As a status symbol? Depends if you are a conformist or not. Rolex is obviously the most popular high-end fashion watch, known by everyone (including those that can't afford it). But if you are not a conformist, there are other brands equally as good or even better like Patek Phillipe, IWC and Breitling. Kaso lang not many know this is the level of a Rolex. But on the other hand, it can also show that you know more to expensive watches than just a Rolex.
Durability? If you get a quartz type, it does not make much difference compared to a good seiko watch, oscillating quartzes are pretty much identical. But if you get the automatic type, then craftsmanship comes into the picture and usually Rolexes, Breitlings, etc., have the reources to invest in the best parts and craftsmen.
Re-sale? Depends greatly on makrket perception. Unfortunately for the Japanese and lower Swiss brands, Rolex and the toher high-end watches are always the desired types by collectors and used-watch buyers.
So, just because I said that Rolex is a status symbol.. I am a conformist.. hehehe!!! Just messing around, man..
Before I bought my Rolex, I was actually contemplating on buying a Tudor, a Patek, and an IWC.. Or a Cartier, but unfortunately, Cartiers are too stylish for me.. So it boiled down to the three.. Was also thinking of buying a Breitling.. But most of its watches cater to the sporty type which is not my taste.. So, why did I buy a Rolex instead of the others? You are correct in saying that it is the best/most known brand and that is the reason why I bought one.. When I bought it I was investing on the impression it creates.. Sabi nga ng asawa ko.. "Bakit Tudor pa eh.. kaunti na lang naka-Rolex ka na.."
My wife knows about IWC's, Patek's prices and that their level of quality is the same as that of a Rolex.. But still, rather than them I would rather get the most known luxurious watch around.. There are IWC or Patek watches that are much more expensive than the low-end Rolexes or the mid-range Rolexes.. but if I would choose between a (say) P150-200K simple Oyster DateJust Rolex or a P150-200K equally (or more) stunning IWC or Patek watch.. then dun pa din ako sa Rolex..
As you have pointed out in your third paragraph, market perception dictates market prices.. Sadly, Rolex is considered in the market as a good investment.. I am not a conformist just because I bought my Rolex.. (It was my mom who actually bought it for me..) My wife and my mom forced me to buy one.. saying that it is something nice to add to a businessman's attire.. Again, if you think it is conformity because people think of it as a status symbol, then it is to each his own.. I would repeat my statment in one of my posts here: a Rolex creates an impression.. a gorpe de gulat of sorts.. And if that is being conformist then so be it.. But I would not invest on something soooo expensive that does not do anything but just be something in your wrist..
It is just weird that just because people here say that a Rolex is a status symbol.. then they are conformists.. I am not that rich to be able to buy an IWC, a Patek and a Cartier, all at the same time.. I can only buy one watch that has a six figure price tag.. And I choose a Rolex.. And maybe that would be the only luxury watch that I would ever buy.. It is also weird when people in this thread say that they do not feel inferior if they are wearing a Rolex, some say ay nagyayabang ka na.. What is wrong in gaining a small amount of confidence.. Nobody ever said that not feeling inferior is feeling superior.. That is crap..
Creating an impression is not catered to impress just the rich.. as I have said how about the nag-ri-rich-an, diba? This only means the average middle class who happened to be invited in one important meeting.. Most of the rich would know the Pateks, the IWCs.. but how about the middle class? Baka hindi di ba? Paano sila? Bakit ako mag-iinvest sa isang relo na napakamahal kung it only creates an impression on a selected few.. Why not sa maramihan? As I have said, hindi ako nagyayabang kapag ganito.. But let us be honest.. All of us would buy a damn expensive thing to create an impression.. bonus na siyempre ang investment, ang durability, ang comfort.. Syempre dapat kapag mahal na ang binili mo kasama na ang lahat.. So, Rolex it is for me.. not an IWC, nor a Patek.. (But it would be actually nice to own some Pateks.. - but can't afford eh..).. An IWC or a Patek are also status symbols.. But a Rolex impresses a much broader "audience.." coz it is much more well known.. Dun na ako sa well-known..
One more thing, what is wrong in being a conformist? If you are not a conformist.. Sige nga sa isang importanteng meeting with clients magsuot ka ng shorts at rubber shoes with matching tee na nakalagay.. "f#&k the Law!.." If you can, then, maybe you are not a conformist in the likes of Larry Flynt of Hustler or Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols..
OT: Who among you guys have seen a Vertu cellphone? A phone (made out of sturdy materials but has an outdated platform) that is also made by the makers of Nokia but is catered to the upscale market.. the $20K +++++ market to say the least.. I have seen this phone in one of the stores in Shang and my eyes just got glued not on its beauty but on its hefty price tag.. A whopping Php250K.. Who would buy this phone? A conformist siguro.. hehehe!!! Seriously, I know someone who has this phone even before it came out here in PI.. I knew about this line of cellphones and have read it in a magazine.. So why did he buy this phone.. Bakit hindi na lang yung mga 88 series ng Nokia.. Kasi it is to create an impression that he is no pushover.. Maybe? Most likely.. But why invest on something that most likely would be outdated in a few years (unlike a Rolex di ba?)? Yabang ba? Sino kayo para mag-husga.. At pangalawa, hindi mayabang itong taong ito.. Baka kapag nakita niyo ito sa mall.. di nyo man mapagkamalan na naka-Vertu ito eh..
Please do not be soooo damn judgemental, peeps.. Peace!!!!