I read somewhere that the tradition of giving chocolates for Valentine’s Day started with none other than Richard Cadbury, chocolatier and father of the well-known brand. It seems his original heart-shaped chocolate box in the 1800’s spawned generations of peak chocolate sales once a year around the 14th of February.
Now much as I dislike the commercial use (and abuse) of Valentine’s Day, it is a time for thinking about gifts, and it led me to ask the question – what would be my ultimate Valentine’s gift? For me that’s an easy one – a watch of course. It’s my number one two passion. (Number one is my Valentine, of course, just in case she reads this!) But the question remains – which watch? After some careful deliberation, I would have to settle on these:
First of all, it has to be a Rolex. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of fine watches that I love from other watchmakers, but Rolex is a watch that I can (and do) wear everywhere.
Secondly, it has to be a vintage. While new watchmakers are pushing the limits of the art, and doing some incredible things with movements, materials and shapes, there’s still nothing like wearing a classic from 50 years ago. There’s a reason that the modern Rolex looks so much like the old one – you can’t perfect something that’s already perfect.
Lastly, it has to be a GMT Pepsi. Rolex developed this one together with Pan Am from 1954-1959 for long-haul pilots crossing multiple time lines. The GMT hand enables you to set the watch to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time, now called UTC),or any other time zone for the main time view, then set the rotatable 24 hour scale bezel to a second time zone. I travel often, so that’s a plus. Why the Pepsi dial? Well that’s personal between me and my Valentine.
In 1957 Rolex created the Lady-Datejust. It was the first ladies’ version of the Rolex Date Chronometer in a smaller size perfectly suited to a lady’s wrist. Over the years Rolex experimented with some very interesting dials. Besides the precious metals, and Rolex’s very own grade of rose gold, there is a huge variety of different dial options. My favorite by far is the Stella dial. They are usually in very vivid color, and distinctive.
These dials are extremely rare, so much so that Rolex even buys them back from the open market. They are most popular in Italy, and ironically they were made for the Middle East originally, but because they weren’t popular at the time, many were destroyed. It’s very difficult to get your hands on, even here. No two Stella dials are the same, since the unique enamel paint is all mixed by hand.
For my Valentine, nothing but the rarest and finest will do!
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