Year 2017. For Lewis Hamilton it promised to be a good year. Nico Rosberg had retired from Formula 1, leaving him ‘alone’ to fight for the title of Formula 1 world champion. From here, and thanks to the superiority of the Mercedes car, 4 more world championships would come, 7 in total. 2017 was the beginning of a good period in the life of Lewis Hamilton … or not?

In 2017 Lewis Hamilton decided to take legal action against the watch company ‘Hamilton Watch Company’, of the Swatch Group, which sells watches under the trade name ‘Hamilton’. The pilot accused the watch company of misappropriating his image.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled in favor of the watch company. The ruling says the watch company has been operating under the Hamilton trade name since 1892, long before Lewis Hamilton was born. In addition, the ruling says that “Hamilton” is a very common surname in English-speaking countries.

It also adds that there is no natural right for a person to have their own name registered as a trademark, as this would infringe the rights of third parties.

Lewis Hamilton’s company, 44IP, was attempting to register the Lewis Hamilton ‘trademark for a number of products, such as jewelry, watches and smartwatches.

In this case, the attorneys for Hamilton Watch Company objected, considering that intellectual property rights were infringed.

‘We do not consider it appropriate or necessary to facilitate the market strategies and marketing plans of a competitor, who intends to enter the market with a brand that is practically identical to our client’s well-known previous brands, offering products that are also identical.’

In the end, Lewis Hamilton’s plans are thwarted by losing the legal battle.

Hamilton Watch Company

Hamilton - Tenet

Hamilton – Tenet

The watch company began its journey in 1892, in the United States. In 1966, Hamilton bought the Swiss company Buren Watch Company. For 3 years it continues to manufacture its watches in its factory in Pennsylvania, in the United States, but begins to use the movements manufactured in the Swiss facilities by Buren. By 1969 Hamilton had already closed its facilities in the United States and had moved all its production to the Buren facilities in Switzerland.

In 1974 the Swatch Group acquired the Hamilton watch company.

Today Hamilton continues to operate and manufacture luxury and high-end watches. In the summer of this year 2020 Hamilton released a special edition due to his collaboration with Christopher Nolan, for his film Tenet. It is a limited edition in 2 finishes that differ slightly, only in the color of the tip of the second hand: red or blue. This makes sense after watching the movie.

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Yes, watches made with pieces of meteorite. It sounds like science fiction, but it is much more common than it may seem. Over the years many luxury watch brands have used pieces of meteorites to make the dials for their watches.

Obtaining and using pieces of meteorites is more frequent than it may seem. Over millions of years many meteorites have struck the earth, and continue to do so. Most are very small pieces, and not all have a composition suitable for use in watchmaking.

First meteorites

Most clocks with meteorite spheres have come from 2 large meteorites that hit the earth millions of years ago: the Gibeonmeteorite, in Namibiaand the Muonionalustameteorite, in Sweden. Both meteorites were large in size and their fragments as they entered the atmosphere spread out over large surface areas, hundreds of kilometers long.

The first fragment of the Gibeon meteorite was discovered in 1836. Since then dozens of fragments weighing between 100 and 500 kg have been found.

The first fragment of the Muonionalusta meteorite was found in 1910. As far as it is known, around 40 fragments have been found to date.

These 2 large meteorites are basically made up of Iron and Nickel. These meteorites have crystallized structures throughout millions and millions of years of cooling in space. These crystals have different resistance to acid or heat, and that is why these characteristic patterns, known as Widmanstätten structures, that these meteorites have arise.

To make the dial, thin layers of the meteorite are cut for treatment. Because the patterns are random, all the dials on these meteorite watches are different. This makes each watch with a meteorite dial not only carrying a tiny trillion-year-old spatial fragment, but also unique, as no two dials are alike.

Clocks made of meteorites


Rolex GMT Master II Meteorite

Rolex GMT Master II Meteorite

As almost always, Rolex is at the forefront of the use of new materials in watches. Although they weren’t the first to use a meteorite fragment in the manufacture of a watch, they did popularize its use when they made the first Rolex Daytona with a meteorite dial in 2004. They used fragments of the Gibeon meteorite from Namibia to make the first high-end watch with a meteorite dial.

In 2019 they presented the Rolex GMT Master II ‘Meteorite’, the first Rolex model that is not a Daytona or Day Date to have a version with a meteorite dial. The watch is made of white gold, in addition to the meteorite dial, and has an official price of € 38,000.

Despite the fact that since 1950 the Gibeon meteorite fragments have been protected by Namibian laws and cannot be traded, Rolex still has reserves of this meteorite that it acquired previously.


Omega also created its own meteorite dial watch. Given his Speedmaster’s relationship to space missions, it was clear that the watch chosen had to be a SpeedmasterMoonwatch. They created the Gray Side of the moon variant, made of ceramic and 18-karat sedna gold, and a meteorite dial. As in the case of Rolex watches, this Omega also has a dial made from fragments of the Gibeon meteorite from Namibia. This watch has an official price of € 14,700.


In 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre presented its master calendar with a dial made from a meteorite fragment. The watch has 2 variants, one made of steel and the other in rose gold. This watch uses a dial made from a fragment of the Muonionalusta meteorite from Sweden.

Other brands such as Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Zenith, or Cartier have also made watches using different meteorite fragments.

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Why are Rolexis so expensive? First of all, we have to understand that we are talking about the most prestigious watch brand in the world. And yet, if we compare it to other brands like Patek Philippe, they can even seem cheap.

Rolex watches do not have automated mass production, they are assembled by hand piece by piece and each of the watches undergoes different tests to guarantee the reliability and quality of each one of them. More than watches, they are pieces of craftsmanship.

Logically, when manufactured in this way, the units that Rolex manufactures per year are limited. Even at their price, the demand exceeds the supply.

Manufacturing materials

Rolexuses only the best materials in the manufacture of its watches. For example, use 904L stainless steel instead of the usual 316L. Rolex started using this steel in 1985. 904L steel is much more expensive, but it is also harder and more resistant to corrosion, but it costs more to work with. Rolex had to adapt all its machinery to be able to adjust the production of watches to the use of this metal.

Although in an object such as a watch, the difference between one type of steel and another is difficult to appreciate, the cost of working and making watches with it is much higher. Competitor watches use 316L steel so that only in material there is a higher cost in comparison.

Rolex Daytona - 904L Steel and Gold

Rolex Daytona – 904L Steel and Gold

The obsession with working with the best materials leads Rolex to manufacture the gold that it uses in its watches. The gems used are selected by specialist jewelers. They have a large team of gemologists who purchase and prepare the diamonds and gemstones that are later used in Rolex watches.

Research, manufacturing and certification processes

Rolex Submariner Date 50th Anniversary

Rolex Submariner Date 50th Anniversary

Rolexes are made entirely in Switzerland, where labor is more expensive. They are not manufactured on an automated assembly line, they are assembled by hand piece by piece, so manufacturing times are longer.

Rolex has Research and Development laboratories where they study new manufacturing techniques, innovations, develop new models, etc. Studies are made on the metals they use, the oils and lubricants, etc. Rolex spends a lot of time developing new movements.

After the watches are manufactured, Rolex itself performs various inspections and tests on the watches to ensure their quality and precision. They are tested for water resistance, as all Rolex watches are water resistant. Some models like the Submariner up to 300 meters. Others like the Sea Dweller Deepsea, up to 3,000. For these tests Rolex uses special pressurized water tanks.

The entire manufacturing process, from research, development, manufacturing and assembly to subsequent quality tests are done in-house. Rolex does not outsource any part of the process, so manufacturing costs increase, but in this way Rolex ensures that everything is done according to processes and quality standards.

All Rolexes are mechanical watches and only use their own movements. Movements that he is constantly developing, improving and researching.

Conclusion, are Rolexes that expensive?

All these factors mark the price of each watch. You can’t compare a Rolex watch to a $ 100 quartz watch. Yes, they both tell the time, but the materials, manufacturing times, quality, prestige, and renown behind each Rolex watch mean that more than a watch, Rolexes are pieces of craftsmanship. A Rolex is a luxury watch, a ‘work of art’, which not only does not lose value over time, but will probably increase it, especially in the most coveted models. So, are Rolexes really that expensive?

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