The Artisans De Genève Honey Green — A Riveting Rolex Daytona Modification For 22,000 Francs
My jaw doesn’t drop often. And it definitely doesn’t drop when looking at Rolex watches. But when I spotted the Honey Green modification for a private client of Artisans de Genève, I paid both parties a standing ovation (while sitting in my chair).
What’s unusual, first of all, is that I’m writing about a Rolex watch. In five years and over 300 stories, this is only my second article on a watch from the Crown. I know you never asked, but I don’t like modern Rolex watches. I truly don’t. So there hasn’t been anything from Rolex lately that would get me off my chair. Secondly, I am not a huge fan of gold watches, and it’s very rare that I fall in love with sunshine. And as a third point, I am not a big fan of watch modifications. Actually, my only standalone Rolex story was about another customized Rolex Daytona, which I wouldn’t say I liked much…
Why such an ovation?
I think I saw the Honey Green Rolex picture in my Instagram feed. It instantly captivated my attention. It was pure aesthetic pleasure. The iconic dial in my very favorite green color is bathed in a sea of warming gold. Epic. Impeccable. New. It really was something new despite the fact we are all kind of overfed with green dials. Making a green dial sounds like a week before yesterday’s news, but not today, not this time. To take a Rolex Daytona 116508 and let it be modified in such a way? That takes courage. And Artisans de Genève… and a fat budget.
What is Artisans de Genève?
Artisans de Genève is an independent company specializing in the personalization of timepieces. It is not affiliated with Rolex nor authorized by the brand to customize its products for any reason whatsoever. A customer ordered this personalization for his private use. Does Rolex mind? We don’t know. But we don’t mind at all. If you look at the footer on the Artisans de Genève website, you will see all of the workshop’s previous modification projects. It’s impressive to have the opportunity to feature Juan Pablo Montoya, Mika Häkkinen, and Lenny Kravitz as reference customers.
You don’t need to be an American rock singer or an F1 driver to get your watch customized at Artisans de Genève. You can be a random person, perhaps like Mr. S. L., the contractor and the sponsor of this Artisans de Genève project. Or maybe he isn’t random. We don’t know because his identity was not revealed. What we do know is the fact he had not only a Rolex Daytona 116508 to “sacrifice” but also paid CHF 22,500 to cover the costs of the customizations.
What do we know about the consignee?
It seems that he dreamed about a particular green Rolex watch for years. “I have worn this color through every new stage of my life. I always thought that it was a color that needed to be more present in watchmaking, and I never found my ideal shade of green: a green that would have the elegance of blue while keeping its originality and intensity. As a vintage watch enthusiast, I wanted my timepiece to have this inimitable vintage style,” says the new Honey Green Rolex owner.
The owner was looking for a particular green, somewhat dark, close to an English green, but with a slight blue touch to bring notes of elegance. The vintage look was a must-have. The sunray green finish creates a very warm and “happy” combination with soft yellow gold. The sub-dials were sandblasted with gold powder to match.
What I like is that the case was machined to match the shape of vintage watches, although we do not know the final dimensions. While the frontal look gives a satisfying vintage feel, the view from the case back is way more modern. The Daytona’s simple, standard case back was substituted by a nicely decorated window to proudly exhibit a rotor with Côtes de Genève finishing and circular polishing done by hand. The movement’s bridges were beveled by hand too.
The cherry on the cake
What I like the most is the deep green Bakelite bezel. I don’t know if I got stuck in the ’70s, but I’ve always found modern gold Daytona bezels to be too much. Their gold construction forces the bezel to be an integral part of the case. This is indeed a reality, but I always found it much more interesting when the bezel tried to connect more to the dial, becoming an extension of the watch’s core. I believe that the Bakelite bezel is the detail that makes the Honey Green so exquisite.
Was it worth the money? It’s hard to tell because I have never been in such a position myself. And I don’t necessarily dream about being in such a position. I find true joy when looking at this Honey Green Daytona, and I am thrilled that someone consigned his watch for such a challenge. The owner had a lot of interesting options in this price range, but he decided on something truly different and unique. It takes a well-known watch into a whole new dimension. Well, I am just glad he allowed us to rejoice with him. Well done, Artisans de Genève.
Artisans de Genève is an independent workshop. The company offers a watch-personalization service at the request of its customers within its limited capacities. It does not manufacture or sell watches. Artisans de Genève is neither affiliated with nor authorized by the manufacturers of the watches on which it works. These brands do not approve modifications or customizations made to their products by unauthorized third parties.
Artisans de Genève’s customization services are only provided for personal and private use. Artisans de Genève does not approve any other use, particularly of a commercial nature, and will invalidate the warranty.