Tracing Time: The Complete Rolex History Journey

Tracing Time: The Complete Rolex History Journey

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As we approach the end of March, we, the watch enthusiasts, know all too well that it's that time of the year again. The world's strongest watch brand, Rolex, is set to introduce new models and, simultaneously, discontinue some of its existing ones. For instance, in 2023, they launched several new models like the Oyster Perpetual 'Celebration', the Day-Date 'Puzzle Dial', among others. Concurrently, they discontinued the Rolex Daytona 'John Mayer' dial, the Milgauss, and the meteorite dial Daytona.


This phenomenon actually inspired me to write this comprehensive guide about Rolex history. But before we dive into the details, let's briefly talk about what Rolex is.

Rolex stands as a towering figure in the watchmaking world, akin to a superstar whose brilliance is recognized and revered globally. Just as movie stars captivate audiences with their charisma and talent, Rolex watches draw admiration for their exquisite craftsmanship, timeless elegance, and unparalleled reliability. They are not merely instruments to measure time but are profound symbols of success, achievement, and refined taste. For some, they are investment watches.


Rolex has become the most popular and robust watch brand globally, leading the industry with the highest number of units sold annually. According to the 2022 Morgan Stanley Report, Rolex sold 1.2 million units worldwide, while Cartier, in the following position, sold only 620,000 units. That's indeed a huge gap, isn't it?


The report also highlights that Rolex maintained its dominance as the top Swiss brand, boasting sales of 9.3 billion francs and capturing a 29% market share.

Owning a Rolex is a statement of distinction. It reflects a person's appreciation for the finer things in life and a nod to their accomplishments. Whether it's gracing the wrist of a world leader, a top athlete, an esteemed artist, or a successful entrepreneur, a Rolex watch is a universal symbol of having arrived.

In this blog post titled The Complete Rolex History, we'll dive into the world of Rolex, exploring everything from its rich history to its iconic models. This is shaping up to be another detailed post, similar to the one where I wrote about the history of Casio G-Shock. Please bear with me. I hope you'll learn a lot. To be honest, I'm still learning too. So, let's enjoy this journey together!

Diving Deeper into Rolex's History

1905 - Rolex History Began when Hans Wilsdorf Founded Rolex in London

In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf, a German businessman from Bavaria with a vision, founded Rolex in London. At a time when pocket watches were the norm, Wilsdorf had a different idea. He wanted to create wristwatches that were not only stylish but also precise and reliable. 


This was a challenge because, back then, wristwatches were not as accurate as pocket watches.


Also he believed that pocket watches would completely disappear. He said, "My personal opinion...is that pocket watches will almost completely disappear and that wrist watches will replace them definitively!"

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex
Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex. Source: Rolex

1908 - The Name 'Rolex' was Born

Wilsdorf's vision led to the creation of the first Rolex watch in 1908. The name "Rolex" was chosen because it was easy to pronounce in various languages and looked good on watch dials and movements. Wilsdorf wanted his brand to be easily recognizable and memorable.


He said, “I tried combining the letters of the alphabet in every possible way. This gave me some hundred names, but none of them felt quite right. One morning, while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.”

How did the word Rolex originate?
Source: Rolex

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1910 - The Pursuit of Precision

The first G-Shock watches: G-Shock DW-5000C. Source: g-central.com

In 1910, Rolex achieved a significant milestone. It received the world's first wristwatch chronometer certification, granted in Switzerland. This was a testament to the precision and accuracy of Rolex watches. In 1914, a Rolex watch was awarded a Class A precision certificate by the Kew Observatory in Great Britain. This was an unprecedented achievement for a wristwatch and helped establish Rolex's reputation for precision.

1919 - Moving to Geneva, the Heart of Watchmaking

In 1919, Rolex strategically relocated its headquarters from London to Geneva, Switzerland, largely influenced by the economic aftermath of World War I and the heavy luxury taxes imposed in the UK. This move was pivotal, as Switzerland offered a more favorable economic environment with lower taxes, especially beneficial for luxury goods like high-end watches. Additionally, Switzerland's renowned reputation for precision and craftsmanship in watchmaking presented an ideal setting for Rolex.


This move allowed Rolex to access a pool of skilled artisans, embrace advanced watchmaking technologies, and enhance its brand prestige. Being in Geneva bolstered Rolex's position in the luxury watch market, setting a foundation for its future growth and reinforcing its commitment to quality and precision in an environment celebrated for its horological heritage.

Rolex
Rolex's Geneva Worldwide headquarters in Geneva in 1928. Source: Rolex Magazine

1926 - The Birth of The First Waterproof Wristwatch

The first Rolex Oyster watch from 1926
The first Rolex Oyster watch from 1926. Source: Rolex

In 1926, Rolex achieved a significant milestone in watchmaking by introducing the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, aptly named the "Oyster." This groundbreaking timepiece featured a hermetically sealed case, offering unparalleled protection for the movement inside and setting a new standard in the durability and functionality of wristwatches.

1927 - The Oyster Perpetual's Debut Featuring the Swimmer Mercedes Gleitze

The Debut of the Oyster Perpetual Featuring Mercedes Gleitze, a Fearless Swimmer
The Debut of the Oyster Perpetual Featuring Mercedes Gleitze, a Fearless Swimmer. Source: Rolex

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, was not just a visionary in watchmaking but also a master of marketing. One of the most iconic moments in Rolex's history involved the debut of the Oyster Perpetual, the world's first waterproof wristwatch. To showcase its revolutionary water resistance, Wilsdorf orchestrated a daring publicity stunt with Mercedes Gleitze, a fearless swimmer.


In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze attempted to swim across the English Channel that separates England and France. Wilsdorf seized this opportunity and asked her to wear a Rolex Oyster Perpetual around her neck during the swim. The swim lasted over 10 hours. Although the weather was challenging and Gleitze did not complete the swim, the Rolex Oyster remained in perfect working condition, demonstrating its exceptional water resistance. This event not only proved the watch's durability but also captivated the public's attention, solidifying Rolex's reputation for innovation and quality.


To commemorate this significant achievement and the watch's resilience, Rolex took out a full-page advertisement on the front page of the Daily Mail, proudly announcing the success of their waterproof timepiece. This groundbreaking marketing move not only showcased the watch's durability but also marked the inception of the Testimonee concept, a strategy that Rolex would continue to embrace, highlighting the real-world accomplishments of individuals while showcasing the reliability of their watches.

1931 - The Perpetual Movement

Rolex
Rolex's first self-winding wristwatch movement with a Perpetual rotor. Source: Rolex

In the early 1930s, Rolex continued to cement its reputation as a pioneer in the watchmaking industry with the introduction of the Perpetual movement, a significant advancement that would set new standards for timekeeping precision and convenience. This innovative mechanism, introduced in 1931, revolutionized the world of horology by introducing the first self-winding wristwatch movement with a Perpetual rotor.


The Perpetual movement was a game-changer. It harnessed the kinetic energy generated by the wearer's movements to wind the watch automatically, eliminating the need for manual winding and significantly reducing the wear and tear on the internal components. This not only offered greater convenience for the wearer but also enhanced the accuracy and longevity of the watch.

1935 - Sir Malcolm Campbell 'The King of Speed'

Sir Malcolm Campbell set a world speed record on land in his Bluebird car while wearing a Rolex
Sir Malcolm Campbell set a world speed record on land in his Bluebird car while wearing a Rolex. Source: Rolex

In 1935, Rolex's association with Sir Malcolm Campbell, the "King of Speed," marked a significant chapter in the brand's history. Campbell set a world speed record on land in his Bluebird car while wearing a Rolex, demonstrating the watch's durability and precision under extreme conditions. This collaboration highlighted Rolex's commitment to excellence and adventure, resonating with Campbell's daring spirit. The successful record attempt with a Rolex on his wrist showcased the watch's reliability at speeds over 300 miles per hour, bolstering Rolex's reputation for creating robust and precise timepieces.


Sir Campbell fell in love with Rolex so that he wrote a letter to the brand. “I have now been using my Rolex Watch for a while, and it is keeping perfect time under somewhat strenuous conditions”, Sir Malcolm Campbell.

1945 - The First Datejust

In 1945, Rolex introduced the Datejust, a groundbreaking innovation in the world of horology. This model was the first wristwatch to feature a date function that automatically changed at midnight, a feature that was revolutionary at the time. The Datejust was unveiled to commemorate Rolex's 40th anniversary, encapsulating the brand's commitment to innovation and its pursuit of excellence in watchmaking.


The design of the Datejust set a new standard for elegance and functionality in wristwatches. With its distinctive date display window at the 3 o'clock position, magnified later by Rolex's iconic Cyclops lens, the Datejust combined practicality with sophistication.

The first Datejust
The first Datejust. Source: Rolex

1953 - Rolex Expedition to Everest

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay approaching the highest camp on Everest at 8,500 meters, in May 1953
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay approaching the highest camp on Everest at 8,500 meters, in May 1953. Source: Rolex

In 1953, Rolex marked a monumental moment in its history when its Oyster Perpetual watch accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. This historic event showcased the watch's exceptional durability and reliability in the most extreme conditions.


The dial features subtle radium burns, particularly noticeable where a hand lingered near 5 o'clock. Despite this, the "Officially" in "Officially Certified Chronometer" remains brightly red, and the minutes track is exceptionally sharp. The attractive dagger hands, triangular radium-inlaid indexes, and the small coronet at 12 o'clock enhance its charm.

The Rolex Sir Edmund Hillary Wore To The Peak Of Mount Everest
The Rolex Sir Edmund Hillary Wore To The Peak Of Mount Everest. Source: Hodinkee
The Explorer, launched in 1953, celebrates the historic ascent of Everest.
The Explorer, launched in 1953, celebrates the historic ascent of Everest. Source: Rolex

Following this achievement, Rolex introduced the Explorer, a model inspired by the expedition, designed to embody the ruggedness and precision required for such daring ventures. The successful Everest climb not only solidified Rolex's reputation for producing watches capable of withstanding extreme environments but also underscored its commitment to adventure and exploration.

1953 - The First Rolex Submariner

In 1953, Rolex introduced the Submariner, marking a significant milestone in the world of diving watches. The first Submariner, reference 6204, was unveiled at the Basel Watch Fair, showcasing Rolex's commitment to precision and durability under water. This pioneering timepiece was waterproof up to 100 meters, a remarkable feat at the time.


Its design featured a rotating bezel for divers to monitor their underwater time and a distinctive, easy-to-read dial. The Submariner quickly became synonymous with underwater adventure and precision, establishing itself as an essential tool for divers and a symbol of Rolex's innovative spirit in watchmaking.


The ref. 6204 is truly a “small crown” Submariner – in fact, it is the only Submariner to bear a 5.3mm winding crown.

The first rolex submariner in 1953
The First Rolex Submariner from 1953. Source: Rolex

1953 - Rolex and the Dawn of Intercontinental Flight

In the 1950s, the world of aviation achieved a significant milestone with the first transcontinental flights, connecting distant parts of the world like never before. This era marked a transformative period in travel, making long-distance journeys faster, more efficient, and accessible to a broader audience. 


It was crucial for the first time to track the time in various places around the world simultaneously.


This period marked the dawn of the jet age, a time when air travel expanded the horizons of global connectivity and commerce.


Responding to the needs of this new era, Rolex introduced a groundbreaking timepiece: the GMT-Master

Rolex and the Dawn of Intercontinental Flights
Rolex and the Dawn of Intercontinental Flights. Source: Rolex

1955 - The GMT- Master

The first Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542 from 1955
The first Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542 from 1955

In 1955, Rolex introduced a groundbreaking timepiece that would become an icon in the world of watchmaking: the Rolex GMT-Master. This innovative watch was born out of a practical need for airline pilots to keep track of time in different time zones during the burgeoning era of intercontinental travel. The GMT-Master, with its distinctive fourth hand and rotating 24-hour bezel, allowed wearers to read the time in two time zones simultaneously, a feature that was revolutionary at the time. The original GMT Master models—beginning in 1955—featured a so-called "bakelite" bezel insert that would glow in the dark,

The creation of the GMT-Master was a response to the specific request from Pan American World Airways (Pan Am), who sought a reliable watch for their long-haul flight crews. The GMT-Master's ability to display multiple time zones was not only practical for pilots and international travelers but also symbolized the connectedness of the world in the jet age. With its functional design and robust performance, the Rolex GMT-Master quickly became an essential tool for aviators and a coveted piece for watch enthusiasts, establishing a legacy that continues to influence the watchmaking industry to this day.

Btw, please notice the inside of the case back. Of course, we see the Reference Number 6542, but notice that underneath is says "IV.55", which means the watch case was made in the fourth quarter of 1955.

Rolex GMT-Master Ad in 1955
Rolex GMT-Master Ad in 1955. Source: Rolex

1956 - The Debut of the Day-Date

In 1956, Rolex unveiled an iconic timepiece at the Basel Fair in Switzerland that would set a new benchmark in luxury watchmaking: the Day-Date, reference 6511.


This groundbreaking model, patented by Rolex in 1955, was the first watch to display the date along with the full day of the week. Now, over six decades later, its influence is still celebrated, particularly for features like the distinctive red date wheel and the red Day-Date designation on the dial.


The Rolex Day-Date, known as "The Rolex President," has garnered acclaim and popularity among a diverse array of influential figures, from U.S. presidents like Lyndon B. Johnson to celebrities in sports and entertainment. 

The very first Rolex Day-Date 6511 from 1956
The very first Rolex Day-Date 6511 from 1956. Source: Rolex
The Day-Date Ad
Source: Rolex

1957 - The Lady Datejust

In 1957, Rolex introduced the Lady-Datejust, the feminine counterpart to its celebrated Datejust line, under the reference 6517. 


This model retained the iconic features of the classic Datejust, such as the date display with a Cyclops lens, but was designed with a smaller, more delicate size to appeal to women. 


With meticulous craftsmanship akin to its larger counterparts, the Lady-Datejust, in its various iterations, became a symbol of sophisticated style and Rolex's commitment to excellence in watchmaking for both men and women.

Lady Datejust 6517 from 1957
Lady Datejust 6517 from 1957. Source: Rolex

1960 - Rolex Deep Sea Special

Profile view of the Rolex Deep Sea Special No. 1 being offered by Christie’s this fall. Note, this is as thin as Deep Sea Special’s get.
Profile view of the Rolex Deep Sea Special No. 1 being offered by Christie’s this fall. Note, this is as thin as Deep Sea Special’s get. Source: Hodinkee

In the 1950s, Rolex had an ambitious project to test the limits of watchmaking under extreme conditions. The brand developed an experimental timepiece, the "Deep Sea Special," designed to endure the harshest environments imaginable. Leveraging insights from the development and testing of the first two iterations of this experimental watch, Rolex crafted the third version of the Deep Sea Special. This iteration was engineered specifically to withstand the extraordinary pressures found in the Challenger Deep segment of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in the earth's seabed.

1963 - Rolex Daytona

In 1963, Rolex launched the first Cosmograph Daytona, reference 6239, a timepiece that would become an icon in the realm of motorsports. 


This watch was named after the famous Daytona International Speedway in Florida, renowned for its high-speed auto racing events, including the celebrated Daytona 500. 


The Rolex Daytona was designed with professional racers in mind, featuring a highly readable dial with a tachymetric scale for calculating speed and a precise chronograph function for timing laps.


The affiliation with Daytona International Speedway underscored Rolex's commitment to the world of racing and its continuous pursuit of horological excellence. The introduction of reference 6239 marked a significant moment, establishing a bond between Rolex and the thrilling world of motorsports.

The First Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 from 1963
The First Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 from 1963. Source: Rolex
The Daytona Beach in Florida
The Daytona Beach in Florida. Source: Rolex

1967 - The Sea-Dweller

In 1967, Rolex introduced the first Sea-Dweller, reference 1665, a groundbreaking innovation in the world of diving watches. This remarkable timepiece was designed to meet the demanding requirements of professional deep-sea divers, offering an exceptional water resistance of up to 610 meters (2,000 feet) initially, which was an unprecedented feat at the time. 


The Sea-Dweller stood out with its helium escape valve, a novel feature that allowed helium atoms to escape during decompression, a crucial function for preventing damage during deep saturation dives.

The First Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665
The First Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665. Source: Italian Watch Spotter

1971 - The Explorer II

The First Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 from 1971
The First Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 from 1971. Source: Rolex

In 1971, Rolex introduced the Explorer II, reference 1655, designed specifically for spelunkers and adventurers who required a reliable timepiece in environments where distinguishing between day and night could be challenging. This model built upon the legacy of the original Explorer, enhancing its functionality with a distinctive 24-hour hand and a fixed graduated bezel, allowing wearers to differentiate between AM and PM hours, especially useful in the absence of natural sunlight.

1978 - Sea-Dweller 4000

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 from 1978
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 from 1978. Source: rolexpassionmarket.com

In 1978, Rolex expanded its prowess in the world of professional diving watches by introducing the Sea-Dweller 4000, reference 1665. This model, an evolution of its predecessors, set a new standard in underwater timekeeping with its remarkable water resistance of up to 4,000 feet (1,220 meters). The Sea-Dweller 4000 was designed to meet the rigorous demands of professional deep-sea divers, offering unparalleled durability and functionality.

1985 - 904L Steel Family

In 1985, Rolex set a new standard in the watchmaking industry by adopting a specially developed material known as Oystersteel, which belongs to the 904L steel family. This innovative move made Rolex the first watchmaking brand to use this type of steel, commonly utilized in high-technology fields like aerospace and chemical industries. Oystersteel is renowned for its exceptional corrosion resistance, which ensures Rolex maintains its beauty and structural integrity even when exposed to harsh environments. Beyond its durability, Oystersteel is prized for its exceptional sheen, allowing Rolex watches to retain their luster and aesthetic appeal over time, distinguishing them in the realm of luxury timepieces.

Rolex use 904L family
Source: Rolex

1992 - The Yacht-Master was Born

In 1992, Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master, reference 16628, marking the brand's foray into the world of luxury nautical timepieces. This model was designed for the seafaring lifestyle, combining Rolex's renowned precision and durability with an elegant aesthetic suitable for yacht decks and club lounges alike.


The 16628 featured a solid 18k yellow gold case and bracelet, a bidirectional rotatable bezel, and a distinct dial, all designed to meet the demands of professional sailors while exuding a sense of sophistication.


This new model reinforced the ties between Rolex and the sailing world.

Yacht-Master 16628 from 1992
Yacht-Master 16628 from 1992. Source: Amsterdam Vintage Watches

2000 - Introducing the 4130 Movement

Rolex 4130 movement from 2000
Rolex 4130 movement from 2000. Source: Rolex

In 2000, Rolex achieved a significant milestone in its history by introducing the Caliber 4130, a new in-house chronograph movement that showcased the brand's commitment to innovation and precision. This movement was first featured in the Rolex Daytona, marking a new era for one of Rolex's most iconic models.


The Caliber 4130 was a breakthrough for several reasons. It was designed with fewer components than a standard chronograph movement, enhancing its reliability and simplifying maintenance. The movement also boasted a more efficient architecture, including a vertical clutch mechanism that allowed the chronograph function to operate with minimal impact on the watch's precision. Additionally, the Caliber 4130 featured a longer power reserve of 72 hours, significantly improving user convenience.

2005 - Say Hi to Cerachrom Bezel

In 2005, Rolex achieved a significant technological milestone with the development of the Cerachrom bezel, a cutting-edge innovation in the watchmaking industry. This new bezel, crafted from a special ceramic material, was engineered for enhanced durability and resistance to scratches and ultraviolet rays, preventing it from fading over time. Its ultra-hard, corrosion-resistant properties, combined with the ability to retain its color and sheen even in the harshest conditions, set a new standard in the longevity and beauty of luxury watches.

Rolex

2007 - Rolex Yacht-Master 2

Rolex Yacht-Master 2 ref. 116688 from 2007
Rolex Yacht-Master 2 ref. 116688 from 2007. Source: Chrono24

In 2007, Rolex unveiled the Yacht-Master II, reference 116688, introducing the world's first watch equipped with a programmable countdown and a mechanical memory. 


This groundbreaking feature, crucial for yacht racing, enables skippers to time their start with unparalleled precision. The innovative countdown function is integrated with Rolex's patented Ring Command system, which allows the wearer to set the countdown duration via the watch's rotatable bezel.

2012 - The Sky-Dweller Takes Flight

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326935 from 2012
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326935 from 2012. Source: Bobswatches

In 2012, Rolex introduced an innovative addition to its esteemed collection: the Sky-Dweller, a technological marvel designed with the world traveler in mind. 


This new model offers a dual time zone display that is both intuitive to read and straightforward to use, catering to the needs of globetrotters who navigate multiple time zones. 


Furthermore, the Sky-Dweller features a unique annual calendar, named Saros after the astronomical cycle that inspired it, which stands out for its simplicity, requiring just one date adjustment per year. 


To enhance user-friendliness, the Sky-Dweller is equipped with Rolex's innovative Ring Command system, an interface that allows for the quick and easy setting of its various functions. 

2012 - The Rolex Deepsea Challenge

In 2012, Rolex unveiled the Deepsea Challenge, an experimental diving watch that set a new benchmark in the world of underwater timekeeping. 


Certified waterproof up to an astonishing depth of 12,000 meters (39,370 feet), the Deepsea Challenge was entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex to withstand the intense pressures found in the ocean's most profound depths. 

Rolex Deepsea Challenge
Source: National Geographic

2013 - The Two-Color Cerachrom Bezel

In 2013, Rolex set a new benchmark in watchmaking with the introduction of the GMT-Master II, reference 116710BLNR, which featured an innovative two-color Cerachrom bezel in blue and black ceramic. This design was not only visually captivating but also a technical breakthrough, representing the first successful combination of two colors on a single-piece ceramic component. 


A year later, Rolex expanded this pioneering approach by releasing a version with a red and blue ceramic insert, further demonstrating their expertise in ceramic technology. 

The first two-color cerachrom bezel done by Rolex. Source: rolex
The first two-color cerachrom bezel done by Rolex. Source: Rolex

2015 - Introducing the Calibre 3255

In 2015, Rolex introduced the calibre 3255, a new-generation mechanical movement that significantly enhanced the performance of the Day-Date 40. This advanced movement set new benchmarks in several critical aspects of watchmaking, including precision, power reserve, reliability, and resistance to shocks and magnetism. 


Additionally, the calibre 3255 was designed with a focus on user convenience, simplifying the adjustment process. One of the most notable improvements was its extended power reserve, which reached up to three days (approximately 70 hours), a 50 percent increase over its predecessor

Rolex
Source: Rolex

2015 - Introducing the Oysterflex Bracelet

Rolex unveiled a groundbreaking addition to its bracelet lineup with the introduction of the Oysterflex, first launched on the Yacht-Master's black and 18 ct Everose gold version. This innovative bracelet, developed and patented by Rolex, skillfully merges the durability and reliability of a metal bracelet with the flexibility, comfort, and sleek design of an elastomer strap. Central to the Oysterflex design is a superelastic metal blade that is overmoulded with a high-performance black elastomer, offering a unique combination of strength and comfort.

Rolex
Source: Rolex

2015 - Redefined the Superlative Chronometer Certification

Superlative Chronometer Certification
Source: Time and Tide

In 2015, Rolex redefined its standards of excellence by enhancing the Superlative Chronometer certification for all its watches. 


This prestigious certification is a testament to the watch undergoing a series of rigorous tests by Rolex, according to its own stringent criteria, which exceed the norms and standards of the watchmaking industry. 


The Superlative Chronometer status not only underscores the watch's exceptional precision, power reserve, waterproofness, and self-winding efficiency but also comes with an international five-year guarantee

2017 - Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Rolex  became the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2017
Rolex became the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2017. Source: senatus.net

In 2017, Rolex solidified its longstanding connection with the world of cinema by becoming the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the prestigious organization behind the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles since 1929. 


This partnership underscored Rolex's iconic status in the film industry, where its timepieces have appeared in numerous legendary movies over the decades. Additionally, Rolex took on the role of Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, demonstrating its commitment to preserving the rich history of cinema. 


No wonder that Rolex had an ad during the previous Oscars 2024.

2019 - Premium Partner and Official Timekeeper of Roland-Garros

In 2019, Rolex expanded its prestigious association with the world of tennis by becoming a Premium Partner and Official Timekeeper of Roland-Garros, renowned as the only Grand Slam® tournament played on clay. 


This partnership was a significant addition to Rolex's longstanding involvement in tennis, which began in 1978 with its collaboration with The Championships, Wimbledon. 


Over the years, Rolex has deepened its commitment to tennis, establishing partnerships with all four Grand Slam® tournaments.

Rolex became a Premium Partner and Official Timekeeper of Roland-Garros in 2019
Rolex became a Premium Partner and Official Timekeeper of Roland-Garros in 2019. Source: Rolex

2021 - Official Partner and Official Timekeeper of the PGA Championship


In 2021, Rolex deepened its commitment to golf by renewing its partnership with the PGA of America, becoming the Official Partner and Timekeeper of the PGA Championship. This relationship aligns Rolex with the most esteemed tournaments in golf, including all men's and women's Majors and The Ryder Cup. The PGA Championship, exclusive to professional players, features the world's top 100 golfers and underscores Rolex's dedication to the sport's highest standards of excellence and competition.

Rolex became the Official Partner and Official Timekeeper of the PGA Championship
Rolex became the Official Partner and Official Timekeeper of the PGA Championship Source: usa.watchpro.com

2022 - The Platinum Day-Date with a Fluted Bezel

The platinum Day‑Date with a fluted bezel
Source: Rolex

In 2022, Rolex unveiled a groundbreaking innovation: the first Day-Date 40 crafted in 950 platinum, complete with a fluted bezel made from the same prestigious metal. This marked a significant milestone as, traditionally, Rolex's fluted bezels were crafted in gold. Years of meticulous research and development were invested to adapt the intricate guillochage technique, used to create the iconic fluting, to platinum, known as the "finest of metals." 

2022 - The Launch of the Deepsea Challenge

Launch of the Deepsea Challenge
Source: Rolex

In 2022, Rolex unveiled the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge, a watch that embodies the brand's pioneering spirit in underwater exploration. 


This remarkable timepiece is inspired by the experimental watch Rolex developed for James Cameron's historic 2012 dive to the Mariana Trench's deepest point. The Deepsea Challenge represents a culmination of Rolex's extensive experience and expertise in crafting diver's watches. 


Made from RLX titanium, a material chosen for its exceptional strength and corrosion resistance, the watch is equipped with a helium escape valve and the innovative Ringlock system, ensuring its functionality in various diving conditions, from open water to hyperbaric chambers. With a waterproof rating of 11,000 meters (36,090 feet), the Deepsea Challenge sets a new benchmark in deep-sea exploration, continuing Rolex's legacy of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the watchmaking world.

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