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Since its founding in 1905, Rolex has managed to become one of the most iconic brands in the world. The Rolex crown is an iconic status symbol associated with unprecedented quality, innovation, and prestige. The classic DateJust model is the base for a number of different models including the Submariner, Explorer, and Sea Dweller. Rolex pioneered the world’s first waterproof watch in 1926 and created the iconic Rolex Submariner in 1954, the first watch capable of submerging 100 meters (330 feet) underwater. It also claims the title of world’s first wristwatch featuring multiple time zones with the Rolex GMT Master.
Purchased for $5,600
GMT MASTER 1675
Purchased for $2,899
Purchased for $1,400
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From the Vintage to the Flashy, Crown & Caliber Buys All Watches
We are wrapping up another successful week here at Crown & Caliber. From OMEGA watches to Vacheron Constantin to Breitling watches, we purchased and sold pre-owned watches of all different brands and prices this week. Whether it is through our cash or consignment offer, we strive to get our customers the highest possible value for their [...]
Christie’s Online-Only Watch Auction
From October 1 – October 8, Christie’s auction house will be holding an online auction that they are calling “The Essential Watch Collection.” Christie’s has been selling fine art, watches, and other unique items since 1766. They have had many record-breaking watch auctions and only sell the highest quality goods. This online watch auction is [...]
Rolex Price Guide From 1969
We have so many great customers with who we enjoy doing business. However, one of our more recent customers gave us a real treat. In addition to letting us take a look at his beautiful watch, he also sent in his Rolex Pricing Guide from 1969 as well as “The Rolex Oyster” booklet to let [...]
In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, founded Rolex. The company was originally based in London, England. The two men started their business by importing Swiss movements to England and putting them into quality watch cases. By doing this, the company did not need much capital to begin their brand. The company was also able to market its brand to British buyers without having to develop movements in house. In 1908 the company officially took on the name Rolex and moved to Switzerland for development purposes. The company was dubbed Rolex because it was easy to pronounce in European languages and was able to be written symmetrically across European languages. In 1914 Rolex was awarded a Class A precision certificate, a distinction which was normally awarded exclusively to marine chronometers. This was an impressive feat for a company that was less than a decade old. In 1944 Wilsdorf died and left all of his shares of the company to a charitable foundation.
Many companies today are publicly traded and are at the mercy of their stockholders. The company's primary goal has to be to act on the behalf of these stockholders, trying its best to earn them as much money as possible. However, Rolex is unlike these businesses. To this day, Rolex is still own by a private trust and is not publicly traded. Because of this, Rolex does not have to act on behalf of these stockholders. Instead, it can focus on making a difference rather than making a buck. In 1944, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, had to suffer through the death of his wife. After her death, Wilsdorf created the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation where he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that sold of the company's income would go to charity. Upon Wilsdorf's death in 1960, ownership of Montres Rolex S.A. was passed to a charitable fund that continues to own and direct Rolex's finances. Because the company is not publicly traded, they do not have to release any bank information or profit numbers, so it is not public knowledge as to how much money Rolex makes or where all of that money goes. We do know a large portion of its profits go to charities that contribute to science, discovery, exploration, medicine, and many other efforts. Rolex has been named as one of the top 100 most influential brands in the world and there is not doubt that the company's charitable donations have contributed to this accomplishment.
Rolex watches have three interesting areas of discussion: automatic movements, quartz movements, and water-resistant cases. The automatic movements are powered by an internal mechanism that utilizes the movement of the wearer's arm. This method is one of the traits that Rolex is most famous for, as the wearer’s arm swings back and forth in natural walking motion, the watch is actually powered by this kinetic movement. This made watch winding unnecessary, and provided for a more constant and more reliable time keeping method. The quartz movement is mostly utilized within the Oyster collection. These movements were instrumental in design and implementation of technology. Although Rolex is not specifically a diving watch company, they do have a highly durable water-resistant case that is functional underwater. By offering these three functions, the company has made a name for itself in the category of precision and technological advancement.
Rolex has many different collections that have boosted their brand to the top of the luxury watch market. Six of these that represent Rolex’s variety are; the Datejust, Day-Date, Daytona, Deepsea, Explorer, and GMT-Master II. In 1945 Datejust was released and has since been seen on the wrists of major celebrities in Brittan and American. This watch has the ability to be waterproof, featured streamlined elegance, and date aperture on the face of the watch. Along with the Datejust, the Day-Date has also been considered a celebrity watch, making its way into Hollywood films and paparazzi shots. The Daytona watch collection was made in honor of Sir Jackie Stewart for setting the land speed record. The GMT-Master II was made to be worn by serious travelers and professional aviation pilots. The Submariner collection was made for aquatic purposes, but also with the intent to be stylish. By releasing such distinctly different watch collections Rolex has made a name for itself as a top watch company. With this strategy in mind, Rolex continued to release the newest and most precise pieces.
The Explorer collection was designed for pioneers with the spirit of adventure. These watches are made for tough terrain and travel. Many consider the Explorer to be the least “Rolex” of the Rolex watches. This has served as a compliment to Rolex because of the fact that it recognizes that Rolex can make more than just luxury watches. The Milgauss collection was made for those who have a passion for science and discovery. The Deepsea was created for professional divers - a hit for Rolex. It is a testament to the power of the brand that people are willing to buy a Rolex diving watch over watches that have been made by companies specifically for diving.
By becoming one of the world’s most prestigious watch companies, Rolex has found its way into every subset of watch culture. Keeping in mind the Rolex qualities of luxury, style, and precision there is no doubt why Rolex is at the top of every collector’s list.