Geneva, Switzerland


Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis


Jean-Frédéric Dufour



Known for performance and reliability, Rolex has established itself as one of the world’s most luxury watchmakers. Since its founding in 1905 it has continued to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in timepieces. Whether withstanding speed, plunging into the deepest depths of the oceans, the highest heights of the skies, it always maintains a sleek and timeless style.


New Rolex watches can range from around $4,000 to over $100,000.


Rolex watches have made use of high-quality materials since they were established in 1905. Most pieces are polished and hand-finished before they head to their final destination.


Rolex is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world. Experts suggest keeping a close eye on the second hand’s movement – if it stutters even slightly there’s a high chance it’s not the real deal.

Made from high quality materials, a genuine Rolex tends to be weighty so if it feels too light make sure to get it checked out. Lastly, check out the cyclops eye over the date – it should always be magnified.


Most Rolex watches use fully mechanically movements and therefore do not make a traditional ticking noise – instead they will tick at between six-eight ticks or movements per second.


Rolex is founded by Hans Wilsdorf and named Wilsdorf and Davis. At this time wristwatches are inaccurate, unreliable and uncommon. Wilsdorf sources small, precise watch movements from a Swiss company in Bienne.


Wilsdorf coins the name Rolex.


Rolex becomes the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, cementing its position as a producer of quality timepieces.


The Rolex wristwatch is awarded a class A precision certificate from Kew Observatory. Until then, this distinction had been exclusively used for marine chronometers.

Rolex becomes synonymous with precision.


Rolex moves its headquarters to Geneva.


Rolex creates the Oyster; a hermetically sealed case makes it the world’s first dust and waterproof wristwatch.


English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wears the Oyster as she swims across the English Channel. After the 10-hour swim the watch remains in perfect working order – proving further its quality.


Rolex invents (and patents) the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor.


The first crew to fly over Everest wear Rolex Oyster watches.


Rolex introduces the Datejust, which displays the date in a window on the dial.


Rolex introduces a range of professional watches for divers, aviators, mountain climbers and for scientific exploration.

Rolex launches the Explorer – to celebrate the successful expedition by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Rolex launches the Submariner – waterproof up to a depth of 330 feet. A rotatable bezel allowed divers to read their immersion time.


Rolex introduces the GMT-Master. Developed to meet the changing needs of aviation, it became the official watch of Pan American World Airways. A two-tone bezel marks daytime from nighttime.


Rolex debuts the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date – the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week spelled out in full on the dial.

Rolex introduces the Milgauss, designed to meet the needs of the scientific community. It uses a shield to protect the movement, making it suitable to withstand magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss.


Rolex debuts the Lady-Datejust – the first ladies version of the model to feature the date chronometer.


The Trieste bathyscaphe descends into the Mariana Trench in one of the world’s most historical deep sea dives. A Rolex Deep Sea Special is attached to the side and emerges from 37,800 feet unscathed and in perfect working order.


Rolex launches the Cosmograph Daytona – designed as the ultimate tool for endurance racing drivers it features a tachymetric scale on the bezel for calculating average speed. It marks Rolex’s involvement with the racing world.


Rolex launches the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller – waterproof up to 610 meters.


Rolex launches the Oyster Perpetual Explorer II – designed for explorers.


Rolex launches the Sea-Dweller 4000, waterproof to a depth of 4,000 feet.


Rolex becomes the first watchmaker to use 904L steel in its timepieces. This kind of alloy was previously only used in aerospace technologies.


Rolex launches the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master.


Rolex launches the 4130 chronograph movement. Designed exclusively by Rolex it is made up of just 290 components and makes its debut in the Cosmograph Daytona.


Rolex develops the Cerachrom bezel. Used in its professional models it ensure lasting quality in tough conditions, unaffected by UV rays and virtually unable to be scratched.

Rolex creates the blue Parachrom hairspring, unaffected by magnetic fields and 10 times more resistant to shocks than its predecessors.


Rolex launches the Deepsea – designed for underwater exploration. It can go deeper than most purpose-built research submarines and more than 100 times the depth humans can survive in.


Rolex launches the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller. Intended for word travelers, it offers an easy-to-read dual time zone.


Rolex releases a 50th anniversary Sea Dweller. It boasts a larger 43mm case and for the first time, a cyclops lens over the date.

Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona fetches $17.75 million at auction. It currently holds the title of the most expensive wristwatch and the second most expensive watch ever sold at auction.

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