Rolex: Innovation & Quality

2nd November 2018

Many of us have heard of the Swiss company Rolex and associated them with performance, prestige and reliability.

The company Wilsdorf and Davis was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, who was only 24, and his brother-in-law, Aldred Davis, and in 1908 the name Rolex was introduced.  He chose the name as it was short enough to fit on a dial, easy to say and remember in all languages.  They specialised in high quality precision movements and in 1920 moved from London to Geneva. In the 1920s and 30s they were associated with diamond-set pieces and in 1926 they produced the first waterproof watch.  An English swimmer swam the Channel the following year and the watch worked perfectly after over 10 hours in the water.  In 1926 the Oyster case was introduced and got its name as it was impenetrable like an oyster

Rolex has always led the way in wristwatch innovations and in 1931 they introduced the first self-winding automatic watch and then, in 1945, the first Datejust.  They gave credit to all allied officer prisoners of war in World War II, this allowed them to replace their looted watches and aid escapes.  In 1953 the expedition that conquered Everest were all wearing Rolex watches. 

Today the Rolex brand is still synonymous with innovation and quality.  Rolex watches do appear at auction and it can be a good place to acquire a unique, quality vintage watch.