Mention Rolex and the majority of people will instantly recognise them as being a manufacturer of prestige, luxury wristwatches. They are by far the largest luxury watch brand in the world with revenues of around $3bn every single year and sales in every country of the world. This reputation has also seen Rolex watches become some of the single most expensive items of jewellery with used Rolex watches with good heritage and in good condition fetching large sums of money.
Wilsdorf & Davis
Hans Wilsdorf and his brother in law Alfred Davis established Wilsdorf & Davis, which would later become Rolex, in 1905. Initially, the company did not make their own watches as such, but instead imported Herman Aegler’s Swiss movements, placed them in high quality cases, and then sold the watches to jewellers. The jewellers would then place their own brand name on the watch face, although a W&D mark was typically found inside the caseback of the watch.
The trademark Rolex was first registered by Wilsdorf in 1908 and the pair opened an office in Switzerland. The company name Rolex was not registered until 1915. Since this time, the Rolex brand has introduced many different innovations to the luxury watch market and has won plaudits and praise accordingly throughout the years.
The Rolex Datejust was the first watch to include an automatically changing date on the face in 1945 and the Rolex Daydate also introduced a changing day and date on the dial of the watch. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner in 1953 was the first watch that had a case that was waterproof to 100m and the Rolex GMT Master in 1954 was the first to show two time zones at once.
Rolex watches remain as popular as ever and the company continue to create high quality watches that are widely considered to be among the most accurate and the best looking of all luxury watches. New and old models can fetch a large amount of money, but unfortunately this means that there is also a large number of fake Rolex watches doing the rounds so buyers do need to beware that they’re getting the genuine item.