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.
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Below is an abbreviated list of the most popular Rolex watch models we buy. This is not an all-inclusive list of the Rolex watches we buy, but is instead for our customer's benefit.
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 into England and putting them inside 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 less than a decade old. In 1944, 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 acting on behalf of these stockholders, trying its best to earn them as much money as possible. However, Rolex is not like these businesses. To this day, Rolex is still owned by a private trust and is not publicly traded. Because of this, Rolex does not have to act on behalf of stockholders. Instead, it can focus on making a difference rather than making a buck. In 1944, Hans Wilsdorf suffered through the death of his wife. In her honor, he created the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, where he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that some of the company's income would go to charity. Upon Wilsdorf's death in 1960, ownership of Montres Rolex S.A. was passed to the charitable fund, which 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 goes 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 no 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: the Datejust, Day-Date, Daytona, Deepsea, Explorer, and GMT-Master II. In 1945, the Datejust was released and has since been seen on the wrists of major celebrities in Britain and America. This watch had the ability to be waterproof, featured streamlined elegance, and contained a 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 continues 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 as to why Rolex is at the top of every collector’s list.
David Hamilton is the co-owner of Houston-based Hamilton Shirt Co. Hamilton Shirt Co. is one of the oldest custom shirt purveyors in the United States founded in 1883. At Hamilton Shirt Co., customers are given suggestions based on their style, needs, and appearance, giving the shopper a very personal experience. Crown & Caliber spoke with […]Read more...
If there is a watch that defines Rolex as a brand, it would be the Rolex Daytona, or to call it by its full and proper name, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. In the 1930’s, when Rolex was making itself known for producing versatile and durable sports watches thanks to its “Oyster” case, the […]Read more...