Ideally, Rolex is the most illustrious and prestigious luxury wristwatch brand that has been around more than a century. The worldwide recognition of this Geneva-based Swiss manufacturer emanates from its compelling success in many fields, superior precision in timekeeping, significant innovations, and flaunting wrists of eminent and noteworthy individuals from Paul Newman to David Beckham. While the Rolex watches tend to hold a resale value with time, it is the most sought-after and collectable wristwatch brand to date. Like many others, you can decide to sell your Rolex watch in a hard-up situation to any potential watch buyers in London or anywhere in the UK for raising the money you need.
Although people often recognise a Rolex watch as a symbol of ultimate luxury and status, there are many things about this Swiss manufacturer that you may not know. Thus, before you begin your search online ‘Sell Rolex watches’ here are five interesting facts that every Rolex owner should know about the manufacturer:
Indeed, ‘Rolex’ is the first name that comes to mind when someone asks to name a Swiss watch brand. While Rolex is a Swiss brand and today, each Rolex watch is produced in Switzerland; it may be surprising for you to know that Rolex is not born Swiss. Rolex was established in 1905 under the name ‘Wilsdorf and Davis’ in Great Britain. The founder, Hans Wilsdorf was German, whereas his brother-in-law Alfred Davis was a Brit.
With the only aim to sell watches rather than manufacturing timepieces, the brand was not making any watch part during that time and was sourcing dials, cases, movements or hands from some of the best suppliers in Swiss. Although the manufacturer used to assemble components from external suppliers, it did not influence the quality of Rolex watches as the brand always maintained a rigorous approach regarding sourcing.
Until 1919, the company remained active in London and began to produce some parts in-house. While the manufacturer realised that Switzerland is the best place for production, the company shifted to Geneva and today, all the main headquarters are based in Geneva as well as Biel.
Rolex had a business plan that differed from other watchmakers in the industry. For example, one of the biggest competitors of Rolex – Omega was founded by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds. All the manufactured Omega watches were sold initially under their founder’s name, and later, Louis Brandt changed it to ‘Omega’, creating a commercial brand.
But, Rolex began the other way around. With the motive to commercialise ‘Wilsdorf and Davis’, the manufacturer formed a commercial body with the name ‘Rolex’. While Rolex is today a wholly integrated manufacturer that certainly makes most of the watch parts in-house, it was only possible after the brand acquired many of its sub-contractors.
Under the third CEO of the brand Patrick Heiniger, many companies unified to Rolex. While Rolex first bought one of the most prominent case makers Genex, they also acquired the company Gay Freres that manufacture most of the Rolex’s Oyster bracelets. Since 1919, Boninchi has been the biggest supplier of crowns for the brand.
Rolex has an interesting story associated with their movements. It was presumed that the brand was manufacturing their unique calibres in-house. While it is not wholly wrong, the story is not that simple, and indeed, one name to be considered in this respect is Jean Aegler.
Jean Aegler specialised in producing small movements, particularly for ladies watches. In 1901, Hans Wilsdorf selected Jean Aegler because of his expertise in creating a 20mm diameter movement that was quite impressive in a time when most of the brands were yet manufacturing 40mm or 50mm movements for fitting in pocket watches. Aegler made movements that were small and specifically, highly precise. However, Rolex movements were exclusive and unique as both Rolex, and the Aegler Company had an agreement that neither Rolex could buy their movements from other manufacturers nor Aegler could sell their productions to any other watch brand.
While the primary motive of Hans Wilsdorf has been to bring accuracy to the wristwatches, he was quite convinced of the future success of the wristwatch after creating Rolex. The fact is, at that time maximum wristwatches were not very precise, particularly in comparison to large pocket timepieces and their chronometer movements. From the early days, Hans Wilsdorf has dreamt of designing wristwatches that are the perfect blend of practicality and precision, and it remains to be the brand’s motto even today.
In the early 1900s, it was quite challenging to have wristwatch movements with higher precision. But, Rolex always has been associated with the Aegler Company for movements. Aegler was not only one of the very few manufacturers that mastered the concept of miniaturisation but also the only one to bring the desired precision in the movements that measured less than 25mm in diameter. Rolex was the first brand to acquire a wristwatch chronometer certified.
In 1914, a Rolex wristwatch was granted a ‘Class A’ certificate by the Kew Observatory in Great Britain for the first time, and this achievement is one of the significant reasons for the everlasting success of the brand.
Today, Rolex is the biggest manufacturer of chronometer-certified wristwatch movements in the world.
Each Rolex watch is meticulously crafted by hand in Switzerland, providing utmost dedication and attention for meeting the strict standards of this highly coveted brand. While almost everything is produced from base materials by in-house specialists in one of the three main-production plants, Rolex takes one year to manufacture one perfect watch. All watch parts are hand-assembled and tested independently.
The brand has their factory where they create their unique alloys like Everose Gold, making things a little bit different. Rolex was also one of the first watch brands to bring in ceramic bezels, and the 2008 GMT-Master II was the first watch to feature it.
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