Is there a more luxury wrist adornment than a Rolex?
Founded in 1905 in London, the pioneers of the wristwatch now lovingly craft over 2000 timepieces each day.
At the age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf founded a company in London, distributing timepieces. His dream was a reliable, elegant watch, worn on the wrist, and in 1910, just five years later, a Rolex watch was the first in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision.
What’s in a name?
Who is Mr Rolex? Is there a Mr Rolex? What is Rolex?!
Wilsdorf wanted a memorable name for his watches. Something that was short, looked good on the watch and was easy to say and remember in any language. This genius led him to combine random letters of the alphabet, creating different words. However he struggled to find anything that felt right, until one day, riding on the top deck of a horse-drawn omnibus, he claimed that “a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear”. And so the luxurious brand was born.
Prisoners of War
World War II arrived, and Air Force pilots were purchasing Rolex watches to replace their inferior standard issue watches. However, upon capture, their watches were confiscated. Hans Wilsdorf offered to replace all confiscated timepieces immediately, with payment delayed until after the war, and a Rolex Oyster 3525 supplied by Wilsdorf was instrumental in the Great Escape, ordered specifically by Corporal Nutting for timing the patrols of the prison guards.
Hi-tech world firsts
Boasting the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster, and the world’s first self-winding mechanism using a perpetual rotor, Rolex led the way with designs and technology that are now incorporated into the heart of modern automatic watches.
They have flown over Everest, swum the channel and set a land speed record behind the wheel of the Bluebird in 1935, on the wrist of Sir Malcolm Campbell. Rolex watches became the watches of achievers, with timepieces designed for deep-sea diving, aviation, mountain climbing and scientific exploration.
Rolex also quickly became the luxury watch of choice in Hollywood. Scattered across the silver screen, Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman and Marlon Brando sported Rolex watches, and a Rolex Submariner was put to use as a knuckle duster, punching out henchmen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This model became known as the James Bond Submariner.
Favoured on and off the screen, accessorising with a Rolex is a must for many celebrities. Constantly striving to improve the quality, durability and accuracy of their timepieces, they have developed some of the most exquisite, resilient and revered watches, giving the brand a celebrity status all of its own.
Still producing exquisite timepieces, Rolex’s 2017 collection is as luxury as ever.
Rolex shows no sign of winding down just yet. Providing elegance, sophistication and superb accuracy, the brand delivers everything Hans Wilsdorf dreamt it might… and more.