Wednesday, 13 November 2013

History of Rolex... 'Inextricably linked to the visionary spirit of Hans Wilsdorf, its founder'

With a selection of fabulous Rolex watches going under the hammer in this weeks Watches and Coins auction, we thought it would be interesting to delve into the history of these world renowned timepieces.

The history of Rolex stems back to 1905 when the ‘visionary spirit’ of Hans Wilsdorf, its founder, evolved the idea of a watch being worn on the wrist. His vision, originating in London, saw that wristwatches had the potential to have more than just a functionality purpose; they could become both ‘elegant’ and ‘reliable’.

1908 saw the creation of the name and the brand as we know it today, Rolex. ‘Genius in five letters’ is how they described it. Having a name that was easily recognisable and transferable into different cultures and languages but what also looked attractive on the watch.

1910 saw Rolex’s first achievement. Their attention to detail and exceptionally precise timepiece granted them the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision by the Official Watch Rating Centre. Then 1914 saw another achievement for Rolex when they were awarded a class “A” precision certificate and from then on Rolex were indistinguishable with perfectionism.


An example of an Oyster wrist watch in our Watches and Coins auction.

In 1926 and 1927 Rolex formed the waterproof watch and to justify this functionality they ventured on a ‘cross channel challenge’ and after a 10 hour swim the watch was still in pristine condition resulting in their claim shifting to proof.

Continuing with their innovation, 1953 saw the ‘pioneering watches being developed’ which included watches intended for professional services. Watches included ‘The Explorer’ for human adventure, ‘The Submariner’ for deep sea diving, ‘The GMT- Master’ for airline pilots, ‘The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss’ for the scientific community and many more in the years to come. In 1976, to celebrate 50 years of the Oyster, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise were launched to honour individuals who have the bravery and ambition to commence major challenges.

In 1985 Rolex went on to become the watch making brand to pioneer the use of 904L in their steel watches. The 21st century conceived the 4130 movement exclusively by Rolex which contains just 290 components, far less that a standard chronograph therefore enhancing the stylish, timeless and simplistic watches.


Another example of their precision in this 18 carat gold ladies wrist watch.

The most recent thing to happen, in ties with Rolex’s long history of sporting, Rolex entered into partnership with Formula 1 Racing as their Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece.

Their history, timeless attention to detail and chronograph precision has meant that Rolex today remains the watch that people desire to have.

Information sourced from the Rolex website. Read more here Rolex History.

Our Watches and Coins auction tonight at 5pm features the above watches and plenty more 'timeless' pieces that may catch your eye. 

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