SHOP ROLEX Watches
Rolex began making watches in 1905 and have grown to become one of the best and most sought after watch brands in the world. Famed for models such as the Daytona, GMT Master II, Sea-Dweller and Sky Dweller to name but a few, Rolex watches have become increasingly more popular between watch collectors and enthusiasts a like.
Further Rolex information
According to Guinness World Records, the first gentleman's wrist watch was made in 1868, however, at the turn of the 20th century, with wrist watches mainly favoured by women and marketed as delicate bracelets, a British gentlemen would have been seen mostly with a pocket watch, so when Hans Wilsdorf started making watches in 1905, he made it his aim to increase how popular they were, believing in the potential of the wrist watch.
In 1927 Rolex launched their first ever “Oyster”, a watch that was hermetically sealed to prevent water and dust getting into the watch case, to demonstrate how resilient its new watch was to water ingress, Rolex put their watches on display in shop windows in aquariums filled with water and fish. And in its first publicity stunt of its type, Mercedes Gleitze wore a Rolex Oyster around her neck during her record breaking swim across the English channel.
Since Gleitze became the first ever “Rolex Ambassador” in 1927, Rolex have worked with many leaders in the world of sport and science to both develop and promote their watches. Including Sir Malcolm Campbell who wore a Rolex Oyster in 1935 when he set the final of his nine land speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Also, with the likes of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, Rolex has aligned itself with sportspeople who can claim to be among the greatest that ever played in the fields of tennis and golf. The brand also sponsors contests in golf, motorsports, show jumping, tennis and yachting.
Much like today, Rolex have made watches tailored for specific industries since its first Rolex Explorer ref 1016 in 1959, following Sir Edmund Hillary's Everest climb a few years earlier where he wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Rolex followed this with a number of models made for, and often developed with divers, pilots, race car drivers, and cavers to name just a few. The most notable Rolex tool watch is the Rolex Submariner. The first Rolex Submariner was announced in 1954 at the Basel watch fair (ref 6204), having spent a year in development after a man by the name of René-Paul Jeanneret, who sat on the board of directors at Rolex, came up with the idea to make a divers watch. The sleek yet sporty design, used the Oyster case technology to make an everyday watch that had a rotating bezel allowing divers to keep track of how much time had passed.
The Submariner wasn't the only watch that Rolex made for the diving industry. Developed in the late 1960s the first Rolex Sea-Dweller (ref 1665) was released to the public in 1967. These first models featured all the hallmarks of a Rolex divers watch as found on the Submariner, such as a similar black dial and bezel, with Rolex “Mercedes” hands. It even mentioned its sibling on the dial, with two lines of red writing reading "Sea-Dweller / Submariner 2000", giving It the nickname “double red” before the text changed to white in 1977. The helium escape valve added to the Sea-Dweller models, was developed and tested with help from a US Navy diver by the name of Robert A. Barth. Barth pioneered saturation diving during the US Navy Genesis and SEALAB missions in the late 1960s. Another who would help with the testing of Rolex dive watches was French diving company, Comex. Comex worked with Rolex in the 1960s and 1970s in the supply and development of watches used for off-shore diving. The Comex name is still synonymous with the brand, with Rolex Sea-Dwellers being standard issue for Comex divers to use in their work. Rolex at one point would brand some dials of its divers watches with the Comex logo for Comex employees only. These now vintage watches are now very hard to find and therefore command a very high price when offered for sale by collectors.
Today Rolex watches are considered luxury items to be cared for and kept as investment opportunities as opposed to tools to be used by the professionals in the industry they were made for. Steel professional watches in particular have become a lucrative investment opportunity, with prices skyrocketing in the last few years, partly due to the lack of supply from Rolex, meaning that demand for these models is so high that they sell for well above the recommended retail price. With no signs of slowing down, Rolex watches are seen by many as one of the most luxurious watches to own.