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Rolex Datejust Watch

THE DATEJUST

In 1942, with the introduction of the bubbleback powered by a perpetual version of the classic 10 – 1/2”’ Hunter, Rolex made one of the most significant movements of its history. This new model had two additions: a sweep seconds hand and a date disc visible though and aperture in the dial at 3.
The first Datejust was a seminal one, a model and a design that would last for the next 50 years. This model is still the most beautiful of the Datejusts. Even though the registered name was Ritedate, by the time the watch was presented, it was called “Datejust” and the model was “Jubilee”, applied later to the bracelet.
The date function also retained its alternating red and black numbers, presumably to let the wearer know that the date had indeed changed. The only obvious change was when Rolex introduced the Cyclops date magnifier at Basel becoming a signature for the Rolex line.
The stainless and gold Datejust was introduced around 1962 and has proven to be one of the most popular models Rolex has ever produced. The new “two-tone” look not only fit the times, but also enabled Rolex to increase the margins on a very popular watch.
Since the end of the 1980s, all Datejust have been equipped with a “sapphire” crystal. This crystal is sliced out of a lab-grown sapphire with the Cyclops date window cut from a smaller crystal and the applied.

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Filed under: Brands History, Mens, Rolex, Rolex Accuracy, Rolex Chronograph, Rolex Datejust, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex Prince, Rolex Watch, rolex watches, Watch, Watches, Womens

Rolex Chronograph

THE CHRONOGRAPH

In 1930, when sportsmen begun to demand chronographs, Rolex started to fulfill that demand. Seven years later, Rolex catalogue shows for the first time the chronographs wristwatches. Rolex chose 10- ½” to 14” movements in one button models allowing the customers to time a single continuous event. The demand came not only from racing spectators, but also from anyone whose profession required having an accurate measuring of and exact elapsed time.
In the late 30s, the real breakthrough happened as a consequence of the two button configuration making possible for the customers to stop the timing for breaks in the action.
The “Zerograph” is one of the most interesting Rolex Chronographs. It was produced in very limited quantities at the end of the 1930s. It had a 10-1/2”’ Hunter sweep seconds movement, it was the first model to feature the Oyster crown.
Afterwards, the first Oyster Chronograph was the model 4500. Models: 6232 and 3668 followed model 4500 and the proved to be as unpopular as the first one. The reason: the depths of World War II.
After years of making imperceptible and trivial changes, Rolex reached the final watch: The Cosmograph (model 6239), one of the most popular watches ever produced.
In the late 1970s, when Rolex introduced the 6263 Cosmograph, the model was the first to have truly waterproofed pushers. The screw down pushers were added because the customers kept trying to operate the push buttons while the watch was underwater so that let water into the movement. Another advantage of the locking buttons was that it also prevented inadvertent operation pushers.

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Filed under: Brands History, Mens, Rolex Accuracy, Rolex Chronograph, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex Prince, Rolex Watch, rolex watches, Watch, Watches

Rolex Accuracy

ACCORDING TO ACCURACY

Wilsdorf was the visionary man who created an accurate wristwatch that can be compared to the finest contemporary mechanical chronometers around the globe.
In 1905, when Wilsdorf and Alfred James Davis created Wilsdorf & Davis they never imagined how important the company would become. At the very beginning, the company was just two businessmen trying to make a living in a hard environment. When Wilsdorf registered “Rolex” as the trade mark in Switzerland and began to use the name inside the watches on movements and cases, he then started advertising the name in order to make people asking for the watches by their name: Rolex.
In 1914, perfected Rebberg obtained a Kew A certificate for one of their 11”’ movements. The Royal Observatory at Kew (in London) was an outstation of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, where all the initial work on accurate time keeping had been initiated such as: the search for a method of accuracy finding longitude, the institution of an universal time standard, the development of the first marine chronometer and the establishment of a central facility to test timepieces and certify them were all products of Greenwich. Its principal purpose was to teste marine chronometers, whose accuracy was vital to marine navigation until the 1930’s. The Kew tests were designed to time watches for the Royal Navy would offer to purchase it. Beyond that, based on the chronometer tests at Kew major manufacturers could state that their watches were the most accurate in the world becoming another powerful sales promotion device. Wilsdorf put Rolex watches through such test. Rolex was the only watch in the world to hold a Kew A certificate, getting to promote the success.
In order to avoid hurting the watches badly while they were imported to London, Hans Wilsdorf was finally convinced to move the administrative offices of the company from London to Geneva. Later, when it started exporting to United States of America, Wilsdorf made another astute move. While the European market was sinking as a consequence of the war, the American one was rising from the dust. Once again, Rolex was in the right place at the right time.

Filed under: Brands History, Mens, Rolex, Rolex Accuracy, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex Prince, Rolex Watch, rolex watches, Watch, Watches, Womens

Rolex Prince

After Davis sold his shares to Wilsdorf and Aegler they both got to be the directors of Rolex Company. Just over a year later on October 1, 1927, the patent number 120849 was granted for the movement that was to be named Prince. The main advantage of the movement design was that, by placing the winding barrel and the balance at opposite ends of the watch, they could each be much larger than if they were arrayed closely to each other, as would be the case in a normal round watch.
The Rolex Prince watch proved to be one of the most accurate wristwatches made to date. The accuracy comes from the very high quality balance wheel, which most unusually for a wristwatch used solid gold screws to add extra weight and, thus, momentum. The watch also had a very high quality finish to the whole escapement, even the wheels. All of these efforts went to ensuring the accuracy of the Prince.


(Rolex’s latest style, the “Prince,” in 18k rose gold)


Many years went by… many models were designed.

The name Marconi was the fourth brand name that Wilsdorf registered. Rolex was registered in 1908, Omigra later the same year, Elvira the following year, and then Marconi Lever, registered as a name for watches and watch parts.
Marconi was, of course, named after Gugliemo Marconi who successfully sent radio signals over the Atlantic Ocean in 1901. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909 in recognition of this achievement.
By the time the Marconi brand hit the market, it had one small problem: Marconi was a figure whose time had passed.

According to LON, Wilsdorf had gone though a phase of registering company and brand names in 1919 and 1920. On March 17, 1919, to celebrate the end of the “war to end all wars” and the foundation of the League of Nations (the predecessor to the U.N.) in Geneva, he registered the name LON (League of Nations) as a brand name. At the same time, he also registered the names Brex and Unicorn Lever. Unicorn took over from Marconi and a few years later it was joined by Rolco, a simple contraction of “ROLex Company”.

In 1946, the year Rolex celebrated their 40th anniversary or jubilee, it introduced its most expensive watch, the “Datejust”. At the same time Rolex launched its final attempt at penetrating the lower cost watch market: the Tudor which was, at first, symbolized with a stylized rose, representing the Tudor rose. Then it was replaced with a stylized shield.
Rolex Tudor was at first, introduced as a “workingman’s” watch. The people most often seen wearing a Tudor watch are the ones leading an active lifestyle requiring a sturdy watch with good timekeeping abilities. Although the Tudor movements may have fewer jewels than the traditional Rolex, they are just as good time keeping as their more expensive “sister brand” watches and also just as durable.

In 1932, the company introduced a new pocket watch movement, the “Rolex Prince Imperial”. This new movement was redesigned to prove one of the most accurate watches ever made by Rolex.

During the 50’s decade, two of the most esoteric models the company ever produced were introduced. The “Tru-beat” (model 6556) and the “Milgauss” (model 6541). The “True-beat” was a standard chronometer grade non-date Oyster Perpetual, but it had a dead beat sweep seconds hand that would make the second hand stop at each seconds mark before jumping to the next one. According to the “Milgauss”, it was made in response to people working in areas of high electro-magnetic radiation, such as research labs or power stations, in which the effects of radiation would make the watches unreliable because of magnetizing the balance work of a watch.

At the Basel Fairm in 1954, Rolex launched four major models: The Explorer, the Turn-O-Graph, the Submariner and the Lady’s Perpetual Chronometer. The “Turn-O-Graph” (model 6202) was a simpler version of the “Submariner”. The “Turn-O-Graph” watch was Oyster Perpetual Precision grade (non-chronometer) with luminous visibility and black dials, luminous hands and rotating bezel. The “Submariner” featured almost the same characteristics, but it was water resistant to 200 meters. It was called “The diver’s friend”. The “Submariner” together with the “President” proved to be one of the outstanding successes of the 1950’s for the Rolex Company. Two years later, the company introduced the “Date-Date” model, a very important model.

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Filed under: Brands History, Rolex, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex Prince, Rolex Watch, rolex watches

Rolex Perpetual

(Rolex Oyster Perpetual Mid-Size Mid Size Ref. 177200)

The movement that was just as important to Rolex as the Oyster case was the first Perpetual. Rolex had used movements made by Eagler from the very beginning. The first one was de Rebberg which came in a wide variety of sizes and also in versions with a subsidiary seconds hand, with a sweep seconds hands or without any seconds hand. It was a simple, robust and versatile movement that served Rolex well for almost 20 years
Then, Rolex produced the Hunter movement which was the first one that was regularly capable of being timed to chronometer precision. These chronometer movements were often either 17 or 18 jewel models with capped escape jewels.
Even though the Oyster was proving very successful and met or exceeded all of Wilsdorf’s hopes for it, there was one problem: he needed an automatic system. Once again Rolex (or Aegler, who actually patented it) took the read of patient modification of an existing product. The first perpetual models are simple subsidiary seconds 8-3/4”’Hunter movements with the “Auto-Rotor” mechanism bolted straight onto the back. This arrangement had three additional benefits. First, the watch could be wound manually if needed. The facility to wind the automatic watch is now something to be taken for granted, but it is interesting to note that all of the early automatics ere incapable of manual winding. Apart from its use during periods of enforced idleness, the manual facility on the Rolex Perpetual gave confidence to those people who still did not trust the watch yet.
Second, because the rotor swung through a full rotation, there was nothing for it to hit, so the movement received no shocks through the sudden braking of a weight. Besides, the watch was less noisy as Rolex advertised: “Rolex, the silent self winder”.
Finally, the arrangement allowed the watchmaker to remove the whole of the automatic mechanism with only two screws and then be faced with a simple manual movement that he would instantly recognize. This is an important factor in the success of Rolex’s automatic movement.
The exact date of the launch of the Rolex Perpetual would seem to be in late 1933 or early 1934. No earlier Rolex advertisement makes any mention of the watch. The first Perpetuals were produced in a case that was another classic Rolex modification, simply the first model Oyster Royal with a new, deeper back.
What we must not forget is that in introducing the Perpetual in 1934, Rolex chose to do so in the depth of the worst depression the industrial world had seen, and as the world’s economies began to improve the Perpetual was waiting.

Filed under: Brands History, Rolex, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex Watch, rolex watches

Rolex Oyster

(Rolex Oyster Precision Mens DATE Circa 1954 Ref. 6294)

Although it is the generally accepted view that Hans Wilsdorf, the famous Swiss watchmaker, sitting alone in his Geneva workshop and working late into night, came up with the idea of the Oyster case and thereby set Rolex off in a new direction, none of this is true. Wilsdorf was never either Swiss or a watchmaker. The Oyster was the result of at least four attempts by the company to produce a waterproof case prior to the introduction of the Oyster.
Despite his British Nationality and Swiss domicile Hans was very much a German and his greatest strengths were his persistence and his dedication to slow progressive development of his existing product and so after trying hardly, in 1914, Wilsdorf and Davis introduced their first watch with a threaded bezel and back. The introduction of the Borgel cases was known to be the first model produced by Rolex in which the case was specifically designed to give protection against some of the elements. When Rolex wristwatches sales took off in the tropical markets on India and East Asia, in hot and humid conditions there were natural challenges: humidity over mechanisms. Baumgartner came up with the “hermetic” cases solution that Wilsdorf patented in London on May 10, 1923. Wilsdorf was so proud of his watch that even before submitting his patent he applied for three new model names, “Aqua”, “The Submariner” and “Diver”. He also registered a new style of window display involving the suspension of a working watch in an aquarium.
Finally, in October 30, 1925, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Paul Perregaux and Georges Peret, two prototype maker, filed a patent that was later given the number 114, 948 which describes the invention for a moisture proof winding stem and button. The button utilized springs and double helical screws to provide the first real solution to waterproofing a watch steam. The both sold their rights to the patent to Wilsdorf and a year later a British patent was then issued bearing the number 260.554 has always been seen as the Original Oyster Patent.
The name “Oyster” it self was Wilsdorf’s own contribution, saying he was inspired by the diffulty he experienced in opening an oyster while preparing a dinner party. He registered the name in Switzerland on July 29, 1926 and two months later in London.

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Filed under: Brands History, Rolex, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Watch, rolex watches, Watches

THE ROLEX HISTORY

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THE ROLEX HISTORY

(Hans Wilsdorf)

Hans Eberhard Wilhelm Wilsdorf was born in Kulmbach, a tiny village 50 kilometres from Nuremberg in Bavaria in March 22, 1881. He came from a family of ironmongers, a business initially founded by his grandfather Carl Traugger Wilsdorf in 1842. After working in Geneva for Cuno Korten, the watch making company, he moved to London in 1903. Two years later, he was able to start his own watch business. When seeking for a partner, he met through his lawyer Alfred James Davis. The relationship was further strengthened when Davis married Wilsdorf’s younger sister.

The Company called Wilsdorf and Davis was founded and commenced trading in 1905. They traded from offices at 83, Hatton gardens; the heart of London’s jewellery world, but within 18 months they had moved to 44 Holborn Viaduct, less than 500 yards from Hatton gardens and less than a mile from Clerkenwell, then as now the center of the English watchmaking trade.
The business was, at the time, one of importing movements from Jean Aegler’s ebauche factory in the Rebberg, Bienne, and cases and dials from other Swiss suppliers. The watxhes would then be tested for performance by English watchmakers before being cased and shipped to their customers, many of whom were just down the road in Hatton Gardens. The watches were unsigned on the dials, allowing the retailer to place his own name there. On the movement was the simple mark W&D, which also repeated on the inside of the case back, standing, of course, for Wilsdorf and Davis.

Although they started by trading only two watches, the pocket and purse models, Hans saw a small niche in the market and decided to exploit it. He would specialize in wristwatches. “Rolex” word was first registered in Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland on July 2, 1908 and four years later in London on July 6, 1912. The invention of a brand name for the product allowed the partners to differentiate their product from all others. It had to be a word that wouldn’t mean anything in any language (if possible) and easy to pronounce. They came up with ROLEX, it is not known who of them created because there weren’t left any notes or explanation about this. They then began to mark the watches with the new trademark, first on the movement only and then on the inside of the case back.

Between the company’s innovations, we can name the first self-winding watch; the first waterproof watch case; the first wristwatch with a date on the dial; the first watch to show two time zones at once and, most importantly, the first watchmakers to earn the coveted chronometer certification for a wristwatch. According to prestige, Rolex still holds the record for the most certified chronometer movements in the category of wristwatches. Another known fact is that Rolex participated in the development of the original quartz watch movements. Although Rolex produced a few quartz models for its Oyster line, the company’s engineers were involved in design and implementation of the technology during the early 1970’s.

The first self-winding Rolex watch was accessible to public in 1931, powered by an internal mechanism that used the movement of the wearer’s arm. This not only made watch-winding unnecessary but also eliminated the problem of over-winding a watch and harming its mechanism. Rolex was also the first watch company to create a truthfully waterproof watch, another milestone from novelty to functional timepiece. Wilsdorf even went so far as to have a specially made Rolex watch attached to the side of the Trieste bathyscaphe, which went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The watch survived and it was as well tested so that the results obtained would be keeping perfect time during its descent and ascent.

Rolex has also a trascendental reputation in watches suitable for the extremes of deep-sea diving, aviation and mountain climbing. Sport models include the Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller 2000 feet in 1971. This watch features a helium release valve co-invented with Swiss watchmaker Doxa that dispenses helium during decompression. Another similar model is the GMT Master, originally developed as a consequence of a Pan Am Airways request in order to assist pilots in transcontinental flights. The Explorer and Explorer II were developed specifically for explorers who would go through rough environments, such as the world famous Everest Expeditions.

On the most glamorous side, Ian Fleming’s James Bond character wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual in the series of spy novels. In the early EON production of James Bond films, Commander Bond was seen wearing a Rolex Submariner.

Among modern Rolex watches are the Air-King, Datejust, GMT Master/GMT II, Submariner, Sea-Dweller, Daytona Cosmograph, Day-Date, Oyster Perpetual and Yacht-Master. Most Rolex watches have a case design called the Oyster. Dressy designs usually fall under the sister brand called Cellini. The third line in the Rolex Empire is the lesser expensive, but high quality, Tudor brand. The primary types of Rolex bracelets include the Jubilee, Oyster and the President.
Rolex SA, the current company name, is not a public corporation. In fact, it is a foundation initiated and originally established by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred James Davis. According to establishing documentation, the Rolex SA Company can never be sold nor even traded on any stock market.

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Filed under: Brands History, luxury watches, Mens, Rolex, Rolex Accuracy, Rolex Chronograph, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Day Date, Rolex Day Date President, Rolex Explorer, ROLEX HISTORY, Rolex Lady's Watches, Rolex Movements, Rolex Oyster, Rolex Perpetual, Rolex President, Rolex Prince, Rolex Quartz Watches, Rolex Sea Dweller, Rolex SeaDweller, Rolex Submariner, ROLEX THE KEW “A”, Rolex Watch, rolex watches, Watch, Watches, Womens

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