History - A History of Groundbreaking Innovation
The company, which would come to be known as Rolex SA, was founded by Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law, Hans Wilsdorf. Their first office was first opened in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1908, eventually moving to Geneva in 1915.
In 1926, Rolex became the first company to conceive of and develop a waterproof watch with a hermetically sealed case, which was given the name “Oyster”. Because the innovation was met with a great deal of disbelief and skepticism, Rolex started displaying the watches in filled aquariums to prove their claim.
Pushing the envelope of innovation, Rolex developed and patented the first self-winding mechanism in 1931. Dubbed the Perpetual Rotor, it revolved 360° with movement on the wrist. This invention spearheaded what would become the industry standard in automatic movements and is used by all manufacturers of automatic watches today.
The Oyster and the Perpetual Rotor were groundbreaking innovations. The concepts are still in use today across all fields of watch manufacturing. Aptly named the “Oyster Perpetual”, the model has stood the test of time, and is still being sold nearly a century later.
Workmanship & Materials - Forging Ahead of the Curve
Rolex is one of the few privately owned companies that allows all aspects of manufacturing, quality control, and decision-making to remain in-house. Not beholden to the demands of a parent company or shareholders, Rolex is dutifully devoted to developing and manufacturing arguably the finest timepieces in the world.
Each component manufactured by Rolex is meticulously crafted to one of the strictest standards in the industry, and all are exhaustively tested prior to assembly.
Having innovated groundbreaking technology in the horological field, Rolex strives to maintain the highest standards in workmanship in each one of its precision timepieces. Rolex ensures the utmost quality by keeping all aspects of manufacturing in-house and is only one of two watch manufacturers in the world that produces all of its own components.
Gold Rolex watches are renowned for their quality and luster. This is achieved by Rolex with their maintenance of full control of the manufacturing process. To maintain the quality worthy of its namesake, Rolex forges all 18K gold in a private foundry for all gold Rolex watches and all gold watch components. Using a carefully guarded formula, Rolex prides itself on the quality and lustrous sheen of its 18 carat gold timepieces.
In 1985, Rolex began manufacturing its own version of SAE 904L stainless steel for all steel watches and bracelets, which they named “Oystersteel”. Initially produced for and widely used in major industrial applications, this “super-alloy” has superior resistance to stress and corrosion. Oystersteel is much stronger than the 316L stainless steel used by all other watch manufacturers, and it maintains a higher grade of polish for a longer period of time. Although more difficult to manufacture and mold than the stainless steel used by other manufacturers, 904-L stainless steel is far superior to the 316L stainless steel that is used in the watch industry on a multitude of levels.
Movement - Not Just a Movement - A Revoution
The movement (mechanism) of a timepiece is a carefully choreographed symphony of a variety of components, which must all work together in harmony in order to deliver an impeccable performance. Much like an orchestra, if one instrument is out of tune, the performance is degraded.
Further information on Rolex automatic movements:
Rolex Automatic Movements
Rolex manufactures movements in-house and uses a multitude of technologies and the finest materials to provide exceptional precision and reliability.
All Rolex movements are COSC Certified, meaning they withstand and pass the rigorous testing of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the highest standard in the industry.
Further information on accuracy of Rolex movements:
Rolex Movement Accuracy
All components of the movement are meticulously designed, Microstella nuts on a large balance wheel allow high-precision regulated timing, a hairspring with a Rolex overcoil to ensure proper timing in all positions, a rigid traversing balance bridge to mitigate the effects of shock, and high-quality lubricants (manufactured by Rolex) to optimize all aspects of function. This carefully calibrated dance of the finest components ensures optimal performance for extended periods of time.
Further information on Rolex terminology:
Education - A Timeless Journey of Learning
Rolex is celebrated as one of the finest manufacturers of watches in the world. There are numerous categories of watches in a wide variety of sizes and styles to meet and exceed the standards of the most scrupulous clients.
Rolex “Sport” watches are the perfect versatile accessory, equally useful for a man on the move, the director in a boardroom, or at a leisurely poolside lounge. These timepieces include the: Rolex Submariner, Rolex GMT-Master II, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Rolex Yachtmaster, and Rolex Sea-Dweller. Available in materials ranging from 904L stainless steel, 18 carat gold, solid platinum, or a combination thereof; there is a watch for every preference.
For a more refined and formal look, Rolex manufactures models such as the: Oyster Perpetual, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Milgauss, Rolex Sky-Dweller, Rolex Day-Date, Rolex Lady-Datejust, and Rolex Cellini.
Rolex offers women’s watches in a wide range of sizes and materials to suit every occasion and and cater to her unique style. The Lady Datejust is among the most popular, with sizes available in 26mm, 28mm, and 31mm in a wide range of materials, styles, and colors. The Rolex Ladies Yachmaster provides a sporty look for the sophisticated adventurer and is available in 29mm and 35mm.
For a more elegant look, the Rolex Pearlmaster is manufactured from precious metals and set with the finest diamonds to exude luxury and inspire awe.
To ensure quality and integrity, all Rolex watches have a unique serial number engraved on the case, as well as on the movement of the watch.
Further information on Rolex serial numbers:
Rolex Serial Numbers