Rolex is a luxury watch manufacturer that is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1905 by Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex was originally known as Wilsdorf and Davis. However, the name Rolex was trademarked in 1908. The name Rolex is easy to pronounce in all languages, short enough to fit on the face of a watch, and its capital letters were all the same size and could be written symmetrically, which all contributed to their choosing of that name.
Rolex developed and produced the very first waterproof and dustproof wrist watch as a way to solve a technical problem they were having. Dust and moisture were getting underneath the dial and crown of their watches, which damaged their movement. In turn, Rolex developed the “Oyster.” As a way to prove that the Oyster was truly waterproof, something that many people were doubting, Rolex displayed them by fully submerging them in aquariums for people to view. Notably, the first Rolex ambassador was a British swimmer by the name of Mercedes Gleitze, who completed a swim that lasted for over ten hours while wearing the Oyster.
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In addition to this, Rolex also patented a self winding mechanism, which they called a Perpetual motor. Their wrist watch was the first to use a three-hundred and sixty-five degree winding rotor, and it became the basis of all automatic watches in the future.
One of the most expensive wrist watches in the world is a Rolex Daytona, which was sold at a New York auction in 2017 for over seventeen million dollars, a price that very few other timepieces have been able to surpass. This very watch was given to the very well known figure Paul Newman as a gift from his wife. As of 2018, it is the second most expensive watch ever sold at an auction.
One of Rolex’s most iconic wristwatches is the Submariner, which is one of the most classic diving watches. The Submariner is the first watch to ever work deeper than one hundred meters underwater. The modern version of this wrist watch can now reach three hundred meters deep, a truly impressive feat.
Another one of Rolex’s iconic wristwatches is the GMT Master II. While the original version of this piece was one of the most iconic watches to be able to track two time zones instead of one, the GMT Master II can effectively track three. Rolex is also known for the Daytona, which is considered one of the most sought after timepieces in the world. Waiting lists for this wrist watch are off the charts, and they are nearly impossible to acquire.
Notably, the Day Date wrist watch by Rolex has been worn by prominent figures in history. John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson were both known to wear this watch, which makes it a well known and commonly sought after piece. Because of this, the Day Date watch has been nicknamed “President” among individuals in the timepiece community.
One of Rolex’s notable achievements is their wrist watch chronometer certification, which they were the first watchmaker to receive. This happened in 1910, a mere two years after they trademarked their company name. From the beginning, Rolex has been setting precedents for other watchmakers and wrist watches. From their waterproof watch, which was the first of its kind, to their patent of a self winding mechanism that became the basis for all future automatic watches, Rolex has been innovating and creating beautiful timepieces and impressive mechanisms since their founding.