Purchasing a Rolex has long been a rite of passage for successful men everywhere, often the first step toward building a collection worthy of passing down. But an even more select group wear the rarest Rolexes of all on their wrists—watches no amount of money can buy.
These are the world’s top guns in gentlemanly pursuits like sailing, motor racing, exploring and equestrianism, who have “won the watch” in competition, purely on skill and merit.
From a distance, the timepieces might not look that different from what you’d find in a high-end jewelry shop, but turn the watch over and its true character is revealed: the official engraving on the caseback, and especially the magic word, “Winner.”
These prizes are presented in Rolex’s signature dark green leather box, customized with scenes of the sport in question. But the exhilaration comes from the owner’s knowledge of what’s discreetly pressed up against the top of his or her wrist.
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While there has been a great deal of laughter from politicians and commentators, the excuse that former and prospective Federal law-makers claimed they thought their $250,000 gifted Rolex watches were “fakes” is no joke.
The short version of events is that, in June 2013 as then opposition leader Tony Abbott used every possible misdemeanour to topple the Gillard Government, he, along with Industry Spokesman and former Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Stuart Robert, were given watches by Chinese businessman Li Ruipeng, and an event in Canberra. They were also given watches for Margaret Abbott and Chantelle Robert, with then Queensland minister Rob Molhoek receiving a Cartier watch.
According to reports “Macfarlane, assuming his Rolex was a fake worth between $300 and $500, declared the gift with the clerk of the House of Representatives but kept it” and “wore it occasionally”.
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