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Information about watchmaker Rolex

Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905. Wilsdorf improved the standards for watch making and strived for smaller and more accurate movements that transformed style and fashion. It wasn't until 1908 that Wilsdorf trademarked the name Rolex, which is easily pronounced in different languages and short enough to fit on a watch dial.

Rolex distribute and service high quality wristwatches and these are sold under both the Rolex and Tudor brands.

The three lines that Rolex have produced are Oyster, Professional and Cellini. The Cellini line is more 'dressy' than their other watch lines.

In 1910, Rolex sent their first movement to the School of Horology in Switzerland and was awarded the world's first wristwatch chronometer rating.

Wilsdorf recognized two major requirements for watches: (1) to keep accurate time; and (2) to be reliable.

In 1923, the first self winding (automatic) Rolex wristwatch was available to the public, followed by the development of the original quartz watch movement.

Rolex's big breakthrough came in 1926 when Wilsdorf developed a case that was both impervious and waterproof. The secret was a revolutionary double-locking crown that screwed down on the case like a submarine hatch to create an airtight seal. The idea for the design came to Wilsdorf after he had had difficulty prying open an oyster at a dinner party, which led to his creation being named the Rolex Oyster. They are still known for defying the elements - they are waterproof, heatproof, vibration proof, cold proof and dust proof!

The Rolex Prince was developed in 1928 and became a best seller with it's dual dial and rectangular case. A Rolex Prince will always fetch a good price at auction.

Not long after, in 1931, Rolex introduced a 'perpetual' rotor that rewound a watch with every flick of the wearer's wrist, which was called the Oyster Perpetual. It is very popular and collectable today. It is is waterproof with a tiny engine that is powered every time the wearer moves their arm.

There have been changes over the years, but it's all in the detail. A 1945 Rolex 'Datejust' compared to a 1998 'Datejust' illustrates this: the outward design has evolved marginally.

The price of a Rolex wristwatch can vary according to the model and the materials used.

Today, Rolex continues to be at the forefront of the watch making industry.

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Rolex Related Lots

Lot FS36/157

Lot FS36/157: Rolex. A Lady's 18ct Gold Wristwatch

Rolex. A lady's 18ct gold wristwatch the dial with baton markers and date aperture on a textured 18ct gold, President bracelet stamped 'Rolex', 60gms gross weight, together with 'Rolex' box, guarantee pamphlet and spare link.

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200
Realised: £2,700

Lot FS36/162

Lot FS36/162: Rolex. A Gentleman's Mid-size 9ct Gold Wristwatch

Rolex. A gentleman's mid-size 9ct gold wristwatch the 'quartered' circular dial 25mm diameter with Arabic numerals and subsidiary seconds dial, the movement with backplate inscribed 'Rolex 15 rubies', the winding cog with 'Patented Superbalance', in a 9ct gold cushion-shaped case 30mm wide, 33mm wide including winder, with hallmarks for Chester 1940 and on tan leather strap.

Estimate: £400 - £500
Realised: £520

Lot FS36/170

Lot FS36/170: Rolex. A Lady's 'Rolex' Wristwatch

Rolex. A lady's 'Rolex' wristwatch the circular 'rose gold' colour circular dial 15mm diameter with black Roman numerals, the movement inscribed 'Rolex Swiss 18 rubies timed 6 positions' and with winding cog inscribed 'Patented Superbalance', in an 18ct gold case with Swiss control marks and numbered on the outside '53566 3735' on a gold plated and stainless steel expanding bracelet.

Estimate: £200 - £300
Realised: £260

Lot FS36/167

Lot FS36/167: Rolex. A Lady's 18ct Gold Cased Wristwatch

Rolex. A lady's 18ct gold cased wristwatch the rectangular dial 11mm x 10mm in case with presentation initials dated '1954' on a gilt metal bracelet.

Estimate: £100 - £150
Realised: £280

Lot FS28/115

Lot FS28/115: Thomas Russell and Son. A Gentleman's 9ct Gold Cased Keyless Lever Hunter Pocket Watch

Thomas Russell and Son. A gentleman's 9ct gold cased keyless lever hunter pocket watch, the white enamel dial with Roman numerals and subsidiary seconds dial in a plain gold case.

Estimate: £250 - £300
Realised: £300

Lot FS27/167

Lot FS27/167: Rolex. A Gentleman's 18ct Gold 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day Date Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified' Wristwatch

Rolex. A gentleman's 18ct gold 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day Date Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified' wristwatch, the gold colour circular dial 30mm diameter with baton markers, centre seconds hand, date and days of the week apertures, in an 18ct gold case, the bezel subsequently set with circular brilliant-cut diamonds, the case numbered 1803, 5018714 and on a textured bracelet.

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000
Realised: £4,000

Lot FS27/256

Lot FS27/256: Rolex. A Gentleman's Stainless Steel 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified' Wristwatch

Rolex. A gentleman's stainless steel 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified' wristwatch, the circular black dial with luminescent 'Mercedes' hands and markers, magnified date aperture and revolving 'Pepsi' bezel on steel bracelet.

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200
Realised: £3,900

Lot FS27/165

Lot FS27/165: A Gentleman's 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual' Wristwatch

A gentleman's 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual' wristwatch with circular, white enamel dial on black leather strap.

Estimate: £1,300 - £1,500
Realised: £2,000

Lot FS27/257

Lot FS27/257: Rolex. A Gentleman's Rolex Oyster Perpetual 200m = 660ft Submariner' Wristwatch

Rolex. A gentleman's Rolex Oyster Perpetual 200m = 660ft Submariner' wristwatch the circular black dial with luminescent 'Mercedes' hands, centre seconds in a stainless steel case with black revolving bezel on stainless steel bracelet.

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500
Realised: £3,400

Lot FS27/158

Lot FS27/158: Rolex. A Lady's Diamond Mounted Cocktail Wristwatch

Rolex. A lady's diamond mounted cocktail wristwatch the signed cushion-shaped dial with Arabic numerals, the movement with 'Prima' winding cog in an 18ct white gold case on a 9ct white gold mesh-link bracelet.

Estimate: £450 - £550
Realised: £800

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