Brand in Focus: Rolex
When anyone mentions luxury watches, there’s only one brand that comes to mind: the Rolex. The luxury Swiss watch brand is home to some of the most iconic timepieces, expertly crafted by some of the most dedicated watch designers and engineers. Not surprisingly, Rolex watches are some of the most coveted timepieces in the world, which is why we regularly give them away here at Watchlotto. Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at the brand and what makes their timepieces so special.
History of the Brand
Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf, who founded the company in London, 1905, at the age of just 24. At the time, wristwatches were elegant and stylish, but they weren’t very precise, and thus not very reliable. Determined to prove that such timepieces can be elegant and reliable, Wilsdorf equipped all of his innovative designs with small, precise movements, which soon became a success. In 1910, the Rolex became the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, awarded by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne, Switzerland.
After World War I, Rolex moved to Geneva in 1919 and became registered as Montres Rolex S.A. in 1920. In 1926, Rolex created the first ever waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, known as the Oyster. Named as such because of it’s sealed case, providing optimal protection, the Oyster’s waterproof capabilities were proven a year later when it was worn by a young swimmer named Mercedes Gleitze, who crossed the English channel wearing it. At the end of the ten hour swim, the watch remained in perfect working order.
Fast forward to 1931, the company invented and patented a self winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. This was the world’s first of its kind, and is still at the heart of every modern watch today. The Oyster continued to demonstrate its impeccable performance throughout the world of sports, racing and even aviation over the next few years, being worn by crew members in the first flying expedition over Mount Everest and by Sir Malcolm Campbell when he set his 300mph record in 1935.
In 1945, Datejust was born. This was the first self-winding wristwatch to show the date in the dial window. While initially designed for men, the Datejust was soon available in a number of different models for women too, with the Lady Datejust later being released in 1957.
Throughout the early 50s, the brand continued to create pioneering timepieces that went much further than simply telling the time. Rolex soon became known as the “watch of achievers,” with designs being made for exploring, diving, mountain climbing and aviation. One of the most iconic instances was in 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mount Everest wearing the famous Oyster. To celebrate the world renowned expedition, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer was born soon after, followed by the Submariner, which was the world’s first diver’s watch, with incredible waterproof abilities of up to 330 feet. In 1956, the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss landed. It was rigorously tested by engineers at CERN and was confirmed to be resistant to magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss.
Fast forward to the 1960s, and the Cosmograph Daytona was released, a robust, waterproof design featuring a tachymetric scale on the bezel. This was used for calculating average speed, making it a must-have accessory for racing drivers everywhere. The Daytona was then followed by the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, designed for professional deep sea divers thanks to a helium escape valve to withstand decompression, and waterproof to up to 610 metres.
As the years went on, the brand continued to produce more iconic models, including the Explorer II in 1971, and the Sea Dweller 4000 in 1978. In 1976, the brand launched the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in order to celebrate 50 years of the Oyster. Created to honour courageous individuals who took on extraordinary challenges, the awards were given to projects anywhere in the world.
Fast forward to the present day, and the brand launched their Perpetual Planet initiative in 2019. Over the years, Rolex have been present in research into environmental issues, and the initiative partners with the National Geographic Society, supporting studies into the impact of climate change and the importance of protecting our oceans.
Our Favourite Models
There’s no denying that Rolex have graced us with some incredible timepieces throughout their history, but there are some that stick with us more than others. Let’s take a look at some of the rarer models that deserve a place in the watch hall of fame.
Introduced in 2010, the Rolex Submariner, also known as the “Hulk Submariner” was given its nickname thanks to the rich, green colouring and the redesigned case, which featured thicker lugs and a Maxi dial, giving a chunkier and more robust appearance. It was released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Submariner watch, and was the first time it became available in any other dial colour than the traditional black or blue. Many famous faces have been spotted wearing the Hulk over the years, including Matt LeBlanc, Slash from Guns and Roses, and Robert Downey Jr. If you’re a fan of this Marvel-inspired piece, we currently have a Submariner Date Hulk up for grabs - enter now for just £5.14!
To give it its full name, the Rolex GMT-Master was originally created in 1954 for the pilots of Pan Am, who required a watch with two time zones. The GMT-Master features a bidirectional 24 hour bezel, along with a second-hour hand, displaying another time zone in conjunction. The red and blue bezel has practical uses as well as giving the watch its nickname - the red indicating day and the blue indicating night, allowing the wearer to instantly distinguish the time of day in the second time zone. Of course the red and blue colouring instantly creates reminders of the iconic drinks’ logo, thus giving it the nickname of the “Pepsi.” In 1985, the GMT-Master II was born which featured a red and black bezel, inevitably being given the nickname of the “coke watch.” This limited edition masterpiece is one of our watches that’s currently up for grabs, and you can give yourself a chance to win for just £5.34 per entry!
Another one for the superhero fans - the GMT-Master II 116710 BLNR launched in 2013 and is one of the most highly sought after Rolex watches. The main feature of the watch is the ceramic black and blue bezel, which is what affectionately gave it its nickname of ‘the Batman.’ Its cult following along with it being one of the most coveted Rolex models has meant that it’s one of the models that’s more difficult to come by. So much so that getting one from an authorised Rolex stockist often means a wait of a good few months. However, we’re pleased to tell you that the GMT-Master II, aka the Batman, is currently one of our watches up for grabs, worth over £7500!
Whether you’re a Rolex enthusiast or not familiar with much beyond the brand name, we hope we’ve given you a little more insight into the world of these marvelous timepieces. Remember, at Watchlotto we’re on a mission to help you win your dream watch, and we have a whole array of incredible Rolex models just waiting to be won. Take a look at our full watch selection today and enter to win one of these iconic pieces!
Written by Amy Jackson - Content and Features Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes - 21st August 2020