Have you ever seen a Rolex watch with the Domino's Pizza logo embellished on the dial or bracelet? It's a strange marriage of cultures where fast food and luxury watches meet, but today Domino's Rolex watches have become something of an interesting piece, and are considered a sought after collector's item.
Seemingly the only thing Rolex and Domino's have in common is a preoccupation with time, with the Domino's motto being "30 minutes or less"; so - to answer the question on everyone's lips - why does the Rolex Domino's product line exist, and how has it changed over the years?
Luckily for us, there's a fantastic story behind the origins of the Rolex Domino's watches. In 1977, when the owner of the Domino's Pizza franchise Tom Managhan was asked by one of his franchisees what he could do to get Managhan's watch from him, Managhan replied that he could have it if he turned in £20,000 of sales in just a single week. The franchisee succeeded, and Managhan kept up his end of the bargain, gifting his Rolex - customised to sport the Domino's logo on its face - the franchisee.
Thus began the 'Rolex Challenge', a challenge extended to Rolex franchisees across the country to make £20,000 in weekly sales for four consecutive weeks and win a branded Rolex Air-King watch as a reward. As the franchise flourished and sales increased around the world, the challenge criteria were raised to four weeks of £25,000 in sales, but the Rolex Challenge remained and over the past 40 years many more have been handed out - though nobody really knows how many, which just adds to the intrigue and mystery surrounding this strange artefact of pop culture.
The watches that Rolex teamed up to produce with Domino's are effectively the company's entry-level Air-King models branded with a Domino's logo. Common references for these models include 5500, produced from the late 80s, and the more recent 14000 ref. As an entry-level Rolex, the Air-King is built for everyday use - which is no doubt essential for pizza franchisees - but still costs thousands of dollars, making it no small reward for the lucky managers who have bagged one.
You might have seen other branded watches - Tiffany's are known for their 'Tiffany Dials', where the Tiffany's logo has been stamped over the dial of an ordinary Rolex watch, and Coca-Cola Rolex watches have been given out by the soft drinks giant with "25 years of service" stamped on them on occasion.
The difference is very much in the detail; while Tiffany Dials have been around since the 60s, these watches are produced by Rolex but then stamped externally, while the Domino's watch is entirely manufactured, for Domino's, by Rolex. In the case of the Coca-Cola Rolexes, these luxury pieces are also something of a curiosity, but in comparison to the Rolex Air-King watches produced for Domino's, the Coca-Cola branded watches are on another level of luxury.
There's also the simple fact that brands like Tiffany's really do go hand-in-hand with brands like Rolex, while Domino's is something of an outlier. Many luxury watch specialists were surprised that Rolex would team up with a pizza brand, and no doubt there are plenty of Rolex buyers who would be put off by the idea of buying a Rolex watch worth thousands of dollars with the blue and red Domino's Pizza logo stickered over its face.
Over the years, Rolex have made some adaptations to the original Domino's Air-King design, the most notable being the removal of the Domino's logo from the dial of the watch. Since the early 2000s, the Domino's logo is placed on a more subtle location on the bracelet instead, which means more people can probably get away with wearing Domino's Rolex watches without anyone else noticing the pizza brand's logo.
This discontinuation of the logo on the watchface may well have been a deliberate move by Rolex to distance themselves somewhat from the Domino's Pizza brand, without completely severing the partnership.