A tale of a Rolex, an Endurance Race & a Winner

24 Hours of Daytona

24 Hours of Daytona

So here we sit in Hour Nine of the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona – one of the Premier road races in North America. What sets this race apart is not the face that it’s one of the oldest Road Races in the United States; it’s not that it marks the unofficial beginning of the sports car racing season each and every year, it’s the piece of wrist candy that’s given to the winners of each class.

After 24, yes twenty-four, hours of hard road racing, if you’re lucky enough to stand at the top step of the podium, Rolex will give you a brand new gold and stainless steel Rolex Daytona as part and parcel for winning the Rolex 24. It’s an unbelievable prize that is coveted in most every professional racing circle.

After all, the Venn Diagram between sports car racing enthusiast and Swiss Timepiece enthusiast has way more overlap than the typical ones you drew in Statistics Class. If you meet a sports car owner, be it a Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Corvette, McLaren, Aston Martin, or any other owner and have them show you his wrist, and chances are, there will be some sort of gorgeous chronograph, be it Breitling, Rolex, IWC, Patek Phillippe or any other well-known Swiss watch brand.

A fable from the Rolex 24 of Daytona

There is one story that was popularized by the racing blog One Hot Lap about a Rolex, a winning race car driver, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Back in 2013, in the waning days of the GRAND-AM road racing series, before its unification with the ALMS, NASCAR-owned GRAND-AM had one and only true marquee endurance race – the Rolex 24. While the ALMS featured the fastest, highest-tech Hybrid P1 Prototypes, P2 prototypes that were still faster than the fastest GRAND-AM Daytona Prototypes – all welcome at the 24 Hours LeMans – GRAND-AM still had the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Plus, GRAND-AM had a little-known, and little-cared for alternate fuel racing Class named GX. This class had all of two cars racing in it in 2013 – a SKYACTIV-D Mazda6 which ran diesel and a privateer Porsche Cayman which also ran biodiesel. Despite the thin competition, there is still 24 hours of racing to do.

With an all-but-guaranteed win, a Porsche Cayman, the Napleton Racing team nonetheless pushed through 24 hours of trials and tribulations and beat the Mazda factory team. For their troubles, Dr. Jim Norman and the rest of his teammates were presented stainless steel Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116520s by none other than then-president of Rolex, Patrick Heiniger.

Rolex 24 Rolex Daytona

Rolex 24 Rolex Daytona from the 2012 24 Hours of Daytona

The next day, he took it to a jeweler near his house to have a link taken. Well, upon hearing such an amazing story, the jeweler was not impressed. According to Dr. Norman’s own story:

A Rolex, a Link, a mistaken identity & a jerk

“The jeweler re-sizes it for me and charges me $8. I say “Wow, 8 bucks, that’s not very much.” The manager lady says, “well, if it were a REAL Rolex we would charge you more!” I chuckle and say “it IS a real Rolex.” She says, “Nope it is not…We know Rolex watches and this is definitely a fake.”

Dr. Norman’s retort: “Well, I guess you don’t know these as well as you think!”

Hearing this, the Jeweler says, “I’ll bet you bought that watch in New York.”

“Nope” Dr. Norman says, “I haven’t been to NYC in some time.”

The jeweler replies, “I’ll bet you $1000 you didn’t buy that from a real Rolex dealer.” Dr. Norman says, “I won’t take that bet, because you are right, I didn’t buy this from a Rolex dealer.”

“AH HA!” the Jeweler exclaims, “It IS a fake!! Where did you get it??”

“I got it in Daytona this past Sunday.” “HA! I am right!” the Jeweler shouts. “I know all the Rolex dealers in Daytona, and none of them are open on Sundays!”

“Maybe I didn’t get it from a dealer,” Dr. Norman smugly states.

The jeweler turns and says, “Well then tell me, who DID you get this ‘Rolex’ from?” “Well, I stated calmly and coolly, I was presented this beautiful timepiece from the President and CEO of Rolex Watches while standing on the podium at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.”

“OH, Sure!” he says, “And I’m Santa Claus!!”

Sometimes, Santa Claus comes at the end of January. And some jewelers don’t have the best eye for a genuine Rolex Daytona – especially ones with the Rolex 24 inscription on the back.

Here at Burdeen’s Jewelry, we know our racing and we know our Rolexes. Had Dr. Norman shown up in Chicagoland, our horologists would have been drooling over his one-of-a-kind Daytona won at none other than the 24 Hours of Daytona. Congratulations, Dr. Norman and that is one heck of a story! As for this year’s race, it’s turning out to be quite fun.

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Burdeen’s adds Special Edition IWC pieces to inventory after SIHH

If you’re interested in the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage, IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph ‘Le Petit Prince, Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince, or Pilot’s Watch ‘Le Petit Prince’ call us at 800-656-0414. We have them in-stock and ready to deliver.

IWC SIHH pieces

Sometimes, you just can’t help yourself. Our fearless leader, Matt Burdeen flew all the way to Geneva, Switzerland to take in the sights and sounds at Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie, better known as SIHH. What he came back with were some pieces that would truly astound any IWC collector.

As an Authorized Dealer of IWC, we pretty much get to see it all. If you want it for International Watch Company, we can make it happen for you – but sometimes you have to wait for it. In all, we typically carry about 50 IWC pieces in stock and ready to deliver. We try to keep a good selection of Pilots, Portugiesers, Aquatimers, Ingenieurs, etc., on-hand for the astute IWC collector, but like your average McLaren or Ferrari dealership, you just can’t keep every color on-hand.

Explore the Antoine De Saint Exupéry Collection

Well, after SIHH, we made a step to change that with Pilot line this week. Three of the pieces in the Special Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry will be on-hand and ready to deliver to our customers. All you have to do is call us or show up. Basically, if you love the color blue or have heard the words “Le Petit Prince,” you’re going to be a happy camper.

Pilot Wrist Shot

Like other metallic colors in the Swiss Watch market, IWC’s blue in the Antoine De Saint Exupéry collection seems to change color in different light. In lower light, it’s almost black, but in florescent light, it’s a radient, metallic blue. It’s a spectacular bit of eye-trickery that many other blue watches on the market can’t seem to match – especially as many watches move to ceramics for ‘truer’ colors (we’re looking at you, Rolex Batman).

As opposed to going for a crayon box blue like a lot of ceramic watches are these days, IWC has sought for something different with this collection – and that’s what makes the Antoine De Saint Exupéry Le Petit Prince collection all the more special.

Come on in to Burdeen’s Jewelry and you can pick up one of these three blue Antoine De Saint Exupéry watches or a special IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage today. Just call us at 800-656-0414.

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AP’s hexagonal screws ‘screw’ with the imagination

AP Royal Oak Screws

AP Royal Oak’s ‘screws’ are a part of a visual trick to fool the eye into believing that Audemars Piguet has some secret to place a hexagonal peg into a round hole

Owning a Swiss watch is extremely rewarding, not only because it instantly catapults you into a family of fellow collectors, but because you get to study each and every millimeter of your new possession. One of the most interesting things about watches is the skill it takes to create something so amazing out of tiny, intricate parts.

If you are reading this and you were lucky enough to get a high end Swiss watch for Christmas or Hannukah – take a look at it – just look at how many nuts bolts and screws you can find. Even if you weren’t one of the lucky ones, take a look at your current watch – especially if you have a Display Back. The amount of specially-created tiny nuts, bolts, and screws is astounding. Just imagine the skill it took to create those tiny parts and put them together.

One particular watch – the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is of particular interest when you think of nuts, bolts and screws. On its face, it has exposed screws that are hexagonal in shape. This design feature is one of the AP Royal Oak’s most distinctive design features. Whereas the Hublot Big Bang, which has traditional round-headed screws, the AP Royal Oak has mesmerized many watch collectors with its seemingly illogical screw head design.

That’s the trick – the Hublot actually has screws in its face whereas the AP has bolts on its face. Audemars Piguet only places the straight line in the middle of the head of the bolt to trick the owner of the watch into thinking that it is a hexagonal screw when it isn’t a screw at all.

We spoke with a Chicagoland components company about this very subject. In fact, they’re in love with the AP. From its octagonal face to the exposed bolts, its industrial design is right up Components For Industry’s alley.

“There are components of all sizes in all types of watches – in fact, they’re in pretty much everything you own,” CEO Kevin Christie said. “In the average large Breitling, there’s a 1.4-milimeter screw; on a Patek Philippe, it’s 1.3 mm or even smaller. For our industry, this isn’t all that small. We see components of one millimeter or less and on the flip side, we create railroad grade nuts and bolts that are 30-plus pounds apiece.”

When we asked him about AP’s visual trickery, he said that it isn’t often that they see a company deliberately use a component made to resemble another type i.e. Audemars Piguet’s screw-like bolts.

But as he said, “Anything can be created with enough imagination.”If there’s anything the high-end timepiece industry has, it’s an excess of imagination. From chronographs to perpetual calendars to tourbillons, if you can dream it, you can probably own it. Heck, we carry a watch that might even save your life – the Breitling Emergency. These complications are just the tip of the iceberg in fine watches and we’ve seen it all at Burdeen’s Jewelry.

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Looking into the Eyes of The Hulk

Hulk within a Hulk

The Incredible Hulk is a brand that’s surrounded in a mystique that transcends its pulpy comic book origins. Tapping into the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mythos, The Incredible Hulk is ultimately about a man who’s tortured by an animalistic nature that he can’t control.

Yet while Mr. Hyde wanted to turn into Dr. Jekyll, Bruce Banner often did anything in his power to retain control of his emotions and keep his human form. The funny thing is, as readers of the comic book, the beauty of The Incredible Hulk’s form is not lost on us.

The Incredible Hulk represents the absolute zenith of the human form – beyond the tools that nature gave us – and gives us a literary glimpse of what an unchecked science can do to the human body – even if it ultimately creates something beautiful, if destructive.

The Incredible Hulk and The Rolex Hulk

So, what does this have to do with high-end watches? There is a tenuous connection between what the comic book gave us and with what designers from Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Breitling and the like do every day. Ultimately, what we wear on our wrist is beautiful at the expense of practicality. It’s unchecked science – what do we need with a tourbillon, after all, but to marvel at its over-engineered beauty?

The Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV began as a successor to the beloved 16610 LV ‘Kermit’ with its green bezel and black dial. This time, in 2010, Rolex went all-in with the color green and unlike the 16610 LV Kermit before it, the Hulk benefits from a ceramic dial, so the green will never fade – much like the green from our giant, gamma-irradiated friend.

Right now in our case, we have a prime example of piece of artistry on one of today’s most beloved watches. This time, it’s a Hulk within a Hulk, if you will – a 116610LV with The Incredible Hulk painted on the dial. While we tried to track down the artist, this timepiece seems to be one-of-a-kind as even the previous owner did not know who the artist was.

Plus, this was not a Bamford original. Since our partner store B. Young & Co. is a Bamford Authorized Dealer, we would know if this was one of their watches, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a piece of functional art where the artist him (or her?) self is lost to time.

Even if we don’t know who painted the dial, the level of expertise is still there. The Hulk within a Hulk is still there for all to ‘Marvel’ at. Whether you’re the wearer, a person in the room, this Rolex Hulk will surely garner attention – maybe just as much as a one-ton green superhero.

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AP Royal Oak stands as a classic due to unique styling

What's so great about AP Royal Oaks

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the most iconic watches on the market today. It’s AP’s standard-bearer with over 40 years under its belt and with that type of heritage, it’s right up there with the Rolex Submariner, Breitling Navitimer and Omega Speedmaster as one of the most recognizable Swiss timepieces on the high-end timepiece market today.

From its octagonal case, to its hexagonal exposed screws, this watch is a bold statement on anyone’s wrist. Its chunky design has made it a favorite of people as varied as high-end watch collectors to professional athletes and musicians. This is a watch that appeals to everyone – so long as you can afford its point of entry.

What makes it so desirable?

Once you get a Royal Oak on your wrist, it just simply feels different from other watches. Much like Breitling, a Royal Oak has a heft that tells the wearer that it’s there. While some watches like Patek Phillippe, Baume and Mercier, and Jaeger LeCoultre pride themselves on creating ultra-light and thin watches that require a different type of watchmaking to carry out, Royal Oaks pride themselves on their impressive size.

It’s not bad, but it’s a certainly a different experience from any Rolex or Omega on the market. These timepieces demand respect from everyone – including the wearer.

Big Bang vs Royal Oak

Pretenders aplenty

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then the Hublot Big Bang is a watch that has the Royal Oak on as highest of pedestals. Why? It’s because the Big Bang has combined many styling elements that are reminiscent of the AP Royal Oak.

With its oversized case, exposed screws, Big Bangs are very reminiscent of the distinctive Royal Oak styling. That said, Hublot just strayed far enough away to carve its own niche – keeping the case and exposed screws circular rather than octagonal/hexagonal like the Royal Oak.

However, if a watch collector or even a lamen doesn’t see them resemblance, then there’s something wrong with their eyes. However, given Hublot’s quality, the Big Bang can make a nice stand-in as the prices start at $8,000 for a nice preowned model compared to double that for a nice preowned Royal Oak.

Bulova vs AP

In addition to the Big Bang, Bulova made an homage watch in the 1970’s that was so close that it stands a legendary homage with a disputed backstory involving the very creator of the AP Royal Oak – Gerald Genta – once a designer at Bulova before joining Audemars Piguet. While Genta designed the Royal Oak after he departed Bulova, the copycat Royal Oak stands as one of the most sought-after homages of all time due to how close the design is.

Go ahead and try to find one of these Bulova “Royal Oaks” in mint condition. We dare ya! We don’t think you’ll be able to – even with the power of the internet on your side. Plus, why would you – when you can have the real thing!

Royal Oak vs. Royal Oak Offshore

No matter how close a design may be, there’s only one Audemars Piguet and there’s definitely only one Royal Oak. Well, make that two. While the original Royal Oak is a watchmaking classic, the Royal Oak Offshore is truly the one that has garnered so much attention in music and popular culture in general.

The Offshore features a larger and thicker case. While standard Royal Oaks go from 33 mm for women’s quartz models up to 44 mm with a tourbillon, Royal Oak Offshores feature cases start at 42 mm. While the measurements are a mere 2 millimeters apart – with the larger going to the standard Royal Oak, the Offshore wears much larger on the wrist thanks to its thicker case.

As a result, it is a watch that wears somewhat similar to a Breitling Super Avenger, or dare we say it, the Hublot Big Bang. In other words, a large wrist may be required for a Royal Oak.

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Want the perfect gift for a car enthusiast? BRM is it

Best Gifts for Racing Enthusiasts

Some watches are meant for fashion, others are meant for pilots, there are others meant for racing

If there’s ever a watch company that understands the link between car/racing enthusiasts and Swiss watch wearers, it’s BRM. From carbon fiber construction to watches with checkered flag elements to special edition watches inspired by Corvette Racing, Gulf Racing and Fiat Abarth, BRM is a brand that understands its target demographic and their desires.

In regular life, orange and baby blue wouldn’t be caught dead together, but somehow, on a Gulf race car or anything inspired by a Gulf race car, these colors just work. While several watch manufacturers have integrated Gulf Racing colors including Tag Heuer and several smaller independent brands such as Maurice de Mauriac, we would argue that no one has used the Gulf colors quite as well as BRM.

That orange and baby blue is not for the faint of heart, but neither is the loud yellow from Corvette Racing. Yet, somehow, it just works with the BRM and their decidedly attention-grabbing styling. With massive circles to denote the 12, 8 and 4, tri-color straps, these watches will surely command a room better than your traditional Rolex or even a 50-plus mm Breitling.

While you don’t get a proprietary movement with a BRM watch, you do get a movement that has stood the test of time. The BRM Racing V12-33-GU-N-AG-1 Gulf Racing Chronograph uses the battle-tested Valjoux 7750 – a movement that has found itself in watches as varied and prestigious as Breitling, Baume & Mercier, Tag Heuer, Bell & Ross, IWC, Sinn, Tudor, Omega and more. So while it may be off-the-shelf, it will surely stand up to whatever you throw at it.

If you’re a racing fan and you want a watch that will surely stand out in a crowd, then the BRM Racing V12 Gulf Racing Chronograph or even its baby brother, the BRM Gulf V6-44 is your answer. With loud colors courtesy of Gulf Oil and a loud face courtesy of BRM, this watch will surely turn heads – and isn’t that ultimately what you want in a Swiss watch?

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International Watch Company Comes to Burdeen’s Jewelry!


At Burdeen’s Jewelry, it’s hard to pick just ONE watch brand. We thought we’d complicate the decision even more by adding yet another AMAZING watch brand to the mix – one with a backbone for conservation efforts around the globe. From their historic headquarters in Schaffhausen, International Watch Company (IWC to those who know the difference) has established an international reputation with its passion for innovation and technical inventiveness. Their product families appeal to a variety of temperaments and passions. Their support of global landmark projects in response to environmental challenges make them the perfect fit for Burdeen’s Jewelry and their north shore clientele.


“We are excited to be an authorized retailer for IWC. IWC watches are sought after timepieces for a number of reasons including their tradition, their reputation and their craftsmanship. In addition, we believe in making a difference in our community and IWC’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility aligns well with the Burdeen’s mission.” Matt Burdeen


IWC is complemented in our showroom by Chopard, Breitling, Omega, JLC and UN. In addition to our new selection of watches, we carry a large selection of pre-owned timepieces, making Burdeen’s Jewelry THE place to shop for your next watch. To learn more about Burdeen’s Jewelry and purchase IWC watches, visit us online at Burdeens.com or call 847.459.8980.

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Celebrating Chi-Town Rising

For what seems like forever, the nation has looked to New York City for the countdown to the New Year.  In 1904, the first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square and since 1972 all heads have turned to the ball drop counting down the New Year – here in Chicago at 11:00 pm.

This year it’s our turn.  This first-of-its-kind New Year’s Eve celebration called Chi-Town Rising is destined to turn a few heads back to the Midwest, and put Chicago on the New Year’s Eve map.  If you ask us, it’s about time.

As we look forward to this monumental, history making event, the really big question is what do you wear to an epic event?


Whether you’re celebrating at Howell’s & Hood in a lavish Gucci Lurex plisse skirt and silver fox or entertaining in the comforts of your own home in an Elder Statesman Intarsia cashmere jumpsuit, one thing is certain; this is the year of the Rising Star and no outfit is complete, be it at home or out and about, without beautiful jewelry to help you shine bright.

Stop in at Burdeen’s today and choose from our one-of-a-kind custom pieces to celebrate this first-of-its-kind event and shine bright ushering in the New Year like the Rising Star you are.

Visit us online at www.burdeens.com for all your jewelry needs!


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Five Reasons the Kohl Children’s Bangle Bracelets and Necklaces Make Perfect Gifts for Teachers

With Thanksgiving over and the holidays in full swing, it’s time to turn your attention to finding the perfect gifts. The holidays give us the opportunity to show those around us how much we appreciate them all year long. Apart from the usual gift giving to family members and friends, many of us take this time to thank the people in our lives that we entrust with our children; their teachers.

We’d like to offer up 5 reasons why giving the Burdeen’s Kohl Children’s Museum one-of-a-kind bangle bracelets and necklaces to the teachers in your life is a great idea.


Gold Colored Bangle Bracelet and Charms

ONE – Teaching is a difficult job. You don’t go into teaching to make a lot of money. You go into teaching because you want to make a difference. Today’s teachers face many struggles in the classroom every day and they come back day after day because they love your children and they want to make a difference in their lives. You entrust your most precious little people to them every day. Thanking them with something nice is just good karma.


Platinum Colored Bangle Bracelet

TWO – While a Starbuck’s gift card is great, your children are unique, special and one-of-a-kind. Give a gift that is as unique as your child. The Kohl Children’s bangles and necklaces are one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces created specifically in honor of the Kohl Children’s Museum 30th Anniversary. Every time your child’s teacher wears this piece, they will be reminded of your child and how special they are.


Create Your Own Teacher’s Gift by Adding Charms

THREE – Teachers give of themselves every day. Giving back is just part of who they are. Giving the Kohl Children’s bangles and necklaces gives back as well. Burdeen’s Jewelry donates 100% of the proceeds to the Kohl Children’s Museum to support their mission that every child deserves to discover the transformational power of creativity and imagination.


Tailor Your Gift For Each Teacher On Your List!

FOUR – The Kohl Children’s bangle bracelets and necklaces are beautiful pieces of jewelry. Whether your teacher is a jewelry person or not, a whimsical bangle or necklace goes with anything from jeans to a night out. Both the bracelets and necklaces are either plated 18k yellow gold or plated platinum and adorned with the Kohl’s growing tree logo. If you want to personalize the item even more, add some matching charms!


Stop In Burdeen’s Jewelry To See Them In Person!

FIVE – At only $30 for necklaces and $40 for bangles, they come wrapped in the signature Burdeen’s cream colored package with a beautiful blue bow, which makes a statement all on its own!

A great gift for the great teachers in your life. You can purchase your Kohl Children’s bangles, necklaces and charms directly through our website at http://www.burdeens.com/children. Purchase yours today and cross the teacher’s gifts off your list!







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What would you do to spend a day in Beyonce’s shoes?


Her $300,000 shoes! These custom stilettos are encrusted in 1,300 diamonds, and set in solid 18K gold! According to Footwear News, Queen Bey made her big purchase for a whopping $312,000 at England’s House of Borgeize. The Princess Constellation Stilettos will be featured in her new music video. Whether it’s a pair of diamond encrusted shoes or an engagement ring you are in the market for, Burdeen’s has over 30 years of designing haute jewels. We pride ourselves on beautiful custom creations and we have a true passion for design. Whether we are updating a family heirloom or collaborating on a modern piece, we will exceed all your expectations on your beautiful jewelry purchase! Make sure to visit Burdeen’s for all of your custom jewelry needs.


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