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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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Bamford Watch Department’s Customized Rolex Watches
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Although venerable and steeped in rich tradition, one of Rolex’s main selling points is its inimitability; That is, on the strength of a hundred years of experimentation, innovation, and cultivation, its competitors simply don’t possess the expertise or resources to produce a luxury timepiece to rival Rolex, in quality or craftsmanship. In short, a Rolex watch is a wholly unique creation, and that inherent uniqueness is part of its perfection.

It’s one of the sturdy pillars that the Rolex brand is built upon, which explains why the Swiss watchmaker is occasionally rankled at the opportunistic aftermarket supplier who deems it necessary to modify an original Rolex. That brings us to George Bamford, who by the way, isn’t just any old watch customizer. His company, Bamford Watch Department, based in London, is the leading Rolex customizer in the world. BWD’s company motto is, “if you can imagine it, we can create it,” and it’s one Bamford definitely takes to heart, as evidenced by the unique and daring ways his company will customize a traditional Rolex watch.

Bamford, son of a British construction baron, received a Rolex watch as a gift in his late teens. He was completely smitten with the timepiece, until he arrived at a dinner party to disappointedly discover that many of his associates were sporting the exact same watch. This disappointment fueled his desire to possess a luxury item that was both exclusive and unique, and turned out to be the impetus for the creation of BWD.


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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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Rolex Origins: The Datejust
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The 40th Anniversary of Rolex was marked by the release of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust wristwatch. The Datejust was released in 1945 and today it is known as an iconic yet traditional watch with modern style. This is a rather amazing description considering it has only been slightly revised over the years.

The original Datejust had a bezel size of 36mm and was the first self-winding, waterproof chronometer wristwatch with the magnified date in a small Cyclops window at three o’clock on the dial.  The date would automatically change slowly in the earlier production years but by 1955, the date-change mechanism operated instantaneously at midnight.

The Datejust timepiece features the Oyster case which Rolex produced in 1926. The Oyster was the world’s first waterproof case which protected the high-precision perpetual movement from water damage, dust or pressure.  The Jubilee Bracelet was made especially for the 1945 Datejust timepiece release.  It features a comfortable five-piece link metal bracelet with a concealed crownclasp, which protects from accidental opening.

The Rolex Lady-Datejust, the first female-specific version of the Rolex date chronometer, was introduced in the late 1950s.  It was also an officially certified chronometer, containing a perpetual self-winding movement and was waterproof to a depth of 330 feet.

Although relatively few changes were made to the Rolex Datejust wristwatch throughout the years, the 1970s brought about a few design changes.  The plastic acrylic crystal was replaced by a scratch resistant sapphire crystal.  A new case and dial were added which resulted in the

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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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Record-Breaking Sotheby’s Auction Features Rare Rolex Watches
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November 21 saw Sotheby’s of New York host the estate auction of the late philanthropist and horticulturist Bunny Mellon, whose coveted collection of jewelry and artwork broke several auction records. Among the highly sought-after paintings and fine jewels – including an exquisite 9.7 carat blue diamond that sold for an auction-record $32 million – were a set of 17 rare, Tiffany-branded Rolex watches that collectively fetched over $200K at the estate sale.

Bunny Mellon, a well-known socialite with a reputation for refined tastes and impeccable style, bought the watches as keepsakes for the guests of a dinner party she planned to host in the early 80’s (the party never actually took place). Although it’s exceedingly rare these days, Rolex at one time allowed select partners to feature their insignias on Rolex watch dials as part of a joint branding effort. Eventually, Rolex put a stop to the practice so not to dilute the brand, and the few remaining “Tiffany dial” Rolex’s in circulation became instant collectibles.

The 17-piece collection – each auctioned off in its own separate lot – consisted of five OysterDates, two Datejusts, eight Explorers, a single two-tone Air King, and a lone Oysterquartz Datejust. In addition to the prominently displayed “Tiffany & Co.” insignia on the front dial, each watch features a name engraving of the particular dinner guest it was bought for on back surface.

The Explorers were easily the most sought-after of the set, with one fetching $21k when the hotly contested bidding was over.

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How To Spot a Counterfeit Rolex Watch
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Unsurprisingly, Rolex is one of the most counterfeited luxury watches today due to its status among the worlds elite. Fake Rolexes are fairly easy to spot if you know what to look for.  While we always suggest purchasing from a reputable web or jewelry store,  we’ve provided a few ways to recognize if the Rolex you’re interested in purchasing is counterfeit.

1. If you look at the dial and the second hand has a jerky motion to it instead of a smooth movement, it’s a fake.  Listen to the watch-there should be no ticking.  A true Rolex is silent.

2. Another way to spot a fake Rolex is by the weight of the watch. Fake Rolex watches weigh less, making them feel noticeably lighter on the wrist.  A real Rolex weighs significantly more than a fake because of the quality of metals used.

3. The watch winder on the side of the watch can be another way to spot a fake.  A real Rolex winder has a “crown” look and is truly a piece of art.  The fake Rolex watch winder is nothing more than a grooved knob.

4. Looking at the date on the dial is also important. The Cyclops window of the real Rolex watch magnifies the date 2.5x the norm but a counterfeit watch’s date maintains its original size.

5. The dial should also be examined for perfect lettering using a magnifying glass.  The writing should look perfect on a real Rolex and should also be convex

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Rolex Origins: The Submariner
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The development and subsequent introduction of the Rolex Submariner occurred in 1953. It was designed to be waterproof, mainly for divers, as it works perfectly to a depth of 330 feet or about 100 meters.

As a member of the Rolex board of directors, Rene-Paul Jeanneret discussed his passion for diving. He envisioned a functional sport watch that was also elegant enough for everyday use.  Jeanneret contributed to the design of the case, the dial and the rotating bezel which allowed the diver to read underwater throughout the duration of their dive.

In order to reach this level of underwater functionality, tests were conducted over several months, not only by Rolex, but by The Institute for Deep Sea Research in Cannes, France. The Institute found that no leaks were detected after multiple dives where the Submariner reached a depth of 120 meters — twice the depth allowable for divers wearing compressed air equipment.

Rolex also tested the Submariner in 1953 by mounting the watch to the hull of August Piccards Bathyscaphe deep diving submarine.  The dive went down to 3,131.8 meters and when the Bathyscaphe emerged out of the water, the Rolex Submariner was still working perfectly. In 1960, this test was repeated by Jacques Piccard but this time at a depth of 10,916 meters. Again, the Rolex Submariner emerged working perfectly.

This professional divers’ watch had an automatic movement with a water resistance of 100 meters and became available to the public in 1954 in three different models.  One of the three

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