Skip to content

Article: Rolliefest 2023 in New York: Join the Excitement of This Incredible Watch Gathering

Rolliefest 2023 in New York: Join the Excitement of This Incredible Watch Gathering

Rolliefest 2023 in New York: Join the Excitement of This Incredible Watch Gathering

I'm thrilled to share with you an exceptional experience at the largest watch gathering I've ever attended, Rolliefest 2023 in New York. Hosted in Manhattan by my dear friend and fellow watch collector Geoff (@manhattenrollie), who is now also the Head of Watches America at Sotheby's.
Rolliefest 2023 New York, Rolex collectors greatest event.

A crazy nice Rolex 6538 Tropical Dial by @tulipcrown
Rolex 6538 Big Crown Submariner Tropical Dial, Red Triangle inlay, Rolliefest 2023

This time was particularly special as I had the pleasure of enjoying this extraordinary experience with my son, Berend. Berend has grown up among watch meetings, such as the renowned Passion Meetings I co-hosted in the past. Even as a young child, Berend had a love for meeting people and admiring their incredible grail watches. Sharing this experience, working together in the industry, and having a shared passion for these watches is a remarkable joy. I am immensely proud to witness his success in this realm and see his global network keep expanding over the years.

New York City and a Patek 3940 Platinum Mk2 Dial Perpetual Calendar watch

A super rare Omani Rolex 6263 Daytona with Kjanjar Dial by @vintagerolexasylum
Rare Rolex 6263 Khanjar Omani Daytona at Rolliefest 2023

You can imagine the joy we experienced traveling to New York City together, having delightful meals with dear watch friends, discovering their latest passions and acquisitions, doing some shopping, relaxing, and, of course, being part of this enthusiastic community of watch enthusiasts during the events.

Rolliefest 2023 New York, Rolex collectors greatest event.

World Trade Center Memorial New York City Each time we visit, we pay our respect - such a impressive and serene monument.

Rolex 6239 underline Black Dial Daytona and Rolex 3239 Tropical Mk1 Dial DaytonaA killer duo of early Rolex 6239 Daytona's - one underline, one tropical by @wristpassion

Let’s Connect! Reach out and let's meet!

We cannot express enough gratitude to our dear friend Geoff for orchestrating this event once again and creating such a special gathering for the community. In these times, such gatherings are greatly needed—meeting fellow watch enthusiasts in person, delving into their passion, sharing knowledge, and understanding the stories behind these watches.

In our view, this is the magic of collecting watches - to share it with others and relish the experience together. It adds depth to the joy, comprehension, and knowledge of these watches.

Geoff, @manhattenrollie, BEREND BULANG and Bernhard Bulang from Bulang and Sons

Our dear, dear long time friend, collector and brother in watch passion Geoff, @manhattenrollie, who organized Rolliefest and just took on a new job as Head Watches America at Sotheby's. One of the best and nicest guys in the watch world.

Lange & Söhne Rose Gold Split Seconds Chronograph at Rolliefest 2023
And now, as he has a serious job... he also needs a serious watch ;-) (other then high end vintage Rolex)... a super cool Lange & Söhne Splitseconds Chronograph in Rosegold.I love the 6265 Newman Daytona's with the 2 color dials. Such stylish beasts!

Rolliefest 2023 New York City
Rolex 6263 Daytona and Rolex 5512 3-6-9 Dial Gilt Submariner at Rolliefest 2023

By now, you've probably noticed my enthusiasm for these gatherings and watch events in general. Yes, we live in a world dominated by Instagram and social media. However, let's be honest, does it truly represent a genuine community? When was the last time you engaged in meaningful discussions and gained profound insights on Instagram? Isn't it mostly about seeking validation and often a form of self-branding? Watches need to look flawless in pictures for social media!

But the profound love for vintage watches, with not only a life and stories within them but also the fascinating narratives behind the collectors and what they've discovered and learned on their journey, adds immense value to this hobby. It's an experience that unfolds when you touch the watches, when you slip them onto your wrist, examine them in various lights, or inspect them with a loupe. It propels you to evolve and motivates you to venture further, enabling personal growth within this hobby.
Rolex 6263 RCO Newman Black Dial Daytona at Rolliefest 2023Grail Newman > Black RCO Rolex 6263 Newman Dial Daytona

Two Rolex 6241 and 6264 Paul Newman Daytona's at Rolliefest 2023
It is always great to be able to compare and get in depth with such beauties.

Morgan King, Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar

Bullibeer was my forum nickname for many years when I was pure a collector.

Incredible Venues, Watches, and People

Once again, Geoff orchestrated an extraordinary event. He left us in awe with stunning venues, great food, delightful drinks, and a vibrant international mix of collectors, aficionados, and dealers. It was a wild ride of incredible watches, but more importantly, a blast meeting so many old friends and new pals among the 175 guests from 17 different countries.

Rolliefest 2023 New York

Dinner was at the mind-blowing American Museum of Natural History. Picture cocktails and great chats in this massive entrance hall—talk about a cool setting! And after the cocktails, we were treated to a great dinner right under a massive model of a blue whale. What a night to remember!

Dinner at Rolliefest 2023 in the National Museum of History New York Rolex 6264 Gold Daytona Black Dial

Lange 1 and Blancpain Divers
A rare line-up of vintage divers and such amazing condition!
Rolex 6263 Tropical Dial Daytona with Mk1 pushers at Rolliefest 2023
And look at these 2 grails.. a super nice tropical Daytona and a super rare Prototype Rolex 1665 DRSD Seadweller by @morgen0714 > look close - no helium valve, yeah baby. Prototype before they added the helium valve.
A extremely rare Prototype Rolex 1665 DRSD Seadweller Patent Pending

The watch extravaganza continued the next day at the iconic 'The Rainbow Room' at the Rockefeller Center, on the 65th floor. So many watches on the tables, it was a fantastic opportunity to share the love and swap stories with their proud owners. We got our hands on some insane grail pieces and loads of special watches, unique in their own ways, be it the cool patina, amazing details, or fascinating history.

Rolliefest 2023 in New York CityRare Patek Philippe ref. 130 steel case Chronograph with 2-tone sector dial at Rolliefest 2023

My personal favorite - the watch during Rolliefest that stole my heart - a rare Patek Philippe ref. 130 steel chronograph with 2-tone section dial. Dreams!!! by @lunaroyster

Rolex 1665 Omani Khanjar Dial Seadweller and Rolex 5513 gilt 3-6-9 dial Submariner

What a pare... a rare Omani Rolex 1665 Khanjar Dial Seadweller and a super nice and rare Rolex 5513 3-6-9 Gilt Explorer Dial Submariner.
Rolliefest 2023 New York
Patek Philippe 570 Steel case and Breguet numerals, very rare, Rolliefest 2023
This is an absolute grail Patek Philippe > not the modern re-edition < but the original ref. 570 Calatrava in steel with Breguet Numerals. Absolute Mega!!
Pannel Discussion Rolliefest 2023
I was very honored to be part of a panel discussion during the event. Share some views, learn about others and exchange thoughts with other watch lovers. (image ©Hodinkee)
Richard Mille, Heuer Autavia, Rolex 6241 Newman, Rolex 6262 Newman Daytona
Rolex 6541 Milgauss, Rolex 6543 Milgauss at Rolliefest 2023
Milgauss Heaven. What a beauty! And that 6239 Daytona packs a great 'secret'.. and Mk1 matte Double Swiss Dial Daytona. Live such a blast with the matte creamy/white dial and the hidden 2nd SWISS.
Double Swiss Mk1 Tropical Rolex 6239 Daytona at Rolliefest 2023

Berend enjoyed meeting so many old and new friends. And sure it is such great fun to have @morgan0174 in da house. Great meeting my friend and amazing watches!

Morgan King and BEREND BULANG at Rolliefest 2023

Like I've said before, when people look at the pictures, they often focus on the fancy watches and bling. Sure, it's super cool to see, touch, and try on these rare and mind-blowing watches. But the real magic of these meetups goes beyond that. Our awesome host and good buddy Geoff put it perfectly during his welcome speech at dinner. He said the same thing back in 2019, and it still holds true today—how do we really measure success?

Rolex 1675 Gold Omani Khanjar Dial GMTSuch a stunner! Omani Rolex 1675 in gold with Khanjar dial @jedly1


“As most of you know I’ve been a watch collector for a long time. And like so many of you, I’ve attended many, many collector gatherings both locally and all over the world. And without question, the journey of watch collecting has been a cornerstone of joy for me throughout my life.
And for many years, I’m honest about it…along this journey I think I often measured success in watch collecting by the specific watches I had. By the specific references I owned.

I felt successful when I bought my first submariner. But I felt really successfully when I was able to buy a Milsub. Similarly, I felt successful when I bought my first Daytona. But I felt hugely successful when I bought a Paul Newman. And when that later became a screw pusher Newman…Boy did I think I was successful then.

The truth is we all have a tendency to measure our success in comparison to our peers. Similarly, in life when I was younger, mostly job titles and salaries were my metrics for success.

Without doubt I’ve begun to reevaluate how I measure success. In watches and in life. Now, the way I measure success is far more robust.

There are 175 people in this room from 17 countries across the globe. I look around and almost can’t believe it. Most of you are dear friends.
I feel enormously blessed.
Perhaps we’ve all heard the expression “The way you measure success in life is not by the amount of years that you’ve lived or the money you have, but by the friends that you keep.”
Both in watches…and in life…I can’t remember feeling more fortunate than I do at this very moment.

Tonight I feel very successful.“

Rolex 6538 Bigcrown, Rolex 5513 Milsub Submariner, Patek Philippe, Rolex 1016 Gilt Dial Explorer

A super rare Rolex 6538 Red Depth Big Crown Submariner at Rolliefest 2023A überrare Rolex 6538 3-6-9 Explorer Red Depth Dial Big Crown Submariner by @rolexpassionreport

For me, this is what makes these gatherings truly special. It's amazing how these events often lead to forming strong, lasting friendships. Sure, watches bring us together, but it goes beyond that.

The real magic happens beyond the posed table shots, in the stories people share about their watches. You wouldn't believe the wild tales of how they found these timepieces, the connections they've built, and the knowledge they've gained along the way. Especially for collectors, the time and effort invested in acquiring these pieces should never be underestimated. Each watch holds a unique journey of lessons learned, mistakes made, and a collection of watches acquired—each one a stepping stone leading to their ultimate grail watches.

Rolex Milgaussm Patek Tiffany Dial Nautilus, Rolex Jean Claude Killy at Rolliefest 2023
Rolex 6263 RCO Black Dial Newman Daytona and Rolex 6538 4-liner Big Crown at Rolliefest 2023

What a couple - Grail alerts! Black RCO dial 6263 Newman Daytona and Rolex 6538 4-liner Big Crown Submariner in amazing condition by @morgan0714

Rare Rolex watches at Rolliefest 2023
Rolex 6263 Tiffany & Co Dial Daytona at Rolliefest 2023 in New York
And more super rare beauties... like this Rolex 6263 Tiffany & Co Dial Daytona.

Rolex Thunderbird, Omega 2998 Tropical Speedmaster, Patek Philippe 3970Rolex 6200 Big Crown Submariner at Rolliefest 2023
Father of the Big Crown Submariner - Rolex 6200 Submariner by @tulipcrown
F.P. Journe, Rolex 6350 Waffle Dial Explorer, Rolex Newman, Rolex 1680 Gold Submariner, Rolex 6238 Black Dial
Rolex 1665 Omani Khanjar Dial SeadwellerLange & Söhne rare steel case Lange 1
Stealth grail watch > Lange & Söhne 1 in STEEL! Only 4 known to be made.
Tudor 7032 Tropical Dial Chronograph at Rolliefest 2023 in New YorkRolex 5512 Gilt Tropical Dial Submariner
Tropical Delight with this amazing Rolex 5512 Tropical Gilt Dial Submariner by @worldlywatch
Tornek-Rayville vintage military dive watch. Very rare.
Early Bulova Prototype military dive watches
Rolex 6542 Bakelite Bezel Gilt GMT at Rolliefest 2023

Patek Philippe 5004 Rosegold Perpetual Calendar ChronographRolex 1601 Datejust gold with prototype dial at Rolliefest 2023

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon Calendar
A crazy minute repeater, tourbillon Patek Philippe 5207G-001 Perpetual Calendar.. maybe the most stealth masterpiece at the meeting. All complications in one!
Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon CalendarRolex 6241 Newman Daytona at Rolliefest 2023Rolex Ovetone Datejust in Gold at Rolliefest 2023

Read more

Splitting The Moon – The Beyer Moonphase Rattrapante

Splitting The Moon – The Beyer Moonphase Rattrapante

We are always so proud to be able to find some real rare and special watches, available for you. And we love to share the insights and background of such master pieces.Today we take a look at a ver...

Read more
The Gift of Time – Rolex Presentation Watches

The Gift of Time – Rolex Presentation Watches

The giving of timepieces to commemorate a special occasion is as old as the invention of time-telling instruments. In many cultures, marking a special birthday, anniversary or long service at a com...

Read more