‘What makes Wimbledon great?’. This is how Rolex watch that sponsors the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, spending multimillions of sterling pounds, asks in its advertising campaign. Of course Rolex makes Wimbledon great. But what makes Rolex great? Come to the last line of the article.
Tourneau in Madison Ave, NYC – a luxury watch retailer established in 1900.
With the successful completion of the Euro 2012 Foot Ball tournament, attention of sports fans, including me, are turned to Wimbledon.
My favorites are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I like Federer for his stylish game and Nadal for his forceful hammering. Unfortunately Nadal is ousted in the second round. Federer is still playing when I am writing this.
Among women I admire Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the former for her powerful shots and the latter for her personal beauty and elegant handling. Unfortunately Maria the current champion lost in the fourth round. She was never expected to go out so soon. This is life.
This is how some thing unexpected that takes place, surprises every body. Let me come back to Rolex. Well Rolex is a great fan of tennis. Even Chennai’s International Tennis Tournament is also sponsored by them.
I remember, those days, before TV was introduced in Sri Lanka, Rolex advertised over television in developed countries, “Rolex watches worn by people who guide the destiny of the world” with the picture of a pilot in the cockpit wearing a Rolex and also some world leaders like personalities chatting to one another.
The voice was very impressive. No doubt not only pilots but also political leaders who guided the destiny of the world also wore Rolex. Today the situation is different. Ordinary councillors in our part of the world also have one. How? God knows.
As a youth I was craving for a Rolex and finally got one- Oyster Perpetual with day and date, with 18 Karat gold strap. In the early days, of course, it boosted social status. As time passed I felt I was risking my life, in travel, with the watch and I got it sold off in the USA.
One may remember, couple of years ago an young Tamil business man was killed in an attempt to grab his Rolex watch in Colpetty, Colombo.
Once when I visited the Galle Face Hotel to see a foreign friend, an Indian diplomat of Kerala origin who was known to me came and said ‘Rolex and Mercedes are status symbols, you have both’. But I was shocked to see a little less expensive Rolex on his wrist.
My instinct was this man is up to some thing. How could a salaried employ however big he may be, can afford to dump so much money and for what purpose? After few months the diplomat was arrested in Delhi for passing information to an enemy country. With officials, Rolex is a passport for corruption.
Myanmar- Burma is the country that is awash with Rolex and Golf equipments. Favors by the powerful people are always honored by such expensive gifts. In Burma all are corrupt. But how many Rolex one can wear and how many Golf equipments one need? So it comes to the market for half the price with guarantee certificates from Tokyo, Hong Kong or Singapore. The buyers are foreign visitors.
Rolex has established a name as a luxury watch. It comes in gold, silver, platinum and white gold. Price for a standard Rolex starts from US$15,000 upwards. Any thing above US$40,000 is considered luxury. Does Rolex cost so much to manufacture? No not at all. It is an image – brand name created by heavy publicity campaign.
There are many types of Rolex for many purposes too. Watches with Diamond and Gemstone setting are priced high. They are more ornamental. A fact you might not know is Rolex watch company imports tiny calibrated size color gemstones from Sri Lanka too.
Fake Rolex from China are available all over the world. If you walk along Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, Hong Kong, Bangladeshi boys will ask you “Sir do you like original copy Rolex?”. Yeah they emphasize Original Copy. The look like is for a fraction of the Swiss price, in three digits only.
At times when an ill gotten Rolex is stolen or lost, the owner, in order to escape from legal implication, ignores it or complaints, as, it is a fake one. Because Rolex goes along with few people’s income only. Alas had the chairman or plane man in Sri Lanka Followed this strategy, he could have avoided unnecessary talks and statements.
Once in San Francisco, an young executive’s Rolex with leather strap was stolen by a pizza delivery Filipino boy. The guy immediately reported to police pointing the pizza boy. He was questioned by police for hours and finally let off. But if he was treated the way our police ” treat” a suspect, ( regard less to human right violation) the loser would have got his watch.
Smuggling and Rolex are inter connected. News papers frequently carried news – not only today. There are professionals. There are amateurs. There are once in a life timers who jumps the fence.
In the 1970s smuggling was a thriving business in the west coast of Bombay with boats coming from Dubai despite of strict vigilance and frequent raids by authorities. One day when customs personal were going around a coastal village, they were surprised to see a fisherman wearing a Rolex. They smelled the rat and watched the village for some time and finally succeeded in catching a shipment.
Here the fisher man who unloaded it from ship might have stolen one from the shipment and wore it like an ordinary Seiko or Citizen. Smugglers do not tell the fishermen the value of goods. So easy come easy go.
Rolex is a Rolex. It is affordable for people above middle class in the west. But in our countries it can bring you glory provided you have the other supporting assets like a limousine, palatial house, factory with hundreds of workers and paying income tax in millions. Otherwise it will be like a farmer marrying a princess or fisher man wearing it that is incompatible (or ill gotten) and bound to bring misery. Easy come easy go.
Wimbledon shows us even the champions can be defeated. Yeah that is what we see in the media too. What makes Wimbledon great? Rolex. What makes Rolex great? Great people.
(This piece was written exclusively for this blog)