There can be no watchmaker less in need of an introduction than Rolex. Founded in 1905, in London, by a 24-year-old Hans Wilsdorf and brother-in-law Alfred Davis, the company was first known as Wilsdorf and Davis. They originally imported movements, housed them in British cases, and sold them to jewelers. Through this, the pair saw the potential for developing their own brand and in 1908 this was realized when Wilsdorf secured the name Rolex.

Rolex…..simply the best

Although we obviously can’t share the whole Rolex story with you here, we thought it might be a bit of fun to share a few interesting facts about the world’s most iconic watch brand:

One year equals one Rolex

This is what Rolex tells us in an advert, but it’s only partly true though – it does indeed take around one year to manufacture all the various components that go into a single watch but just four hours to put them all together for the finished product.

The genius of five letters

Although we don’t know for sure, it’s believed that Wilsdorf spent a huge amount of time combining different letters of the alphabet in an effort to come up with a short, sharp name that was easy to spell, could be pronounced in any language and looked good on a watch face. As the story goes, one morning while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn bus in London a genie whispered “Rolex” in Wilsdorf’s ear and the name was born.

Rolex time

Rolex watches are always photographed displaying the same time – ten minutes past ten with the second hand at 31 seconds. This is known as the official ”Rolex time”. If the watch has a date function it’s set to the 28th, and if it has a day function, it’s set to Monday.

The reasons for this are quite simple. Firstly, it becomes a trademark and iconic trait of Rolex’s watches, but more importantly, it frames the logo perfectly and it’s aesthetically pleasing, as it gives the impression that the watch is “smiling” at you.

Record breaker

In October 2017, the original Rolex Daytona worn by Hollywood icon and budding motor racer Paul Newman was auctioned off in New York.  After just twelve minutes of bidding the hammer dropped and it was sold for a staggering $17.7m to an anonymous buyer, over the phone. At the time it was the highest price ever paid for a watch at auction.  The watch was given to Newman by his wife Joanne. She had the words “drive carefully, me” engraved on the back… doubt to remind him to take it easy when racing.

Up to the top and down to the bottom

In 1953, Rolex supplied the team led by Sir Edmund Hillary that was first to conquer the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, at 8,846 metres. Seven years later, in 1960, a Rolex was strapped to a submarine that descended 10,916 metres, into the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean where it was subjected to a pressure of 14,000 psi. In both of these extremes, the watches performed flawlessly without losing a second.

Clockmakers four

If you look closely at a Rolex dial that uses Roman numerals you’ll notice that where you’d expect to see the standard IV, the watchmaker actually uses IIII. Unique to watchmaking this is known as the “clockmakers four” and it’s there simply because it adds symmetrical balance to the watch face and is more aesthetically pleasing.

No wet feet

Being at the forefront of water-resistant technology involves a multitude of steps. As part of their standard production process Rolex test every watch in a highly sensitive air-pressure chamber to determine if there are any air leaks in the case. If the medical-grade optical sensor they use finds any condensation or water infiltration whatsoever, the watch is immediately scrapped.

Safe and secure

Rolex headquarters in Geneva boasts security that beats most high-security prisons. Bank vault doors, iris scanners, and fingerprint recognition are employed along with unmarked armoured vehicles to move parts between locations, but when you consider that the company produces and stocks the most sought-after watches on the planet and houses “a lot” of Everose gold bars, worth £1,000,000 each, it’s easy to see why.

Rolex…..simply the best

As the first and often the only brand that people think of when it comes to luxury watches, Rolex is rooted so deeply into the global culture that they have come to represent much more than the products they label; they symbolize wealth, success, style, and quality.

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