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A brief history of Rolex Watches

Rolex is one of the most famous names in watchmaking. The company’s iconic crown logo enjoys ubiquitous brand awareness. The Genevan maison can trace its routes back to 1905, when Hans Wilsdorf established a company in London, distributing timepieces.

Wilsdorf, clearly a visionary, saw the potential of the wristwatch at a time when pocket watches were de rigueur and subsequently created the Rolex brand.

Rolex produced the first waterproof watch. In a stroke of marketing genius, a young swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, wore a Rolex Oyster on her wrist whilst swimming the English channel. The ability of the watch to continue functioning faultlessly, despite exposure to the harsh sea, led to the birth of the Oyster case. This case has evolved over the years with the brand gently enhancing its form and improving its water resistance.

In 1931, Rolex also invented, and patented, the world’s first self-winding mechanism. This user-friendly attribute is common to most of the brand’s models, albeit there are some exceptions, such as some of the early Daytona models. The self-winding aspect is often referenced on the dial with the word “Perpetual”, short for perpetual movement and not to be confused with a perpetual calendar.

A key benefit of Rolex watches is their robustness. The cases of today’s steel models are constructed of a high-grade steel, 904L. Recent models include a blue Parachrom hairspring which is said to be unaffected by magnetic fields and 10 times more resistant to shocks. The research and development of Rolex timepieces is unrelenting and each new reference technically usurps its forebears.

Several illustrious Rolex models

Rolex has produced a myriad of different models over the years. The Datejust, Day-Date, Explorer, GMT-Master and Yachtmaster are all held in highest esteem. However, there are two watches which deserve further comment, the Cosmograph Daytona and the Submariner. Every watch brand dreams of producing an iconic watch, but few can truly say they have produced two models that are as legendary as these two sports watches.

While Rolex offers some watches in gold and even platinum, without question the most sought after models are its steel sports watches, especially if they are rare vintage examples.

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Currently in stock

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  • 18ct Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date 116618LB


    Submariner 116618LB

    May 2017 £21,500.00
  • 18ct Yellow Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 18238


    Day-Date 18238

    May 1999 £11,450.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master. Model 16750


    GMT-Master 16750

    1986 £7,750.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller DEEPSEA 116660


    Deepsea 116660

    February 2009 £7,250.00
  • Rolex Steel Submariner Date 116610LN


    Submariner 116610LN

    Pre-owned UNUSED £7,250.00
  • 18ct white gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 116519


    Daytona 116519

    June 2006 £15,950.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 116234


    Datejust 116234

    April 2006 £5,250.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 116200


    Datejust 116200

    August 2007 £4,150.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 79174


    Datejust 79174

    March 2004 £4,450.00
  • Rolex Bi-Metal Submariner Date 116613LN


    Submariner Date 116613LN

    December 2012 £8,250.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date 116610LV


    Submariner 116610LV

    July 2017 £7,550.00
  • Rolex bi-metal Oyster perpetual Datejust 16233


    Datejust 16233

    March 1999 £3,950.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ladies Datejust 179174


    Datejust 179174

    August 2011 £4,750.00
  • Rolex Oyster perpetual Yacht Master 16623


    Yacht-Master 16623

    September 2005 £7,450.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN


    Daytona 116500LN

    December 2016 £14,750.00
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Previously in stock

  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller 4000 126600



    Pre-owned UNWORN £11,950.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master 2


    GMT Master II 116710LN

    September 2009 £5,500.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller DEEPSEA 116660 Deep Blue


    Sea-Dweller 116660

    November 2014 £10,450.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II Ref 116710 LN


    GMT-Master II 116710LN

    August 2015 £5,750.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN


    Daytona 116500LN

    May 2016 £15,250.00
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