If you are a Rolex collector or know a little bit about the world of watch collecting, you probably know that when it comes to “addons” or some “extras” on the dial will make the watch highly desirable and will probably mean its price will be higher compared to other watches with the same specs. If you know Rolex watches with special dials, you probably think of dials with logos of some middle-east countries or presidents. But what about Rolex Dominos? What does the fast-food chain logo do anyway on Rolex dial? Is it cooperation between Rolex and Domino’s Pizza? What’s the story behind these watches, and how can you get one of them? Continue reading our article and find out the answers to all of these questions.
Rolex Special Dials – Background
Usually, when we are thinking of a Rolex with a special dial, the immediate suspects are watches that were made for famous retailers such as Tiffany, special forces around the world, cooperations with diving clubs (Comex), and dials with the logos of Sultans (Khanjar) or flags and symbols of middle east countries (Iraq, Jordan). While we can understand the logic behind these special dials, Rolex Domino’s story is slightly different. What does one of the most famous fast-food brands worldwide have to do with a Rolex?
Domino’s Pizza Rolex
Domino’s Pizza founder and CEO Tom Monaghan published his autobiography in 1986. In the book, Monaghan describes a story from 1977, when he met one of Domino’s Pizza franchisees. Monaghan was wearing a Bulova watch on his wrist, and you could find Domino’s Pizza logo on the watch’s dial. The franchisee asked Monaghan – “What do I need to do to get that watch from you?” and Monaghan answered – “Turn in a twenty-thousand-dollar sales week.” He did it.
The watch that was given as an incentive started a new trend or legacy inside Domino’s Pizza. After that story, Monaghan began giving away Seiko watches to the top earners among the brand franchisees. Later, Monaghan switched to Rolex watches when he saw that the challenge was working better than expected and saw how the brand Franchisees were working hard to get to the sales target.
Now, let’s make a little break here and give you some background about Rolex back then. When we think of Rolex today, we think of luxury watches with a high price tag. But, back then, Rolex watches, just like many other brands that are considered luxury today, such as Omega, for example, were an essential consumer product. They weren’t something cheap you could buy at your local supermarket, but we are discussing much more affordable prices than we can think of today. Actually, Monaghan describes in his autobiography that he upped the ante with “hundreds of $800 Rolexes”.
It’s important to understand that these watches are not a cooperation between Rolex and Domino’s Pizza, compared to Rolex with Comex or Tiffany logos on the dials. While Tiffany/Comex dials were made by Rolex, those Domino’s Pizza Rolexes were ordered by Domino’s Pizza from a Rolex distributor in North America, and the distributor stamped the dials for Domino’s Pizza. It’s also something that you will never find today. Back then, Rolex distributors had a lot more freedom to do things like stamping dials for brands such as Coca-Cola or Domino’s Pizza. Today, Rolex, from Its HQ in Switzerland, would probably never approve of something like that.
Domino’s Pizza Rolex Challenge
When Monaghan started the “Rolex Challenge”, a franchisee needed to turn in $20,000 in sales in one week to get a Rolex Air-King with Domino’s logo on the dial. If you made only $10,000 in sales in one week, you would get a Hermés tie. But Rolex prices started to increase, so Monaghan had to make the challenge slightly more difficult. Now, a franchisee needed to make $25,000 in sales in one week, four weeks in a row, to get a Rolex Air-King with Domino’s Pizza logo. According to a spokesperson from Domino’s, back then, on average, a franchisee would make an average of $17,000 in sales a week.
Hannah Lantz, a franchisee for Domino’s pizza, said – “As soon as I realized the challenges were attainable, I started to work hard for them. I have won five times, including at the $45,000 and $50,000 levels. Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of pizza per week. It required growing the staff and more preparation.”
Domino’s Pizza Rolex – Highly Collectible
Most of the Domino’s Rolex watches that showed up on the secondhand market became oddball collectibles, usually selling at prices much higher than you would pay for a same-year vintage Air-King. These watches are far more easily found than Rolex branded Watches with the logos of Winn-Dixie or Coca-Cola, who gave Rolex watches to employees after years of service and not after achieving a sales target.
A Rolex Air-King Dominoes Pizza with a price tag of $3,595 sat in the shop window in Grand Central Station, and Steve Kivel, President of Central Watch in Grand Central Station, said in an interview to Gear Patrol – “That Rolex gets more attention in my window than any other Rolex, except maybe the vintage Submariner. I think it’s colorful and unusual, and that is rare for a Rolex vintage watch. Anytime you have something different from the normal black- or silver-dial Rolex, it draws a lot of interest and usually will be more valuable”.
Still, Kivel admitted that this watch had been sitting for a few months in the shop window – Sometimes being so unique is not for everybody,” he said.
Rolex watches have always been seen as a symbol of success, and they’ve played a significant role in the history of Domino’s Pizza. Owning a Rolex watch with the Domino’s Pizza logo used to be a clear indicator that you were able to achieve higher sales than the average franchisee, and it suggested that you had worked extremely hard to reach that level of success. While some watch enthusiasts, particularly those who are called “watch snobs,” might consider it blasphemous to have the Domino’s Pizza logo on a Rolex watch face, most collectors today actually value these watches and are willing to pay extra to own one.
i’ve never seen the logic for these expensive carbon case watches, which may be light and strong but most definitely get scratches, nicks and scuffs. like DLC, they may be a bit more resistant but not at all imprevious, nor do they have the scratch resistance of much more affordable materials such as citizen’s proprietary Duratect, or Damasko’s hardened steel (a chronograph of which i did manage to put a small ding in slamming it into a metal handwipe dispenser). if one likes the look of these watches and is willing to pay the extra dollars, that’s very cool (i do not care for the look). but if contracting scratches, nicks, scuffs and other signs of wear over time is something you thought would be avoided with a carbon watch, that’s mistaken. once you’ve nicked, scratched or scuffed one, the only route back to an original case surface is replacement of the case. which might be fine since purchasers of these watches like to spend money.