“Plain Jane” has never been a phrase that a woman would take kindly to because it implies that she is not attractive. You would, therefore, not expect Rolex, a luxurious watchmaker, to have plain Jane watches. Even the term itself might seem derogatory to the reputable brand, yet you must have heard of plain Jane Rolex watches. They are still highly marketable for varied reasons so let’s look at what these timepieces refer to and why someone would consider buying them.
Defining a Plain Jane Rolex
Diamonds by Raymond Lee explained that a plain Jane Rolex is a high-end luxury watch without diamonds. As the article further informs us, such plain Jane watches are not exclusive to Rolex; even Patek Phillippe and Audemars Piguet have them. The term is not from the watch manufacturers but was coined by rappers. It has been adopted all over the globe now that people understand its meaning. It is not a surprise that the rap industry coined the phrase. According to Bobby Wesley Williams, stylist to famous watch aficionado, Future, a watch on a man represents where he is in life as far as class goes. For this reason, rappers who have something to prove usually prefer diamond-encrusted watches because the timepieces symbolize their status. However, that is not to say that plain Jane Rolexes are worth less than their diamond-encrusted counterparts. You might be surprised that, unlike before when rappers flaunted their diamonds, they prefer plain Janes today. Even Asap Ferg rapped about “Plain Jane” to glorify his preference for plain Jane watches. According to Hot New Hip Hop, Rapper Jeezy also disclosed to GQ that he no longer views flashy watches as a symbol of power. He said that he has since matured from the days he thought flashy and most expensive watches were the only way to signal his place in the rap industry. Jeezy added that he owns many watches but prefers plain Jane Rolexes because they are a more powerful status symbol. He added that rappers go through the phase of showing off watches with diamonds, but he now feels good walking around with a watch that can show the time without being distracted by the excessive embellishment. However, he still has a few diamond watches for those occasions he feels necessary to wear them.
Can You Add Diamonds to It?
If you change your mind about sticking with a plain Jane Rolex and want to have some diamonds added to improve its appeal, you can live up to your dream. Customizing a plain Jane Rolex with gemstones after you have already bought it transforms it into a bust-down or iced-out watch. It is important to emphasize that watches with factory-set diamonds are not bust-down neither are replicas of a bust-down watch. The term “bust down” is because the plain Jane Rolex must be taken apart carefully. As with plain Jane Rolexes, these bust-down watches were also popularized by famous rappers. According to Raymond Lee Jewelers, bust-down watches were introduced in the 90s when the Cash Money team and Master P paid high-end jewelers lots of money to ice out Rolex President watches. As the article explains, Rolex President watches were the most fashionable then; icing out began with the 36 mm watches. By 2000, they preferred embellishing 48mm timepieces.
Why You Should Avoid Busting Down a Plain Jane Rolex
The process of setting diamonds is intricate hence must be performed by an expert jeweler. After taking apart the watch, the jeweler uses a special tool to drill holes that fit the diamonds, after which the diamonds are cleaned and placed into the holes. They must fit snugly to prevent them from falling out. According to Watches and Watches, a designer must know the exact place to drill the holes so that when the diamonds are fitted, they create a seamless look. Since busting down a watch means working with an existing model, it takes special skills than if the designer was beginning from scratch. A minor miscalculation will affect the structural integrity. It could allow moisture or affect mechanical movement. Therefore turning a plain Jane Rolex watches into a bust-down version is not recommended. Those that come with factory-set diamonds have adjustments from the designing phase to accommodate the diamonds. For this reason, an existing timepiece that was not previously designed to hold diamonds will not have the space for the diamond on the bezel, dial, or case, and trying to cover it with diamonds will damage it. Maybe this is why rappers do not mind paying hefty sums to skilled designers whom they can be sure will not destroy the pricey watches.
Does Adding Diamonds Make It More Valuable?
Bob’s Watches explains that while most people believe that adding diamonds increases the value of plain Jane Rolex watches, it is not usually the case. The diamonds are, of course, expensive meaning, the material making the watch is valuable. However, the intrinsic value of the watch is adversely affected by such changes. In other instances, custom-set diamonds could be of poor quality, which makes the entire construction of the watch worth less. If customizing affects the dial and bezel, then busting down will not be worth it. Covering an entire watch with diamonds sometimes implies shaving off some parts so that the shape and sizes of diamonds are well accommodated. This alteration damages the Rolex. Therefore, such changes may make your watch look good but will not be worth it in the long run, especially since even the warranty will be void. You can tell factory-set diamond Rolex from an iced-out version because the diamonds in the bust-down watch do not sit right. When in doubt, always go for a Plain Jane Rolex whose value you can rest assured will always be higher than the bust-down alternative.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith