Credit: Rolex

MAD Paris are an independent world-class luxury watch customizer and they truly live up to their name: they are mad! Who would buy a watch that already costs thousands of dollars and then customise it for a further few thousands of dollars? I don’t know but MAD do, and they are showing that there is some method to their madness.

MAD Paris customise premium watches from brands like Patek Phillipe, Audermars Piguet, and of course, Rolex to make something truly unique for each wearer (and adding a bit to the price tag!) They are incredibly exclusive too, only making watches upon order.

What mad man created this? You can thank Pierre Lhereux for founding the company in 2006. Their aim has been to provide a one-of-a-kind luxury that their competitors can’t offer. Thought having a Rolex was exclusive enough? Try a custom Rolex to really set you apart from the crowd. Want your watch completely covered in precious stones? MAD are your people. The people at MAD took the knowledge and experience they learnt during their time with the big watchmakers in Geneva and used this to create upcycled and custom watches that are unique from their original models. MAD’s watches have been worn by superstars like Drake and designer Virgil Abloh. Not a bad crowd to be rubbing shoulders with.

Drake's Custom Patek Philipe by MAD Paris | Credit: Virgil Abloh

Exclusivity and luxury take time to create. The average time it takes for MAD Paris to create a custom watch can be anywhere from four to six weeks! The reason being is the very tedious and complex nature of their customs. Part of this is the coating they use. All their watches are coated in a diamond-like carbon (DLC) and they’re all made by hand. Hand-made watches take time to reach the true artistry required for these marvellous creations.

Let’s look at some of their highlights.

Custom Rolex Daytona 45mm

This customised Rolex Daytona 45mm is one of my favourites. It is made from matte black stainless steel coated in DLC from Switzerland. It has an automatic mechanical movement, sapphire crystal face, three chronograph counters, a 72-hour power reserve, and a 5 ATM water resistance rating. It’s simple and elegant. The matte black band makes the dark and lustrous navy dial glow like the last rays of sunlight reaching the ocean depths.

The Rolex Milgauss 'Who Cares' Edition

This Rolex Milgauss has been dubbed the ‘Who Cares’ edition and it truly embodies exactly that. It is just so refreshing. I know they definitely did care given the amount of time, money, and artistry that goes into these watches, but it is as punk as a Rolex could be. The watch is a collaboration with Parisian boutique colette and is done up in stainless steel and colette’s signature shade of blue for the text and hands. I love it.

The 36mm Rolex Datejust Silver Lotus

Ref. 14707449 | Credit: Browns

his 36mm Rolex Datejust Lotus takes the iconic and timeless style of the Rolex Datejust and adds beautiful lotus engravings all along the bezel and bracelet. The blue dial complements the stainless steel so well that it is just an instant classic for lovers of engraved steel. The watch reminds me of an engraved revolver a cowboy keeps one bullet in for his nemesis. It’s the classic Rolex but made just that little bit special.

The Mad Paris Rolex Daytona SK II

Ref. 14146109 | Credit: Maxim

Rolex Daytona’s are common watches to customise. MAD’s version, however, reveals what a work of art the innards of a watch really are. They have crafted an openwork version of the Rolex Daytona SK II that showcases the brilliant automatic movement hidden inside. In comparison with the Datejust Lotus, the engravings are limited to the dial and one link of the bracelet and it would be tasteful if the dial wasn’t so gloriously over-the-top. That’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from MAD by now and this Daytona is a great showcase for their talents.

The Rainbow Milgauss

Ref. 14707452

MAD Paris’ customised Milgauss is one that makes a statement. It is however one of my least favourite statements of the few we have looked at. It has a bezel set with 64 baguette cut sapphires in all the colours of the rainbow around a black dial with white markers. The effect is stunning. The lack of colour surrounding the bezel creates a dazzling effect that reminds one of a rainbow appearing before a dark storm cloud. While not something I personally would wear, I can’t deny that it is eye-catching. It’s a well-designed watch for that quirky wearer.

Should you want a variety of colours and styles for your Rolex, MAD Paris allows you a large variety of choices to fit your taste. It doesn’t come cheap but nothing worthwhile ever does and these watches are certainly worthwhile. You must be either very brave or mad to buy these watches but that is exactly the point.