- Rolex is by far the dominant luxury watch brand, with about a quarter of the global market.
- The classic watches are prized by collectors, but other brands are more exciting for horologists.
- Chrono24 CEO Tim Stracke shared three of his top picks at three different price points.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Ever since Rolex effectively invented the wristwatch category over a century ago, the Swiss brand has been a leader among collectors and horologists.
Even now, the company commands a 25% share of the luxury watch market - almost three times as large as its nearest rival, Omega, which has less than 9%.
Rolexes are practically impossible to find new, while on the secondary market the watches' already-high prices quickly reach astronomical levels.
So, if you've decided to plunk down a small fortune on a luxury watch and are open to Rolex alternatives, Insider asked Chrono24 CEO Tim Stracke to share some of his favorites.
For $3,500 (R50,000) you could get a Datejust…
Originally launched in 1945, the Datejust is about as classic of a watch as you can find. This entry-level Rolex has a classic silhouette and a legacy of adorning some of the most distinguished wrists in history.
… or a Nomos Club Sport
Nomos is a newer watchmaker out of Glashütte, Germany, which produces movements in-house with a Bauhaus aesthetic.
"If you like simplistic design, I think that's the one for you, and I'm pretty optimistic that that's a brand that could also be around in 100 years," Stracke said.
For $35,000 (R500,000) you could get a Yacht-Master II …
The Yacht-Master II features a mechanical memory and a 10-minute countdown timer so you can make sure your sailboat is positioned to cross the starting line at the exact perfect second. Not only does it make a bold statement, it's useful, too!
… or a Czapek Antarctique
"Czapek was the guy who built watches more than 100 years ago with another gentleman named Patek," Stracke said.
The parting of Czapek and Patek led to the legendary Patek-Philippe partnership, and now the legacy of Czapek has new life as the brand was relaunched in 2015.
"I love the design, it's a beautiful piece of amazing quality and more affordable [than Patek]," Stracke said. "Still expensive, but a lot more affordable."
For $350,000 (R5 million) you could get a Daytona Platinum…
The Rolex Daytona is one of the most highly sought-after watches, period. Some options for the line include a platinum case with the ice blue dial, a bezel with a rainbow of gemstones, or the legendary Paul Newman gold and black Daytona.
… or a Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes
"Greubel Forsey has probably the most exquisite pieces on the market right now," Stracke said.
Stracke says the founders told him "We are targeting people that own a yacht and they get bored by the yacht."
"That's probably the finest of what you see in watchmaking right now in Switzerland," he added. "I don't have one, but it's on my grail watch list."