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How Rolex claimed its crown as the king of luxury watches.

Rolex is regarded as the king of luxury watches. Discover the fascinating story behind it's rise and what makes it so special

Mar 10, 2023

When you think of a luxury watch, chances are that you immediately think of a Rolex. With a legacy that dates back to the early 1900s, the company is known for creating timepieces that epitomize luxury and craftsmanship. Over the years, the brand has withstood the test of time and earned a reputation for crafting watches with cutting-edge technology. But do you know the history behind this iconic watchmaker? In this article, we’re telling you all you need to know about the king of luxury watches - Rolex.

A brief rundown of Rolex's history

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf

First established in 1908, Rolex is a luxury watch brand known for its innovative and highly-detailed timepieces. Over its 115 year long legacy, it has developed more than 40 models, from the iconic Oyster to the Daytona.

Rolex's history begins with Hans Wildorf and Alfred Davis in London, England. With humble beginnings as a small operation importing movements from Switzerland and assembling them into watches in England, wristwatches were still a relatively new unpopular accessory, with most people still relying on pocket watches for timekeeping.

However, Wilsdorf had a vision for the future of watches, and believed that wristwatches had the potential to be both more accurate and more convenient than pocket watches. He was convinced that he could revolutionize the watch industry

Working with a team of expert Swiss watchmakers, Rolex unveiled the world's first waterproof watch in 1926: The Oyster. It contained an accurate mechanical movement and could be used for timing sports events as well as daily timekeeping. The Oyster watch became very popular among aviators and professionals because it had a water-resistant body, luminous dials, and a date feature.

From then, Rolex continued to release more advanced models, quickly growing into a household name for luxury watches.

In 1954, Rolex introduced its first GMT watch, called GMT-Master model. This timepiece was developed in collaboration with Pan American Airways to meet the needs of professional pilots traveling across the globe. It could be set to any time zone on Earth using a rotating bezel with 24 positions. In 1959, Rolex released its second model of GMT-Master watch - GMT-Master II. This timepiece featured greater precision than its predecessor and became one of the most popular models among watch enthusiasts worldwide thanks to its innovative features like day and night indicator and GMT hand display.

To this day, the famed crown logo is easily recognizable anywhere and remains the world's largest premium watch brand. So how exactly has it remained so successful?

Innovative and industry leading watchmaking

Innovative watch making is a part of the luxury watch industry that is key to any brand's success. One such innovation, was for the brand's signature Oyster line. It was one of the first models to feature water resistance while also incorporating other innovative features like a tachymeter scale, which provided measurements for speed and distance traveled.

In 1931, Rolex patented the first self-winding movement for watches. This movement used a weight to gently wind the watch as it is being worn on the wrist, and thus the word ‘Perpetual’ was added as the watch could be perpetually wound. 1945 saw the release of the very first Oyster Perpetual, revolutionary for its time as it enabled the watch to be wound automatically with no need for human intervention while being completely waterproof at the same time.

The Oyster Perpetual also incorporated many technological advancements like a 45-minute bezel and tachymeter scale.

Between 1946 and 2005, Rolex released over 2,000 models of wristwatches. These included classics like the Sky-dweller and Yacht-Master as well as more modern models like the Day-Date, the Submariner and the Explorer II.

Association with Exploration and Adventure

Newspaper clipping of the first woman to cross the english channel, promoting the Rolex Oyster.

Rolex began as a watch company initially targeted at pilots and other adventurers. Waldorf was also known for creating wetsuits and other durable protective clothing for those who participated in sea and air exploration. Rolex was often a part of making history in this field. One of the most famous examples, was Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim across the English Channel. The Oyster was worn throughout the 10 hour swim and declared to be in perfect working order by the end. With that in mind, Rolex watches quickly became popular among those who pursued activities such as deep sea diving, mountaineering, and aviation.

Since then, it has remained famous for its durability and accuracy.

In addition to its famous timepieces, Rolex is also popular among celebrities and other high-profile individuals for its celebrated brand reputation and prestige. Many of them choose to wear a Rolex watch because it conveys their sense of style and sophistication.

Highly funded Marketing

First James Bond actor Sean Connery next to a Rolex Submariner which he wore. Rolex has been an industry leader when it comes to luxury watch making. With products that have a cult following in the market, Rolex has been able to capture a significant share of the watchmaking market.

Tackling a wide variety of marketing strategies, Rolex watches have garnered popular support and admiration from celebrities as well as common watch lovers. Over the years, the brand has partnered with a number of celebrities who are known for their professional achievements and style statements.

Some of the popular names include Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, David Beckham, etc. Through product placements in films and TV shows, Rolex has managed to reach out to a wider audience and win their hearts. For example, the James Bond franchise famously featured the Rolex Submariner across multiple films, solidifying its position as a must-have watch for any classy, premium man.

In addition to sponsoring several sporting events, the brand has also created a strong bond with many prominent brands for creating co-branded products.

The Rolex Daytona is easily the most recognizable collaboration. Introduced in 1963, this motorsport and racing-themed watch series was christened to pay tribute to Daytona Beach in Florida, home to the legendary NASCAR Speedway.

Rolex's Place in Popular Culture

Rolex is one of the most iconic luxury watch brands. It has become synonymous with quality and affordability, thanks to its reputation for producing reliable watches that are suitable for day-to-day use. The Rolex Daytona, in particular, has become a symbol of success and prestige, due to its low production and high demand. Many celebrities are seen wearing Rolex watches, and the brand is often featured in movies and television shows. The association with wealth, power, and success in popular culture has made it an essential accessory for many people.

The Future of Rolex

Rolex is a name synonymous with luxury and prestige. With its expertise in watchmaking, it has stayed ahead of the curve for decades now.

The brand is planning to release several new models, including a new-generation Air-King, several new versions of the Day-Date in platinum, and a Datejust with a floral dial motif. This will give consumers more exciting options to choose from. The Cosmograph Daytona has tripled in market value since 2021 and is an excellent investment. The watch’s popularity can be gauged from the fact that it has been worn by legends such as Roger Federer and Michael Schumacher.

Rolex has innovated timepieces for decades and continues to lead the world in terms of watchmaking excellence. It has also developed several valuable patents across various segments, which ensures its position as the watchmaking brand of choice.

Why buy a Rolex?

There are a few reasons why people might want to buy a Rolex watch. For starters, Rolex models often increase in value over time. As time goes on, Rolex watches that were purchased at a lower price may see an increase in value, especially if they're in good condition.

Another reason is that Rolex watches are designed to be durable. Even when the watch is not being worn, it can still remain functional and run smoothly thanks to its automatic movements and precision-made components.

Furthermore, Rolex watches can be costly, but depending on the model, prices vary greatly. For example, a stainless steel Rolex Submariner can cost up to $200,000. However, a less expensive Rolex Daytona can be priced at just $10,000.

Lastly, these watches are considered a status symbol in many circles. Not only are they considered luxury items, but many people also believe that they transmit power and prestige.

Juraganjam and Rolex

Rolex is an epitome of excellence and luxury. It has been able to continue to reinvent itself time and again, maintaining its status as a leader in the industry. The company's rich history, innovative watchmaking, association with exploration and adventure, and marketing make it one of the most recognizable names in the industry and have helped it stay ahead of the pack. There’s no doubt that their place in popular culture is assured.

Here at Juraganjam, we hold many unique Rolex's in pristine condition, ready to be sold. If you would like to buy, sell or even just learn more about the world of luxury watches, get in touch with our team of experts here.


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