In March, we asked you to share the story behind your first Rolex with us. Since submissions closed on March 29, 2021, we have been publishing our favorite submissions. Eric from Austin, Texas kicked things off with a touching story about his Rolex Datejust. Helicopter pilot Edward from Australia had an exciting tale to tell about his Rolex GMT-Master 2. David – also from “Down Under” – achieved the impressive feat of converting his comic book and Lego collections into a Rolex Milgauss.
The Italian-American Tito from Atlanta told us about the giant dose of luck he experienced after accidentally dropping his Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 to the bottom of Lake Lanier. In his story, you’ll find out how he was able to recover his prized Rolex (in full working condition) two years later.
Today, Artaud Charles, a teacher from New York, shares how he was able (with the help of a few financial tricks) to acquire a brand new Rolex Datejust smack dab in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of my idiosyncrasies is that I never wear the same shoes two days in a row. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day I could proclaim that I never wear the same watch – a Rolex, that is – two days in a row? Buying my first Rolex was an epic event that will forever remain seared in my mind because it symbolizes financial responsibility, personal and professional achievement, the pursuit of excellence, self-indulgence, freedom, and self-anointment as an haute horlogerie insider.
I am a Special Education and Mathematics teacher in a New York City public high school. It has always been an overarching goal of mine to inspire my diverse students to become independent learners, critical thinkers, and model citizens with a sense of civic duty who value learning for its capacity to make the world a better place. The unremitting passion and dedication to excellence that drives the people at Rolex to produce extraordinary timepieces and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of humanity through various philanthropic initiatives is the same passion that drives me every day to meet the varied needs of my students by promoting academic access and achievement for all.
I was probably 17 when I first saw and touched a Rolex timepiece. Bob—a mentor, watch repairer, and owner of a solid gold Rolex Day-Date—introduced me to the intricacies of his timepiece. I was blown away by the sheer magnificence of the watch: It felt refined, substantial, and mind-bogglingly superior to any watch I had ever owned or seen.
More than three and a half decades have since passed, and the idea of owning a Rolex still seemed abstract. That is until one February morning as I was reflecting upon what I had accomplished for my students and myself since the official “kickoff” of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020. It dawned on me that it was healthier and more constructive to stop harping on the shortcomings and to celebrate some of the positive things that have transpired in my life during these turbulent and unpredictable times. Here are a few events from March 2020 to January 2021 that I feel lucky to share:
- The loss of tax revenues compelled the mayor to make some tough decisions. I was fortunate to keep my teaching job, but several of my colleagues were laid off.
- I paid off all my student loans.
- I was granted full tenure by the New York City Department of Education.
- I contracted COVID-19 but overcame it quickly and without complications.
- Despite the ubiquitous chaos, my passion for teaching and engaging my students has not waned.
By February 2021, it had become obvious that my trip to Australia in July 2021 was not going to materialize. It was then I decided to buy something special to celebrate myself. I thought about it and finally decided to buy a luxury watch. Vivid memories of my interactions with Bob led me to consider the iconic Rolex brand. I was not sure how I was going to pay for a Rolex, but I knew I wanted a brand-new one. I checked out the Rolex website several times, and I saw that the prices were astronomical. I was left anxious, scared, and bewildered. These high figures did not make sense to me. My flaw is that I am a city employee with champagne taste on a beer budget. This internal conflict lingered until the moment I handed my credit cards to the sales representative.
The First Steps
On February 15, I called a few authorized dealers (ADs) in Manhattan and asked if I could come and see an Oyster Perpetual 41 or a Datejust in stainless steel. I was hoping to purchase the OP41 because I felt that it was peripherally within my reach. The ADs took my phone number and promised to call me when something became available. That was an unpleasant surprise: a waitlist! Instant gratification does not seem to exist in the world of Rolex.
A mere eighteen days later, I walked into a Rolex AD at Hudson Yards in Manhattan to look at a Datejust 41 (blue dial, Jubilee bracelet, luminous hands, smooth bezel) that a sales representative had put aside for me. Ten days earlier, I had been offered a Datejust 41, but I declined because it came with Roman numerals. As I put on the watch, I briefly experienced tachycardia followed by intermittent bursts of gentle shudder along my spine. “I am in trouble,” I said to myself! I left the AD and took a walk to crunch the numbers. After an hour, I figured it out: (a) 12.80% in cash, (b) 3.50% from debit card, (c) 7.70% from credit card, and (d) 76% special financing—no interest if fully paid in 12 months. Three weeks after the purchase, I had already reduced the total debt incurred to $1,500. Rolex #1 will be paid off before May 2021, and I am already targeting an Oyster Perpetual 41 with a silver dial. Once you enter the Rolex stratosphere, it seems you can never leave it.
I am thrilled to own this Rolex Datejust 41. As an educator and traveler, this timepiece will seamlessly integrate into my everyday routine, injecting elegance, flair, and sophistication into my wardrobe and persona. The configuration is perfect, and the sales representative was brilliant. I would have felt deep remorse had I let this one go. This acquisition marks the beginning of a wonderful journey and learning experience; it is a watershed moment in my life. I am gradually discovering the watch world through books, YouTube, Chrono24, etc. My Rolex is not a status symbol; it is a depiction of beauty, precision, and the simple pleasures of life—this precious life that is awash with uncertainties and vicissitudes. I am grateful for the opportunity to now own a Rolex timepiece and to be in a position to shape the future of young scholars in the classroom, just as Rolex has been making history in sports, the arts, and exploration.