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Is it? Have Rolex ever produced a tourbillon or Grande sonnerie? Brands like Seiko have produced both in-house. Chinese brands like Sea-Gull have produced a tourbillon movement. Is it because Rolex is incapable of haute horology? I think a lot of Rolex owners are interested in owning something that says Rolex on the dial. Rather than buying a high end brand. These are just some thoughts feel free to discuss.
 

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I think it’s pretty obvious that they’re not. I also think it’s pretty obvious that it’s not because they’re incapable but because it’s not their business model. They make high quality, low tolerance, robust watches. They are becoming more of a jewellery brand by going bigger and flashier but they are quite clearly not interested in grand complications.

Nothing about the brand hints at “incapable,” however, and the Sky Dweller (which is a novel and unique take on an annual calendar) shows, in my opinion, that if Rolex wanted to tackle additional complications, they would do it in a new and innovative way.

It’s very possible that while they have not traditionally been a haute horology brand, they could become one eventually. They are raising their prices in an effort to reach a new tier of watches so perhaps we will see more from them in the future.


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Lemania Longines Solvil
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To me, what we could call haute horlogerie is about movement finish. For a long time, movements with finish that could qualify for the Geneva Seal were considered top notch. Rolex movements never were as beautifully made as vintage PP or VC. They had to have all parts highly polished and beveled, there could be no visible trace of machine made work, spiral studs had to be held by a two screws cap, and so on, everything controlled by an independent office.
Of course, because not all manufacturers are in Geneva, all top grade watches don't always had this seal, but when you learn about watch finish and Geneva Seal standards, you can then easily spot superior finish. I remember good articles to start with from Walt Odets in TZ.
 

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Well, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie lists them as a "perimeter brand" https://www.hautehorlogerie.org/en/brands/

For a brand that build their reputation on tool watches (ok, luxury ones) and are very reluctant to change a winning formula, it's no surprise they haven't released a grand sonnerie.
Of course they have the ability, but it would probably do them more harm than good.
 

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Granted I'm fairly new to the hobby, but my impression is that haute horology is predicated on one or more of three things (with the implication that true haute horology maisons do all three):
1) finishing;
2) high complications;
3) artistry (for example, highly-detailed painted/carved dials or bespoke one-off designs).

Rolex does none of these things, so I'd have to say no.

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Alysandir
 

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After years of reading contentious threads about Rolex one post stood out to me. Someone called them a good midrange brand sold as a luxury brand. They have nice classic designs that they fine tuned over the years and precious metal versions that are jewel encrusted. But you have to go way back to vintage to find a simple triple date moonphase.

Bob
 

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No...they are not haute horology.
Yes... they are capable of producing grand complications.
No.... it does not make sense for them to do so as it's not their business model or align with their market position.

Simply put - Rolex can easily make a tourbillon or perpetual calendar (they do have annual calendar in SkyDweller). But Why???
They have a clear business model - very high quality, extremely precise tolerances, broad market appeal. Why make watches that are not part of their business plan?? Yes, sea-gull is capable of making a tourbillon - but their production volumes, finishes\tolerances, and market appeal are very limited. So it's just making it for the sake of saying they made it.
And when Seiko does it (not really Seiko as much as Credor) - it's with a very limited appeal. Totally different market strategy.
 

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Well, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie lists them as a "perimeter brand" https://www.hautehorlogerie.org/en/brands/

For a brand that build their reputation on tool watches (ok, luxury ones) and are very reluctant to change a winning formula, it's no surprise they haven't released a grand sonnerie.
Of course they have the ability, but it would probably do them more harm than good.
I agree.

That list however, not sure how meaningful that is in this context, or what makes a brand a "Partner" brand or a "Perimeter" brand. Partner brands such as Tag Heuer, while Patek Philippe(!), Andreas Strehler, Antoine Preziuso, Breguet(!), etc., etc. list as "Perimeter"? Isn't that more about who's officially a member of FHH and who is not?
 

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No. And I appreciate that, for an affordable sports watch it makes Rolex more attainable for the masses.

I believe most WIS have either owned high-end pieces, or seen the finishing that goes into high-end pieces like Dufour and A. Lange & Sohn for instance (soft anglage, handmade parts). The detailing is out-of-this-world.

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Well, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie lists them as a "perimeter brand" https://www.hautehorlogerie.org/en/brands/

For a brand that build their reputation on tool watches (ok, luxury ones) and are very reluctant to change a winning formula, it's no surprise they haven't released a grand sonnerie.
Of course they have the ability, but it would probably do them more harm than good.
Ffritz beat me to it.

They have Tag and Montblanc listed as partners and Breguet and Blancpain listed as perimeter brands. That means I put zero weight into their list.

To answer the OPs question - Rolex is not HH, nor do they care to be.
 

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Is it? Have Rolex ever produced a tourbillon or Grande sonnerie? Brands like Seiko have produced both in-house. Chinese brands like Sea-Gull have produced a tourbillon movement. Is it because Rolex is incapable of haute horology? I think a lot of Rolex owners are interested in owning something that says Rolex on the dial. Rather than buying a high end brand. These are just some thoughts feel free to discuss.
Well, at least literally, Rolex was a haute horlogerie watch from time to time.. ;-)

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1 million watches a year... definitely not.

Fails the test for exclusivity, which is very important in haute horology.

In fact, many so-called haute horology brands produce models that are not considered hh, because of the sheer numbers in circulation.
 

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Is it? Have Rolex ever produced a tourbillon or Grande sonnerie? Brands like Seiko have produced both in-house. Chinese brands like Sea-Gull have produced a tourbillon movement. Is it because Rolex is incapable of haute horology? I think a lot of Rolex owners are interested in owning something that says Rolex on the dial. Rather than buying a high end brand. These are just some thoughts feel free to discuss.
To keep this thread on track it would be helpful to agree on a definition of haute horology.
 
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