First off, this post is in no way to impugn anyone's positive Rollie-thing. They are indubitably great watches, but just not so much for me.
I come from the olden times, b. 1960 (hiya, GS, my beloved twin!). My dad was the arbiter of taste and value in our house, since my mom didn't really usually care. He did like watches, but was too busy with work and another passionate hobby to be a collector of them. This shared liking was one of our points of connection, for sure.
Except for an exciting flirtation with the Hamilton Ventura, which made us both giggle with joy, my dad's watches were a plain OP for the weekends/outdoors and something for dress /daily that I just don't remember--thin, gold, white face...maybe PP? or maybe he wore the OP for work, since as a doctor he might have found it rugged? Did he have others? (Look at my birthdate-- going back a loooong time, here, memory-wise.)
(And remember the "usually" for my mother? She made him get rid of the Ventura bc it was "too tacky for words." It went to showy Uncle Roger, so at least I got to see it sometimes.)
My mom had some sort of small, gold, integrated bracelet watch that might have been an Omega, and that I search for fruitlessly on the internet. Lady-like, but no-frills since that was the sort of starchy, preppy-plain culture.
And I had a variety of kid-appropriate watches that I don't remember much about.
Anyway, pre-Quartz crisis, Rolex was a workhorse watch, albeit a much more expensive one than many others (although, in 1960s dollars, only about 1500 or so? What gives?). It was often given as a grown-up gift (mostly to boys; girls usually but not always got something girly-er), but there always seemed to be a passive-aggressive message to that, in my eyes: "be on time!" or "good enough for you--buy your own dress watch!" or "you've got a good long time before you inherit my Patek," etc., etc.
And honestly, half of the old-money ppl I grew up around (not us; invited to the Manor but not born to it at all) wore Timex or some other simple, maybe American-made watch of the time for their beater.
So that was the state of watch-affairs chez Fracas, until the QC. And then, my dad soured on everything...European, as far as consumer goods. And I'm not quite sure why. A combination of some sort of snobbery--Rolex's new marketing, increase in bling, sales-force-branded commemoration-watches?-- along with also some sort of delight in and admiration for Japanese production and design.
So Rolex disappeared, as did my mom's gold watch, as did the BMWs. And one Christmas, we all got Seikos, and, like a new pony in the barn, a Toyota. And I fell in love--aesthetically, mechanically, and I guess permanently.
And then flash-forward many, many (many) decades, to hobby-ism. About a year into this thing we all do, I thought--"well, hell-- I might as well just get a Rolex, since it will be the essentially well-built and classic watch that will address all of the reasons I sought out a mechanical watch in the first place." And since my dad had died long before, it was just me and my own watch-thoughts to contend with.
I didn't like the current catalog then (2017?), so I went to the pre-owned market and bought a small OP, which I thought would remind me of my dad, my history, etc.
And, reader-- I. Hated. It.
By then, I already had-- or had had, in the early stages of excited experimentation--many watches: a variety of Seikos, a GS, Hamilton, Tissot, Omega, Longines, Orient, Cartier, some early micros, etc, etc. And while most of them had left due to my tiny-wrist issues, they all had had one thing in common: they had charmed me.
I went to Rolex ADs, in the theory that perhaps I had just chosen the Wrong Rollie. But no, time after time, while appreciating the quality and feel and history, each watch hit my wrist and sat there like a lox.
So the OP went bye-bye (that was easy), and since then I have been Rolex-free, and also happily, at least, free from the angst of the recent Rolex-wars.
And I don't know how much of this is inflected by my dad, and his taste, and his Rolex purge of the 1970s. But that is my weird Rolex relationship. If you show me yours, I will be happy for you and appreciate it. But I won't want it.
Although I have never tried the Explorer 1, and it has grown on me...and maybe, just maybe...
Thanks for reading my long and self-indulgent watch thoughts. Hope others will share their histories, around any brand.