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Rolex Watches

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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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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Why Everyone Wants a Rolex Watch Sooner or Later
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I bet it would be nearly impossible to stop a person on the street, ask them what a “Rolex” is, and they not be able to tell you. Everyone knows what a Rolex is, and those who don’t own one (or several) probably wouldn’t mind having one. The stately crown Rolex uses as its logo and emblem, the associations with the upper crust of sports, business, and society in general, the backstory draped in mystique, the weighty, glimmering steel timepieces with the handsomely appointed dials and bezels – they’re all part of what makes Rolex the super brand it is, and why it has attained such a lofty perch in the minds of consumers.

Why Rolex Watches?

So beyond the obvious, why do people want a Rolex? Let us count a few ways:

  • To celebrate an achievement – Just as race car drivers, golf tournament winners, and other sportsmen enjoy receiving Rolex watches as a reward for their victorious achievements, everyday folks strive to commemorate their crowning triumphs in similar fashion. Maybe it’s a college graduation, that first big raise or promotion, the birth of a child (and eventual heir to that Rolex), or some other personal milestone, the watch brand most closely linked with success is the one people want to associate their meaningful achievements with.
  • To own a watch that holds its value – It’s been said that a well-kept Rolex watch is almost like having currency, so high its resale value. For example, a Rolex watch has

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How to Recognize If A Rolex Watch is Stolen
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Rolex watches are synonymous with wealth and luxury, much like caviar, yachts, and Bentley automobiles. Big-time movie stars, royalty and aristocrats, industry magnates, and global athletes enjoy being associated with Rolex. The attention to detail, expert craftsmanship, and the high-quality materials that goes into Rolex watches also contribute to their value. They have an incredibly high resale value, and are not only status symbols, but real financial investments that bring solid returns.

Consumers understand these things about Rolex watches, which explains why they are so coveted and adored. It also explains why they are so often stolen, since watch thieves also understand the monetary value of a Rolex timepiece. In fact, a search of Google News for “Rolex” will show an alarming trend: the majority of Rolex-related news items involves robberies of some kind.

The facts are clear: There are a considerable number of stolen Rolex watches in circulation. If you believe that you have received, or are in the vicinity of a stolen Rolex, you can take the following steps to determine if the watch is indeed stolen:

Identifying a Stolen Rolex

  1. Rolex maintains a Lost and Stolen Database. If you call them directly and provide the serial number of the watch in question, they can confirm whether the watch has been entered into their database, and reported lost/stolen.
  2. You can also check the serial number through the Rolex Tracker website. The site acts as an online Lost and Stolen Database, and can also be used to verify a

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Frankenwatches and How They Impact the Rolex Brand
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If you need further proof of just how coveted vintage luxury watches (like Rolex) are to collectors and enthusiasts, look no further than the recent record-breaking $13 million sale for a mere fifty vintage pre-owned Rolex watches. Christie’s Auction House hosted and brokered the deal, dubbed Rolex Daytona Lesson One, and the huge sums involved effectively underscores the outsized demand for vintage luxury timepieces in the collector’s market.

It also casts light on why fraud on the vintage luxury market is on the rise, and continues to be a problem. Counterfeiters and unscrupulous dealers will sometimes advertise a vintage Rolex as “100% authentic” but in fact the watch may have had parts like the bezel or dial replaced. Those parts may or may not be actual Rolex replacements, but in the end it doesn’t matter. These doctored watches, called “Frankenwatches” by watch industry insiders, are considered inauthentic and become greatly devalued in the eyes of exacting and discerning collectors.

One such recent, highly publicized case of fraud by way of the Frankenwatch involved pop star Jon Mayer. Mayer, an avid vintage watch enthusiast, was sold several vintage Rolex watches by his L.A based dealer that turned out to be Frankenwatches. How did Mayer find out he had been defrauded? He went to straight to the source, Rolex, who examined the watches and deemed them altered. After being unable to reach a resolution with his formerly trusted dealer, Mayer is now involved in legal litigation to recoup his over $600,000 investment.

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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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How Switzerland Became a Watchmaking Powerhouse
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Patek Philippe vintage luxury watches regularly sell for millions at auctions like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Vacheron Constatin is a major player in the luxury watch market. And of course, there is Rolex, only one of the most recognizable and trusted consumer brands in the entire world. What common trait do all these companies, and many other leading watchmakers, share? They’re all based in Switzerland, a country seemingly endowed with a special knack for churning out the best of the best when it comes to timepieces. So how was it that the Swiss, even in the face of stiff competition from other nations, came to completely dominate the luxury watch market we know today?

The story of how Swiss watchmaking came to be and evolved is a long tale that dates back several centuries. It would be impossible to cover the entire story here, but we’ve outlined a few of the key milestones that occurred along the way:

Early 16th Century: Peter Henlein, a German watchmaker, is noted as the first person to miniaturize clocks small enough to be worn as clothing accessories.

1770: French horologist Jean-Antoine Lépine invented the Lepine caliber, which enabled the introduction of a less bulky, pocket watch that was in high demand at the time.

1880: Frederick Japy ushered in a new era of watch mass production by adapting the Lepine caliber to factory-level production. Key with this development was how it was especially advantageous to industrious Swiss peasants and farmers, who could spend the

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Smart Watches Will Never Be Long-Term Investments Like Luxury Timepieces, Experts Say
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The soon-to-be-released Apple Smart Watch has certainly generated its fair share of buzz, and is expected to be a big hit with consumers. Essentially, the experience of having one is supposed to be like having an iPhone on your wrist, with of course the full complement of cool apps that goes along with that experience. Its modest $350 retail price tag won’t price out many consumers, and it’s anticipated that the Smart Watch will soon be nearly ubiquitous as iPhones are currently.

In short, it promises to be a cool new piece of tech; the “next big thing,” so to speak. But an investment that’ll appreciate over time – like luxury timepieces – it’s clearly not, according to watch experts. They seem to be in consensus, and their admonition is clear: If you want a watch that will gain value over time, stick with established brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, for example. The Smart Watch, like all technology-based fads, is destined, sooner or later, to be replaced by the next “next big thing” and fade into obsolescence, like the 8-tracks and record players before it.

So what is it about brands like Rolex that makes its watches such valuable investments that owning one is like holding a bundle of stocks and bonds? Two things: The power of the brand, and the craftsmanship of the piece, so says watch experts like Ben Clymer of the watch news site, Hodinkee.

First, the brand. Rolex is a power brand, known throughout the

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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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How Did Movie Director James Cameron Garner Such a Rare Honor From Rolex?
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In addition to the more conventional adjectives like stylish and elegant, Rolex as a watch brand can also be described as conservative and exclusive. Conservative as in being reserved and measured in how the brand markets itself, and exclusive insofar as aligning only with brand ambassadors of the highest caliber. In short, Rolex doesn’t associate with just anybody; The Swiss watchmaker has long limited its official representatives to innovators, icons, leaders, and global athletes (golf, tennis, Formula-1, etc.) at the top of their respective fields.

And when Rolex does partner with an endorser, they’re certainly not in the practice of creating special edition watches just for them. So how did Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron recently garner such a rare honor from the luxury timepiece maker, considering he isn’t even an official endorser?

As it turns out, Cameron does indeed have an association with Rolex, albeit not a typical one. In 2012, Cameron enlisted the aid of Rolex and several other companies to help design Deepsea Challenger, a submersible vessel built to dive to the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean. Over the years Cameron, an avid underwater explorer, has completed dozens of deep sea explorations, but this time he also wanted to capture footage for an upcoming film to be titled Deepsea Challenge 3D. And Rolex, with its exacting manufacturing standards, sophisticated in-house science laboratory, and precision fabrication methods, was more than willing to lend its considerable engineering expertise to the task.

In 2012, during the eventual diving

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