Continuing the series on caring for your Rolex or Tudor watch, one of the areas that many questions is traveling with your Rolex watch. When traveling, there are a number of considerations to take into account when leaving home base. The two general considerations I think about when I travel are a) what am I doing when wearing my Rolex, and b) where is my Rolex when I am not wearing it.
Without question, generally the safest place for your Rolex is on your wrist, especially when traveling. When wearing your Rolex, you don’t have to worry about where you stored it and whether it’s safe. I even wear mine in the shower while traveling as I have read too many stories on Internet forums of watches being dropped on tile bathroom floors because of the unfamiliar surroundings. For active trips such as rock climbing, white water rafting, and general outdoors, there is no worry about the robustness of the Rolex movement powering your watch and the minimally 100M of water resistance the Oyster case and Twin/Trip Lock crown possesses. The rule I use is whatever your arm can handle, your Rolex can handle. For active trips, I also pack a travel size of Veraet watch spray and a microfiber cloth for wiping down the watch at the end of the day. Especially when rafting down the Grand Canyon where the runoff water can be very silty, or at the end of a beach day when salt and sand works its way into the bracelet links, a cleaner like Veraet will help your look new and keep the bracelet long lasting.
When traveling to third-world countries, I do take into consideration whether wearing a Rolex will stand out and catch the attention of some nefarious types. With Rolex being the most copied watch in the world, the Rolex Oyster size/shape/color is recognized around the globe. But for the more sophisticated thief, spotting a real Rolex is not too difficult. One of the ways I understate my watch is to remove the Oyster or Jubilee bracelet and replace with a NATO or Everest rubber strap. Most of my far-off travels are to places that tend to be hot. Subsequently, having removed the Oyster bracelet for a NATO or Everest strap accommodates wrist swell in hot / humid weather, and they understate the watch.
That being said, there are some instances when it’s not practical to wear your Rolex while out discovering new worlds. 904L stainless steel is specially made for Rolex to withstand salt, corrosion, and the elements. On the other hand, Rolex platinum, Everose gold, and Rolesor (steel and gold) are much more susceptible to scratches as these noble metals are softer and less scratch resistant. Depending upon whether your travels take you to refined cities when wearing your Rolex is no different that wearing it at home, or scaling granite mountain faces when both your arms and watch have a good possibility of being scratched, your travel activity is a pivot point on whether you store your Rolex.
If your Rolex comes off your wrist during travel, it is best to have a dedicated watch case. A watch cases prevent scratches while in luggage, especially to the caseback which is susceptible to scratches from the bracelet clasp. There are numerous watch cases available from Fourtané, eBay, and the Internet. My personal preference is the Rolex suede service pouch. These Rolex service pouches are available from multiple sources on the Internet. Another favorite watch case for the watch cognoscente is one made by Oakley. The Oakley watch case comprises of a hard shell that holds your Rolex in place preventing scratches from a loosely stored bracelet. Also, the Oakley case does not scream Rolex on-board to TSA workers inspecting your luggage, or hotel maids cleaning your room.
Rolex watches are made for travel and adventure. Hopefully these tips will help keep you and your Rolex travel ready.