HISTORY OF ROLEX
Most people associate Rolex with a sort of ‘rich-bitch’ lifestyle that is purely about showing off wealth, status and success. While this may be true for some, I wholeheartedly disagree. Let’s start from the beginning…
Contrary to popular belief, Rolex did not start as a Swiss brand. A young man named Hans Wilsdorf was living in London, England and was dismayed to find that there were very few reliable wrist watches. At 24 years old in 1905 he set out to do something that had never been done before – develop and produce a reliable and accurate wristwatch for men. This began the journey that would eventually turn his dream of a reliable watch into one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Still living in London, Wilsdorf began importing Swiss movements and combining them with sturdy reliable cases. This seemed to work as it caught on slowly but he noticed that something was missing – quality and the inability to compete at the “Swiss Level”. Being an enterprising young man, he set off to change that perception and it all started with a name.
There are many stories of how the name Rolex came about but my personal favorite is that he wanted a brand name that 1) could be easily pronounced in any language; and 2) sounded expensive. There is a story about him being on a horse drawn carriage thinking of names but that’s for a later time.
Continuing in his manner of thinking, Wilsdorf knew he needed a change in order to compete with the giants of the day such as Blancpain (est. 1735), Vacheron Constantin (est. 1755), and Patek Philippe (est. 1839). Considering this, he decided to begin manufacturing Rolex watches in Switzerland around 1915.
Wilsdorf’s obsession with perfection is eventually what led Rolex to rapidly become one of the most respected and honored watch brands of the time, even earning the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision (which was the first wristwatch to obtain such a prestigious award).
Some years later, Rolex began to experiment with waterproofing which turned out to be a massive success (thus the extreme demand for the Submariner). Without going much deeper into the history of Rolex, I will mention that, in my opinion, they changed more than just how watches are made – they crusaded and succeeded in creating what I believe to be the first great consumer product.
At the time of this article in 2018 there are more Rolex models and variants than I can count but I will do my best to explain the benefit of each one and why you should invest in one. I will be adding to this list in more detail but I will highlight the models I believe are the best for their purpose and price point.
The Submariner is without a doubt the most recognizable wristwatch in the world. It has stood the test of time since its inception in 1953. The Submariner can be purchased at a reasonable price and is essentially indestructible. If you are a diver, athlete, sports fanatic, construction worker or have a desk job this will always be a perfect watch.
Datejust & Datejust II
The Datejust is an instant classic that is affordable and extremely noticeable. If you work in an office, this is the watch for you.
GMT Master II
Originally designed for pilots and airmen, the GMT Master II boasts a bi-directional rotating bezel featuring two time zones allowing for pilots and frequent travelers to keep track of time in multiple time zones. The GMT holds is value very well and would be a great addition to any collection or for a first great watch.
The Daytona is (in my opinion) the hottest Rolex on the market right now. The chronograph function is flawless and it exudes style and sportyness.