Behind every respected luxury watch brand is a history of excellent craftsmanship. The most cherished watch brands are appreciated not only for their design and quality, but also for what they represent. High-tech timepieces have been integral to the history of human exploration, sports, and science, aiding in many of the important discoveries of the last century.
Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex has produced many such influential timepieces, earning its lasting respect from watch enthusiasts and the world’s elite. The powerhouse company is ranked 69th on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Valuable Brands. If you’re interested in luxury watches, then the history of Rolex is a must-read for you. Explore it now to gain a whole new understanding of this premiere brand!
Wilsdorf and Davis
Rolex was conceived when brothers-in-law Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, both Londoners, founded a timepiece distribution company in 1905. Their vocation was in assembling Swiss movements into English watches.
The wristwatches during this time were unreliable and imprecise, so Wilsdorf decided to attempt a better version. He took up horology, the study of watches. By equipping watches with extremely precise movements from Switzerland, Wilsdorf quickly created a very precise wristwatch. In 1910, his watches were the first wristwatches to receive chronometer certification, meaning that they were precise enough for maritime use. This was only the first in a series of major accomplishments in Rolex history.
The Name “Rolex”
In 1908, Wilsdorf and Davis registered their company under the name “Rolex” in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Wilsdorf chose this name for their company because it was easy to pronounce in any language, and because its sound was akin to that of a watch being wound up.
A Legacy Of Firsts and Inventions
The most respected watch manufacturers of history have also been pioneers in the field of timekeeping. Rolex is no different. Behind each Rolex luxury watch is a proud history of firsts and inventions, including:
- 1910: First wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, proving the reliability of Rolex watches.
- 1926: First waterproof and dustproof wristwatch – the Oyster. The truly waterproof nature of the watch was proven in 1927, when English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wore it on a 10-hour swim across the English Channel.
- 1931: Invention of the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism. The Perpetual rotor is a mechanism that makes automatic watches work. The mechanism debuted in the Rolex Bubbleback, the first ever self-winding watch, identifiable by its large caseback.
- 1954: First watch to display two time zones at once – GMT Master.
- 1956: First watch to show the date and fully spelt-out day of the week on the dial – the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date. The first Day-Dates were made of gold and were intended to be worn by people of status. Throughout the history of Rolex, this has been the preferred watch of people of excellence.
- 1985: First watch manufacturer to use aerospace-grade 904L steel in its steel watches. 904L has exceptional polish and anti-corrosive properties.
- 2012: Deepest diving watch in the world – the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea Challenge is proven water resistant up to 12,000 meters or 39,370 feet.
Now, Rolex is one of the largest luxury watch brands in the world. Rolex and its subsidiary, Tudor watches, manufacture over 2,000 watches per day. Rolex is the chosen timepiece of important figures ranging from entertainers (Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran) to athletes (Tiger Woods, Roger Federer) to entire organizations (National Geographic, Formula 1).
Many people know Tudor, but not many know that it is a subsidiary of Rolex. Wilsdorf created Tudor in 1946 to sell watches as reliable as but more affordable than Rolex luxury watches. He chose the name “Tudor” to pay tribute to the English House of Tudor.
Wilsdorf advertised Tudor watches in an innovative way. Early advertisements showed Tudor watches being worn by coal miners and construction workers, showcasing the hardiness and reliability of the watches. Most contemporary consumer watches were advertised as sports watches, but Wilsdorf’s strategy proved very effective.
At first, Wilsdorf relied on Rolex’s reputation to market Tudor watches. Later, the history of Tudor began to diverge from the history of Rolex. Tudor watches do not use Rolex-manufactured movements.
An Adaptive Brand
Rolex Tudor has adapted over time. Since Tudor’s conception, its logo has evolved from the Tudor royal family rose (symbolizing elegance) to a shield (emphasizing strength), reflecting those changes.
The earliest Tudor watches were elegant and graceful, often slim and rectangular, with the Australia-made “Catanach’s” being one of the early models. Now, Tudor offers both classic and sports styles. Contemporary wearers of the brand include Lady Gaga and David Beckham. Tudor diving watches have also been chosen for use by the French Navy and US Navy. Tudor is an important watch company in its own right and an important part of the history of Rolex.
Not Just a Timepiece
Despite all of its achievements in the field of timekeeping, Rolex luxury watches are far more than just timepieces. The reliability and durability of a steel Rolex watch will add confidence to your demeanor and unparalleled class to your dress or suit. You can choose from a variety of well-established styles. There is also a special pleasure in owning an old Rolex watch. Any collector of luxury watches would agree that owning a vintage Rolex watch is like owning a time capsule to another time. Choose the Oyster, the waterproof series that keeps undergoing improvements even almost a century after its conception. Or, choose the Datejust, a simple, rock steady watch that became the first date-displaying automatic watch when it launched in 1945.
Rolex watches, rooted in history, are a superb choice as a gift, investment, or personal timepiece. Their value only rises with time. To make the smartest purchase, buy these watches at a discounted price through Watch Warehouse. Browse our Rolex watches and Tudor watches for a diverse selection of women’s and men’s Rolex watches!