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Rolex History

Rolex Origins: The Cosmograph Daytona
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Watch enthusiasts far and wide continue to be enamored with the Rolex brand, partly because so many of its timepieces boast an indelible association with some landmark event or special place. The distinction of being part of something historically significant simply adds that “little something extra” to each new Rolex offering, with the famed Cosmograph Daytona being no exception.

Daytona, of course, is the beachfront city in Florida famous for racing. Often called the “world capital of speed,” Daytona Beach has hosted high-speed racing events featuring the sports best drivers for years. Rolex began awarding Cosmograph watches to every Daytona event winner beginning in 1963, which was also the year of the watch’s inception. In the years since, Rolex and Daytona have continued to strengthen their association, with Rolex in 1992 assuming the role of Daytona’s official timepiece while becoming the Sponsor of the 24-hour endurance race the Daytona 24 (now know as the Rolex 24 at Daytona).

And then there’s the watch. The Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona was billed as a next generation chronograph crafted with race car drivers in mind, and it certainly lived up to its billing. Wrought from Rolex’s exclusive high alloy, 904L stainless steel, the Cosmograph Daytona featured an innovative tachymetric scale finely etched onto the circumference of the bezel. This graduated scale allowed race car drivers to quickly calculate their average speed over a particular distance, and soon became indispensable for many.

Years later, Rolex upgraded the Cosmograph with the Calibre 4130, a groundbreaking,

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What You Did Not Know About Rolex’s Watchmaking Process
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It’s well-known throughout the watch industry that Rolex guards its trade secrets about as closely as Fort Knox. And interestingly, the mystique that this tight-lipped approach casts over its brand actually adds to its appeal in the eyes of many consumers. But fortunately for us, the Swiss luxury timepiece giant will occasionally allow a journalist or two limited access for a small glimpse of just what makes Rolex tick (pun intended).

Ariel Adams, a prolific writer who presides over the watch authority website A Blog to Watch, was recently allowed inside four Swiss Rolex manufacturing facilities for a brief tour. He was not allowed to take photos, so he reported some interesting facts and tidbits in his blog, 10 of which we will share here:

10 Things to Know About Rolex

  1. Rolex only uses the most expensive steel because it produces a superior look. The grade of steel Rolex uses for its watches is called 904L steel, and almost no other watchmakers use it. Why? Because it’s difficult to work with and requires special tools and expertise. It also produces a flat-out superior watch with a great tactile feel and weight, which you will notice immediately when handling a Rolex watch.
  2. Rolex created its own science lab. From testing new technologies, experimenting with various metals, to meticulously refining their already precise manufacturing process, Rolex uses a multitude of science labs for its watchmaking process.
  3. Rolex assembles all movements, and tests them by hand. Machines don’t build Rolex watches; human hands

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How the Rolex Oyster Set the Foundation for Future Rolex Watches
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Considered one of Rolex’s “flagship” watch models, the Oyster was released way back in 1926.  As the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster was indeed a standard bearer that laid important structural and design foundations that many later Rolex models would be based on. For instance, most of the Rolex watches made today, nearly 90 years later, use the same case design as the original Oyster. And it’s the charter member of the exclusive Oyster Professional collection of Rolex watches, which came into being in 1953.

So what was the thinking behind the Rolex Oyster? Basically, the Oyster is a timepiece with the hands-on professional in mind. Hence, the layout and design is built around functionality, durability, and utility. From the beginning, the Oyster was meant to be more than a timepiece; it was intended a functional tool. Oysters are equipped with sturdier cases and extra safety features, and they undergo rigorous laboratory testing to ensure that they hold up under the most extreme conditions. This durability makes them perfect for enterprising race car drivers, pilots, divers, climbers, explorers, as well as those involved in scientific and/or industrial work.

Rolex Oyster Professional Category

As mentioned, the Rolex Oyster Professional category was born in 1953. The category comprises several highly utilitarian watch models, with a few prominent examples listed below:

  • The Submariner – Used by divers, the Submariner was the first waterproof timepiece to depths of 100 meters. It also featured a cool rotatable bezel, perfect for divers to track how

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Why Rolex Has Such a Strong Reputation Worldwide
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When a consumer hears the words, “Rolex,” images of quality, refinement, class, and success undoubtedly come to mind. Such is the power of the global brand and luxury watchmaker Rolex. In fact, the value and status that the Rolex name conveys is so pervasive that market research shows that, as a whole, the pre-owned Rolex market generates considerably more revenue than the market for new Rolex watches. People simply want Rolex watches, and they’ll happily and proudly wear a pre-owned one if necessary.

So just how did Rolex become such a behemoth as a luxury watch brand? The Reputation Institute, which does a yearly study on global brands called the RepTrak 100, may be able to shed some light on the issue. The 2014 RepTrak worldwide study, which analyzes data gleaned from consumer surveys, found that Rolex is tied for second (alongside carmaker BMW) among the top 100 most reputable consumer companies in the world, trailing only Google and Walt Disney. Additionally, the Swiss watchmaker ranked No.1 for companies that only produce consumer products.

The Reputation Institute states that what all of the top-ranked companies share is an ironclad trust amongst consumers, as well an uncanny knack for creating themes and narratives around their products that people naturally want to be associated with. What’s doubly impressive about Rolex, compared to the other top brands, is unlike the ubiquitous Google for example, not many people actually own a Rolex nor see one in their day-to-day lives. Still, Rolex has leveraged its

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Rolex Origins: The Rolex President (Day-Date)
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For what seems like forever, Rolex watches have naturally been associated with heads of State, generals, and various other world leaders. Powerful men and stately, high-caliber wristwatches have always made a perfect match, a fact not lost on the iconic Swiss watchmaker. Hence, the modern Rolex with by far the most prestige, and worn by more luminaries than any other watch brand: the Rolex Day-Date.

Released in 1956, the Rolex Day-Date was the first wristwatch to feature the full, spelled-out date along the top of the dial. And in place of the “three” on the dial was an aperture that shows the date as well. The Day-Date earned the moniker “President” due to Rolex in 1980’s briefly referring to the Day-Date as the “Rolex President Day-Date Chronometer” in certain advertisement campaigns. The nickname was likely attributable to Rolex paying homage to the many recent presidents photographed wearing the venerable Day-Date, and when they eventually stopped referring to the watches in that manner, the catchy nickname stuck anyway.

Besides the fuss over what to call it, the Day-Date itself is a brilliant amalgam of style and function. It has a traditional Oyster case, which means its guaranteed waterproof to depths of up to 100 meters. The case is also exclusively crafted in either 950 platinum or 18 ct. gold, which underscores that this Rolex watch is all about stateliness and nobility. Additionally, an 18.ct crown clasp adorns either a soft alligator leather strap or a solid gold bracelet, designed to making putting

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An Overview of Rolex’s Commitment to Motor Sports
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Since its launch in 1905, Rolex has long committed itself to an active lifestyle, whether it’s their manufacturing of collections suited for sports or extreme environments (e.g. diving, race car driving, climbing, caving, aviation) as well as their partnerships and endorsements of sporting events such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway (since 1992) or its recent partnership with Formula 1 motor racing.

In 1926, the Swiss watchmaking company developed and patented the world’s very first waterproof wristwatch, naming it the Rolex Oyster.  This watch became the basis for all future sport collections that have been worn by athletes swimming the English Channel, deep-sea divers, mountain climbers, pilots as well as yachting enthusiasts and race car drivers. The foundation of the Oyster has proven its durability and perfect timekeeping after hours underwater or driving at high speeds, as well as flying at high altitudes. The Oyster has aided various record-setting swimmers, divers, mountain climbers, explorers, pilots and motor racers.

To mark the beginning of Rolex’s place in motor sports, in 1935, Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the land speed world record, driving over the 300 mile per hour barrier, in the Napier-Campbell Blue Bird.  Sir Malcolm was wearing a Rolex Oyster at the time of this record-setting feat.  From there, Rolex’s involvement in motor racing and sports progressed every decade.

By the late ’50s and early ’60s, it was a natural partnership for Rolex to sponsor motor racing events including events at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway. Because of their involvement

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Must-Have Rolex Books That Any Rolex Collector Should Own
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We are often asked by customers to recommend a few books that uncover the history of Rolex, the people behind the company and the stories behind their most legendary watch creations.

Here is a soon-to-be released recommendation:

“Rolex: History, Icons, and Record Breaking Models,” by Mara Cappellitti and Osvaldo Patrizzi.

Cappellitti is a professor and jewelry historian while Patrizzi is a luxury watch expert and collector.  Their book chronicles Rolex’s history beginning with its founder, Hans Wilsdorf, in the early 1900s.  His dream was to design a strong and precise timepiece that could be worn around the wrist for the active emerging lifestyles of that era.  His designs called for the finest materials that would provide durability and style while also exuding timelessness in its design.  Wilsdorf’s goal was to achieve a beautiful piece of wearable jewelry that was anything but fragile.

The Rolex journey is described in this book by essays that chronicle the history of Rolex’s experimental research. This research achieved a dream timepiece that was both functional and precise but artfully beautiful.  Along with essays, the book includes illustrations and period photographs showing micro and macro technical details of the many models created throughout the last century.

The book’s modern photographs have captured many of Rolex’s models on the wrists of celebrities, athletes, political leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs.  The book helps depict how Rolex has achieved a status that other watchmakers aspire to.  The details captured in this highly anticipated book and its photographs beautifully represent

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Rolex: A Smart Watch Investment
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In a world where fad technologies emerge every other day it seems, and “the next big thing” soon becomes yesterday’s news, there’s a quiet confidence from knowing that you can count on the classics to deliver. Whether it’s meticulous craftsmanship, an enduring commitment to excellence, or simply a reputation for valuing quality over quantity, a true classic will stand the test of time. And in the world of luxury timepieces, Rolex stands tallest, and remains the standard-bearer.

So how does a watch brand over a hundred years old continue to flourish in this age of digital-everything? By starting, and then continuing a tradition of refinement and precision that has yet to be bested. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in 1905 in London, England, Rolex today is the world’s largest luxury watch brand, producing over 2K Rolex timepieces daily.

Renowned for its sturdy design principles, chronometric precision, and cutting-edge engineering, Rolex watches have played prominent roles in many history-making moments. The first certified waterproof watch, for instance, was crafted in 1926 and named the Rolex Oyster. A Rolex was also the timepiece of choice in 1935 when a British race car driver was shattering land speed records. In the decades that followed, the Rolex brand remained at the forefront of history, even being worn by the first man to scale Mount Everest.

Rolex watches, noted for being the preferred timepiece in historical achievements, have been conspicuous in contemporary pop culture as well. Whether it’s James Bond sporting a shiny

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The Top 3 Most Iconic Rolex Watches in History
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Rolex is one of the most well-known and timeless global brands to ever exist, and part of the appeal of these timepieces is the fact that they have a rich and iconic history. Rolex watches do something that no other watch can—they tell a story. There are watches that were purchased to mark a major life milestone, those that have been passed down through the generations, or just those specific Rolex models that have played a role in history.

Rolex watches have been worn by Hollywood legends, both on and off screen, sports stars, and even during historical accomplishments, such as during the first climb of Mt. Everest.

We’ve compiled a list of the top three most iconic, and revered Rolex watches:

The Paul Newman Daytona

The Paul Newman Daytona is a chronograph with history. Rolex first introduced the chronograph watch in 1937, and they’re known for their ability to perform a time-measurement function, similar to that of a stopwatch. In 1961, Rolex released a version of this watch that became known as the Daytona, because of its association with racing—the unique ability of the watch to calculate average lap speeds made it a hit among racers.

Actor Paul Newman became an instant fan of the Daytona, particularly as he was known as an avid racer, and was pictured in numerous photographs, magazine covers and even movies wearing the watch. Paul Newman, unlike many other actors, never officially endorsed the Rolex brand, but after wearing them for decades, his name

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Rolex: The Ultimate Symbol of Success?
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A few years ago, millionaire advertising magnate Jacque Seguela was asked about his close friend, French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s choice to wear a Rolex watch, worth more than 10,000 euros. Seguela caused quite a stir when he responded that he absolutely approved of Sarkozy’s watch choice, saying “Everyone has a Rolex. If you don’t have a Rolex by the time you reach 50, then you have clearly failed in your life.”

While Seguela’s comment was considered tone deaf by many, particularly as the residents of France were struggling with soaring unemployment and a worldwide global crisis, many couldn’t help but think there was a ring of truth to what he said.

Sarkozy isn’t the first politician to wear a Rolex timepiece—in fact, many American presidents have also been spotted wearing these elegant, finely-crafted watches, including Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Gerald Ford.

One particular Rolex, the Submariner, has gained such an iconic status throughout the world that it’s been shown in everything from James Bond movies to international advertisements. The Submariner is so immensely popular and recognizable that it’s the most counterfeited watch in the world.

All of this has many of us wondering, was the 60-year-old Seguela right? Is a Rolex is the ultimate sign of success?

Rolex is truly a force to reckoned with. Founded in 1905, the company has a rich history of providing watches that are sophisticated, elegant and functional. It’s one of the few luxury items that combines practicality and stunning beauty and design.

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