Designa Individual (DiW) is one of a series of small companies around the world that, for at least part of their business, customize Rolex timepieces. As abundant as a aftermarket Rolex watches are, the industry can’t even agree on a term for them. These watches also happen to be quite controversial, as replica rolex watches officially condemns them and because they often cost significantly more than the retail prices of the original Rolex timepieces they began as.
Nevertheless, the world of aftermarket/customized/modified/Frankenstein/bespoke., etc., Rolex watches is popular and only growing in size as the underlying Rolex watches themselves appear to be in continued high demand. Probably the most famous of aftermarket Rolex customizers is George Bamford, who recently stopped publicly selling Rolex watches to focus on other products, such as his own watches and those from LVMH group brands (such as Zenith or TAG Heuer). Bamford and others gained notoriety first for coating Rolex watch cases in colors such as black, and then later changing dial colors and other details on the watch. That said, what Bamford and his contemporaries did was not invent the aftermarket Rolex, but rather made it a commodity. For generations, Rolex dealers and customers have been doing aftermarket gem-setting and other dial modification or case work, though most of these aftermarket Rolex watches were produced on a one-by-one basis for individual clients. None of them competed for factory Rolex timepieces.
The Internet really made the aftermarket replica rolex cosmograph daytona a problem for Rolex in Geneva. The brand’s reason for being aggressive toward aftermarket Rolex watches is sensible and two-fold in its logic. First, they are concerned people will mistake them for actual watches that Rolex sells and that this will lead to brand intellectual property dilution effects. I agree with this sentiment, though Rolex might be over blowing the actual number of these watches that are out there. In fact, what Rolex is mostly concerned with are not brand new Rolex watches that have been modified and re-sold, but rather older Rolex watches that have been “spruced up” to bring new life into them but ended up not resembling an actual watch Rolex produced in the past. Rolex has gone to court more than a few times over this matter and cases have often settled in their favor. Rolex is serious about protecting its brand and they don’t let too much go. My understanding is that most, if not all, aftermarket Rolex dealers get a not entirely friendly letter from a Rolex attorney at some point. Whether or not they abide by the demands is an entirely different story, of course.