A wrist watch, more than being a time-telling device, connotes power and status. That is why men, especially those in the top echelons of society, take such care in picking their timepieces.
Sieg Suarez, the man behind the Instagram account @watch_mnl, has been looking at the watches VIPs wear for a year now, painstakingly zooming into pictures to be able to tell which wrist candy is peeking just below the cuff of barongs and suit jackets.
What do the most powerful figures in the Philippine business circle wear?
Watch MNL observed 76 movers and shakers until end of April this year and this led Suarez, a lawyer and longtime watch aficionado, to the conclusion that the top brand of choice for business tycoons is, hands down, still Rolex.
According to Suarez, of the top business leaders spotted by Watch MNL over the course of the year, 51 % of them wears Rolex watches. Meanwhile, Patek Philippe is a distant second, with only over 14% of the business people the IG account has covered wearing the brand. This is followed by Panerai with just over 9%.
Suarez notes that many people continue to regard Rolex as the top luxury watch brand, and has become an aspirational product for many. “Rolex has often been equated with success,” he says.
The numbers show it. The over-a-century old company was valued at 8.053 billion US dollars in a 2017 Bloomberg article. Rolex is currently owned by the Hans Wilsdorf foundation, a private family trust.
The watch enthusiast also cites the brand’s notable achievements, which certainly raises its appeal. Rolex was the first watch which met the strict standards of the COSC or the official Swiss chronometer testing institute for a wrist watch. Rolex also patented the first waterproof watch—the Oyster. The brand also figures in many historic events. A Rolex watch was on the wrist of British Army officer Sir John Hunt on his successful expedition to Mount Everest in 1953. US Air Force officer Charles Elwood Yeager, a famous pilot, wore a Rolex when he exceeded the speed of sound in level flight in 1947.
Watch MNL data also show that the Rolex Daytona is the most preferred model by the Philippine business elite. It’s worn by 28% of those who wear Rolex watches. Blame it perhaps on its reputation. In 2017, a Rolex Daytona previously worn by actor Paul Newman, set the record for world’s most expensive watch. It was sold at that time for 17.8 million dollars. “The Rolex Daytona today is among the hardest models to get at an authorized dealer,” adds Suarez.
Worn by 20.5 % of Rolex wearers in the Philippine business circle is the Rolex Day-Date. As the flagship watch of the brand, this model is considered by many as the ultimate Rolex. Its yellow gold version is often referred to as the President’s Watch.
The third most preferred Rolex watch is the Datejust, worn by 15.3% of the surveyed Rolex wearers. “From what we’ve spotted so far, with the exception of the Daytona, it appears that the business leaders prefer the more traditional and more business appropriate Day-Date and Datejust models over the sought after GMTs, Submariners, and other steel Rolex watches,” Suarez says.
Sieg mentions some of the most powerful Rolex wearers in the country. First is Ayala Corp.’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who was spotted wearing the Air-King and Explorer. Then there’s Dr. Andrew Tan, the titan behind Megaworld, Emperador, and Alliance Global. He’s been seen wearing a Rolex Datejust.
Enrique Razon Jr., who Forbes lists as the third richest Filipino, with a net worth of 4.3 billion dollars, was spotted wearing a Rolex Yacht-Master II. Meanwhile, former Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., patriarch of the Rustan’s empire, was seen wearing a gold Rolex Day-Date, the same model his son Bienvenido Rico Tantoco Jr. have been photographed wearing. Alfonso L. Salcedo Jr., Director at Security Bank, has also been seen wearing a steel Rolex Daytona.
[To know more about the other watch brands and their famous wearers, check out the video here. For more watches, visit https://watchmanila.com/ or follow the author at @watch_mnl on Instagram. For more on Sieg Suarez, click here.]
Photos from Rolex.com