Rolex, a name that means luxury, is a historic watchmaker who has conquered the land and the sea. A family name for all and associated with precision, excellence and innovation. In The Watch Guide, we were very fascinated by the brand and we were curious about how Rolex was gaining so much popularity and loyal customers over the years. We wanted to understand what made this watchmaker the first brand in the world…
We are entering the history of Rolex, a 108-year-old watchmaker who has conquered the world.
Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, Rolex is synonymous with unprecedented technological ingenuity and functionality. The King of Watches maintains its leadership position by showing a relentless drive to set new limits for mechanical innovation.
The history of Rolex dates back to 1902. A German watchmaker, Hans Wilsdorf, has teamed up with his brother-in-law Alfred Davis. The couple founded a London-based company specializing in watch distribution. In the early years of the company, they imported quality movements and then added them to see cases of companies like Dennison.
1908 is the date of the foundation of “Rolex”. After a long search for a short note that is easy to remember and pronounce in any language, Wilsdorf has finally opted for the iconic label.
Rolex’ Early Years
Rolex dominates from the beginning, a leading position among the most innovative watchmakers. The first big hit was in 1910, when the company’s first wristwatch was awarded the Swiss chronometric precision certificate (COSC). Four years later, his high-performance watch received a certificate of accuracy from the Kew Observatory in the United Kingdom. This was particularly noteworthy because so far only marine chronometers have received such awards.
After years of first success, Wilsdorf decided in 1919 to move his company to Geneva. Here, the company flourished at the epicenter of luxury watchmaking. The Rolex seat remains there until today
Where Does The Name ‘ROLEX’ Come From?
Do you often ask where the brands come from? You will be surprised that the iconic name “Rolex” seems to make no meaning at all. Hans Wilsdorf just wanted a short name that could be pronounced in any language. I also wanted to find a symmetric name in capital letters and, of course, in the watches themselves. “I tried to combine the letters of the alphabet in all possible ways,” said Wilsdorf, according to Rolex. “That gave me a few hundred names, but none of them felt good.” One morning, while riding on the top deck of a horse and Cheapside in the city of London, a ghost whispered “Rolex” to my ear.
The Birth Of Iconic Models
In 1945, the most fundamental Rolex model was born: the DATEJUST. It was the first automatic wristwatch chronometer that showed the date in a window on the dial. Soon, he became the mainstay of the Rolex collections. Originally, it was offered only to men, but in the next decade, the women’s collection was introduced. To date, DATEJUST shows Rolex’s conservative approach to watchmaking, offering the most practical appearance of a watch without unnecessary detail. The model has been used by many eminent personalities, including President Dwight Eisenhower.
In the following decade, 1956, Rolex published his 1956 day-date. This model was popularly known as “President Rolex”. His golden case, attached to a gold bracelet, continues to serve as a direct indication of his owner’s high status.
A Legacy That Lasts Today
Over the next few years, the company has launched many more watches that are now considered the brand’s most typical watches. These include, of course, the Rolex Professional models, such as the Explorer, the Submariner, the Cosmograph Daytona and the Yacht Master.
The brand retains its status as an intrinsic link with the luxury lifestyle. They have established a solid presence at many prestigious sporting events such as golf, sailing, tennis and equestrian events. In addition, Rolex became partner of the Formula 1 Racing in 2013 and became the official timekeeper and official event watch.
Rolex has existed for more than a century and was invented to be “the only watch that counts”. Rolex, which offers reliable and durable watches, is probably the most outstanding luxury watch brand in the world.
What Is A Chronometer?
Before we examined the prestigious certificates that Rolex received in the first few days, we thought it would be useful to first cover what a chronometer is. A chronometer is a highly accurate mechanical watch that passed stringent precision tests over a 15-day period and received a certificate from an independent laboratory; usually the official Chronometer Control Institute of Switzerland (COSC). To get this certification, the clock must stay at +6 and -4 seconds per day.
What Makes Rolex Clocks? The Quest For Chronometric Precision
The impressive reputation of Rolex has remained strong over the years due to the desire to innovate continuously. Wilsdorf first focused on the quality of movement. The quest for chronometric precision was quickly successful. In 1910, Rolex watch became the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss chronometric precision certificate, awarded by the official watch classification center in Biel. After Four years, in 1914, Rolex received another recognition, but from the Kew Observatory in Richmond, Britain (now called “King’s Observatory”). The independent watch testing laboratory awarded a Rolex watch a prestigious class “A” certificate of accuracy. After receiving this award from the marine chronometer industry tester, people associated Rolex with precision and Hans Wilsdorf’s dream was realized.
10 Things You Need To Know About Rolex…
- All Rolex watches are handmade.
It takes about a year to make a Rolex watch. Every watch is carefully manufactured in Switzerland. Rolex watches receive all the attention and dedication necessary to meet the brand’s rigorous standards. Practically everything consists of basic internal materials. Once all parts of a Rolex watch have been completed, they are usually assembled by hand and independently tested. The process of quality assurance is very intense.
- Each Rolex undergoes a pressure test before leaving the factory.
Being at the forefront of water resistance technology requires a variety of steps. Each Rolex is located in a sensitive pressure chamber to detect if the case is leaking air. When a medical grade optical sensor detects condensation or water ingress, the clock is discarded.
- Rolex uses the world’s most expensive stainless steel, also known as 904L.
Other high-end brands use a stainless steel screen (known as 316L) in their designs, but the 904L is exclusive to Rolex. Steel is much more expensive and resists rust, corrosion and pitting, a real problem for saltwater divers.
- The most expensive Rolex sold for $ 17.75 million.
Known for its Hollywood descent, the 1968 reference 6239 Daytona stainless steel and leather is one of the most iconic Rolex models. He sold nearly $18 million in October 2017 at the opening auction of Phillips in New York.
- An internal foundry makes all the gold in Rolex watches.
Rolex makes his own gold. Because they control the production and processing of their gold, they can guarantee not only the quality but also the look of these extraordinary materials. Rolex is the only watchmaker who makes his own gold or even a real foundry in the company.
- The Rolex headquarters surpasses any high security prison.
Rolex has a value of $1million in Everose gold bars. You cannot blame them for having employee fingerprint scanners, trunk doors, iris scanners, and unmarked armored vehicles to move Rolex parts from one place to another.
- Nobody knows what Rolex really means.
Watchmakers believe that the name comes from the French term horlogerie exquise, which means an exquisite watch. But the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, admitted that the name Rolex was chosen because he wanted a short and well presented word on a clock and could speak in any language. He also thought that the name sounded like the sound of a clock when it hurt itself.
- Rolex could be a Swiss luxury company, but it originated in London.
The company started assembling watches without making them. Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, two brothers-in-law, started to become jewelers with “Wilsdorf and Davis”. They brought the brand to Geneva in 1919 because of the war taxes levied on luxury imports.
- On his Roman numerals Rolex still uses IIII instead of IV.
IIII is known as the “four-year watchmaker” and is a question of aesthetic and symmetrical visual balance.
- Rolex watches have entered the ocean.
As James Cameron descended into Mariana Trench in 2012, wore a Rolex Deep sea Challenge that was waterproof to a depth of 12,000 meters (39,370 feet). The clock kept the perfect time during the 7-hour underwater trip.
Whether you can or can’t afford one, definitely take a look at their models on www.rolex.com
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