For all of Rolex’s accomplishments, accolades, fame and endorsements, it’s hard to imagine there’s anything left of the mega watch brand to cover in any meaningful detail. But Fabienne Reybaud, veteran watch journalist and author of Watches: The Ultimate Guide and The Nature of Chaumet, has gone and done it with Rolex: The Impossible Collection.
To live up to its enticing title, Reybaud chose only Rolex’s rarest and most technically innovative models, which are depicted in 200 images across 194 pages. Following a comprehensive journey through the watchmaker’s history, the book covers lust-inducing relics such as Rolex’s 100,000th certified chronometer, the Oyster Perpetual “Pan Am” GMT-Master Ref. 6542, and even a Panerai Radiomir with a Rolex 618 movement from the early 1950s.
Reybaud has even managed to get a hold of watches that have never appeared in print before, and these include the pre-Rolex, logo-less Wilsdorf & Davis wristwatch with Aegler movement from 1900, the first Oyster Perpetual from 1931, and the Submariner worn by actor George Lazenby as James Bond in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The 9kg coffee-table book is actually the latest in luxury publisher Assouline’s “Impossible Collection” series, which has previously covered everything from wine to Warhol. And, like its predecessors, the book itself deserves to be a collectible. The pages are hand-bound using traditional techniques, the illustrations are hand-tipped, and the entire thing is presented in a clamshell case with a metal plaque.