After hearing about the flagship Rolex store in Costa Mesa, I made note to visit it the next time I was in the Los Angeles Area.
The store is located in the South Coast Plaza (3333 Bristol St. Suite 200, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 - 714.241.8088.)
I had been to the Rolex store at the Winn Hotel in Las Vegas. This
store appears bigger and deeper. The Rolex fixtures were designed for
the store space, including the custom designed Rolex green marble
I arrived just at opening time so that I can take pictures and not be
tooooo conspicuous (extra ooo's intentional). They allowed me to take
pictures, but not of the entire floor-plan for security reasons. They
allowed me to take pictures of individual pieces. The storefront
picture is snapped somewhat inconspicuously; I was afraid of the
pan-tilt-zoom camera just located above the door. I made the mistake of
taking pictures of a HP computer production line during a tour a few
years ago and security came out of the walls; I did not want to have
the same experience in a shopping mall.
I met with the assistant manager and he lead me through the rare Rolex models they had in stock. They did not have any Milgaus, but did have a YachtMaster II. He allowed me to try it on, and he gave me a tour of the watch's features. We also examined sticked-dialed GMTII (16710's) to see if the shake test was valid for discerning 3186 movements. We could not tell if the models had 3186's in them.
The walls had video monitors showing many of the videos that are listed on the Rolex website. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. The store asst. manager was very conversant in the movement details and was the only one who knew all the Yachtmaster II functions; he made none of the sweeping Rolex generalizations that many sales people make when trying to push a Rolex sale on you.
When looking at the rubber-strapped, diamond covered DateJust, the cyclops appeared to have anti-reflective coating under the cyclops like the GMTII-C. I inquired whether all new models had anti-reflective coating under the cyclops, and the asst. manager believed that they did. He want on to tell me the story that the cyclops started when Hans Wilsdorf noticed that the date was much more readable after water splashed on his watch in the bath/shower and the droplets magnified the date. I could not verify in any of my books, but I had read that this was the origin of the crystal cyclops somewhere.
It was a nice visit and worth stopping by if you have the opportunity.
My apologies for some of the picture blurriness; taking clear pictures was hard with all the reflective lights.
Click on image for larger picture.