In March, we asked you to share the story behind your first Rolex with us. Since submissions closed on March 29, 2021, we have been publishing our favorite entries. Eric from Austin, Texas kicked things off with a touching story about his Rolex Datejust. Helicopter pilot Edward from Australia had an exciting tale to tell about his Rolex GMT-Master II.
The Italian-American Tito from Atlanta had some amazing luck when his Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 sank to the bottom of Lake Lanier. In his story, you’ll find out how he was able to recover his prized Rolex (in full working condition) two years later.
In the following article, businessman and author William from North Yorkshire, England explains how he and his son came to own an Explorer II and an original Explorer (respectively). The story begins in the middle of World War II in a North African sandstorm.
My Father’s Rolex
The sandstorm had completely changed the landscape, and as the sun started to reveal the horizon, the soldiers were anxious.
It was 1942, and the small band of special forces had been tasked with destroying some enemy tanks under the cover of darkness, but the wind had whipped up a storm. The sand got everywhere. It penetrated the soldiers’ clothing, jammed the mechanism of their machine guns, and scoured their skin.
It was never easy to navigate in the North African desert, but this was quite terrifying. The storm had moved sand dunes, and the few landmarks they had were now viewed from a different perspective. Nothing was permanent in the desert, but this theater of war was playing tricks on their minds. They were trying to survive in an environment designed to confuse.
How would they make their rendezvous? The compass had a bubble in it, and you had to question the reliability of what you saw in the desert.
The officer looked at his watch. Thank God it was working. People thought of the Rolex as waterproof. That is what it was famous for. But the steel Oyster case and locking crown had other advantages—the watch was also sandproof. When everything else failed, the Rolex kept going.
Clifford stared at his watch and felt a sense of calm. It was steel with a brown leather strap. It had a cream dial with Arabic numerals except where the number six should be, there was a subsidiary dial indicating the seconds. The large Arabic numbers were toffee-colored and luminous, as were the hands. A smaller set of numbers marked the 24-hour clock in red.
“What a beauty,” he thought as he undid the strap and turned the watch over in his hand. Engraved on the back it said, “To my Clifford, always yours, Hazel.”
Hazel had bought the watch for him before he had set sail for Egypt, and he wore it knowing that there were better things to come. It represented that promise, but it was also there to protect him. It was more than a watch—it was the one piece of equipment that would never let him down.
Clifford wore this Rolex for the rest of his life. It was with him until the end, and then it became mine. Beautiful as it was, the 36-millimeter case was small for my wrist, so I gave it to my wife and purchased a Rolex Datejust for myself in 1986. I was 26 years old. How I loved that watch. I stared at it over and over again with admiration. Whether I was wearing a suit or salmon fishing in Scotland, it always looked great and never let me down.
As middle age encroached, I became more adventurous. I desired the thrills of the outdoors. I wanted to test my endurance. Of course, you have to have the right kit for this. That is part of the fun, so I bought a Rolex Explorer 2. The dual time zone enabled me to maintain a connection with home while I scaled the mountains in foreign climes.
We would eat in mountain restaurants—scruffy and unshaven, wearing sports clothing. I was a bit embarrassed to be “going out to dinner” looking so disheveled, so I made sure my sleeve was pulled up. That way, anyone who saw me would see the Rolex and know I was a man of substance.
Blessed with a son, he too wanted a Rolex. He had seen mine function in every circumstance and under every set of conditions, so upon reaching 26, he purchased an Explorer 1. He liked the clarity of the dial and the fact that the watch was understated. It did not shout “sports watch,” but it was quietly capable, born with the same pedigree as its famous relatives.
So now we have a family tradition: three generations and four Rolex watches. It should be enough, but it isn’t. The story continues with more complications to be considered. A Cosmograph Daytona suddenly appears on the wish list, as does the new Submariner, and there are future generations to provide for.
Thank goodness for Chrono24. They have just about every model available. The suppliers are rated for reliability, and purchases can be made with confidence. Experts are on hand to give advice, and the process is seamless.
The Rolex is solid and strong; its accuracy undaunted by extremes. It will never let you down. There is a model designed to suit your character. Chrono24 will find this for you, and as you develop, your collection will too.
Chrono24 reflects the character of Rolex. They are completely reliable and will go to the ends of the Earth to get you what you need.
A Rolex is for a special occasion. It is for life, but it is also forever. It is timeless.