippines as it is in Japan. It also helps to know that when you wear a Seiko, you are wearing a piece of watchmaking heritage.