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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 Yellow Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 118238


    Day-Date 118238

    September 2005 £13,950.00
  • Rolex Daytona Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN


    Daytona 116500LN

    Pre-owned UNUSED £14,750.00
  • 18ct white gold Datejust Pearlmaster 80299


    Pearlmaster 80299

    December 2007 £22,950.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster model 80319


    Pearlmaster 80319

    August 2006 £14,950.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 179174


    Datejust 179174

    December 2014 £4,200.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust model 69278


    Datejust 69278

    August 1991 £5,450.00
  • 9ct Yellow Gold Rolex 2886. Circa 1943/1944


    Vintage 9ct

  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref 326935


    Sky-Dweller 326935

    January 2016 £28,775.00
  • 18ct White Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref 326139


    Sky-Dweller 326139

    December 2015 £21,000.00
  • 18ct Rose Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref 326135


    Sky-Dweller 326135

    March 2015 £21,000.00
  • Bi-metal Rolex Oyster perpetual Datejust 116233


    Datejust 116233

    April 2016 £8,400.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Mid-size Datejust 178344


    Datejust 178344

    April 2016 £8,250.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Explorer 2 16570


    Explorer 2 16570

    January 2008 £4,450.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust II 116333


    Datejust II 116333

    July 2014 £7,550.00
  • Ladies bi-metal steel and pink gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 179171


    Datejust Bi-metal 179171

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Previously in stock

  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 116234


    Datejust 116234

    June 2015 £5,350.00
  • Bi-metal Rolex Oyster perpetual Datejust 116233


    Datejust 116233

    Pre-owned UNUSED £6,380.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Non Date 114060


    Submariner 114060

    August 2016 £5,000.00
  • Steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust II 116300


    Datejust 2 116300

    Pre-owned UNUSED £4,600.00
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master 2 model reference 116710LN


    GMT Master 2 116710LN

    November 2011 £5,150.00
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