To no other brand are as many myths and fallacies in circulation as to Rolex. No wonder, after all, there is not much talk about any other watch brand in the world. It does not even matter if you are a member of the globally networked Rolex community or if you have no connection to the brand. Rolex knows everyone and the brand at least a few stories about the crown brand – here are just a few of the most common errors about the watch manufacturer with the famous five-pronged crown, which is not only brand emblem but also symbolizes the radiance of Rolex excellently.
Myth 1: Rolex is the world’s most expensive luxury watch brand.
While Rolex entry-level models – such as the Oyster or Datejust in stainless steel – are located in the middle four-digit euro range, in the case of Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Söhne, prices are even higher for simpler three-hand watches. Even in auctions, Rolex Lots not necessarily the end of the flagpole achieved: The most expensive ever Rolex Ronda Daytona Albino scored with a price of about $ 1.4 million, just one-tenth of the price of Patek Philippe Supercomplication.
Myth 2: Rolex is a Swiss-American watch manufacturer.
Headquartered in Geneva, Rolex manufactures all watches in Switzerland – and this includes both the manufacture of the movements, as well as the assembly and subsequent certification. The fact that Rolex is often associated with the English-speaking world today is partly because the company was once founded in London. On the other hand, Rolex has always pursued a global corporate strategy with a focus on the US and UK. However, although Rolex has been very successful in the US, especially since the 1950s and 1960s, with offices and even its own training facility in the United States, the main locations are all in Switzerland, namely Geneva and Biel.
Myth 3: Rolex introduced the first testing center for clock accuracy certification.
Already in the 18th century, some observatories observed the running of pocket watches over a longer period. The reason was that shipping needed the most accurate timepieces to be able to determine the longitude on the high seas by comparing the position of the sun and the time of day.
However, Rolex was the first watchmaker to use such a wristwatch technique. Company founder Hans Wilsdorf quickly realized that the future belonged to the wristwatch and therefore drove forward the technical progress in the production of not only small but at the same time as accurate as possible accurate clock significantly.
Myth 4: A Rolex can be traded to its full value in cash anytime, anywhere in the world.
Rolex watches are indeed as liquid as the timepiece of any other manufacturer. One can even go so far as to say that Rolex watches have in some ways agreed as a substitute currency. But, of course, the possibility of exchange in cash also has limitations: A Rolex, for example, can only reach their actual exchange value if the other person also knows the actual exchange value.
At the same time, a potential buyer always wants to be mostly sure that it is also an original. If experts are not always able to distinguish good counterfeits from originals, it can not be assumed that, at the other end of the world, an accurate estimate of originality and actual market value can always be made.
Myth 5: The Rolex Oyster was the world’s first waterproof watch.
With reference to the Oyster is also spoken of the “first fully waterproof wristwatch”. It should be noted that the water tightness of a watch is always a relative term (which is why it is usually given in bars or meters). Efforts to protect watches from water are almost as old as the history of the mechanical watch itself.
The first housing to be designated as watertight was already presented in the middle of the 19th century. However, the names that emerged today have largely disappeared from the watch world. Surprisingly, there is also a name here with Heuer, which is not so often associated in connection with the development of the waterproof clock today. In fact, in 1895, it was one of the first manufacturers to patent a watertight pocket watch case.
The possibly first waterproof wristwatch was commercially marketed in 1915 by Depollier. Although it was probably before the Rolex Oyster waterproof watches, Rolex patented the waterproof wristwatch and delivered with the record attempt by Mercedes Gleitze also equal to the corresponding waterproofness detection. Although not necessarily the very first manufacturer of waterproof wristwatches, it can be summarized that Rolex significantly boosted the production of watertight watches in mass production and was probably the main impulse that waterproof watches in the 1960s finally gained widespread acceptance.
Myth 6: Rolex never delivered to other manufacturers.
It used to be quite customary among clock manufacturers to purchase clockwork components, entire blanks or other components from one another – not only to save costs for the development of these components but also to be able to react quickly to changing demand conditions. Rolex has always been a bit more isolated and independent in the manufacturing process than most other brands.
It is therefore often assumed that Rolex never produced watches for other manufacturers. There is an exception here. These are the highly sought after, California models Rolex not only under the name Rolex but also produced in the 1930s in a small series for Panerai. Incidentally, the name California does not appear in this context until the 1970s. At that time, vintage Rolex models, in particular, were reworked by a California-based company and – to make the watches more desirable – equipped with such a bi-font dial.
Myth 7: Rolex has never made works from other manufacturers.
Granted, for real Rolex connoisseurs, it’s nothing new that the Daytona collection has long been supplied with raw materials from Valjoux and later from Zenith (El Primero). However, the misconception persists that Rolex has never moved from other manufacturers. Probably because Rolex today embodies the concept of a largely autonomous watch manufacturer like no other manufactory. Incidentally, this does not detract from the value of Daytona’s Day, as the “Paul Newman” references 6239 and 6263 are among the most sought-after Rolex models today.
Myth 8: Rolex invented the automatic elevator.
Already in the second half of the 18th century, so long before Rolex was founded, there were pocket watches with automatic lifts. Especially Abraham Louis Perrelet and Hubert Sarton are called fathers of the automatic clock. The first watch received an automatic movement in 1924 and was designed by British watchmaker John Harwood.
The Harwood rotor rotates only 300 degrees until it strikes, which is why the mechanism is better known today under the name Hammer automatic. Rolex then upgraded the Harwood elevator concept and built the first wristwatch rotor that swings a full 360 degrees, optimally energizing the factory.