Buying a Rolex requires some research. After all, you will be spending thousands of dollars on one of the most treasured timepieces in the world and there are many models to choose from. There are so many details that will shed more light on why a particular Rolex model is distinctive from the rest. The mechanisms used by Rolex are also state-of-the-art and knowing about them adds to the wonderful experience of choosing your timepiece.
Before we get into the details, ensure that you are always browsing for watches in reputed sites like Frost NYC Jewelry which have large collections and a great support staff.
Rolex is just one of many famous luxury watchmakers that have been in business since the early twentieth century and there are much older ones too. Some of the well-known ones are Cartier, Omega, and Patek Philippe. There is no objective way of choosing the best – they all make the greatest timepieces in the world. In fact, even luxury brands that usually deal with apparel and accessories are pushing out expensive watch lines. There are a lot of beautiful watches out there but if you are looking for a cultural icon, then the Rolex wins that category hands down.
Brief History of Rolex
24-year-old Hans Wilsdorf was a visionary. When he set up his firm in London in 1905, he had a vision that wristwatches were going to be the next big thing – provided the right innovations were made. In 1910, a Rolex wristwatch received the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, an accolade granted by the Bienne’s Official Watch Rating Centre. In 1919, Rolex moved to watch country – Switzerland. The change of base to Geneva would spur some of the greatest innovations in timepiece history.
The Oyster changed the industry forever. No longer was the wristwatch a dainty indulgence. The world’s first waterproof watch made the news when it was worn by Mercedes Gleitze when she swam across the English Channel in 1927. The Perpetual Movement is the other great gift from the house of Rolex. A mechanism that ran from the natural movements of a person’s wrist, the Perpetual was the cutting-edge watch of the day. Rolex popped up in the history book once again in 1933, worn by the first aviators who flew over Mount Everest.
Rolex developed a reputation of being a company that tested its products in the most extreme conditions. In 1935, from motor car racing circuits to explorations across the world, the Oyster found its way into the outfit. It was a staple in the famous speed record-breaking sessions by Sir Malcolm Campbell, including the famous Bluebird drive in September 1935, when he broke the 300 miles per hour barrier at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. In 1945, Rolex introduced Datejust, which showed the date on the dial and also sported the exclusive Jubilee bracelet.
Post-War Innovations – The Age of Professional Watches
By the post-war era, with the economic boom and the major advances in telecommunications and transport, Rolex started having a worldwide presence. The 1950s saw the release of many tool watches or professional models. Flying, diving, mountaineering, and scientific exploration were the disciplines for which Rolex designed timepieces. Oyster Perpetuals were part of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. The Rolex Explorer was created to celebrate this momentous occasion of human exploration history. The Submariner was introduced for divers and then transcontinental flights became a reality, Rolex introduced the GMT-Master, developed with inputs from Pan Am. These were the glamorous days of aviation and the GMT-Master was sported by navigators and aviators of all the top airlines in the world.
The innovations kept on coming. The Day-Date was available only in gold and platinum and showed the day of the week fully spelled out along with the date – a first for wristwatches. The Day-Date is often considered the favorite Rolex for leaders, business tycoons, and diplomats. The Milgauss was a watch that was developed to withstand very strong magnetic fields, confirmed by CERN, the most advanced particle physics laboratory on the planet. The Lady Datejust was released in 1957, yet another milestone of the Rolex story.
Made for the darkest depths of the Mariana Trench, the Rolex Deep Sea Special was another great achievement for the most adventurous watch company in the world. The watch was attached to the Trieste, a bathyscaphe that was submerged in the deepest depression on Earth and it came up unscathed from the high pressure – more than 10,000 meters below sea level. The Cosmograph Daytona was a watch designed to celebrate the endurance required in the 24-hour Daytona race. One of the fascinating features of the Cosmograph Daytona was a bezel tachymetric scale that allowed the calculation of average speed. The Explorer II was introduced in the 1970s and was used for polar expeditions because of Rolex’s famed reputation for hard testing and robust mechanisms. 1985 saw the introduction of 904L, mentioned below. The sailing world rejoiced in 1992 when Rolex introduced the Yachtmaster, made for maritime indulgences and exploration of the rough seas. In 2012, another icon was released – the Sky Dweller.
This is just a scratch on the surface of what Rolex means to so many adventure and scientific disciplines. Here are some big reasons why the Rolex watch you plan to buy is absolutely special.
Rolex is the only watch brand that has an in-house supply system for even the most common parts. They have their own type of steel and in-house gold and metal foundries. Today all horology enthusiasts are aware of the famous 904L – the steel that Rolex watches are made of. The Rolex variant of 18K rose gold is not available anywhere else in the world – you will find it only in a Rolex watch.
Although Rolex uses a lot of precision technology to make their parts, there is still a very prominent human role in the manufacturing process. All the parts are assembled by hand. What we see as a complete product is a complex combination of different mechanisms and machinations – all patent technologies that are put together by hand. It takes on an average, a year, to make one Rolex watch.
Designed for a purpose
Rolex watches have a huge appeal because they have never been built as aesthetic compliments for an outfit. A Rolex is designed with a specific purpose in mind – it can be described more like a beautiful tool than just a fancy accessory. A Rolex watch encapsulates lifestyles that speak of adventure and exploration. You have watches modeled for aviators and dive watches made for the harsh conditions of the sea. The Datejust is one of the most celebrated lines of Rolex watches. The Yachtmaster and Daytona Rolex models are also made for specific purposes. The specific purpose of each Rolex model is made a reality by one of the best precision science labs in the world. A lot of research goes into the different extreme conditions that a Rolex watch may be exposed to, from high altitudes to a pressurized atmosphere. The parts and mechanisms are designed keeping in mind the purpose of the watch – not just the final features.
Rolex Watches are accessory-friendly
We usually associate luxury timepieces as being the finished product not to be tampered with. But Rolexes are made to be very accessory-friendly. Using different straps is the most common way to completely change the way the watch looks. Instead of the chain or leather straps, you can also add a Rolex bracelet or fix a different bezel to your main piece. Always get such changes made in a top watch store that is familiar with accessorizing and offers guarantees on your very expensive investment.
Rolex Watches as an investment
Watches from Rolex have high vintage value. The classic Submariner is expected to appreciate by 5% a year and there are many other models which have a very high value. A Rolex watch is not just a collectible that is appreciated by a niche audience. It is a brand that commands a following across the world. From a diplomat in New York to a club owner in Bangkok, the value of the Rolex watch is appreciated and acknowledged by everyone. Therefore if you are looking for a watch with a strong resale value and a recognizable brand, Rolex has to be your choice.
A Watch that Charts Human Achievement
From the heights of Everest to the darkest trenches of the ocean, Rolex has found its way there. It has accompanied the greatest human journeys of the 20th century and also created an industry niche in a discipline dominated by the best. Buying a Rolex is not just an expensive indulgence, it has a deeper meaning. Resplendent in design and a result of unique manufacturing processes, built from the best materials and boasting the precision only found in scientific instruments, a Rolex is a great gift for yourself or a loved one. It is a gift that lasts generations. Learn more about this most iconic of timepieces and bring one home.