Lifestyle

The Story Behind the Dominos Rolex

We recently stumbled across a highly unusual timepiece in a corner of the Internet: the Dominos Rolex. Needless to say, our interest was piqued. How did this marriage of high and low culture come to be? We decided to get to the bottom of it. 

We spoke with Paul Altieri, Rolex Expert and CEO of Bob's Watches, who has a prime example for sale, to get the story. Apparently since at least as far back as the early 1980s, Dominos has been rewarding its employees with Rolex watches through a program called the "Rolex Challenge." If a franchise nails a certain sales quota for a four week period, they get a Rolex Air-King as a ticking trophy. 

"Dominos deserves credit," says Altieri. "They could have gone for more paid vacation or a cash bonus. Good for Dominos! What better way to commemorate a major achievement?" Indeed.

According to Altieri, the fact that Rolex actually allowed a brand like Dominos to put their logo on the dial is extraordinary. "A company like Mercedes could have done this, but it was Dominos of all places." Occasionally you'll find Tiffany & Co. branded Rolexes, but that's not exactly the same as Rolex co-branding with a company that has so little in common, save for a preoccupation with time (30 mins or less). And unlike Tiffany's simply printing their logo on those dials, the Dominos Rolex is actually produced by Rolex.

Sometimes you'll find a gold Coca-Cola Rolex pop up, with "25 years of service" printed on its dial. But unique as the Coca-Cola co-branding is, the luxury pieces given to Coke loyal executives aren't like the Dominos Air-King, which — while fancy — is more of a people's watch. "It's a very solid model," says Altieri, "a durable watch you can wear while working."

Today, the Domino's Rolexes look a little bit different, having lost one of the most distinctive dials ever made. "Five or ten years ago, they stopped making the watches with the logo on the dial," says Altieri. "They moved it to a less visible place on the bracelet."

Depending on your perspective, this is either a melancholy departure from a cool offbeat phenomenon that distinguishes an entry-level Rolex, or it's a welcomed preemption of the expensive redial a Dominos employee might undergo to erase the cheesy (sorry) logo from their Swiss trophy. In any case, we echo Mr. Altieri's attitude. Good for Dominos. 

Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Gear editor of Supercompressor. His watch is worth more than his car. Because his car is imaginary. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.