Prices based on publicized price the day we created the pictures
ROLEX WATCHES ARE THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE LUXURY WATCHES IN THE WORLD.
THEY ARE ARE WORN BY THE RICH AND FAMOUS.
ROLEX HAS MADE SOME OF THE MOST ICONIC WRISTWATCHES IN THE PAST 7 DECADES.
Year Founded/Place: 1905, London, England.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
Used by celebrities: Yes, a very high percentage of celebrities own at least one Rolex watch.
Founded in 1905 in London, England, by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis, originally named Wilsdorf & Davies. They started as watch assemblers and they did not manufacture components for their watches, they bought the movements from Swiss firm Hermann Aegler and the cases from Dennison and other firms. Originally their watches were sold without a brand to jewelers so the jewelers would brand the dials with their own names, but they had the brand W&D inside the case.
Hans Wilsdorf wanted to create a brand name that would be descriptive of their watches and in 1908 he registered the trademark “ROLEX”. The word Rolex came from the idea of having to wind the watch for it to work and that word sounding like you wound the watch.
By 1915 their company name was changed to Rolex Watch Co Ltd. and by 1919, after World War I, and due to high taxes and high export duties in England on luxury items like gold and silver they moved the company and their operations to Switzerland. In 1920 they changed the company name to Montres Rolex S.A. and later to Rolex S.A.
Once moved to Switzerland Hans Wilsdorf wanted to address a common problem with watches, the entry of dust to the case and the damage of the movement by that dust. He used one of his case manufacturers to create a dustproof case which they called “Oyster” due to the fact that it was hermetically sealed to prevent dust from entering. The cases were so well sealed that they did not allow water to enter them and Wilsdorf used that as a marketing tool, by having at his sales points aquariums where he had Rolex watches submerged in water. The watches became famous as waterproof when a famous woman swimmer crossed the English channel wearing for the 10 hours of the swim a Rolex watch on her neck.
By 1931 Has Wilsdorf patented a self winding-mechanism called a “Perpetual Rotor” based on a mechanism that relies on gravity and moves freely, winding itself with the natural movement. The combination of the “Oyster” case and the “Perpetual Rotor” made the watches known as “Oyster Perpetual”.
For the next decades the popularity of Rolex watches grew, and eventually, they became one of the best-known names in luxury watches.
Rolex designs have not changed in decades and their watches are known to be good investments, many of them accruing value.
Today they have several iconic lines including models like Datejust, DayDate, Cosmograph Daytona, Yacht-Master, GMT-Master, Submariner, Explorer, Sea-Dweller, Sky-Dweller, Pearlmaster, and the more artistically designed pieces called Cellini.
For many decades, Rolex watches have been worn by thousands of celebrities and the rich and famous.
Official Rolex distributors are not allowed to sell Rolex online, because of that, the only way to buy a new Rolex watch from a certified dealer is in person. However, there are a few grey market* dealers offering great deals online, plus there is a list of reputable businesses selling pre-owned watches. We offer a list of reputable companies for you to choose from, all of them have been in business for at least a decade and some for over 120 years.
*Grey market dealers are companies who buy inventories from official distributors (for many reasons like financial distress, old inventory liquidations to make room for new inventories, or going out of business) and they resell that inventory. Since they are not official distributors, the manufacturer will not honor the warranty but most grey market dealers will have excellent in-house warranties and the watches will be new and with case and all paperwork, in most cases saving you significant amounts of money.
Stores offering new & pre-owned ROLEX watches
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