When I think watches, I automatically think Rolex. It is like a game of word association; I think quality, smart, gentleman. You can’t go wrong with a classic timepiece!
Family history in the making…
In more recent years, I’ve been intrigued by ‘my Grandad’s Rolex.’ For the majority of the time I had to ask Grandad to dig the watch out of its box, as it was rarely worn. I guess this was because he viewed the watch in the same treasure-like form as I do! He knew I was fascinated by his watch, I was lucky enough to inherit the piece in the same way he did when his uncle passed away.
My interest was there, no doubt, but I was lacking in knowledge… it was time (sorry I had to…) to carry out some research into the ins and outs of one of the largest luxury brand in the world.
German watchmaker, Hans Wilsdorf, had previously worked for a Swiss watch manufacturer in La Chaux-de-Fonds (an iconic town in Switzerland where the most prestigious watches are still made today) before moving to London in 1905. Wilsdorf’s ambition was to set up his own business, providing quality timepieces at affordable prices… and so gradually, Rolex was born.
We’re talking all things Rolex, so “Where does the brand name come from?”
Although it hasn’t been proven, the name Rolex (is thought to have come from) the French phrase “horlogerie exquise”, meaning “exquisite clockwork”, a contraction and combination of “horological excellence”. Wilsdorf wanted his brand’s name to be easily pronounceable in any language. He also thought that the name “Rolex” was onomatopoeic, sounding like a watch being wound. There was also the obvious and very important factor of ensuring that the brand name would fit onto a watch face! So, Rolex it was… seems fitting.
The Rolex timeline of innovations
– The first waterproof wristwatch, revolutionary. The “Oyster”, 1926. (Here is a vintage example of a Rolex Oyster 6044 made in 1951.)
– The first wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial, “Datejust”, 1945.
– Below is an example of a ladies Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watch, Circa 1988.
– The first wristwatch case waterproof to 100m, “Oyster Perpetual Submariner”, 1953.
– The first wristwatch to show two time zones at once, “GMT Master”, 1954.
– The first wristwatch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial, “Day-Date”, 1956.
Not just a watch…
Rolex watches appear to go one better than just time-giving; one of them actually helped to solve a murder case!
The murder of Ronald Platt was indeed solved with the assistance of the Rolex that was on his wrist. Platt’s body was found by a fisherman, in the English Channel in 1996. A Rolex wristwatch was the only identifiable object on the body. As the Rolex movement had a serial number and was engraved with special markings every time it was serviced, British police were able to trace the service records from Rolex and identify the owner of the watch as Ronald Platt and therefore identify the body. In addition, the police were able to determine the date of death by examining the date on the watch calendar. Since the Rolex movement was fully waterproof and had a reserve of 2/3 days of operation when inactive, police were able to determine the time of death within a small margin of error. Albert Johnson Walker, a financial planner who had fled from Canada when he was charged with theft, money laundering and eighteen counts of fraud, was traced and later charged with the murder.
In a nutshell…..
So there you have it… Bearing in mind I’ve only scraped the surface with a very brief history and the odd fact regarding one of the world’s most renowned, luxury watch brands. We could be here all day talking variety in models, further accolades, construction, iconic film stars and renowned sportsmen, the list is endless… Plenty of scope for another installment eh!
The quality and status of Rolex watches is recognised at AC Silver. Here are some of my personal favourites!
Marc Henderson – Social Media Executive
Our Social Media Executive – Marc will continue to keep the followers of the business entertained on our social media outlets and will assist with developing the brand online.