Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex has become the world’s leading luxury watch brand. Made in Switzerland, the brand’s catalogue ranges from dress watches like the Datejust to sports watches like the Yacht-Master.
Several Rolex watches were developed in the mid-20th century as tools for specific audiences, such as the Submariner for divers, the GMT-Master for pilots, and the Daytona for racecar drivers. These designs have not only remained largely unchanged over the decades but have also set the standard for what consumers expect certain watches to look like and perform. Modern Rolex watches run on movements made in-house. They’re also certified as chronometers by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
Pre-owned Rolex watches are highly popular in the secondary market thanks to their iconic designs and historical pedigree, with demand fueled by an active Rolex collecting community. As a result, second-hand Rolex watches can appreciate over time. The brand is noted for making timepieces that generally hold value better than those produced by almost any other watchmaker.
Classic watches with date windows on the dial, magnified by the Cyclops lens.
Ultra-luxurious watches in gold or platinum with day and date indicators on the dial.
Time-only watches with water-resistant cases and automatic movements.
Diving watches with rotating timing bezels.
Pilot watches with GMT functionality and rotating 24-hour bezels.
Chronograph watches with tachymeter bezels and three subdials.
Time-only sports watches with black dials.
Stainless steel sports watches with GMT functionality.
Antimagnetic watches with resistance to 1,000 gauss.
Saturation diving watches with rotating timing bezels and helium escape valves.
Extreme diving watches that are water-resistant to 3,900 metres deep.
Sports watches with time-only dials and automatic movements.
Nautical-inspired sports watches with rotating timing bezels.
Regatta chronograph watches with mechanical memory.
Annual calendar watches with date and month indicators and two time-zone displays.
Women’s jewelry watches in gold or platinum and embellished with diamonds.
Traditional dress watches with precious metal cases.
Rolex produces many of the materials it needs to build watches. For instance, Rolex has a foundry onsite to cast 18k gold. Many of the materials Rolex uses are alloys exclusive to the brand, complete with special names. What’s more, Rolex has had a long history of giving names to its inventions and patented products.
The 904L stainless steel alloy used to make Rolex watches.
Rolex exclusively uses 18k gold to make watches. Can be yellow, white or Everose.
Rolex’s rose gold alloy that promises to never fade.
Rolex’s term for watches that combine stainless steel and gold. Can be Yellow, White, or Everose.
Rolex exclusively uses 950 platinum to make watches.
Rolex’s proprietary ceramic material used to fashion bezels.
Thanks to classic designs, continuous improvements, and catchy names, Rolex bracelets are almost as iconic as the watches they’re paired with.
The vast majority of Rolex watches run on automatic movements. The wearer’s natural wrist motions cause a rotor inside the movement to move back and forth, which subsequently winds up the mainspring that provides energy to the watch. Automatic Rolex movements are known as Perpetual movements.
Rolex has in the past made manual-winding and quartz-powered watches. While manual-winding watches require the wearer to turn the crown to hand-wind the movement, quartz watches rely on batteries for power.
Today, Rolex makes all of its movements (also known as calibers) in-house. Rolex calibers are chronometer-rated by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute or Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) to ensure precision and accuracy. However, as of 2015, Rolex redefined its “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” designation to guarantee a precision rate of -2/+2 seconds per day — which is more than double the requirement of an official chronometer.
Time and date movement
Time, date, and day movement
Two time zones, date, and GMT movement.
Time and chronograph movement.
Two time zones, date, month, and annual calendar movement.