Founded in 1905, Rolex watches have been at the forefront of innovation for over a century. The first certified chronometer, the first self-winding wristwatch and the first effective water resistant case are milestones of Rolex design. Today, the Rolex brand is instantly recognizable as a symbol of prestige, luxury, and innovation across the globe. Buying a Rolex watch means you’re purchasing a piece of horological history. Here, we have an extensive catalog of exceptional used Rolex watches for sale.
In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, founded Rolex in London. The two men started their business by importing Swiss movements and putting them inside quality watch cases. As a result, they didn’t need much capital to begin their brand. They were able to market their watches to British buyers without having to develop movements in-house. In 1908, the company officially took on the name Rolex. They chose the name because it was easy to pronounce, and they could write it symmetrically across European languages. Soon after, they relocated to Switzerland to begin designing their own watches.
Early on, Rolex focused on the quality of their movements, and those efforts quickly paid off. In 1910, a Rolex timepiece became the first wristwatch in the world to receive chronometer certification. Just four years later, they were awarded a Class A precision certificate. This distinction was typically reserved exclusively for marine chronometers. It was an impressive feat for a company less than a decade old. From that moment forward, Rolex established a reputation for its achievements in precision and accuracy.
By 1926, Rolex had pioneered the technology to create the first water resistant wristwatch, the Oyster. Just a year later, they put this innovative timepiece to the test. In 1927, swimmer Mercedes Glietze wore a Rolex Oyster around her neck while swimming across the English Channel. The watch emerged unaffected and in perfect working condition. Rolex continued to make waves in the watchmaking industry by patenting the world’s first perpetual self-winding mechanism in 1931. Today, this groundbreaking system is found in each and every modern automatic watch.
In the decades to follow, Rolex continued to break ground with their ingenuity and inventive spirit. In 1945, they debuted the Air-King and the Datejust, the first self-winding wristwatch to display the date on the dial. In 1953, Rolex released the Explorer and the Submariner, the first dive watch waterproof up to 100 meters. A year later, the brand introduced the GMT Master. It was the first aviator's watch to allow pilot’s to tell the time in multiple time zones at once. Finally, in 1956, they unveiled the Day-Date – the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week in a window on the dial.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Rolex has continued to innovate. For instance, in 1963, they introduced another one of their signature collections: the Daytona. The original inspiration for the line was the legendary Sir Malcom Campbell, who set an impressive five land speed records. Over the years, the iconic model has evolved. It’s progressed from early Paul Newman Daytonas of the 1960s and 70s to the latest stainless steel and ceramic version. Four years later, Rolex debuted the Sea-Dweller. The model built upon the iconic Submariner with stronger capabilities, like an increased depth rating. Though the Deepsea replaced it in 2008, used Sea-Dwellers continue to be incredibly popular in the pre-owned market.
Rolex has not slowed down in the past few decades. Just before the turn of the century in 1992, they unveiled the Yacht-Master. They designed this collection to help skippers measure and anticipate the crucial countdown interval leading up to the start of a regatta or sailing race. However, over the years, it has become a favorite among collectors and fans of the brand. In the new millennium, Rolex released the Sky Dweller at Baselworld in 2012. This was the brand’s first entirely new watch showcasing an entirely new complication in twenty years.
Over the years, Rolex has carved its place in sports and pop culture. They’ve done so by cultivating countless high-profile relationships across an array of industries. For decades, Rolex has been present at some of the most significant moments in tennis, golf, motor sport, sailing, and at equestrian races. The brand hasn’t just served as a sponsor for these events. They’ve also served as a strong supporter and partner to these industries. One of their most recent partnerships came in 2018. That year, Rolex expanded their work in the sport of tennis. They landed a partnership with a third Grand Slam tournament: the U.S. Open. In addition to their work in the area of sporting with longstanding partnerships like those with Formula 1 Racing, Rolex has also made an impact in the areas of art and science.
With such a wide variety of distinct watches, Rolex has established a distinct reputation. They're one of the most well-known and sought after watch brands in the world. Today, the Rolex crown serves as an iconic symbol associated with unprecedented quality, innovation, and prestige. Above all, Rolex has engineered some of the highest caliber wristwatches for enthusiasts and collectors to pass down for generations to come.
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