Rolex History


Nothing -and I mean nothing- says “You’ve made it” quite like a Rolex.

Rolex’s official website can be found at Many dealers offer good pricing, you’ll need to check them out and negotiate hard with multiple dealers.
Hey, just because you’ve made it doesn’t mean you should just give it away.

A History of Rolex Watches

Hans Wilsdorf founded the company we now know as Rolex in 1905. Born in Kulmbach, Germany in 1881, the company, Wilsdorf & Davies, was based in London. By 1908 it had become one of the leading watch companies in the UK. It was in this year that he coined the name Rolex.

Official Chronometer Certification was awarded to Rolex in 1910 from the “Bureau Officiel” in Switzerland, the first time this had ever been given to a wristwatch. This was to be the first of many accolades awarded to the watch, including the Class A Precision from the Kew Observatory in 1914.

In 1926 the Rolex Oyster was released. It was the first wristwatch to be considered waterproof, proven a year later when the watch was worn by the swimmer Mercedes Gleitze in his successful bid to cross the English Channel. This was beneficial to Wilsdorf whom had sponsored the event and gained considerable exposure for his new Oyster Watch. Wilsdorf recognised the importance of advertising and marketing his creation in order to gain publicity and prestige.

1931 saw the creation of the Perpetual Rotor, a mechanism now seen as the basis for self-winding movements. In the following years Rolex released the first Oyster Perpetual Ladydate (1954) the GMT Master with dual time zone function (1955) and the first Day-Date (1956).

Andre Heiniger took over the company following the death of Hans Wildorf on 06 July 1960. Rolex continued to invent and innovate in terms of technical skill and style throughout the 2nd half of the century. The Sea-dweller (1967) was certified as reaching depths of up to 1,220 metres making it the choice for Professional Divers - a point that was quickly adopted in advertising the model. The Explorer II (1978) and Cosmograph Daytona (1988) were also released to international waiting lists securing Rolex as one of the worlds most prestigious watch brands.

Rolex Dateline

1905 - Hans Wildorf establishes a London firm specialising in the distribution of watches.
1908 - Wildorf coins a brand name in which to sign his creations: Rolex.
1910 - In Switzerland, Rolex obtains the first official chronometer certification ever awarded to a wristwatch.
1914 - The Kew Observatory in Great Britain awards the Rolex wristwatch a CLASS A precision certificate.
1926 - Rolex develops and patents the first airtight, dustproof and waterproof watch - named the Oyster.
1927 - The Rolex Oyster crosses the English Channel unscathed.
1931 - Birth of the Perpetual Rotor, a self winding mechanism later found in every modern automatic watch.
1945 - The Oyster Datejust is invented. The first watch to display the date automatically.
1953 - Rolex has created the diving watch of reference - the Submariner.
1954 - The Oyster Perpetual Ladydate is introduced.
1955 - The Oyster GMT Master is designed making it possible to read the time in any two time zones.
1956 - The Oyster Day-Date is created.
1960 - The so called Bathyscaphe is created and plunges 35,787 feet into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
1967 - The Oyster Sea-Dweller is invented - waterproof to a depth of 610 m / 2001 ft.
1971 - The Oyster Explorer II is designed.
1978 - The Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller is tested waterproof to a depth of 1220 m / 4003 ft.
1988 - The first Cosmograph Daytona is fitted with a perpetual rotor.
1992 - A new model is added to the Professioanl range - the Yacht-Master.
2004 - Submariner celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Rolex celebrates with a special commemorative model with a green bezel and unique black dial.

Current Rolex Models

The current Rolex collection include Oyster Perpetual Air King, Date, Datejust, Day-Date, Oysterquartz, Submariner, Explorer, Explorer II, Sea-Dweller 4000, GMT Master II, Yacht-Master, Cosmoograph Daytona, Lady Oyster Perpetual, Lady-Date, Lady Datejust and Lady Datejust Pearlmaster.


[A. Lange Sohne History] [Breitling History] [Cartier History] [Omega History] [Rolex History] [Seiko History] [Tag Heuer History]

Copyright © 2005,  All Rights Reserved.