Watches have grown from being an item that helps people keep track of time to one that is used to make a fashion statement. Rolex watches are some of the most popular among wristwatch enthusiasts and those crazy about designer timepieces. The watch brand is a British-founded Swiss timepiece manufacturer and designer based in Geneva, Switzerland, formally named Wilsdorf.
Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis founded the brand in 1905 in London, England, registering the company under the name “Rolex” in 1908. The name changed to Rolex Watch Co. Ltd in 1915, before World War 1.
The company changed its operation base to Geneva after World War I because of the UK’s unfavorable economy. Hans Wilsdorf registered the brand in 1920, using “Montres Rolex SA” as the new company name before it became Rolex. The company has been owned by a private family trust, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, since 1960. Rolex and Montres TUDOR make, share, and service timepieces sold under the Tudor and Rolex brands.
Rolex’s Technical Innovations
In 1905, two German-born brothers, Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis established an eponymous company in London. The company focused on importing Swiss movements, installing them in British cases, and selling them to jewelers. Wilsdorf sensed the potential for their brand to excel in the growing timepiece market; thus, he secured the Rolex name in 1908. Hans Wilsdorf has always understood the appeal of precision timekeeping.
Two years after securing the name and building a reputation for it, a Rolex wristwatch became the first wristwatch brand to bag the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. The Official Watch Rating Center, Bienne, Switzerland, awarded the certificate. British customers who also understood the power of accurate timekeeping resonated with this certification. Thus, the evolution of offering civilians mechanical accuracy desired by many but required by few began, with Rolex offering cutting-edge accuracy.
Soon enough, the Rolex brand became swamped with orders as demand for its watches increased. However, so did the British taxes on the brand’s Swiss movements, prompting Wildorf to move the business to Geneva in 1919. In Geneva, Switzerland, production costs were less, of which Wilsdorf took advantage to resolve as many problems as possible. A typical example of that is the problem of dust and moisture damaging the movement through entry into the watch case.
Rolex developed a fully-sealed watch case with witty inventions and innovative thinking, which Wilsdorf called “the Oyster.” The brand introduced the first automatic winding watch in 1931, the Oyster Perpetual. A technical marvel got people’s interest piqued for its convenience and impressive features, including improving water resistance. Rolex has been through tough times, like World War II; it struggled, no doubt, but it won.
Rolex vs. Patek Philippe Watches
Even though Rolex is younger than Patek Philippe, it is more popular. Rolex is the number one most valuable and recognized Swiss timepiece manufacturer globally. Rolex takes the third position among the top fifty Swiss companies globally; it gets several celebrity endorsements yearly. Rolex has been an impressive watch brand from the start and over a hundred years later.
For more than 113 years, the top Swiss watch brand has impressed watch collectors globally, attracting high-profile customers. These include Hollywood celebrities and everyone who has a high appreciation for tough watches and loves the attention that comes with them. The message Rolex gives off with its branding is very different from most watch manufacturers. The brand prides itself on being the watch that made it to the lowest depths underwater and the highest point on Earth.
Rolex’s message is that of adventure, and its watches have a high resale value unmatched by any other brand. Meanwhile, Patek Philippe has several notable achievements, including inventing the wristwatch. The brand owns one of the most complicated timepieces globally, the Patek Philippe Caliber 89, having thirty-three complications. Patek Philippe is a leading watch brand and one that deserves respect; the brand is one of the Trinity watchmakers.
Patek Philippe is still behind Rolex, but not far behind, being the third most recognized Swiss watch brand worldwide. However, that’s only about popularity because Rolex and Omega, the two watches before Patek, are much less prestigious. Patek Philippe’s incredible prestige has a reason, particularly because of its innovations and ingenuity. It may also have to do with how the brand solidifies its position atop the luxury watch market.
The brand’s famous slogan is unique, with an ad campaign running for at least twenty years. Its watches are world-renowned for holding their value or appreciating over time. The brand has one of the higher resale values than most watch brands, except Rolex.
Why Is Rolex a Timepiece King?
Rolex has excellent technical innovations that have brought several awards, including the precision certificate. Rolex also ensures its watches are worn by only the bravest people that accomplished a daring feat. The brand makes decidedly rugged and adventure-ready timepieces through which it legitimately equips explorers with expedition-ready watches. The brand is also known for having financial independence and not-for-profit status.
Rolex has a design consistency that many other watch brands struggle to get. It makes only conservative and incremental changes to the brand’s watch designs with remarkable consistency. Looking at other watch brands, Rolex is strict with its legacy; it has a stricter adherence than most watch producers.
Rolex has created an air of exclusivity and luxury around its watches that initially had the aura of utility. Rolex is an iconic Swiss watch brand and the most recognizable and popular globally. The brand has achieved great things that many other brands like it can only dream of. Rolex’s dedication to initial and original designs assures that its watches will never go out of style.
Even with new technologies and materials slowly featuring new models, Rolex wristwatches are trending. The brand is considered perpetually in vogue, ensuring it remains the king of watches for a long time. The brand’s history is linked to Hans Wilsdorf’s visionary spirit, who founded this prestigious timepiece brand at 24 years old. Hans equipped the timepieces with small, precise moments to convince the world of the reliability of its timepieces.