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The Best 2019 Rolex Watch Books For Collectors

Rolex fans and enthusiasts around the world are hungry for information, stories, and pictures. For a passionate collector, Rolex watch books are as much a must-have, as the  watches themselves. 

A well stacked shelf is valued for more than just education and entertainment, but to validate and authenticate vintage watches they may be considering buying. This curated list of selected books are available from Amazon and Barnes & Nobel and selected for their focus, completeness and production quality.

Rolex watch books fall into three main categories depending on their format, contents, and presentation. These are:

  1. Attractive Coffee Table Books
  2. General Watch Enthusiast Books 
  3. Dedicated Collectors Reference Books 

Coffee Table Books 

Coffee Table Books are exquisitely luxurious. They typically have very high production quality, and are priced accordingly. These hardcover books mainly focus on the history of Rolex itself and the biography of the founder of the brand, Hans Wilsdorf. 

Coffee Table Books come in a large-format, hardcover and often include multiple languages (translations) in the same book. They are characterized by heavy weight paper with rich full color studio photographs. 
The watches featured are usually in premium, concourse condition and held in private collections and even museums.

Coffee Table books such as these selected below are usually printed and sold in relatively small volumes. They are most often on display at Authorized Dealers (Ads) and luxury jewelers. They are also sometimes found in VIP Waiting Rooms and Luxury Lounges.

Our three favorite Rolex watch books from the coffee table category are:

The Watch Book Rolex: New, Extended Edition

by Gisbert Brunner 

 ISBN-13: 978-3961712083
Specs: Hardcover, 240 pages, 9.8 x 12.6 inches, 1.7 pounds.

The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches: An Unauthorized History

by James M. Dowling & 
Jeffrey P. Hess 
ISBN-13: 978-0764300110
Specs: Hardcover, 9.8 x 1.5 x 12.5 inches, 5.6 pounds.


The Book of Rolex

by Jens Høy & 
Christian Frost 

 ISBN-13: 978-1788840231
Specs: Hardcover, 200 pages, 9.1 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches. 

General Watch Enthusiast Books

If a buyer or collector is looking for a book that is specifically focused on vintage Rolex watches, this category is probably not the one to choose. But if you're looking for a holiday gift for a watch fan, this is a safe bet. 

These tend to be more general and high level, relying on high-quality typography, graphic design, and heavily photo-shopped studio pictures. These books are available in both hard and soft covers and production quality is more variable (matte and lighter weight paper). 

The focus of these books is usually the historical significance of watch brands and manufacturers with highlights of, especially iconic models. Nearly every book in this category will include at least one iconic Rolex reference, typically with a focus on historical significance rather than technical or horological importance.

These books are perfect for people looking for general information and historical narratives about acclaimed marques and models of vintage watches. Ideal for the younger or newer watch enthusiast.

Some of the best books recommended in this category are:

Rolex Highlights

by Herbert James 
  ISBN-13: 978-0764346842
Specs: Hardcover, 96 pages,  9.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches, 1.4 pounds

The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches

by Ryan Schmidt 
ISBN-13: 978-1851498291
Specs: Hardcover, 352 pages, 9.9 x 1.4 x 11.7 inches,  5.2 pounds 

The Rolex Story Hardcover

by Franz-Christoph Heel   

  ISBN-13: 978-0764345975
Specs: Hardcover, 144 pages, 9.5 x 1 x 12.5 inches,  2.6 pounds

Specialist Rolex Collectors Reference Books

Rolex has many historically significant models, each with unique characteristics. Dedicated and focused Rolex collectors reference books are intricately detailed and cover even the minutest details at almost forensic levels. These often feel like scholarly, academic and technical works. They're often used as reference guides rather than casual reading. A common analogy is the difference between a Travel Guide and a Novel. While both offer value, they're used and enjoyed in different ways. 

Available in both hard as well as soft covers, they include macro photos of the watches as well parts and components. They tend to dive deeper into technological and horological detail, offering insight and opinion. The top three most highly rated books in this category are:


Rolex: The Impossible Collection

by Fabienne Reybaud

ISBN-13: 978-1614287209
Specs: Hardcover, 194 pages, 14 x 16.5 inches, 19.4 pounds

Rolex Encyclopedia (Italian) 

by Mondani Family

ISBN-13: 978-8890372377

The Vintage Rolex Field Guide 

by Morningtundra

ISBN-13: 978-0578524801
Specs: Paperback, 252 pages, 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches, 1.6 pounds

The Vintage Rolex Field Guide Paperback Print Edition fills an important niche in the specialist reference section, and is listed here due to obvious self selection bias! It has a focus on specification data, with in-depth and detailed information about all the different Rolex Models. It is considered authoritative and a must-have for any Rolex watch book buyer.