Leave alone rumors and stories, the Rolex brand has a rich history that very few people know about. Here is the fascinating story about Rolex.
Did you know that Rolex didn’t start out in Switzerland? Did you know that it didn’t start out as a watchmaking company? Well, founded by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother in law Alfred Davis, the famous watchmaking company began in London and started out as a watch assembling company. In 1905, they used to import Swiss movements which they assembled into the English watch bodies. Later on, they were sold to jewelers who rebranded and sold them.
In 1908, they realized that they could make more profit by manufacturing their own watches. In 1919, they moved their headquarters from London to Geneva. As one of the top watches brands, it’s quite surprising that Rolex was originally founded by Hans Wilsdorf and later on moved to Geneva in 1919. According to Wilsdorf, they chose the name because it was not only short and attractive but could also be pronounced in any language. He also believed that this was the sound that it produced when it was being rounded.
Rolex was the most preferred watch by the British Royal Airforce during the Second World War, but when they were shot down the Nazis took their watches. Upon finding out, Wilsdorf said that any Rolexes that has been lost by the British Royal Army during the war will be replaced. Due to the quality of the watches and the confidence of victory, Rolex became a status symbol among the British and the American air force. They were also the first waterproof watches and the first certified chronometer.
The fascinating thing about this is watch is perhaps not known. This can be attributed to the fact that the firm has a very secretive culture. Are you aware that The Holy Trinity Church found in Geneva has a watch that has been working for past 148 years? During these years, a Rolex representative comes every Wednesday to check and wind it. This is because Hans Wilsdorf was church member hence he made a commitment to look at the clock and unwind it since 1940. He made this personal commitment hence will continue to be done. As compared to other watches, Rolex has the same size, texture, and consistency. This is to accurately provide a good measure of time.
A few facts about Rolex
· Over 2800 people are employed by Rolex.
· 2000 watches are produced by Rolex every day.
· Rolex is not a public owned company.
· Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex owner also owns Montres Tudor USA which was produced 1946 for the first time.
· They usually make watches with an in-house movement.
· Sir Jackie Steward, an ex-formula one driver has been advertising watch since 1960.
· To replace their inferior watches issued by the government, WWII RAF pilots bought Rolex.
· They were the same people whose watches were taken by the Germans. When Hans heard about this he decided to replace their watches. Over 3000 RAF members ordered for replacements.
· In 1996 a Rolex watch on the hand of the murdered Ronald Platt helped in arresting Albert Johnson, the murderer.
At one time, Rolex manufactured several modified submariners meant for the Ministry of Defense. These were given to the SBS members and the royal navy drivers. They then sold them after they were removed from the service. Since they were redesigned with military bezels, sword hands, field bars among others, most people did not like them. In fact, they could even be sold at 25 sterling pounds per dozen tray. Interestingly, some enterprising guys could purchase them and then put them into civilian make by changing hands and adding spring bars. By doing this, they were able to dispose of them in the market.
Later on, the military started collecting watches. Because of this, they were now worth a good amount of money in their original make. In fact, a good authentic UK Royal Navy Rolex Submariner would fetch around $150,000 to $200,000 today. This a far much better than the $40
Rolex can be given as charity
While this is a bit exaggerated, Rolex is owned by Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a company which is registered as a charity. Although it was started by Hans, he transferred all the company’s shares to the firm because of lack of heirs. Since they are not allowed to reveal the financial data, it’s a bit hard to know the exact amount of money which was donated. However, most of the earnings were reinvested. It’s a fact that there is no person who is profiting from Rolex.
In 1952, Ian Fleming settled on Rolex for the character James bond for his novel Casino Royale. However, it’s not yet clear which model he chose. More so, Albert Cubby Broccoli removed Rolex from his wrist and loanded it to the art department in the first big screen version of the Bond legacy. It’s believed that it was a submariner with no crown guards, a very large crown, black crocodile strap and coin edge bezel. However, just like the novel, it’s hard to know the specific model. It could be 5510, 6200, 6538 or6538A. It’s the same watch that James bind also had in Goldfinger, From Russia with love and Thunder ball. Even though nobody knows where the watch could be, it’s believed that it could be worth a lot of money now.
According to Rogwagner, he paid about $5000 for a used Submariner 20 years ago which was a very good watch. Interestingly, two years later he purchased a fake Rolex in NYC for $240 that he thought was the same as his. When he took the watches to a jeweler he was told that only a keen eye and trained jeweler could pinpoint the difference between the watches. He, therefore, disposed of the real one but remained with the fake one.
The difference between Rolex and other companies is that they spend a lot of cash on advertising. For instance, a few years ago it spent over $50,000,000 on advertisements alone. The second company to spend $27000000 was Breitling. With such a lot of money being spent on advertisement, almost everyone has heard about Rolex. More so, ads usually control the media and no writers will give bad reviews to their best advertisers. However, objectively Rolex is neither the best nor the costliest brand. It’s just a mediocre entry luxury brand.
In the actual sense they’ve been very expensive. In the past 40 years they’ve been getting even more expensive. In fact, they’ve not shown any sign of slowing down in the near future.
Anyway, this absolutely stunning high-end watch deserves the best accessory that can be done for it. And yes, it can complemented with the perfectly fitting watch band, crafted to order by hand, in Finland, new high-quality watch band brand from FinWatchStraps.