Rolex and James Bond have a strong tie. In the 1962 movie Dr No, actor Sean Connery wears Rolex Submariner 6538, and such moments are still cherished by seasoned watch collectors. They say, it's always a feast for the eyes.
Taha Khalil (alias), a Bangladeshi watch collector, bid for the sibling Submariner when it was up for auction on Sotheby's last August. The closing price was estimated at around $280,000.
Although he didn't get his hand on the piece, this 32-year-old expat has six other collectibles from the iconic brand.
During his pre-wedding vacation in Dhaka, the TBS Luxury team had the chance to explore Taha's Rolex range. We – the writer, the photographer and an 18-inch pizza – knocked at his door one sunny afternoon.
"I am the crown collector," introduced Taha.
He opened his leather boxes on the table providing a glimpse of what his collection is worth: the dazzling golden crown with a Rolex emblem.
"My grandfather used to wear expensive watches. As a child, I've always dreamed of Rolex and a black Mercedes," Taha recalled.
Taha sees himself as a man of his own making. Successful now, but he had a rough ride behind him. He left Bangladesh with his parents at a young age. His girlfriend left him during his undergraduate studies. Heartbroken, Taha left the university and then felt he would have to make money.
"I did everything I could to make money. I wanted to make so much money that nobody would ever leave me. Now I know that, for the wrong reasons, I started walking on the right track. I finally found the right reason when I was twenty-five and was able to buy a Rolex for my dad," he let us know with a grin.
Opening the elegant-looking boxes, he introduced one timepiece after another. The passion and excitement with which he spoke of watch indicated that not only does Taha hunt for these high-end collectibles, but is also well acquainted with them inside out.
"Unless you're one of Rolex's most loyal customers – that means buying multiple pieces a year – you'll probably have to pick yours up on the secondary market. However, I bought the first one from an authorised Rolex dealer in Australia," he explained.
Taha took the Daytona Two-Tone Blackface in his hand. The piece costs $17,000, according to him.
"This is a rather nostalgic timepiece for me. The first Mercedes I bought I couldn't hold on to, but I won't give up on the watch," he said.
It's not a secret that Rolex comes with assurance of return on investment. Moving to his second Rolex, the Yellow Gold Daytona Green Face, Taha talked about how having the right crown can be like capturing the iron throne.
"I was trying to buy a car from Japan. I have also sent credit to buy the car. Later, I changed my mind and ordered a Presidential Day-Date Two Yellow Gold from Gallery Rare, a high-end brand store for secondhand products in Japan.
Then again, I sold the Day-Date Two with a few thousand profits and bought this one-year-old Daytona Green Face from another dealer. I paid $38,000 for a piece that was $8,000 lower than the international market price.
After three years, the current market price for the piece is $50,000. Now, that's the beauty of buying rollies, as from the moment you buy it, the price goes up. The vintage, the better," Taha explained.
"Last year, I bought back the Presidential Day-Date with $65,000 from the same dealer," he added.
"Cristiano Ronaldo and a few other big celebrities were sporting the GMT Master II and I went gaga. I always wanted to have that wrist-candy, and one day I just got lucky," Taha said excitedly.
Taha did not reveal the price of his GMT rollie. According to Chrono24, the current market price of the piece is half a million.
The last piece of his Rolex was added to his collection on his birthday last June. Taha's friends gave him a Rolex Sky-Dweller that shows a dual time zone at the same time. This $48,000 timepiece which Chrono24 describes as the most complex Rolex movement ever made.
Apart from his rollies, the only Audemars Piguet in Taha's collection – another Swiss luxury watch brand – was worth $62,000.
Watch enthusiast Taha is interested in many more designer brands. He is a huge collector of high-end sunglasses, Nike tunes, and perfumes. An expatriate, he has only a fraction of his collections in Dhaka, and we missed out on few more incredible luxury commodities, sigh!
Belonging to the rich Asian watch club, our young crown collector knows how to keep his passion alive while investing in them for a return. How cool is that!