Rolex is a brand of Swiss watches that are known for their prestige innovation, reliability, and precision. These watches have become a valued item for the elite and are a symbol of wealth. Celebrities, businessmen, pilots, NASA, and world explorers have been known to sport this watch on their wrist.
History of the Rolex Watch Company
Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis in 1905. Wilsdorf wanted to create a watch that could be worn on the wrist instead of the classic pocket watch. Even though wristwatches were not precise at the time, he knew he could create a watch that was reliable and prestigious. The company’s original wristwatches were marked with a W&D, which stood for Wilsdorf and Davis. Although the name seemed to work fine in the beginning, Wilsdorf wanted a company name that could be easily pronounced in any language. Thus the name Rolex was born.
The early vision for Rolex was to have the watches be affordable, but due to the taxes on precious metals (silver and gold), the costs rose. The prices were so high that Rolex moved out of Great Britain in 1912 and into Switzerland, where the company gained notoriety.
Wilsdorf quickly put his innovative skills to work and came out with the first self-winding watch in the 1930’s. Rolex made history by eliminating the need for watch winding and the risk of damaging the mechanism by over-winding a watch. This system is the origin of all modern automatic watches today.
Rolex also invented the first water proof watch called the Oyster. Rolex proved this milestone by having the waterproof watch cross the English Channel. Mercedes Gleitze was the first female to swim across the English Channel and she wore the Rolex Oyster during the 15-hour swim. Not only was the swim lengthy, but also it was performed in the worst weather conditions. At the end of the swim the oyster watch was in perfect condition, once again proving Wilsdorf’s craftsmanship.
The list of firsts for Rolex continued to grow with each new feature created. The DateJust was named when Rolex created the first watch to display the date. Then came the Turn-O-Graph, which featured a rotating bezel instead of the standard stationary bezel. Shortly after these key inventions came several unique watches that were specially made for adventure seekers. Extreme sea divers could now sport the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller. It featured a helium release valve to be used during decompression.
Pilots and world travelers also made the Rolex invention list. The GMT-Master was born out of a request by Pan Am Airlines to assist their pilots with transcontinental flights and reduced the effects of jetlag. This watch was able to display two different time zones simultaneously. Rolex Explorer and Explorer II were designed with the Mt. Everest expeditions in mind. The features helped mountain climbers navigate through rough terrain.
The Rolex brand became known for its reliability and precision. Through the years several new models and features have been created. Rolex is still very popular among explorers, businessmen, celebrities, and the elite. It has remained a top competitor in the watch industry and has revolutionized the way wristwatches are made today.
Common Rolex Watch Models