Rolex stands out for its promise of technical watch mastery and, of course, its luxury as a total status symbol. When you own a Rolex, you own a slice of the having made it in life mindset. The brand is identifiable in innumerable cultures across the globe and valued so highly, not just because its easily discernible from all the rest. When one of its watches can function as a bartering tool in even the most remote sandboxes on the planet, then Rolex must be doing something right. Apparently it is, a whole lot of right. As far its concerned, no stone of the companys history has been left unturned, no myth has ever not been disproven, nor any footnote of its history torn out of the companys pages.
Yet, why does it play entirely in a league of its own and isnt just one of the many famous luxury watch manufacturers out there? Well, its probably a conglomeration of different reasons that made Rolex into the powerhouse that it is today. Hans Wilsdorfs certainly has to be given a shout out, who had a natural sense for being business savvy. The crown logo also is a symbol that fittingly represents Rolexs notoriety in the watch branch. It was first shown during a period in which other producers were regularly signature branding watches on their dials. Rolex just stands out and it makes no bones about it either.
Of course, its achieved its share of milestones e.g. the development of the first 360 degree circular winding mechanism rotor that let a wearable watch tick indefinitely (Perpetual) and a case that offered protection as hard as a shellfish (Oyster). Both of these are reflected in the watch models names and make up a considerable part of the brands entire identity. When examining the Daytona, Submariner, Explorer, GMT-Master, and Datejust more closely, Rolexs recipe for success comes more into focus. A vigorous research effort is always undertaken far in advance before it begins any development process. It doesnt just charge blindly ahead into the fray of the watch market, but methodically prods and pokes first before fully committing. Continuity and dependability are the highest premises in its craftsmanship. What a Rolex was half a century ago, is what a Rolex will be for many generations. Thats a commodity thats hard to put a low price tag on.
Its the most famous and legendary diving watch in the world, and, just like Rolex claims, the only divers watch that befits a first-rate business suit. Over the years, its been often copied yet never fully replicated. At first only available with a black dial, there are now different versions of the classic.
Theres been a connection between Rolex and the famous runway in Florida ever since Sir Malcolm Campbell, equipped with a Rolex on his wrist, broke several speed records. When the chronograph collection was incorporated into the program in the 1960s, the success became immediately apparent. Today, the Rolex Daytona is one of the most sought after models from Rolex and next to the Speedmaster from Omega, perhaps the most famous chronograph altogether. If someone wants to call a Daytona their own, then they have to wait a substantial amount of time to acquire one. The famous Paul Newman models are usually sold at auctions for six figure sums.
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The Rolex Sea-Dweller looks strikingly (almost) like a Submariner, but is more a professional diver than a Sub. The case has a water resistance of up to 4,000 feet (1,220 metres). The Deepsea version is even protected up to 4,000 metres. Next to its dial inscription and its water resistance, the Sea-Dweller, unlike the Submariner Date, doesnt have a date loupe.
The Datejust is a classic among the three hand watches. As a gentlemens watch, its available in the sizes 36 and 41 and comes with a corrugated or smooth top ring and pretty much can be ordered in every type of dial colour. Also ladies wear the Datejust, not just in the sizes of 26 and 31 Millimetres either, but in the oversized look of the gentlemens variations. As the first watch with an automatic changing date display, it has firmly secured its place in the history books.
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In terms of its design a spitting image of a Datejust, an additional weekday display at the 12 position was placed alongside the date. Originally only available in either 18 carat yellow gold or platinum, it has always been the flagship in the entire assortment and has established itself as the exemplary watch for all those, who have made it in life. This was true for numerous US Presidents and for this reason (especially the yellow gold version) bears the surname of President Watch.
DISCOVER DAY-DATE WATCHES
Originally developed as a watch for pilots, its also the embodiment of a prototype Rolex sport watch. The GMT-Master profits from its recognition value, especially due to its two coloured bezels. Especially the Pepsi variant in red-blue is a highly hotly sought after piece by collectors. In the inside of the watch ticks the recent Rolex time zone calibre 3185.
Launched first in 1992, its one of the younger member of the Rolex model family. Just like the name suggests, its a maritime timekeeper thats available in the upper price segment. Optically, lighter colours set the overall tone. Next to the steel version, the Yacht-Master also comes in different gold and bicolour cases.
DISCOVER YACHT-MASTER WATCHES
As an anti-magnetic watch, it can withstand magnetic fields up to 1,000 Gauss undamaged. Its most profound attribute is its second indicator. Due to its style and its restrained touches of colour, the Milgauss is the ideal Rolex companion for all those that like something different than all the rest. Its available in high grade steel and is comes with either a white or black dial.
The Explorer II is visually more similar to the Submariner and GMT-Master II models, while the Explorer I, as well as the Datejust or Airking combines minimalistic design with a sporty nuance. The Explorer became the perfect timekeeper for the Souterrain of the earths surface e.g. archeologists or cave explorers, but also has become a highly desirable timepiece thats just right for anyone.
Rolex broken down into numbers
100: One hundred percent of all Rolex watches
In 2000, the Chronograph Daytona incorporated the manufacture calibre of Rolex 4130. Ever since then, Rolex movements are, without exception, produced within its four walls. It is one of the few pure manufacturers in the watch industry and all watches are certified by the COSC.
1: The number one
Rolex is without a shadow of doubt, the most valuable luxury watch brand in the world. Its also coy about its exact sales numbers. According to the COSC certification centre, the brand produces around 1,000,000 watches per year. At the same time, it is the largest gold processing company (circa 13 tons) in Switzerland. As a worldwide export manufacturer, a country code system was even established for it. LC 100 represents that the watch is destined for the German market. At Montredo, most of the watch models we sell come from Italian (LC 170) or Spanish (LC 150) concessionaires.
3135: THE Rolex calibre
The Rolex 3135 is still considered by many the best movement of all time. One of its special attributes is the ruby bearing of the rotor, which functions without movable parts. A few years ago, the movement of the 3135 family was modified by adding Paraflex shock protection as well as a Parachrom hairspring. This made the movement even tougher and less susceptible to magnetic fields. A list of the most important automatic movements from Rolex can be found right here.
When manufacturing stainless steel, Rolex utilises the alloy 904L. This special metal compound has a higher amount of chrome and nickel proportion than the more frequently used alloy, 316L. It also has a high resistance to corrosion. Its no wonder that Rolex watches, even after several years have passed, can still be in an excellent condition. While bracelets in earlier models once consisted of 316L, they are now wholly constructed from 904L.
34: Thirty-four km from Cap Gris-Nez to Dover
In 1926, Rolex presented one of the first water resistant watches of the world. Rolex wouldnt be Rolex, if it wouldnt stage an elaborate marketing coup alongside of it. Rolex was pre-informed about Mercedes Gleitzes attempt to be the first person to swim across the Straits of Gibraltar. Rolex then presented her with an Oyster to wear during her world record attempt and sat back to yield the rewards of all the free media attention. As the watch still ticked the day after her historical achievement, Rolex took out a newspaper front-page headline with the splashy title of The wonder watch that defies the elements. The companys founder, Hans Wilsdorf, always strived to create watches that were well-rounded and that offered protection against dust and wetness.
A Chronology of Rolex
1905: Rolex is founded in London, Great Britain.
1919: The headquarters of the company are relocated to Geneva, Switzerland.
1926: Rolex presents one of the first completely waterproof wristwatches to the world.
1927: Mercedes Gleitze succeeds in swimming across the Straits of Gibraltar while wearing an Oyster. This proves the full water resistance of the Oyster.
1928: The Rolex Prince is launched.
1931: The worldwide first automatic movement with a 360 degree rotor winding mechanism is brought out on the market.
1945: Rolex presents the Datejust and constructs it to be the first watch with an automatic date display.
1953: The Submariner is released and is the first waterproof diving watch that can withstand a depth of up to 200 metres.
1954: Rolex creates its first pilot watch, the GMT Master. In the same year, the Rolex Milgauss is also presented to the public.
1956: Rolex launches its new flagship, the Rolex Day-Date model.
1960: A special Rolex creation survives a depth of 10,916 meters undamaged.
1961: The Daytona is created. Rolex chronographs that were produced before it are often called Pre-Daytonas.
1988: The Calibre 3135 is presented, which even today is still the automatic movement used by Rolex.
1992: The Yacht-Master is launched.
2000: The manufacturer calibre 4130 is created. From this point forward, Rolex doesnt source any more movements from other companies.
2007: After more than two decades, the Rolex Milgauss goes into production once again.
2012: The Rolex Deepsea Challenge succeeds in reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam at a depth of 10,908 meters, while attached to the hull of the Trieste.
2015: The new manufacture calibre 3255 comes out and replaces the 3135 as the general design schematic for the entire sport watch collection.
The Dalai Lama, Che Guevara, Roger Federer, Bono from U2, and Jennifer Aniston are all self-proclaimed Rolex devotees. This demonstrates that the enthusiasm for the brand isnt just coming from one specific group. Rolex might even be the first manufacturer that realised the value of celebrities and how to benefit from them as advertisement emissaries. In the 1960s, for most other brands, product placement was too much of a forward thinking concept. However, the walls of Rolex shops were already lined with the framed photos of famous personalities, including multiple U.S. Presidents e.g. Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, and John F. Kennedy all of whom were wearing Rolexs.
Today, the brand is omnipresent in sports and its famous logo isnt just on the wrists of tennis players, but also emblazed on the court clock on the grass at Wimbledon. At the same time, Rolex is also the watch of Formula 1 and extreme adventurers. For the first expedition to the roof of the world, Mount Everest, it forged a special model which eventually ended up as the Explorer in its very own series. During the Deepsea Challenge, James Camerons expedition traversed to the lowest point in the ocean. For this purpose, it created a particular tool watch that could survive a depth of 11,000 metres. In 1960, it also successfully withstood a quest to the bottom of the worlds oceans in the bathyscaphe Trieste. Business as usual for Rolex.
In the Spotlight – Rolexs Specific Materials
Rolex isnt the brand of grand complications, nor does it want to be. Instead, they focus on the production of preferably durable and sporty watches. Of course, selecting the right case is also a crucial decision. For this purpose, Rolex has its own research department that ensures just the right compilation of materials. The final result that makes its way into series production reads like a material noun. Everrose gold is a type of rose gold that is different than most others because it doesnt fade over time. This type of colour stability is just as true for the white gold variant produced by Rolex, even when the advertisement department disregards utilising its own brand name. There is also an in-house developed material on the top rings.
CERACHROM is an especially scratch resistant and tough ceramic material that is heated through a special process and it achieves significant material results. Its exact composition is, of course, top secret. CERACHROM is used for the top rings of the most recent Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master II models. An individual method for the process of red ceramic material is used and can be found in the famous Pepsi top rings of the GMT-Master II. There is also the legendary 904L high grade steel, considered by some as a further benefit to the total package. Even if its not Rolexs own creation, some people allege that not only does it have a very specific gleam and a greater hardness, but also a higher amount of polish. Laboratory results prove that the 904L has a higher resistance to corrosion in extremely acidic conditions than the 316L.