Rolex – The Submariner

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What an interesting year for Rolex. Who would have predicted that a relatively “unspecial” Rolex Daytona given by a loving wife to her iconic film star and motor racing obsessed husband would be heralded as the most expensive ever sold. See our previous celebrating the iconic Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona

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Whilst I really like the Daytona, particularly the steel and white faced one, I have always been massive fan of the iconic and hugely aesthetic Rolex Submariner in its various incarnations from the early 1980s.

Interesting news from the same auction when Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona was sold a Submariner achieved an important milestone by recording highest price of $579,000 ever paid a Rolex Submariner (Ref 6200).

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Launched at the 1954 Basel Spring Fair, Rolex debuted its now iconic Submariner (no. 6204). The 6204 and the slightly smaller 6205 were officially launched for sale to the general public in 1955.

It’s difficult to determine a precise designer within the Rolex team but credit is given to Director, Rene P. Jeanneret, a keen amateur diver, who in the early 1950’s encouraged Rolex to develop a sports watch for divers.

Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf (aged 24) and Alfred Davis in London in 1905. Precision was an obsession for Hans and in 1910 a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision from the Official Watch Rating Centre.

In 1920 Rolex moved to Geneva and in 1926, Rolex created the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch named “Oyster” featuring a protective and hermetically sealed case. In 1933 Rolex patented the world’s first ingenious self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor that continues to this day to be at the heart of every modern automatic watch.

The Submariner was the first divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres with a rotatable bezel showing the diver their immersion time. Renowned underwater explorer and film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was featured prominently wearing a pre-launch Submariner in his documentary film “The Silent World” that won an Academy Award in 1957.

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In 2003, a special model was introduced by Rolex (No.16610V) to celebrate the first 50 years of the Submariner model and it features a green bezel insert. Despite subtle design changes, including a ceramic bezel, the most recent version of the Submariner (no. 116610) launched in 2010 continues in loyal homage to the 1953 original model.

See here from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is an amazing video featuring the dismantling, clearing and reassembling of a Rolex Submariner. Dismantling a Rolex Submariner Now understanding that each watch takes over a year to build and test, I suspect that the price tag is warranted as even a new Rolex Submariner can be worth more than was paid for it!

As we approach the festive season our loved ones may be giving serious thought to parting with some hard earned cash and spoiling us with a Rolex. The one pariah that has been in the back ground of those who enjoy fine watches in recent years are the developments in, particularly the Chinese market’s ability to reproduce luxury items: leather bags, fine silk scarf, watches and motor cars – yup…. if in doubt Google “Land Wind”….staggering.

So here, also from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is a fascinating and very comprehensive video helping us to identify a fake from a genuine Rolex Submariner – now no one should get caught out! How to Spot a Fake Rolex Submariner

As I have said in our “About” section not all of the iconic and design classics featured in Aestheticons are currently in my possession. However, in a few months I celebrate a “special birthday” and who knows……When it does I will be able to gush appropriately in these pages about the many and varied thrills that I am assured are certain to occur…..

As a post script, ok call me a sucker for some great piece of marketing, but please check out this James Cameron piece for Rolex SA – James Cameron’s Rolex Submariner

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Images from Rolex, Watchfinder and Jake’s Rolex World’s

Adidas v Nike

It must be a Marketing Director’s dream. Develop a brand that begats a killer logo, place that logo strategically on your products and allow a willing purchaser to spend their hard earned cash to buy them. In buying your brand it says something of their taste and aspiration. In them wearing their purchases they deliver in their role as an “influencer” to their peer group, assuring their nearest and dearest that they too would do well to chose the same brand. For your brand, aside from the inevitable free advertising, the result is a triple whammy – 1. You have sold your products; 2. Your brand is seen – eyeballed – by others, a constantly moving reinforcement exercise and 3. You should be able to spend less on advertising. Why? Because your customer is doing the hard work for you! Marketing Director sleeps deeply knowing a good job’s been done!

There are many examples of aspirational brands that a purchaser is willing to “Show Off” wearing – and I make no judgment as I too am a very willing victim. Perhaps the definitives are:

Ralph Lauren and their famous Polo Shirts – see our previous post here – Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

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Buy an iconic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt by clicking the following AMAZON link Ralph Lauren Men’s Polo Shirt Classic Fit Various Colours (XL, Blue (Red Logo))

Rolex – wouldn’t you too like a Submariner too – see our previous post here Rolex Submariner

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Levi Strauss – I cannot remember not owing a pair of 501’s – read our earlier post here – Levi 501’s

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Add a pair of iconic Levi 501’s to your wardrobe by clicking this AMAZON link Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

Louis Vuitton – so popular that it is probably the world’s most copied brand!

Perhaps the best examples of brands that court conspicuous displays of their logos on arms, shoulders, legs and even tattoos, are the two iconic Goliaths of the sporting brands market: Adidas and Nike.

Odd isn’t it when there is a simple choice of two: The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Blur, Amazon and E-bay, Adidas and Nike that the market is often quite vehemently polarised. For me it’s the Stones, Oasis, Amazon and Adidas but for others will be equally determined in their selection and the reasons for their choice.

Adolf “Adi” Dassler – Adi Das (geddit?) – founded his business in 1920, he started making shoes in 1924, registered the company name in 1949 and first used the three stripes identity on footwear in 1967 – that’s fifty years ago this year.

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The first use of the trefoil logo – intended to represent the three continent of Europe, Asia and America – that has become synonymous with their Originals range – was on Franz Beckenbauer’s tracksuit in 1971 and it later becoming the company’s corporate logo. By 1990 the three stripes arranged to represent a mountain, symbolising those challenges to be confronted and goals to be attained, became Adidas’ core and hugely recognisable logo.

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The truly iconic Adidas “Superstar” range has been available since 1969, along the way they have been given very heavy promotion by RUN-D.M.C. such that today they have achieved the classic cross-over from sports shoe to street wear.

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Get your own pair of Adidas Superstar by clicking this AMAZON link adidas Superstar, Unisex Adults’ Low-Top Sneakers, White (Ftwr White/Core Black/Ftwr White), 5 UK (38 EU)

Although a much younger business than Adidas, Nike (known as Blue Ribbon Sports until 1971) was founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and first produced footwear in 1971.

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The now famous Nike “Swoosh” was commissioned by Mr Knight and Carolyn Davison was paid $35 for her design that implied movement and speed. It is said that Mr Knight was less than excited about the design commenting that he thought it would “grow on him” – him and millions of others now share a love for this simple device. In 1995, given its distinctive market recognition, the company chose to replace its then logo, that comprised the combined Swoosh together with the company name, with just the Swoosh.

Having nailed my colours to the mast – I prefer Adidas – last year, my team, Chelsea Football Club, threw me a curve-ball. The Club announced, after many years of Adidas supplying the team’s kit and associated merchandise, that a many multi million pound deal has been conclude with arch rival Nike for the next ten seasons. I must say the new first team’s shirt is a classic, really well designed and made, and my son is a proud owner.

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Get you own 2017 Chelsea Shirt by clicking this AMAZON link Chelsea FC Home Football Jersey 17/18

Images Courtesy of Adidas, Nike, Ralph Lauren and Rolex

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Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona

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A Rolex Daytona (Ref: 6239) given as gift by his loving wife, Joanne Woodward, who on its reverse inscribed the words “Drive Safely, Me”, to car racing mad film star, Paul Newman made history on 26th October 2017.

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Why? Because in a Phillips sale room at 450 Park Avenue, New York City at the Winning Icons Auction, the watch was sold by, James Cox, a former boyfriend of the Newman’s daughter, Nell, who had received it as a gift from the late film star in 1984 – as he allegedly didn’t have a watch to tell the time to get to appointments for his tree felling clients – for a staggering $17.75m (including buyers premium) making it simply the most expensive wrist watch ever!

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Purchased by Ms Woodward for $300 in 1975, the watch was thought to have been lost. It was, in fact, secreted in a bank vault after its owner caught wind of how much it may have been worth. The sale far exceeded the expectations set at circa $5-$10m.

Here Mr Newman is seen wearing his iconic watch during a 1982 interview for the BBC’s “Film 82” program.

It is understood that a substantial portion of the proceeds are destined for charitable causes as operated by Ms Newman which would have met with the Rolex former owner’s approval. Mr Newman’s “Newman’s Own” range of salad dressings has contributed $495m since its founding in 1982 to August 2017 to his chosen charities.

Another important milestone that was achieved at the sale was the record highest price of $579,000 paid for my favourite model in Rolex’ range – the Submariner (Ref 6200). My own homily in praise of this beautiful watch can be seen here – Rolex Submariner

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Photo credit courtesy of Douglas Kirkland,  Philips Auctions and Bob’s Watches

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Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

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I am giving serious thought to the expression “Favourite Car” in response to an enquirers question to name mine. Now, I thought I had a long-term and completely harmonious fictional relationship with a 1965 Porsche 911 Targa. See here our previous past Porsche 911 Targa 

No question my pulse quicken and my throat dries a little at the thought of those classic lines, that ticking engine and those long lazy sunny days mastering the hairpins down to La Corniche. Then, as if to upset the harmony of a steady relationship, a perfectly formed little nose nudges you and with winking classic headlights clears its throat and ask you if, perhaps with a little hesitation and possibly some disappointment, whether you have forgotten them.

They remind you of the mid-1970’s classic car magazine collection “On Four Wheels” – which to the best of my recollection ran for about three years and with each edition – after the usual “magazine-crack” two for one introductory offer – became increasingly more expensive. They remind you of this endless summer days with your childhood pal, Mike, when you’d visit car showrooms, argue about the merits of Italian cars versus German or French ones and write to “concessionaires” asking for brochures often to be inundated with coffee table sized promo materials featuring sleek new sleek Lamborghinis and Maseratis. Mike still has his collection of brochures stored in a garage – Ebay anyone?

One such car is Volkswagen’s iconic Karmann Ghia – especially the Cabriolet version. My Godmother has a hard topped version in grey and she was quite cool so that was how this pretty car became locked in my evolving psyche from the mid-sixties.

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The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – based on the classic and mechanics of a first model Beetle – see our celebration of this amazing car here Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined –  was debuted as a design concept at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. Following launch, it was available in 2+2 coupe versions (from 1955 to 1974) and as a cabriolet (from 1957 to 1974).

The Karmann Ghia was a collaboration that featured the styling genius of Luigi Segre, of the legendary Turin based coach-builder, Carrozzeria Ghia (now owned by Ford), and the hand-shapes panelling  of German coach-builder Karmann – who VW had commissioned to develop the car. A massive success with over 445,000 cars built, the Karmann Ghia was extensively exported, particularly to the US market.

The VW Karmann Ghia Cabriolet was first introduced August 1957.

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The Cabriolet has, along with many cars in the VW range, been featured in a series of classic Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) print media adverts in the 1950s and 60’s; so much so that DDB’s work with Volkswagen, who they have represented since 1959 (opening an office in Germany in 1961) was voted the No. 1 campaign of all time by Advertising Age’s 1999 “The Century of Advertising”.

A classic DD&B poster from the early 1960’s:

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In the early 1970’s, in response to increasing vehicle safety requirements, particularly in the US, the smooth chrome wrap-around bumpers were replaced with energy absorbing bumpers. By the mid 1970’s the model was phased out to be replaced, initially, by the Porsche 914 – never a particular favourite.

STOP PRESS: In the Gooding and Company Scottsdale Auction in January 2018 a 1963 hard topped version of the Karmann Ghia achieve a respectable $37,400 which whilst is not cheap does suggest that this fine German brand is an everyman collectible – see this lovely example and read here the Gooding and Company report Gooding and Company Karmann Ghia

Seen and loved the car – now get the T shirt – please click the AMAZON link under the image 

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VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (XXL(50-52), RED)

Read more about the history – here.

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Volkswagen Karmann Ghias and Cabriolets: 1949-1980

Essential mantelpiece material – a die cast model to keep those juices flowing!

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Minichamps 155054031 1:18 Scale “1970 VW Karmann Ghia Convertible Black” Replica Model Toy

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Karmann Ghia Type 14 Logo T-Shirt Oldtimer Car Cars Collector Driver Ralley Osnabrück Coupé Cabriolet 17156 – Grey – XX-Large

If you are lucky enough to find a Karmann Gaia in reasonable condition – and at a reasonable price – grab it! If successful you’ll need the iconic Haynes Manual to tell you just what to do to keep your beautiful car in fab condition.

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VW Beetle and Karmann Ghia (1954-79) Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

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Images by West Coast Classics, Doyle Dane and Bernbach, Ara Howrani/Howrani Studios and Gooding and Company with grateful thanks

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

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Launched: 1972

Designer: Ralph Lifshitz (aka Ralph Lauren) developed his version of the Polo Shirt design – which was first launched by Rene Lacoste in 1933 – see our post here – Lacoste Shirt.

History: After designing and retailing ties, Ralph developed his Polo brand first with ties and then shirts – gaining the rights from Brooks Brothers (for whom he worked briefly in late 1964) – see our post here – Brooks Brothers Shirts  – in the process who to this day use the “original polo button-down collar” shirt on their button down range.

Launched in 1972 in 24 colours this pique cotton shirt – often features the number 3 – said to represents the number that the captain of the Polo team typically wears.

My Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Perhaps re-imagined and derivative but in the 1990’s a Ralph Polo shirt with its little polo-player logo was very good short hand for who you were. It continues to come in a range of amazing colours and if anything I suspect they are now cut even a little fuller than they once were. They are hard wearing and a great accompaniment to summer time short. I am very fond of them even it is only a rare sight to see me on a horse – with or without a polo stick in my hand.

Your Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Share your love for these fabulous shirts here….

Photo from Ralph Lauren with grateful thanks

 

 

Levi‘s 501

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501’s were seen as work-wear for much of its first sixty years being rechristened ‘blue jeans’ in the 1950’s.

Jacob Davis, a tailor, was approached by a workman’s wife asking for a stronger pair of trousers. He sought a solution to pocket and fly tearing experienced by workers using his denim trousers by applying copper rivets to the stress points of the garment. He then went in search of a partner to help make these early examples.

Levi Strauss was a dry goods vender who had sold Jacob the denim he needed for his early samples. They joined forces and the production which following its the grant of Patent on 20th May 1873  for “waist overalls” heralded a massive success.

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In 1886 the Two Horse leather patch was first used and added to the overalls.  In 1890 the Patent passed into the Public Domian, meaning the company lost their exclusive over riveted denim. As a result the company introduced the “501” as the definitive version of their denim work “waist overalls”, with copper rivets and the Two Horse leather and later the “leather-like” patch.

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By 1936 the Red Tab appeared. These ingenious and other design elements have ensured that Levi Strauss have been able to seek protection for their design against cynical copying. The company spend million of dollars annually protecting their Intellectual Property Rights.

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Always at the heart of youth culture, the universal appeal stems from its integrity, a loyalty to the original design, the highest quality denim and sturdy manufacture.

I have loved Levi’s jeans since a teenager. Whilst the waist band may have expanded – and indeed contracted on various occasions due to mad cabbage soup diets etc – I have been through zip-fly, yellow label and 360 degrees back to red-label button-fly 501.

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They are simply my favourite jeans that have seen me through endless concerts and music festivals. Dylan at Blackbush in 1977 (that included sleeping on Waterloo Station concourse due to a missed last train), to Glastonbury mud-caked, U2 and the Rolling Stones at Wembley to Mumford and Sons at Benicassim they have simply been more than a wardrobe anchor.

Today they combine perfectly with classic shoes, an Argentinian woven belt and a great shirt and/or jacket – depending on the season – for London creative business meetings. Less Revolution and more Evolution my 501s – and I now have several favourite pairs – are still beautifully made, ooze classic iconic style and are, above all, hugely dependable.

Would you like a pair of Levis 501? Click this AMAZON link to buy your own iconic jeans click the Amazon link below the image: 

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Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

The essential Argentinian belt can also be added here by clicking the Amazon link below the image – make sure you get the right length!

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Carlos Diaz Mens Womens Unisex Argentinian Brown Leather Embroidered Polo Belt (85 cm/ 32-34 Inches)

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Photo by Levi Strauss