This article looks into the rich history and impressive features of the Rolex Explorer.
With Rolex’s long and storied history, there are plenty of models that fly under the radar and that are forgotten by all but collectors and enthusiasts. The Rolex Masterpiece is one of the models that could fall into this category. While this watch still has plenty of fans who search for used and pre-owned models, your everyday watch buyer likely hasn’t heard of this unique and interesting piece of Rolex history. In today’s BQ Glossary blog, we’ll be diving into the Rolex Masterpiece watch, what it is and where you can find them today. Read on to learn more about the Rolex Masterpiece and increase your Rolex history knowledge!
The reason that the Rolex Masterpiece isn’t an especially recognizable name in Rolex’s catalogue is partially because it’s not a separate model of Rolex and is instead a special edition of an existing model of watch. Masterpieces are, in fact, simply special editions of the classic Day-Date watch. But what makes them so special?
Well, the Masterpiece is a bit of a Rolex chimera, as the watch takes the core design of the Rolex Day-Date and combines it with the Pearlmaster bracelet. It also incorporates the Pearlmaster’s more rounded profile and precious gemstones to truly give it that ‘Masterpiece’ aesthetic.
But how did this combo watch come to be? For that, we’ll need to go back to the introduction of the Rolex Pearlmaster.
The Rolex Pearlmaster was introduced to Rolex’s lineup many years after the seminal Day-Date. In 1992, the Pearlmaster was launched as a watch specifically designed for women. The Pearlmaster had a smaller size and was designed to be statement jewellery just as much as it was designed to be a functional watch. It included Rolex’s signature Oyster case for durability and was made with precious metals to add to its luxury status.
One of the finest aspects of the Pearlmaster was its refined, curved five-link bracelet. In the late 1990s, Rolex decided to incorporate the Pearlmaster bracelet into its signature Day-Date line, and the Rolex Masterpiece was born. It would also come in a unique size compared to the traditional 36mm Day-Date, with a more robust 39mm case. This change made sense, as 39mm is a more versatile size that can fit a wider range of wrists. Thus, those who were able to get their hands on a Masterpiece likely found it to be a satisfying fit. Rolex would refer to these as “special edition” watches, denoting their refinement and rarity.
And it’s not exaggerating to say that these Rolex Masterpieces are truly exclusive. Rolex has only released seven models of the Masterpiece watches since the first model’s inception. Rolex would also introduce a rarer variant of the Masterpiece watch, called the Tridor, which is even more difficult to procure on the pre-owned market.
Rolex would first introduce the Rolex Masterpiece in 1999. It was a beautiful model constructed with 18kt yellow gold and a bezel set with diamonds. The Masterpiece collection would add five additional models in 2000. These models would come in platinum with the choice of diamonds or sapphires.
A few more Masterpiece variants would be released over the years, but you can expect the ones you find on the secondhand market to come in either yellow gold or platinum. Befitting their name, these watches only come in luxurious versions that utilise the finest materials and precious gemstones to add to their value and rarity.
While the Rolex Masterpiece is certainly a beautiful watch, the prestigious watch company isn’t stingy about cutting smaller-run models from its lineup. This adds to the rarity of the Masterpiece even more, as the line was officially discontinued in 2014. Rolex no longer uses the Masterpiece moniker for any models, though you can still purchase new Datejust Pearlmaster watches, which are daily close in design.
The Rolex Masterpiece watches were a short, very limited run of Rolex that is now a piece of Rolex history. They’re very rare, which makes them the perfect target for enthusiastic collectors.
If you’re in the market for a used Rolex watch, make sure to browse the BQ Watches inventory. We’re always seeking out rare and unique timepieces from Rolex and other major brands to add to our inventory. You can find Masterpiece and Tridor Rolex watches regularly rotated through our online store and our London showroom.
Our goal is to always help our customers find their ideal timepieces. Whether you’re looking for a Rolex or any other pre-owned luxury watch, make sure that the team at BQ Watches is your first call.
BQ Watches is your go-to source for pre-owned luxury watches and luxury watch services. While the Rolex Masterpiece is certainly a rare and difficult-to-find watch, you never know what we might add to our inventory next. If you’re looking to source a Rolex Masterpiece, simply inform our sourcing team, and you’ll be the first to know if we find one for sale.
Of course, we also have our current inventory available for you to peruse. You can find pre-owned models from top luxury brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Omega and many more. BQ Watches is also your go-to provider for services like selling your watch, appraisals, watch repairs, professional cleanings and more. If you know which service you need, or if you have an eye on one of our watches, please fill out our contact form and let us know. A member of the BQ Watches team will reach out shortly to assist you. We look forward to getting to know you and helping you with all of your luxury watch needs.