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A true icon of watchmaking, Rolex's story began when founder Hans Wilsdorf created the first waterproof wristwatch - the Oyster. Since then Rolex have pioneered the way in the world of Swiss luxury wristwatches. With over 500 registered patents, Rolex are one of the few companies to be so consistently identified with the pursuit of excellence and originality. Each and every Rolex watch is assembled with the most accurate precision and crafted using only the finest raw materials. Offering a range of classic and professional watches, from the Datejust all the way through to the Submariner, you will not struggle to find a Rolex to suit any wrist on any occasion.

Can't find a watch to fit your taste? Or as an international customer do you wish to find out non-UK pricing? Then
simply get in touch with us today and a member of The Watch Village team will be on hand to help.

A history of Rolex watches

Rolex is arguably the most famous luxury watch brand. Rolex has become synonymous with luxury, with people all over the world longing to own their very own Rolex watch. This level of status didn’t come easy but was acquired after years of hard-work from a young man named Hans Wilsdorf.

 

Hans had a passion for watchmaking and wanted to make a watch durable enough for the active lifestyles of the 20th century, as at this time the main purpose of wristwatches was as women’s jewelry. So, in 1905 Hans started his watchmaking business in London. He claimed that he got the name “Rolex” from a genie who whispered the word into his ear whilst he was riding on an omnibus one day. He loved the name as it was catchy and easy to remember. That genie needs a massive thanks. In 1910 Rolex made a massive step towards success when they received the first ever Swiss chronometric precision certificate for a wristwatch, and was also awarded a class “A” precision certificate from the Kew observatory in London, an award usually reserved for marine chronometers. In 1920 Hans moved the company to Geneva, Switzerland where it remains to this day.

 

It was in 1925 when one of the most famous logos ever was invented, the Rolex Coronet aka the iconic Rolex crown. This logo has been said to symbolize excellence and prosperity as well as embody the brands slogan “A crown for every achievement”. One of Hans’ main goals when he started Rolex was to create a waterproof wrist watch, and that’s exactly what he did in 1926 when he launched the Oyster – the first ever water-resistant wristwatch. Mercedes Gleitze was the first woman to swim the English channel in 1927 and she did so wearing an Oyster. This was a big deal for Rolex as she became the first testimonee for the brand. On the back of the first water-resistant watch, Rolex created the first self-winding mechanism thus leading to the Oyster perpetual in 1931.

 

Many amazing firsts were achieved with a Rolex on the wrist, such as Sir Malcolm Campbell setting the land speed record and Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reaching the summit of Mount Everest. Rolex also created the first divers watch which was water-resistant to 100 meters named the Submariner which was released in 1953. In 1960 Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard descended 10,916 meters into the Mariana Trench with the Rolex experimental “Deep sea special” watch attached to their vessel. It came back completely unscathed.

 

From here Rolex continued making specialist watches which were loved by experts and quickly became a household name as well as a status symbol.

 

Types of Rolex watches

There are currently 11 Rolex models available, which are the Datejust, the Submariner, the GMT-Master II, the Day-Date, the Cosmograph Daytona, the Oyster Perpetual, the Yacht-Master, the Sea-Dweller, the Explorer, the Lady-Datejust, and the Sky-Dweller. Without a doubt the Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic watches to ever grace the earth which is completely understandable. The Submariner was released in 1953 as a pioneering divers watch which set the bar for the standard of all divers watches to come. Now water-resistant to 300 meters, the Submariner is an essential piece of kit for divers.

 

The Oyster Perpetual is another Rolex staple as it was their first automatic watch releases in 1931. The Oyster Perpetual is said to embody the spirit of Rolex as its designs are contemporary and timeless, symbolizing Rolex’s perpetual legacy. Another much-loved model from Rolex is the Yacht-Master which was released in 1992. This watch affirmed the strong bond Rolex had with the sailing industry and this is captured perfectly in the nautical theming of the watches in this collection.

 

Why buy a Rolex watch

Rolex watches are the embodiment of luxury which is why high status people all over the world aim to have one in their collection such as Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Victoria Beckham. Not only are Rolex’s watches aesthetically opulent but they are also of extremely high quality.

In 2015 all Rolex watches were covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification which was redefined by Rolex. This certification shows that the watch successfully undergone various tests which ensures the watch performs to the highest standards in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self- winding. The Superlative Chronometer status also comes with an international 5 year guarantee.

Rolex also uses the best quality materials for their watches. In 1985 Rolex developed their own type of steel used for the watch cases known as Oystersteel which belongs to the 904L steel family. Steels of this nature are usually only used for advanced-technology fields such as the aerospace and chemical industries. Oystersteel is particularly corrosion-resistant, has a gorgeous sheen and maintains its lustre even in the harshest environments.

 

How to care for a Rolex watch

If the watch has been stationary for a few days it may need to be manually wound. Rolex says “To wind the watch manually, unscrew the winding crown completely, then turn it several times clockwise (turning in the other direction has no effect).

 

A minimum of 25 turns is required for adequate partial winding. Carefully screw the crown back down against the case to ensure waterproofness. The watch will then be wound automatically as long as it is worn on the wrist”.

 

Rolex advises that when your watch has been exposed to chlorinated or salt water it should be gently rinsed with tap water and dried off with a towel. The watches should be cleaned occasionally (especially if worn daily) to avoid skin irritation and oxidation of the steel.

 

To clean, use liquid soap and a toothbrush to get into the crevices and then gently rinse with water and towel dry or wipe over with a microfibre cloth. Leather straps should be cleaned in the same way but do not rinse with any water.

 

Rolex watches should avoid contact with chemicals such as solvents, detergents, perfumes, cosmetic products etc. as it may damage the watch. Rolex also recommend that your watch gets a complete service every 10 years.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Rolex use a different grade of steel to other Swiss manufacturers?

Yes, Rolex use their own steel alloy called Oystersteel which is a 904L steel meaning it is very hardy and resistant to corrosion. Most other Swiss watchmakers use 316L grade stainless steel which is less tolerant to corrosion.

 

Why are pre-owned Rolex's priced higher than ones at RRP?

Some Rolex watches cost more on the pre-owned market because of their availability. Unfortunately you can’t just walk into a Rolex store and buy which ever one you want, you will more than likely have to join a waiting list where you could be waiting years!

 

Of course this then means the model you originally wanted could get discontinued before you have a chance to buy it. People who manage to get their hands on a very sought after model know that there are people out there who are willing to pay above RRP to skip the waiting, thus driving the price up.


Are all Rolex watches automatic?

Yes, all modern Rolex’s are automatic meaning they are self-winding and powered by the movement of the wearer. Some older models may need to be manually wound.


Are Rolex Movements In-House Movements?

Yes, Rolex do all of their manufacturing in-house and produce their own calibres.

 

Are Rolex connected to Tudor?

Yes, Hans Wilsdorf founded both Rolex and Tudor. Tudor was founded 21 years after Rolex as a more affordable sister company. Originally Tudor’s were made using Rolex parts but had much simpler inner workings which is why they were much cheaper. Today Rolex and Tudor share headquarters in Geneva and are both owned by the Hans Wilsdorf foundation but are very much their own independent brands.


Are Rolex Watches Made in Switzerland?

Yes, the Rolex headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland where they manufacture all of their watches and movements. They were founded in London but relocated to Geneva soon after.

 

Are Rolex Watches COSC Certified?

Yes, all Rolex watches are COSC certified. As well as this their watches also receive an additional Superlative Chronometer certification performed by Rolex themselves which ensures that their watches have an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day. Meaning your Rolex watch could lose about an hours worth of time every ten years.


Which Rolex Watches Hold Their Value the Best?

The Submariner, Daytona, and the Day-Date models are known for holding their value well and sometimes resell for more than the RRP. These aren’t the only models which hold their value well though.


Are Rolex watches a good investment?

It’s known that Rolex watches can go up in value due to many reasons such as the Rolex price rises, and the high demand. This means that many pre-owned Rolex watches can sell for big money a few years after purchase however this doesn’t mean they ALWAYS will.

 

Some models have a higher chance of selling for more than their original purchase price which is why it’s important to do your research on this topic before jumping in at the deep end.

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