Rolex

Rolex SA is a Swiss luxury watchmaker. The company and its subsidiary Montres Tudor SA design, manufacture, distribute and service wristwatches sold under the Rolex and Tudor brands. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England in 1905 as Wilsdorf and Davis, Rolex moved its base of operations to Geneva, Switzerland in 1919.

Forbes ranked Rolex 64th on its 2016 list of the world’s most powerful global brands. Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand, producing about 2,000 watches per day.

Among the company’s innovations are:

The first waterproof wristwatch “Oyster”, 1926
The first wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial
The first wristwatch case waterproof to 100 m (330 ft)
The first wristwatch to show two time zones at once
The first wristwatch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial
The first watchmaker to earn chronometer certification for a wristwatch (1910)

Automatic movements

The first self-winding Rolex wristwatch was offered to the public in 1931 (so-called the “bubbleback” due to the large caseback), preceded to the market by Harwood which patented the design in 1923 and produced the first self-winding watch in 1928, powered by an internal mechanism that used the movement of the wearer’s arm. This not only made watch-winding unnecessary, but kept the power from the mainspring more consistent resulting in more reliable time keeping.

Quartz movements

Rolex participated in the development of the original quartz watch movements. Although Rolex has made very few quartz models for its Oyster line, the company’s engineers were instrumental in design and implementation of the technology during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, Rolex collaborated with a consortium of 16 Swiss watch manufacturers to develop the Beta 21 quartz movement used in their Rolex Quartz Date 5100. alongside other manufactures including the Omega Electro quartz watches. Within about five years of research, design, and development, Rolex created the “clean-slate” 5035/5055 movement that would eventually power the Rolex Oyster quartz.

Water-resistant cases

Rolex was also the first watch company to create a water resistant wristwatch that could withstand pressure to a depth of 330 feet (100 m). Wilsdorf even had a specially made Rolex watch (the watch was called the “DeepSea”) attached to the side of Trieste, which went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The watch survived and tested as having kept perfect time during its descent and ascent. This was confirmed by a telegram sent to Rolex the following day saying “Am happy to confirm that even at 11,000 meters your watch is as precise as on the surface. Best regards, Jacques Piccard”.

Rolex GMT Master II gold and stainless steel Collections

Rolex produced specific models suitable for the extremes of deep-sea diving, caving, mountain climbing, polar exploration, and aviation. Early sports models included the Rolex Submariner (1953) and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea Dweller. The latter watch has a helium release valve, co-invented with Swiss watchmaker Doxa, to release helium gas build-up during decompression. The Explorer (1953) and Explorer II (1971) were developed specifically for explorers who would navigate rough terrain, such as the world-famous Mount Everest expeditions. Another iconic model is the Rolex GMT Master (1954), originally developed at the request of Pan Am Airways to provide its crews with a dual time watch that could be used to display GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), which was the international time standard for aviation at that time and was needed for Astronavigation during longer flights.

Certified chronometers

Rolex is the largest manufacturer of Swiss made certified chronometers. In 2005, more than half the annual production of COSC certified watches were Rolexes.[17] To date, Rolex still holds the record for the most certified chronometer movements in the category of wristwatches.

Ceramic bezels

Rolex first used its “Cerachrom” ceramic bezel on the GMT-Master II in 2005, and has since then implemented ceramic bezel inserts across the range of professional sports watches. They are available on the Submariner, Sea Dweller-Deepsea, GMT Master II and Daytona models. In contrast to the aluminum bezel which it replaced, the ceramic bezel color does not wear out from exposure UV-light and is very scratch resistant.

Notable models include:

Air-King
Datejust (Datejust 36/41, Datejust II, and Lady Datejust 28)
Daytona
Day-Date (Day-Date 36/40)
Explorer (Explorer and Explorer II)
GMT Master (GMT Master and GMT Master II)
Milgauss
Oyster Perpetual (Oyster Perpetual 26/31/34/36/39 and Date 34)
Oysterquartz
Sea Dweller (Sea-Dweller 4000 and Deepsea)
Submariner (Submariner and Submariner Date)
Yacht-Master (Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II)

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