The Splendorous World Of Rolex Watches



You see them in hip-hop videos and you encounter them in the boardroom meetings. They represent adventure and lifestyle and no sophisticated outfit is complete without them. We are talking about luxury watches, an item that binds together functionality, aesthetics, intricate mechanisms, and, let us never forget - legacy.

Watches for many centuries exemplified the heights of human micro-engineering. The honor of inventing the watch is given to Peter Henlein, a locksmith and clockmaker based in Nuremberg. More to four centuries down the line, his innovation has spawned an industry that is difficult to define, because boundaries are broken with every new model.

But the fundamental principles in a luxury watch mechanism have not been disturbed for the large part of two centuries. It all comes down to a gear train powered by a very compact mainspring and dollops of precision. As you consider acquiring this precious possession, let us go through a short history and background of the wristwatch to appreciate its relevance in today’s world.

Blurring The Lines Between Treasure And Timepiece

The first exclusive luxury watch is attributed to Patek Philippe & Co., who created a wristwatch for a Hungarian countess in 1868. This was an age that had been stirred by the industrial revolution, and new standards of precision and production often found patronage in the aristocracy. The earliest wristwatches still leaned more towards the jewelry category – a novelty in most circles.

The Fascinating Rise Of The Wristwatch

If you have watched a few movies based in the Victorian times or scanned through some old-timey pictures then along with the monocle and top hat, a pocket watch is a typical cliché of that age. So how did that get replaced by the wrist models that we know so well?

Wristwatches have already been around – ornate, delicate and expected to be worn as jewelry accessories. These were made primarily for women while men had pocket watches to flaunt – although not dissimilar to those who use their phones as watches nowadays, checking the time on a pocket watch required a person to stop, fish out his instrument and determine the hours and minutes.

This was something a soldier in a battle could not do and the British government commissioned specially made wristwatches for their troops during the peak of the First World War. These abandoned the delicate details of their ornamental predecessors and instead had luminous dials and very tough glass. Wristwatches had stepped over from being mere design pieces to becoming a very functional product.

The practicality of being able to just glance at your wrist to catch the time helped the wristwatch become popular and this spurred some radical development in its design and technology.

Rolex – Synonymous With Luxury

Why are we riveted by Rolex watches? A lot of us will admit that we have always heard of this brand before we probably even laid eyes on a Rolex. From the many portrayals of James Bond to real-life kings and prime ministers, this watch has become associated with power, class, and the highest standards of lifestyle. Now, Rolex has a host of different models and designs, as evident in this sprawling collection at www.frostnyc.com/collections/rolex, but there were several milestones on its path to becoming such a respected name in horology.

Behold The Oyster

Rolex started in 1905 when it was known as Wilsdorf and Davis and was based in London. The company’s move to the watch capital of the world, Geneva, happened later in 1919 and by then the brand name Rolex had existed for more than a decade.

The Oyster model is arguably one of the most impactful innovations in 20th century watchmaking. If you want to show off your knowledge of Rolex watches to your friends – the Oyster is a good conversation starter.

Waterproof watches are common today but in 1926, the Oyster shell provided the base for the first effective waterproof (and dust-proof) wristwatch. A couple more patent technologies that make the Oyster a resounding success even today are the Twinlock and Triplock winding crowns. The Oyster case has been reinvented over the years to keep up with the pinnacle standards that Rolex maintains and to also suit the designs of the various models that come out with this particular shell.

The Oyster Perpetual

After the Oyster shell, Rolex’s next gift to watch lovers was the Perpetual Rotor. Today it is a staple in every automatic watch (Rolex’s patent ended in 1948) and it is unimaginable to imagine the world of timepieces without this fundamental mechanism.

The Perpetual is a self-winding watch caliber that rotates with the natural movement of the wearer and had a 360-degree range. This helped it generate power to constantly run and it also included a small weight that helped support the rotor.

Today, the Oyster Perpetual line continues to present many feature-filled and path-breaking watches but the core remains the much-loved shell and the automatic movement.

The Rolex Legends

There are many Rolex watches that command earth-shattering prices in the collectors’ market. Apart from the model design, the batch and year are major factors. You need not worry about getting into the collectors’ rabbit hole though because all Rolexes are valuable even when they are older. That gives the watch its lasting allure – the fact that you are not buying into a trend but something much more precious and timeless.

The Datejust

The Datejust is an enduring Rolex model – the first wristwatch that included the changing date. The Datejust is one of the most famous in the Oyster Perpetual line (yes – those Rolex hallmarks that we have explored above).

The Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is named so because of its association with high speeds. This instantly recognizable (to anyone familiar with luxury watches) chronograph was introduced in the 1960s. One of the most highly-valued Rolexes is a Daytona which was owned by Paul Newman. It was auctioned for 17.75 million dollars – making it the most expensive ever wristwatch. A regular Daytona is quite a treasure and you can consider this iconic model if you are willing to invest in a Rolex.

The Rolex GMT Master
The Rolex GMT Master is a story in itself. It exemplifies the personality aspect of owning a Swiss luxury watch. This is considered one of the Rolex Professional Watches – a result of Rolex collaborating with Pan Am Airways. The watch is designed for use by the famed aviators and navigators of the commercial skies. It represents the heady days of the 1950s when air travel was opening up the world to a post-war generation.

Even the most casual of watch enthusiasts would agree that the Rolex Company managed to pack many ingenious features in a very tasteful manner. The rotatable bezel and the fourth hand allowed users to measure GMT time – hence the name.

The Milgauss

The Milgauss is another Rolex model that was created for a niche environment, yet carried the grace and design of a watch that anyone would love to own. It was introduced in 1956 to be used by scientists who worked in magnetic environments. The latest Milgauss include non-magnetic alloy springs and a magnetic shield around the inner contraptions.

The Yachtmaster

When it comes to more recent Rolex watches, the Yachtmaster is another fine example of the best watchmaking in the world. The 18-carat gold and stainless steel versions have enamored watch owners across the world and there is a ladies’ version too, which was introduced in 1994. The Rolesium Yachtmaster is one of the most sought-after watches – the name refers to a material specifically developed by Rolex.

Covering all the Rolex watches would take more than a single article. The Explorer, the Sea-Dweller and the Sky-Dweller are some more Rolex watches that have continued the legacy of the company. If you are looking for a high-end dive watch, then the Submariner is a classic that tops the list.

Why Is Rolex Enduring?

How can you describe a company that forges its own steel to ensure that their products are unique from scratch? Well, that is a good way to introduce Rolex to someone unfamiliar with its legacy. 904L stainless steel – that is the official name of the alloy, known for its corrosion-resistance.

It is also a very difficult steel alloy to work with because it is very hard, which is why the other watchmakers do not use it. When Rolex shifted to this steel, they had to replace all their major machines – an example to the company’s dedication to exclusivity.

Did you know that Rolex has been part of some of the most challenging experiments and trials of the last century? This is a watch that has reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench and it has also been worn by mountaineers who conquered Mount Everest and swimmers who crossed the Channel. Apart from reaching the ultimate summits and depths of the planet, a Rolex watch has also found its way into a land speed record trial.

The Rolex you plan to wear on your wrist is a reflection of your taste and success. It also represents generations of cutting-edge technology and a Swiss perfection-driven dedication to creating beautiful, valuable pieces of art. Wear one with pride – this is one acquisition that you will remember for posterity.

No comments