There is an untold story to every invention- a string of experiments with their own share of failures and success finally culminating into something big. The ‘wristory’ of Rolex watches is fascinating because it was founded on a vision that gave birth to an extraordinary revolution. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex first dreamt of a watch wearable on the wrist, and the rest is history.
In 1905, when he was 24, he founded a small company in London that specialized in timepiece distribution. The concept seemed rather ahead of its era but his unwavering vision and ability made it click. He envisioned that a wristwatch could be definitive of classy, elegance and above all--reliability.
How did the brand Rolex originate?
After dabbling around a bit, Wilsdorf aspired for a name that was short, catchy, easy for speakers of any language, and could fit in seamlessly on dials and watches. That led to the genesis of ‘Rolex’- a term pretty much randomly made up at the time.
Rolex initially laid emphasis on the quality of the movements. The ferocious quest for chronometric precision led to its rapid success. In 1910, Rolex pushed out the first wristwatch around the globe to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne.
There came a golden period in 1914 when Kew Observatory in Great Britain granted a Rolex wristwatch a class “A” precision certificate, a distinction that was reserved extensively for marine chronometers in that era. Since that day, the Rolex wristwatches have exemplified precision.
In 1912, Rolex moved to Geneva and went on to become one of the most renowned headquarters across the globe. The brand was internationally exposed and garnered lot of global popularity.
THE FIRST WATERPROOF WATCH, 1926
In 1926, the wonderful creation by Rolex of the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch revolutionized the market. The series was bestowed with a unique name, “Oyster”, and featured a hermetically sealed case which provided the requisite protection for the movement.
CROSS-CHANNEL CHALLENGE, 1927
In order to raise the bar, Rolex went for a waterproofing test. In 1927, a Rolex Oyster crossed the English Channel, worn by the young British swimmer –Mercedes Gleitze. She swam for continuous 10 hours and after end of it the watch was in perfect condition, helping Rolex define new reliability benchmarks.
THE TESTIMONEE CONCEPT, 1927
To celebrate the crossing of the channel, Rolex published a full-page ad on the front page of the Daily Mail which spoke highly of the success of the waterproof watch. This event marked the birth of the Testimonee concept.
PERPETUAL MOVEMENT :
In 1931, Rolex again amazed the world with its jaw dropping invention and introduced the world's first self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor. This ingenious system, a true work of art, is today at the heart of every modern automatic watch.
FLYING OVER EVEREST, 1933 :
The first expedition to fly over Everest was equipped with Rolex Oysters. The event was a great success and crew members owed it big to their set of watches.
In the early 1950s, Rolex specially designed niche watches with a perspective to serve as tools whose functions went far beyond acting as the source of displaying time. These watches were intended for activities such as deep-sea diving, aviation, mountaineering and scientific exploration. The watches generated a lot of passion and became known as the watches of achievers.
1967 saw the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, waterproof to a depth of 610 meters. To be in line with the requirements of professional deep-sea divers, the case was equipped with a helium escape valve so that during long decompression phases in hyperbaric chambers, the helium from the gas mixtures used could be released without risking damage to the watch.
Today, it has a wide range of variety in the market with premium retail stores housing eye catching designs for multipurpose activities. That classifies Rolex watchesstores like Ethos Watch Boutiques as the pioneers in next level technology, masters of the finest details and a symbol of reliability.