Project X Designs is a London based company, specializing in customizing [mainly Rolex] wrist watches. You can order a regular Rolex wrist watch on their site, and tick the options to customize it entirely to your wishes. DLC (Diamond Like Carbon is quite popular since a few years, and since Rolex isn’t offering in their own catalogue, Project X Designs can do so for you! The DLC wiki sums it up as: “The hardest, strongest, and slickest is such a mixture, known as tetrahedral amorphous carbon, or ta-C. For example a coating of only 2??m thickness of ta-C increases the resistance of common (i.e. type 304) stainless steel against abrasive wear; changing its lifetime in such service from one week to 85 years.”

This Rolex Daytona (ref.116520) for example, received the full treatment by Project X Designs.

Besides having DLC applied to the watch case, case back, bezel and bracelet, you can also choose to have the hands and rotor done by this technique. The caseback can be treated with enamelled engravings. Below you’ll see the caliber 4130 that’s inside the Rolex Daytona, with a DLCed rotor and enamel engraving on the caseback.

Another neat feature is to have the crown guards removed, especially on the Rolex Submariner this will give you that vintage Submariner ‘look’ that will remind the fanatic collectors of the Submariner ref.5508 or ref.6538. Below you’ll see the example given on their website, including a gemstone in the bezel inlay at 12:00. You can choose between Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald.

Project X Designs has a nice range of Rolex models in stock to customize, even the new Deep Sea Sea-Dweller and Milgauss models. Besides Rolex, they also offer three Panerai models to customize (e.g. DLC, removal of the crown guard). These are the PAM 183, PAM 210 and PAM 005.

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Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • Innovative and very interesting. However I wonder what we will think in ten years time? Will we look at these expensive black watches the same way as we look at a 1988 Ford Escort with a vulgar rear spoiler? I can’t help but thinking that this is getting a little out of hand ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú and will authorized Rolex dealers even service these costumized watches?

  • @Kristian: I assume that Rolex-warranty breaks when you have the rotor DLCed 🙂 So, also for the price, I hope that Project X Design is able to offer warranty on the watch. However, if you you want to send it to Rolex in a couple of years for repair or replacement, you probably have a problem. Unless you have a good relationship with your Rolex servicer/AD.

    Your other point: I always ask myself whether I will still like a watch in 5-10 years from now. That’s why my own (modest) collection is mildly conservative I guess.

    Although I do like some of the late 1980s BMWs with spoilers, as long as it was originally designed that way (think Alpina or Motosport). I don’t like all cars that came with a spoiler (especially the aftermarkets) though 😉

  • Gentlemen,

    I think you are both head on. What will you still like 10 years from now? The classics never die, perhaps this also explains the ongoing intrest in Rolex, Patek, Omega’s Speedmaster, but also the impressive sales amongst non-WIS for brands like Cartier.

    I’m wondering if Rolex is not going to file a lawsuit against Project X. The watches are still sold as Rolex, carry the Rolex crown etc. They are very sensitive about this.

    All this said I think that there is a market for “tuning” watches. Some of you might know MKII watches who offers tuning for many Seiko-models, and Swiss watches like the Tissot Seastar. You can really make a watch your own. VC recently introduced a concept in which you can customize there designs. In the past I’ve been in contact with Paul Picot and Jacques Etoile and both brands where well willing to accomodate customizing of there watches. Some might want a big name on their wrist, and those aren’t ussually very eager to tailor made their standard products for specific customers. In that light I’m very curious how Project X does, and how the prices of there products keep up once bought.

  • The project X concept is in the service that we provide, and the opportunites that the user can create, rather than the specifics of each individual option.

    For those that are already satisfied with the watch that they own, then this service may not be for you.

    But for those that want something more personal, to impose their own style or intepretation to their watch, they now have a service that offers the expertise of master watchmakers + craftsman that they may not normally have access to……and with the assurance that the final product will be to the standard that they would expect.

    Customisations of luxury goods, such as cars, jewellery, bags, shoes + watches have been going on for many years, it may not be for everyone, but it all adds to the enjoyment of collecting, and thats all that matters.

    Please take some time to review the FAQ section of the website, as most of your questions are answered there. And remember the majority of the options like DLC are reversible

    Daniel B
    Project X Designs

  • @Martin en @Daniel: Thanks for your comments.

    As I’ve read in the official FAQ by Project X Designs, watches receive a full year warranty and Project X Designs have their own inhouse watch maker for repairs/service.