Artisans de Genève Rolex Daytona “Arolla” Watch

A new one-off Rolex emerges from Artisans de Genève and we can tell the owner loves Eiffel 65's biggest hit.


Artisans de Genève is a small company made up of a team of watchmakers and watch designers, and they design and build watches that are customised solely for their client. So far, this seems to be using Rolex watches that they’ve worked on. In the past, we’ve written about their work “improving” Submariners by skeletonising them or adding a moonphase. 

This new one-off goes in a different direction. Inspired by the Arolla glacier, a 4km long glacier in Switzerland’s canton of Valais. Dubbed the “Arolla Project”, it’s based on a white gold Rolex Daytona (ref. 116500) and comes equipped with the Rolex 4130 calibre, although that has been transformed entirely along with the rest of the piece.

To be fair to Artisans de Genève, the quality of their work is clearly second to none. This isn’t some cheap $20 sapphire crystal caseback job. There’s clearly no evidence of fakery to debate. These are so rare that you’ll hardly see one to debate over anyway. 

The most obvious change is the blueness of it all. The Oysterflex rubber strap has been given a makeover with a semi-translucent blue showing off the design of the metal blade inside. The tachymeter bezel has been removed and replaced with a bezel that’s set with sapphires. The dial has now been made translucent and tinted blue to match the strap and bezel. This new dial reveals the Rolex calibre, which has been painstakingly skeletonised, sandblasted and bevelled by hand. A custom rotor with an X motif has been added as well, and it’s visible through the sapphire crystal. 

Artisans de Genève says that the client specified a specific blue that was inspired by the glacier’s colour. How true that is, remains to be seen.

Overall, it’s nice to see people going to town on their Rolex watches and doing a good job of it. It’s worth noting that Artisans de Genève has nothing to do with Rolex, and their modifications will void any warranties.

Visit Artisans de Genève here.