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Lesser Known Facts About Rolex Watches

By Author: Deepika Mahajan
Total Articles: 5

Rolex is not just a luxury watch brand, instead, it is the name of the revolution that hit the watch industry when it crossed the boundaries of the niche market it served and made itself cosy in the households of an audience that hardly knew anything about mechanical/automatic watches. The brand’s symbol, the five-pointed crown is today a mark of desired excellence among competitors, enthusiasts, and hustlers. Started in 1905 by gentlemen named Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, the company started off as ‘Wilsdorf and Davis’.
Today, Rolex watches are one of the biggest phenomena in Swiss watchmaking. If not anything, the Rolex watches price is a clear indication. But come to think of it, they are also among the most secretive. There is so much about the Swiss horologist that we know of yet, there is so much that we don’t. Needless to say, some company secrets will remain a secret till the end of days but that does not mean that we cannot dig a little bit deeper into the king of luxury watches.
Not So Much Swiss in The Beginning
The company was established in 1905. Hans Wilsdorf was a German citizen who got his hands in the watchmaking business when he migrated to London at the tender age of 19. Soon, in a partnership with his brother in law Alfred Davis, the young German started the venture Wilsdorf and Davis. They eventually moved to Geneva, Switzerland due to increased post-Great War taxes and a slight taste of racial oppression against one of the founder’s German heritage. Switzerland obviously proved to be a better choice than the English capital due to its neutral stance.
As a matter of fact, up until the death of Hans Wilsdorf in 1960, Rolex imported many parts and movements from England itself. Dennison was among the companies that remained loyal to Rolex even after its departure from London. Many of the vintage Rolex watches have the engraving at the back of the watch where ‘Made in England’ is clearly mentioned.
Idea For The Wristwatch
'Wilsdorf and Davis' was set up as a company that would eventually import watch movements from Swiss companies and then assemble them with aid from local jewellers. The core genus of the company was focused on pocket watches and women’s wrist watches, commonly called ‘wristlets’ at the time. However, Wilsdorf had other plans. He always wanted to explore the possibilities with men’s wristwatches. While this was happening, a Brazilian aviator and inventor by the name Alberta Santos already made the world's first men’s wristwatch, Cartier Santos popular. Hans Wilsdorf saw this as an opportunity to propel his ideas for men’s wristwatches.
Rolex Was Born In 1908
The term ‘Rolex’ was not used by the watchmaking company until 1908. The idea was to use something short and catchy which could be printed on the watch dials. Another reason the name Rolex was used was that it sounded posh. Perhaps, being pretentious does have its benefits sometimes. On the other hand, Hans Wilsdorf had a different story when asked about the origins of the name Rolex. He had no inhibitions in stating that a genie whispered the name in his ears.
By the time Rolex came out with full-fledged wristwatches, the market was already budding with quality timepieces. So in order to make Rolex stand out, Wilsdorf started his quest for making Rolex a second name for accuracy. He began this journey by accruing as many accuracy and precision certificates as he could. One of the most popular ones was the 1910 certificate it received from the Swiss certification for chronometric precision. Another fine example would be the 1914 British Kew Observatory trials that awarded Rolex with a ‘Class A’ precision certificate. There is, however, a catch. The catch is that Rolex received these certifications as Wilsdorf was the first one to submit a watch in these tests.
They Make Everything In-House
Well, almost everything. Rolex is famous for making almost everything in-house. But some of these have been new additions to the list of indigenous resources. For instance, for many years, Rolex had been outsourcing the illuminant it uses on its watches for better night legibility. Rolex originally used a radium-based compound that was scrapped due to health hazard revelations. After the 1960 radium debacle, Rolex opted for a rather less radioactive compound, Tritium, a rare hydrogen isotope. In 1998, tritium faced a ban and the Swiss watchmaker switched to Luminova, a Japanese patent that served the same purpose without the undesirable radiation. Finally, Rolex patented its own illuminant ‘Chromalight’ after a decade of using outsourced materials from Japan.
Rolex may not have invented and popularized the wristwatch, but it definitely acted as a major contributor to the early development of the device. At present, Rolex is a name you just cannot miss when talking about Swiss luxury watches. The brand has panache, class, and a supernatural combination of quality with precision.

More About the Author

Deepika Mahajan is a writer from 7 years who has the best knowledge of lifestyle, fashion & jewellery watches.

Total Views: 31Word Count: 822See All articles From Author

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