Like almost every luxury watch manufacturer, Rolex never got into special editions.
However, Rolex produces some truly special editions of their best pieces in very small numbers. The big difference between them and what their competitors offer is that fake Rolex’s special editions don’t appear in their catalogs, so not many people know about them.
Rolex is rightfully proud of its racing chronographs, as evidenced by its number of variations over the years. The standard product portfolio now boasts over 40 different models, which, while not comparable to the Datejust or Day-Date, still far exceed anything else in the professional line. The next largest series in stock is the Yacht Prestige series, with only 17, including the original and renewed Yacht Prestige II.
We could do an entire article on Daytonas outside the catalog alone. It is one of the watches most often chosen for customization and is no stranger to some bling. While gold options have been available on almost every model since its debut in 1963, the diamond-set bezel first appeared in the early 1980s, when it was still underperforming the first generation.
However, few of these gem-set models were as popular as the so-called Rainbow Daytona, which was unusual for a watch that never appeared in the official lineup and was quite famous.
The time, skill, and expense required to find precisely the right sapphire color to achieve this effect cannot be overstated. Not only is the match between the bezel and the hour marker stones perfect, but the gradation of tones of the one sapphire that surrounds it is completely unmistakable.
You might think that the only difference between that watch and this one is the inclusion of the brand’s carefully selected gemstones. There are plenty of gems to catch the eye. The fully functional unidirectional bezel is fitted with 36 dark blue baguette sapphires, the first nine slightly lighter and serving as 15-minute markers on the Sub’s traditional chronograph scale.
However, as striking as all this ice is, it’s not the only thing that sets it apart from the standard watch. The watch has two dials; an all-diamond pavé dial that includes eight sapphire hour markers or a beautiful deep blue dial with a sunburst motif. Both include the Cyclops lens on the date window but are otherwise omitted. Neither variant includes a depth rating of 300 meters, and the diamond-set model does not have the text “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified.”
However, both models are built around a standard 40mm Oyster case and Triplock crown, and by the internal Cal. 3135, these qualifications can be considered read.
Both of these breathtaking creations are made from the same Cal. 3186, technically, they can be used as true dual time zone watches. However, since any bezel numerals disappear into a sea of gems, this is impossible.
Of course, that’s beside the point. All these cheap replica watches, and the vast number of others created over the years, represent the ultimate replica Rolex collection. They are made for those for whom only the best is good enough and who have bank balances comparable to those of smaller countries.
For the rest of us, whether or not jewelry of this caliber is to our taste, it is at least impossible not to admire the dedication, expertise, and sheer audacity of Rolex’s gemologists and the timepieces they produce.