Rolex: The Impossible Collection Chronicles The Brand’s Most Important Timepieces


There are plenty of expensive watch brands around the world. Yet, few of them can evoke the reaction that wearing a Rolex does. To most people, the Rolex brand carries a prestige no other watch brand appears able to replicate. Assouline captures that unmatched status in a new hardcover called Rolex: The Impossible Collection.

Authored by Fabienne Reybaud (the same man behind Watches: The Ultimate Guide), the book chronicles arguably the most coveted brand of watches in the world, examining the history, the models, and all the fuss that goes on around them. Whether you’re a horology nerd, a luxury connoisseur, or just an admirer of finely-made objects, this book should offer plenty of interesting reading.


Rolex: The Impossible Collection takes a close look at what makes the company’s watches, 26 million of which are believed to be in circulation, so special, whether it be their technical precision, their exceptional aesthetics, or their timeless elegance. All the most important models are given due focus, whether for the value they fetch in the secondary market or for their groundbreaking innovations during the time they were first introduced. From the first watch to brandish the famous oyster case and the first to sport a self-winding mechanism to the first timepiece to fly over Mount Everest and the first to descend the Mariana Trench, the book chronicles the most notable Rolexes in detail, complete with gorgeous illustrations.

Aside from the watches, the book also takes a look at Rolex itself and the century-old watchmaker’s unique culture, from its seemingly unflinching focus (they focused solely on two watch brands – Rolex and Tudor) to its unrelenting secrecy (no sales figures, production figures, or any similar type of data is ever released) to its continued private operation in a time when most companies are cashing out by getting listed in the stock market. Suffice to say, if you’re curious about the people behind the watches, this book can offer some illuminating information.


Rolex: The Impossible Collection measures 15.55 x 18.62 inches (width x height) and contains 194 pages, so this should make a substantial presence in any coffee table.  Oh yeah, the book weighs 20 pounds, so it can double as resistance equipment, in case you can’t find the dumbbells at home. Alongside the history of the company and the various exposition about the timepieces, the hardcover comes with 200 illustrations, so you can geek out at all the gorgeous watches and the complicated mechanisms scattered all throughout the volume.


Like other hardcovers in Assoluine’s Ultimate Collection (a line aimed at true lovers of the printed page), the entire book is hand-bound using traditional techniques, complete with color plates hand-tipped on art-quality paper, so if you’re a book nerd, you can’t help but tip your hat to this volume. It comes nestled in a luxury clamshell case, with a metal plaque, so you can give your book the same care and reverence a nice vintage Rolex deserves.

Rolex: The Impossible Collection is slated to come out in December. Price is $845.

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