Alabaster Industries are an American company that started out making custom Criss Angel-style Rolexes. Now that they create their own pieces, they are highly sought after. Hypebeasts around the world are gobbling these up especially considering that their prices are quite attainable. But they aren’t perfect and there are problems with some of their designs particularly of their custom Rolexes.
The Iffy Custom Rolexes
The custom Rolexes Alabaster Industries burst onto the scene with were… problematic. Not problematic in the political sense, but you could make a strong argument for them ruining perfectly good Datejusts. They used to pour molten silver onto the Datejust to get their crazy claw like designs around the case, but the finishing was certainly questionable. While the watches are eye-catching, no doubt, the end result looks exactly like poured molten silver. There was a lack of polish and the build quality looked so cheap that you could have mistaken this for a piece made in someone’s garage. Which, to be fair, might have been what they were going for.
It is difficult to find a retail price on these, but comment sections have said prices have ranged from $700 USD to $20,000, which to say the least, isn’t a small window. It’s doubtful that they would have ever sold a Datejust for $700, even if it does look like it melted in a fire. On Grailed, you can actually find one of their custom Datejusts going for $20,000 (down from $21,000, score!).
The Improved Original Pieces
We wouldn’t be talking about Alabaster if they had stuck to just custom Rolexes, especially when they don’t compare in quality to a company like Made In Paris. However, they now make their own watches and thankfully, they are much better.
If the overall design philosophy of Alabaster isn’t what you’re into, these aren’t going to convince you otherwise. However, if you’re into it then you can clearly see the improvement in the finishing on their original watches. The metal doesn’t look melted on, it looks purposefully moulded with nice shiny polish. The “claws” have stronger and more consistent points and their dials are now completely hand made.
Mechanically, these are nothing special. They have a Japanese three-hand automatic mechanical movement, likely a Miyota, giving it a decent 45-hour power reserve. But these are first and foremost fashion watches, and they are hyper exclusive. Reportedly, only one piece per design is manufactured. So while they retail for around $2,300 – $3,400 they are reselling in the range of $6,000 – $12,000. Their web inspired case designs are some of their most popular and are reselling for the highest amount. Shocking what a bit of quality control can do.
Whether or not this added level of quality is due to their recent partnership with Dover Street Market, is difficult to discern. However, it has allowed them to sell in more parts of the US and overseas for the first with their pieces becoming available in New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Ginza (Tokyo), and London.
These have become very popular with young people who may not necessarily be into watchmaking. That’s the nature of fashion watches and at least at retail, these babies aren’t going for crazy amounts, it’s only on the second-hand market that they are going for ridiculous prices which can only be partially blamed on Alabaster for making such limited pieces, but demand is really driving the price. People are willing to pay and there’s not much that can be done about that. Every single piece on their website has already sold out, so if you want one of these you have no choice but to pay high prices.