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One brand wears the crown as the most recognizable and well-known watch company in the world: Rolex. The brand has rooted itself so deeply into the global culture, that Rolex watches today are much more than timepieces, but symbols of luxury, power, success, and prestige.
SwissWatchExpo carries a wide range of Rolex watches for men and women. From sport and professional watches, to elegant and classically styled pieces – we can help you find a Rolex watch for every lifestyle and occasion.
Rolex was founded by a visionary named Hans Wilsdorf in 1905. At a time when most men carried pocket watches, the 24 year old Wilsdorf dreamt of creating a brand of elegant yet high-precision wristwatches. With his brother-in-law Alfred Davis, he started the Wilsdorf and Davis watch company in London, which through a stroke of inspiration, would later be named "Rolex" in 1908.
Rolex went on to create resolutely innovative timepieces that would later set the standard for other watch brands.
In 1910, Rolex introduced the first watch ever to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision from the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne, Switzerland.
Then, in 1926, Rolex made the first waterproof watch named the "Rolex Oyster". It famously accompanied British swimmer Mercedes Gleitze as she swam through the English channel, and would emerge from the 10-hour swim in good working condition.
Rolex would go on to create the first watch with an automatically changing date (Rolex Datejust, 1945), the first watch waterproof to 100m (Rolex Submariner, 1953) and several more innovations and milestones in the history of watchmaking.
Rolex has been at the cutting edge of watchmaking technology, and continues to lead the way for other watch brands, until today.
Part of Rolex's ethos is to provide reliable timepieces for man's every pursuit. From the 1950s to the late 1960s, the brand introduced a range of timepieces designed not only to tell time, but to accompany its wearer even in the most extreme conditions. These included timepieces for people engaged in automotive and sport racing, diving, aviation, and even niche activities like spelunking and saturation diving.
These watches not only form Rolex's Professional range today, but are some of the most iconic sport watches ever made, each with their own cult followings.
The Rolex Submariner is the most famous luxury dive watch ever made. It was created to cater to the surging popularity of diving and sea exploration in the 1950s. It introduced the unidirectional rotating bezel which is standard in dive watches today, and was also the first watch rated as waterproof to 100m. Famously worn by Steve McQueen and James Bond, the Rolex Submariner is arguably the most recognizable watch design not just from Rolex, but in watchmaking history.
The Rolex GMT-Master was designed to meet the needs of pilots and long-haul flyers during the Golden Age of aviation. Pan Am Airlines commissioned Rolex for a watch that can display two time zones simultaneously, and the result was the famous bi-colored bezel with a 24-hour scale.
The Rolex Daytona was introduced as a mechanical chronograph that would meet the need of professional race drivers for a legible timepiece. Rolex had been producing chronographs decades before the Daytona, but moving the tachymetric scale from the dial to the bezel, resulted in its technical yet sporty aesthetic. Being the choice timepiece of actor and racer Paul Newman also propelled the Daytona into the premier luxury chronograph that it is today.
The Rolex Air-King was introduced as part of a group of watches designed by the company for the British Air Force and its pilots. It features large 3-6-9 markers, and a prominent minute scale for navigational time readings.
The first Rolex Explorer was introduced to commemorate the pioneering climb to Mt. Everest in 1953. The characteristic black dial, large hour markers, and contrasting 3-6-9 numerals were made to equip mountaineering and polar expeditions.
The second edition of the Rolex Explorer was equipped with a larger case, a 24-hour bezel, and a luminous 24-hour hand to help spelunkers and cave explorers to tell the difference between daytime and nighttime hours.
Created in 1956, the Milgauss (from French mille meaning thousand, and gauss the unit of magnetic field strength) was built to withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss. It was designed to meet the demands of scientists, doctors, and engineers for a timepiece that won't be damaged when exposed to magnetism.
Rolex launched the first iteration of the Sea-Dweller in 1967. While Rolex had a very capable dive watch in the Submariner, the Sea-Dweller was developed for extreme depths and longer periods underwater.
The addition of the helium escape valve let helium particles flow out safely from the watch, allowing divers to stay underwater for longer periods. The Sea-Dweller today has a depth rating of 1,220 meters (4,000 feet), while the Deepsea Sea-Dweller can go to depths of up to 3,900 meters (12,800 feet).
The Rolex Yacht-Master was introduced in the 1990s as a luxurious nautically-themed watch, aimed at yachting enthusiasts. In 2007, the Rolex Yacht-Master II was launched, this time as a professional regatta watch that can also be used as a chronograph. Equipped with the Ring Command Bezel, the wearer can accurately sync the watch with the starting sequence of a yacht race.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the brand's most complicated timepiece, combining Rolex's first annual calendar complication, with a dual-time function. Designed for global travelers, the Sky-Dweller displays an annual calendar, a second time zone, and a jump date, in addition to the standard time.
While making watches for specific activities, Rolex has also mastered the art of creating watches in their most timeless form. Rolex has a range of watches that are both reliable yet elegant in design, and look right at home in both casual and dressier occasions.
The Oyster Perpetual forms the essence of the Rolex watch as we know it today. It is defined by its discreet design, championing the waterproof Oyster case, and the self-winding Rolex Perpetual movement. It features a clean dial without a date aperture, creating a perfectly symmetrical look.
The Rolex Datejust made history as the first automatic wristwatch whose date instinctively changed at midnight, and continues to make waves today as the brand's best-selling watch of all-time. Available in a wide variety of feature sets – from different sizes, metals and dial designs, to choices of bezel and bracelet types – there is a Rolex Datejust to suit every wrist.
The Rolex Day-Date was created to symbolize the pinnacle of the brand's watchmaking prowess. Exclusively crafted in precious metals – 18k yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, or platinum – the Day-Date was the first waterproof and self-winding watch to display the day of the week in 26 different languages.
Equipped with the three-piece "Presidential" bracelet, it became known as "The President" in watch circles, when it became the choice timepiece of several US Presidents and world leaders.
The Cellini is Rolex's line of dress watches. Named after Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, it is home to Rolex's non-Oyster watches, focusing instead on avant-garde designs for its vintage collection, and refined dress watches for its contemporary collection.
Aside from fan-made nicknames like "Batman", "Kermit" and "Pepsi", Rolex watches are easily identified among watch collectors through their reference numbers.
Each model has a reference number that provides information about which collection it belongs to, its material, appearance, and production period.
A Rolex reference number can be broken out into three sections: the first two to three numbers indicate the Rolex model type, the fourth indicates the bezel type, while the fifth and sixth number indicate the watch material. Below are the respective codes per Rolex model:
|Datejust||16, 162 & 1162|
|Daytona Manual Wind||62|
|Daytona Cosmograph||165 & 1165|
|Explorer I||14 & 124|
|Explorer II||16, 165 & 265|
|Submariner (No Date)||55, 140 & 1140|
|Submariner (Date)||16, 166 & 168|
|Sea Dweller||16, 166, 1166 & 1266|
|GMT-Master||16, 65, 167|
|GMT-Master II||167, 1167 & 1267|
|Milgauss||65, 10, 1164|
|President Day-Date||65, 66, 18, 180, 182 & 183|
|Oyster Perpetual||10, 140 & 142|
|Airking||55, 140, 116 & 142|
|Date||15 & 150|
|Yachtmaster||166, 686 & 696|
|Midsize Oyster Perp DJ||68, 682|
|Ladies Oyster Perpetual||67, 671, 672|
|Ladies Date||65, 69, 691 & 692|
|Ladies Datejust||65, 69, 691 & 692|
There are a number of ways to tell if a Rolex watch is genuine. One of the guiding principles is that Rolex watches are some of the finest made in the world. So, if any detail of your watch is sloppily or cheaply done, that is a sign that your watch might be counterfeit.
Be sure to check out our guide on How to Tell if A Rolex is Real, for hallmarks of a genuine Rolex. We also advise clients to only go to an official Rolex retailer for authentication.
The price of a pre-owned Rolex watch can vary greatly depending on the model, its materials and design, and the overall condition of the timepiece.
It is not uncommon for pre-owned or used Rolex to cost significantly more than their brand new counterparts. This could either be because: the watch is rare or vintage and there are less of them in existence; or because there is an overwhelming demand for it, like watches with years-long waitlists at authorized retailers.
Rolex watches retain their value reasonably well. However, we don't recommend buying any watch for the sole purpose of making it an investment – that is, buying it only to sell it later for a profit – as it's not guaranteed that their price will appreciate later on.
It is generally recommended to have watches serviced every 3-5 years, but Rolex recommends professional servicing every 10 years. This all depends on real-life usage of the timepiece. However, there are tell-tale signs that your watch needs a service sooner rather than later. Here are Signs It's Time for Watch Maintenance.
SwissWatchExpo offers a full range of services, from basic maintenance to major repairs and restorations. We repair all Swiss luxury watch brands – and Rolex is our specialty! We have invested in a state-of-the-art service center, and are staffed with proficient horologists. When you choose SwissWatchExpo, your watch will be in the hands of a trained master watchmaker from start to finish. Find out more about our stringent Repair Services.
The cost will depend on the model and the state of your watch. Upon receiving your watch, it will be examined by our master watchmakers, who will draw up an estimate of the work to be done. Only when the estimate is approved shall we begin any servicing and repair work.
At SwissWatchExpo, we believe that buying a luxury timepiece pre-owned creates the maximum possible value for the customer.
Much like buying a car, watches can only be sold as "brand new" once by an authorized dealer. Once your watch leaves the dealership, it is already considered pre-owned, whether or not it is worn after that. Consequently, there will also be a certain level of depreciation when it moves from "brand new" to "pre-owned".
By buying a watch pre-owned, you avoid taking this initial depreciation. While this is not always the case – you'll find that vintage Rolex watches tend to soar in value over the years – the general rule is that a pre-owned Rolex watch is less expensive than a brand new piece.
Buying a pre-owned Rolex also opens up a wider range of models and price points. Buying brand new limits your choices to current models, whereas the pre-owned market can give you a vast array of models, including previous versions of watches, limited editions, and even discontinued styles.
Pre-owned watches can also be bought in mint and excellent condition. At SwissWatchExpo, we are committed to delivering watches in "like new" condition, so every watch that we offer for sale is first inspected, and restored if needed, by our trained watchmakers. Such restorations are standard in the industry, and we often hear from clients that they can't believe the watch isn't new! Lastly, if you prefer your watch to be as new as possible, there are watches in the pre-owned market that have been kept unworn.
Get in touch with our sales experts – we'll help you find the Rolex timepiece that best suits your needs, taste, budget and occasion.