Whenever we are surprised to discover new innovations or even the professional world, we wonder why it is so important to make a major difference between everyday life and professional life.
And still it is important to know where they come from and how they work, and who solved this mystery, becoming a promoter of professionalism for professionals, in Formula 1, aviation, sumarin, mountaineering, astronautics, military, expeditions to the North or Alaska Pole for researchers, the nuclear research industry, sports, etc., competing in the market like many other watch brands for the professional world.
When and where was Rolex created?
Rolex, founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, is a Swiss company manufacturing, distributing and selling luxury watches.
Rolex was created by Hans Wilsdorf, born in Germany in Bavaria in 1881, where he was orphaned at 12 years old, but educated in a high school upscale by his uncles where left a grim pension to go to work in Switzerland for a watch exporter, the boy’s hobby is to align around fifteen models in order to test their accuracy, to finish his training.
At the age of 24, he created Wilsdorf & Davis Ltd in London, which he oriented on a first extravagant bet by trying to make equality between men and women, through the wristwatch, at the time, wristwatches are rare, and worn only by women, the bracelet being a ribbon.
Three years later, he renamed it Rolex, a short name, easy to remember and suitable for all languages. The goldsmith’s work and pays in 1910, Rolex is the first company to receive the certification of precision for a wrist watch, issued by the Swiss Society of Chronometry, then that of the Kew Observatory in Great Britain, in 1914, of which class A had until then been attributed only to military marine chronometers.
It was in Switzerland, in Geneva, that Wilsdorf decided to settle, he founded Rolex SA in Geneva in 1920, now the sole master on board, the German then tackled a new challenge: to protect his movements from the humidity and dust.
There he created his own factory in Biel, set up his headquarters in Geneva and devoted his energy to developing a waterproof watch.
During a dinner, having all the trouble to open oysters with a knife, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex would have declared to want a watch as hermetic as these damned shells! Thus was born the Oyster (oyster in English), characterized by a unique system of screwing the crown, case and bezel, he advises all stores to present the Oyster in aquariums.
After attempts baptized Hermetic and Submarine, in 1926 he patented a technique consisting in screwing the bezel, the caseback and the winding crown onto the caseband, and invented the name Oyster (oyster) to enhance it. This first gives him the opportunity to use his marketing genius.
Each Rolex has its own story
In 1927 is an important year in the history of Rolex since it released the Rolex Oyster model, the first waterproof watch with a revolutionary crown protecting the movement.
Hans Wilsdorf, straps a Rolex around the neck of Mercedes Gleitze, a British swimmer who was the first to cross the Channel.
It thus becomes the first in a long line of Rolex Ambassadors. Faithful to his art of revolutionizing communication, Wilsdorf bought the front page of the Daily Mail to publicize the sporting feat of the young woman and her watches.
Rolex supports professionals
Rolex did not stop there and continued its search for innovation, associating precision and excellence, which are recognized to it, with the world of sport by becoming a sponsor of various leading sporting events in 1927. But in 1928 the Rolex Prince model with its double dial and in 1931 the first automatic winding mechanism, which places its reputation for excellence becomes indisputable and excellence at the service of sport.
A new challenge for the inventions of “perpetual” watches that can be wound with the sole movement of the wrist. The brand thus embarked on the industrial production of the rotor, an automatic spring winding mechanism. On the basis of this system, known since the 18th century, the automatic Rolex watch released in 1931 will then dominate all watchmaking production, or give the brand a formidable technological advance over its competitors.
After the Channel challenge, it is time to do a new test for the Rolex Oyster watch in Everest in 1933, the first expedition which gave complete satisfaction to the crew and once again underlines the effectiveness of the Rolex Oyster watch.
A new adventure begins with the 24 Hours of Daytona, in the 1930s, Rolex teamed up with one of the fastest drivers in the world, Sir Malcolm Campbell, to always go further in the search for speed, in the race 24-hour automobile, which today bears the name Rolex 24 at Daytona.
On September 4, 1935, the “King of Speed” established in Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, a speed record of over 485 km / h (300 mph) at the wheel of his Bluebird racing car, with his Rolex watch on. wrist. Sir Malcolm Campbell, will improve his records nine times between 1924 and 1935, including five times in Daytona, Florida.
Sir Malcolm Campbell wrote a letter to the founder of Rolex after the ninth record to express his gratitude for the quality of the Rolex brand: “I have been using my Rolex watch for quite a while, and its precision has remained intact despite the conditions. extremes she had to face ”.
Rolex supports professionals, challenge after challenge to always go further in research and launches watches dedicated to sports professions such as mountaineering, aviation or scuba diving, etc.
1950, the increasingly prestigious brand was elected official timing company for the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Rolex and the world of sport are now privileged partners.
Then between 1953 and 1967 he inaugurated the series of professional watches: the Explorer, which fitted the first victorious Everest expedition, the Submariner waterproof to 100 meters, the GMT Master for airline pilots, the Milgauss (which withstood magnetic fields of 1000 gauss) for scientists, and finally the Rolex Chronograph (which prefigures the legendary Cosmograph Daytona) for racing drivers.
- 1953 the first watch that could withstand depths of 100 meters was an Oyster Submariner.
- 1953, Mr. Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Everest with a Rolex on his wrist, a performance that would accompany the success of the Explorer range.
- 1955 Oyster Perpetual GMT Master, by giving the time in two different time zones, becomes reporters’ favorite watch.
- 1956 the Milgauss, designed to meet the needs of the scientific community, withstands magnetic fields of up to 1000 gauss.
- In 1960, it is a Rolex Deepsea Special which, fixed to the outside of the bathyscaphe Trieste, of Pr Jacques Piccard, descends to 10,910 meters of depth. Deep sea exploration continues with the divers from Comex.
- The first chronograph produced by the brand in 1963, the Cosmograph Daytona, became, at the end of the 1960s, the favorite watch of actor Paul Newman, a car and racing enthusiast.
- 1967 the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, waterproof up to 610 meters. To meet the expectations of deep-water divers, the case is fitted with a helium valve, so that, during long decompression phases in a hyperbaric chamber, the helium present in the gas mixtures can escape from the watch. without risking damage to it.
The principle was further perfected in 1970 with the addition of an additional waterproofing zone and gave rise to the Triplock winding crown. The hands and indexes are coated with luminescent material, which makes it possible to read the time in the underwater twilight. Rolex then took up other technical challenges, so as to make the Submariner waterproof to a depth of 200 meters in 1954 and then to 300 meters in 1989. The version with date function, presented in 1969, will be waterproof up to ‘at 300 meters from 1979.
Rolex is one of the first brands to support exceptional personalities in their exploits, knowing that this approach will be beneficial for both parties. Collaborating with explorers, in particular by equipping their expeditions with Oyster watches, in order to test the reliability of its watches, Rolex therefore has them worn by professional divers during their missions. The brand also collects their impressions and suggestions for ergonomic or technical improvements.
The Rolex Deepsea inspired the experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge model which, in 2012, was attached to the arm of the submersible with which the explorer and director James Cameron descended, on March 26, where the last to go were Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in 1960: the Mariana Trench. This watch, guaranteed to be waterproof to an extreme depth of 12,000 meters, incorporates all of the brand’s technical innovations in terms of waterproofing and was successfully subjected to the pressure exerted at –15,000 meters during the test phases. At this depth, the central ring of the Ringlock system is subjected to a stress equivalent to a weight of 20 tonnes.
One hundred years after moving to Switzerland
2020 Rolex presents the new generation of its Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date, models that embody the historic link between Rolex and the world of diving. These two watches now feature a redesigned and slightly enlarged case to 41 mm in diameter – the shapes of which are highlighted by the reflections of light on the sides of the caseband – as well as a bracelet of revised proportions.
Faithful to the historical aesthetic of the model, the new Submariner, in Oystersteel steel, is dressed in black on its dial and on its rotating bezel with Cerachrom disc. Among the new versions of the Submariner Date, two stand out with a particular aesthetic configuration: the dial and the rotating bezel with Cerachrom disc come in different colors. The first – in Oystersteel steel – thus combines a black dial with a green bezel, while the second – in 18 kt white gold – combines a black dial and a blue bezel.