A popular brand since its inception in 1905, Rolex has become a staple in the world of luxury timepieces – utilising the finest and highest quality materials, put together with innovative designs and an eye for the harmony which can exist between functionality and style.
But despite being known around the world today as a crafter of fine watches and timepieces, the founder of Rolex did not enter the industry as a watchmaker – nor did he have direct links to Swiss watch manufacturers known at the time. In fact, the founder Hans Wilsdorf started by exporting watches across the British Empire before recognising a gap in the market for stylish wrist watches which offered a more precise time.
The rest, as they say, is history. But where did it all begin and how has Rolex grown into the brand it is today?
Who is Rolex?
Rolex is recognised as the world’s largest and most iconic luxury watch brand – with innovative designs which tap into different activities, lifestyles and sports which combine the intricacies of horology with the refined look of an elegant accessory.
Today, Rolex is recognised as a brand which is loved and preferred by the rich, the famous, and the everyday man or woman – with all manner of designs to suit all wearers, from James Bond to celebrities in everyday life.
Where did Rolex begin?
Rolex began in 1905, though the brand name was not finalised until 1908 when it was registered by founders Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis. Originally the company specialised in exporting both wrist and pocket watches, however, Wilsdorf in particular was passionate about the potential he saw in the concept and style of the wrist watch – and so the company changed tack and started focussing on bringing to life stylish and functional wrist watches.
Interestingly, the name Rolex came because the two decided they needed a short, catchy, and memorable name for their brand. Wilsdorf himself claims that “a genie whispered Rolex in my ear”.
Who is Hans Wilsdorf?
Hans Wilsdorf is renowned as the founder of Rolex and was the brand’s first and most inspirational visionary. He carved out and identified the gap in the existing market and decided that the brand should focus on wearable timepieces – achieving a noteworthy grant in 1910 which stated that a Rolex watch had received the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. No other wristwatch had ever achieved this accolade at the time – making history.
How has Rolex changed over the years?
Rolex has always been a brand concerned with quality, however, over the years they have continued to develop and find new ways of establishing even better timekeeping, accuracy, and longevity. From changing the materials used to heighten durability, to releasing new collections which tap into different lifestyle needs and activities, Rolex has devoted its time to ensure the highest quality in every piece.
And that’s not all. As the years have passed, Rolex has become increasingly focussed on different areas of the market – targeting men and women, professionals, sports goers, adventurers, celebrities, everyday buyers and even expanding into the smartwatch market.
What are Rolex’s most famous watches?
With every great brand there comes a series of famous collections and pieces which have withstood the test of time and remained in the spotlight.
For Rolex, these include:
- The Rolex Submariner (explored in greater detail below)
- The Rolex Yacht-Master
- The Rolex Datejust
- The Rolex Day Date
Movies that showcase Rolex watches
Earlier in this piece, we mentioned that James Bond is known for wearing a Rolex, with the most recent actor, Daniel Craig, favouring one of the iconic watches to add to his character’s suave and action-packed lifestyle.
Some other movies which have featured Rolex watches include American Psycho starring Christian Bale, the Wolf of Wall Street, and Glengarry Glen Ross.
The history behind Rolex’s popular Submariner model
The Rolex Submariner is the brand’s most popular piece – and for good reason. Designed to facilitate deep sea diving, the complex inner workings of the Submariner model mean that the most up-to-date models can be accurately used up to depths of 1,000 feet underwater – with the device still presenting the kind of stylish aesthetic that attracts investors, celebrities, and Rolex fans from all walks of life.
The Submariner model was first launched in 1953 and was accurate to a depth of 100 feet.
What makes Rolex so unique in the designer watch market?
The most innovative thing about Rolex is the way it supports and facilitates high-intensity and extreme activity and environments, without ever detracting from the stylish aesthetic of every design. In addition, Rolex is known for manufacturing the best waterproof glass cases, for using the finest quality materials, and for meeting the standards set by the Swiss Chronometer certificate across every model and collection.
Which celebrities wear Rolex watches?
The celebrity following around the Rolex brand is huge, with every piece a symbol of status, wealth, power, and infinite style. Some of the biggest celebrity fans of Rolex notably collect the watches and own their own collections of pieces – with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Will Smith all big fans of the brand.
Other celebrity Rolex owners include Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jason Statham.
Are Rolex watches a good investment?
The big question for buyers and those who visit Love Luxury focuses on the value and investment potential of any accessory, item, or brand. Luckily for Rolex buyers, not only do Rolex watches and timepieces hold their value and quality extremely well thanks to the craftsmanship and material quality, but the huge gap between supply and demand means that Rolex watches are always on the right side of being coveted and in high demand across the world.
As is so often the case, when a Rolex watch is formally authenticated and valued by an expert team, the pool of buyers expands accordingly – with any Rolex presenting a high investment value for long-term ownership or resale.