The Rolex Universe

The Rolex universe is endlessly fascinating. Simultaneously part of popular culture, while setting the standard for prestige watch-making across the globe, Rolex has many hidden depths. Here at S&R London Jewellers, we are renowned for our expertise knowledge on this iconic brand, with over a century’s experience of working with Rolex watches. We have a great collection of pre-owned Rolex watches for men and ladies both online, and in-store. Let’s take a look at 10 things you didn’t know about this awe-inspiring Swiss watch brand...

1 - Rolex's London Connection

As a luxury London Jewellers who sell pre-owned Rolex watches, we’re not altogether surprised about Rolex’s London connection. Operating in London in 1905 as a watch assembler, the company used to import quality Swiss watch parts assemble them into English watch cases. Costly taxes forced them to close their UK office for good, and in 1919, settle in Switzerland.

2 - Is that a Wilsdorf you're wearing?

Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, opened Wilsdorf & Davis Ltd in London in 1905. In 1908, Hans Wilsdorf then opened a Swiss office with the registered trademark ‘Rolex’, and adopted the Rolex brand name in 1915.

3 - The serious science behind Rolex R&D

The Rolex Research & Development department is spread out across its different facilities, from chemistry labs for lubricant development, to gas spectrometers and electron microscopes that are used to analyse the quality of metal they are using.

4 - All Rolex watches are made in-house

A Rolex is a thing of great beauty many moving parts, of which most are made in-house. Built by hand at their Swiss workshop and factory, these expert watchmakers then test every watch by hand. When the full list of processes is set out end to end, it takes Rolex almost a full year to make every watch.

5 - Rolex diving watch. A first!

Rolex has been behind some watchmaking firsts – grabbing the patents at the same time. 1926 saw the first-ever waterproof Oyster watch, the world’s first self-winding watch with a date display on the dial. With the Datejust in 1945, followed by the the Submariner in 1953, Rolex created the first diving watch which was water-resistant to a 100m depth.

6 - Rolex and the British Air Force

The next two things you didn’t know are more closely connected than you might think at first sight. During WWII, many RAF officers wore Rolex as their watch of choice. When captured behind enemy lines, the German Army would seek out their wristwatch as there was a good chance it’d be a Rolex. The Rolex watch then became a status symbol within the British Air Force. But how could British RAF officers afford a Rolex?

7 - Rolex in the 80s

The 1980s were all about things, shiny things that cost money. It was about what you could buy and brand labels that made you look good, meaning spending money like there was no tomorrow. So after the war, when Rolex became the watch of the moment, both the demand and price went sky high. This also explains why Rolex had been in reach of officers’ pockets back in the 1940s.

8 - Rolex and Kew Gardens 

Historically, watchmakers wanted their marine chronometers to be certified independently. The astronomical observatory at Kew offered the most rigorous testing, offering an A-class certificate only to best in class. In 1914, Kew awarded its A-class to Rolex for the first time to watch no. 492282.  In the 1940s, Rolex submitted around 145 small watch movements to Kew for testing, with 136 certified as Kew A-class. 122 were placed in 32mm steel watches 24 in 34mm gold watch cases, creating some of the most highly coveted Rolex ever produced.

9 - The Rolex safe 

The Rolex safe is situated deep underground. Every piece in the safe has been both scanned and catalogued, with a unique serial number attributed to each movement produced. These serial numbers are matched with a box that bears the same number, which are then photographed. Access to the safe is secured via an iris scanner.

10 - Shine bright like a diamond with Rolex 

Rolex’s gemologists buy, test, and set the precious stones that are used in several models. Rolex will only use diamonds that are of IF clarity between D G in colour grade. To learn more about diamonds and the 4C's, discover our guide.

Pre-owned Rolex watches at Suttons & Robertsons Jewellers London

Sometimes, it can be hard to find the Rolex model that you are looking for brand new. Here at S&R London Jewellers, we offer a great selection of pre-owned Rolex watches for ladies and gents. Browse our pre-owned Rolex watch collection online today, or feel free to visit us in store to view our range in-person. 

We are also renowned for our collection of pre-owned luxury watches from world leading brands such as RolexTUDORTAG HeuerGucciBvlgariBreitlingCartier and more. Discover all pre-owned watches for ladies and gents at S&R London by clicking here

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