Rolex isn’t just a brand leader in watches. The Rolex Watch is the best-known watch brand in the world.
There’s a reason for this. Rolex represents the pinnacle of precision timekeeping. It’s the perfect marriage of engineering and aesthetics. As an example of watchmaking genius, the Rolex watch is a portable investment and conveys an immediate sense of prestige on the wearer.
A Brief History of Rolex
Hans Wilsdorf was the founder of Rolex. In 1905, he set up a company in London with his brother-in-law to import Swiss watch mechanisms. These the company would put in British cases to sell to jewellers. The jewellers could then sell the watches under their own branding.
Wilsdorf soon realised that there was the potential to sell timepieces under his own brand name and to focus on wristwatches, which represented a growing market.
He came up with the name Rolex in 1908.
The Rolex brand has always been linked to technical innovation in precision timekeeping:
- In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch to hold the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision
- In 1914, Rolex gained a Class A precision certificate from Kew Observatory. Normally, this would only be awarded to marine chronometers.
- Another innovation was the Oyster case in 1926, as the first fully sealed, waterproof watch case. This gave rise to an innovative feature that remains on many Rolex watches in the present day, the fluted bezel.
- In 1931, Rolex introduced the first automatic winding wristwatch, the Oyster Perpetual.
- After the Second World War, the company continued to produce innovative watch designs, including the Explorer, Submariner, GMT Master and Deep Sea models.
The history of Rolex is a history of technical excellence, innovation and accuracy. As important as these qualities are, the consistency in Rolex watch designs is also a significant factor. Any changes are incremental and relatively conservative.
This has built a technically precise brand with a real sense of heritage. Rolex watches have changed very little since the middle of the 20th century because they haven’t had to.
How Prestigious Are Rolex Watches?
Simplicity is the key to the prestige that Rolex watches command. This simplicity captures mechanical and aesthetic perfection.
This is reflected in the high regard that so many people have for Rolex watches.
The result is the equivalent of a religion. The Rolex brand attracts followers and devotees, not because it’s simply fashionable, but because it represents timeless values of excellent craftsmanship.
Rolex’s nearest competitor is Omega. Both brands have a long history. In fact, Omega’s is longer, dating back to 1848. Both have nautical connections and have been official suppliers to various armed forces. Omega was the first watch on the moon.
But despite this rivalry, it is Rolex that has the most notable reputation as a luxury watch brand.
One of the main reasons for this is the balance Rolex has struck between being recognisable and exclusive. Everyone knows what a Rolex watch is, but it remains a pure, luxury brand.
The values that vintage Rolex watches can command demonstrate this.
How Much is a Vintage Rolex Watch Worth?
In 2017, a Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona owned by Paul Newman reached $17.8 million at auction.
But many different, pre-owned Rolex watch models can command high prices.
Special editions of these sports watches, like Paul Newman’s Daytona, tend to be worth more over time.
Discontinued designs can also command high prices. The continuing high demand for pre-used and vintage Rolex watches is likely to mean that they will continue to increase in value.
Does a Rolex Watch Retain its Value Over Time?
Some Rolex watch designs will be worth more than others, but the Rolex
brand to be the most recognised name in watchmaking history.
This brand recognition ensures that Rolex watches retain their value over time and usually increase it considerably.
Prices range from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
When you buy a Rolex you’re making an investment in something of beauty and distinction that’s also rugged, practical and highly desirable.
Quite how desirable will depend on the specific model, but a Rolex is always a sign of prestige.
Rolex watches for men have various famous wearers:
- Edmund Hillary (who wore one up Everest)
- Winston Churchill
- Martin Luther King, and
- Fidel Castro.
In Ian Fleming’s novels, James Bond wears a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Sean Connery wore one in the first Bond films.
How Do You Authenticate a Rolex Watch?
If you’re investing in a Rolex, you need to keep it in good condition, but how do you know you’re getting what you’re paying for?
You’d expect to pay a premium price for a genuine Rolex that comes with all its original packaging, warranty certificate, hang tags and manuals.
You should check the following details to authenticate a Rolex:
- Serial number – these seven digits appear on the watch case, but should also be on the paperwork that comes with the watch
- Logo – the tiny Rolex logo appears in the six o’clock position on the watch face
- Watch parts – Rolex watch parts are of extremely high quality and shouldn’t appear rough, tarnished or mismatched
- Listen and look – listen to the watch and observe it in operation and look for a smooth effortless movement
How to Buy a Rolex
Buy your vintage or pre-owned Rolex from a trusted dealer. Expect customer service and attention to detail that matches the quality of these unique timepieces.
Please contact us here at Cheshire Chrono Solutions and let us help you find the Rolex of your dreams.