However none of that means that Rolex is not a respected name – in fact in terms of movement reliability and build quality, basic quality of materials, and real improvements to reliability and functionality, they are one of the most respected names in watchmaking and their watches are worn and worn happily by many who understand watchmaking right down to its bones. 

They have classic good looks, are versatile, and are made with a level of attention to detail and consistency in quality that is really admirable and the fact that they are not a part of a group whose membership has some historical defensibility, but which is really more of an enthusiast’s casual rule of thumb than a serious classification, should not dissuade anyone from buying a Rolex. (And in fact, every year hundreds of thousands of people do just that – buy a Rolex, that is). ‘Big Three’ is one of those catchphrases like ‘in-house’ which might at first glance seem meaningful but which in reality, and the more you learn, really doesn’t mean much or tell you much. And as usual, the reality is much more interesting.