Nowhere in the world does the iconic five-spiked crown go unrecognized.
Since 1926, when Rolex introduced the world’s first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch—the Oyster—the company has established a reputation for producing flawless timepieces that are known throughout the globe for their beauty, toughness, and reliability.
When Sir Edmund Hillary and his sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb Mount Everest in 1953, they did it wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches. Proof that even the tallest mountain on Earth was no match for decades of superior technology, the timepieces descended the mountain in perfect working order.
And in 1960, when Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh embarked on “the deepest dive in human history,” they were joined by a Rolex Deep Sea Special, which was attached to the hull of their vessel, the Trieste. After diving nearly 36,000 feet, the watch emerged from the water not the slightest worse for wear.
These are just two of the many “firsts” achieved by Rolex, but how exactly did the legendary timepiece get its start?
Sell Your Rolex Today at Southwest Jewelry Buyers
The story of Rolex begins with a man named Hans Wilsdorf and his fascination with chronometry (the science of measuring time).
Born in Germany, Wilsdorf moved to Switzerland at a young age, where he found employment with a small watch manufacturer and developed the skills that would later help him become a legend in the watchmaking industry.
In 1905, Wilsdorf moved to London and set up shop with his partner and brother-in-law, Alfred Davis. Rather than manufacturing their own timepieces, Wilsdorf & Davis, Ltd. imported premium watch parts from Switzerland and put them in custom-made cases. (This would later change.)
The name “Rolex” came about in 1908 when Wilsdorf decided he wanted to give their watch brand a simple moniker that was easy to remember. The name stuck, and in 1915 the company became Rolex Watch Co. Ltd.
Shortly after World War, I came to an end, Rolex moved its headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, and it remains there today.
Throughout its distinguished history, the Rolex watch company has achieved countless milestones in precision watchmaking.
In 1910, the Rolex wristwatch became the first to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision—a distinction no other watch manufacturer at the time could claim.
Four years later, in 1914, a Rolex wristwatch was awarded a class “A” precision certificate by the Kew Observatory in Great Britain. Known today as the King’s Observatory, it once housed the National Physical Laboratory, one of the oldest standardizing laboratories in the world.
In 1931, Rolex produced the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor.
In 1945, the company developed the first self‑winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date in a window on the dial (the Datejust).
In 1956, Rolex was the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week spelled out in full in a window on the dial (the Day-Date).
In 2012, the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea Challenge set the record for the “deepest diving watch in the world.” It is certified waterproof up to 39,370 feet.
And from there, forward progress has only continued, ensuring Rolex a place among the most elite timepiece manufacturers in the world.
Today, Rolex is the world’s largest luxury watch brand, and year after year the company sets the benchmark for high-end timepieces. Crafted to Swiss standards and tested under the most extreme conditions, each watch is a unique work of art, and the Rolex name has become synonymous with style, status, adventure, and forward-thinking.
Not only do the innovators at Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. now design, develop and produce every component of every watch they make, but all of the inner workings of a Rolex timepiece are assembled entirely by hand at the company’s Bienne, Switzerland production facility.
Over the years, Rolex has expanded its selection to include women’s watches, watches for sport and travel, and an elite line of professional watches coveted for their fortitude and reliability. However, the company remains true to its original mission: creating impeccable timepieces that last a lifetime.
Whether making an appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix, diving deep beneath the polar ice caps, or making history on the first-ever transcontinental flights, it’s true what they say: “Every Rolex tells a story.”
Like many other luxury brands over the years, Rolex has had to endure counterfeiters and has taken several important steps to protect buyers from paying for a less valuable knockoff.
Around the year 2000, the company began including a nearly microscopic etching of its signature crown symbol on its watch crystals.
In addition, every genuine Rolex watch is engraved with a unique serial number that corresponds to the year in which it was manufactured. Timepieces made before 2005 will feature the serial number between the lugs next to the 6 o’clock setting. For those made on or after 2005, the serial number appears on the inner bezel.
There are several places online where you can look up your Rolex serial number, but your best bet is to take it to a reputable appraiser like Southwest Jewelry Buyers to ensure your watch is real and to find out how much it is worth.
A timepiece as extraordinary as a Rolex wristwatch deserves an appraiser who understands its unique value.
Southwest Jewelry Buyers has been in business for nearly two decades. We have earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, so you know you are selling your Rolex to a company you can trust. We also won the Spectrum Award for Best Customer Service from City Beat News.
When you come to Southwest Jewelry Buyers to sell your Rolex watch, you can feel confident knowing you are getting the highest level of service from the most knowledgeable, professional team of jewelry appraisal experts in the area.
*Southwest Jewelry Buyers is not affiliated with Rolex S.A., Rolex USA, or any of its subsidiaries.