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Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

ROLEX (SWITZERLAND)

Ask anyone, anywhere, to name a luxury watch brand, and the answer will probably be “Rolex.” This enviable worldwide recognition can be credited in part to the genius of company founder Hans Wilsdorf. When the German-born watch dealer and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, set up their London enterprise, in 1905, they called it Wilsdorf & Davis, according to the traditional formula.


But Wilsdorf was determined to come up with another name that was short, would look good on a watch dial and was easy to say and remember in several languages. In 1908, he trademarked the name Rolex, and by 1920, he had moved the company to Geneva and redubbed it as Montres Rolex S.A.


But the main reasons for the brand’s success are its commitment to precision and unflagging pursuit of innovation. In 1926, the company introduced the aptly named Oyster model. With a screw-down crown and case back, both fitted with rubber gaskets, this was the first truly waterproof watch.


Five years later, Rolex upped the ante with the Oyster Perpetual. That model’s patented Perpetual movement contained a rotor mechanism enabling it to self-wind. In another trendsetting move, in 1945, the brand debuted the Datejust, with a date window prominently displayed on the dial.


The company’s two most iconic models are sports watches. Although the Submariner, which debuted in 1953, was developed as a dive watch, its waterproof case, solid construction and good looks made it a favorite of adventurers and urbanites alike, including James Bond, who wore it in classics like Dr. No and Goldfinger. The Daytona, the racing chronograph made famous by Paul Newman, is especially sought after by collectors. Newman’s personal Daytona, which hit the auction block in 2017, sold for $17.8 million.


Find vintage and contemporary Rolex watches, bracelets and more on 1stDibs.

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1940s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Bubble Back Wristwatch Steel Rose Gold Automatic
By Rolex
Located in Baden-Baden, DE
Unisex Rolex Oyster Perpetual bubble back wristwatch Stainless steel, polished and satin-finished Diameter without crown: 34 mm = circa 1.33" Height 12,8 mm = circa 0.50" B...
Category

1940s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

Materials

Stainless Steel

100th Birthday Rolex Gold Coin Set Hans Wilsdorf, 1881-1981
By Rolex
Located in CH
Rolex gold coin Hans Wilsdorf Was coined for the 100th birthday of the Rolex founder in 1981 Full set incl. Lead pencil (probably 14 carat gold, 3 grams) Set comprising: 10 ...
Category

1980s Swiss Art Deco Vintage Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

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Vintage Men's Rolex Datejust Oyster Wristwatch Stainless Steel and Gray Dial
By Rolex
Located in Philadelphia, PA
An iconic Classic, this Rolex Datejust model dates to 1971, and truly looks amazing. It features a beautiful gray dial with stick markers, smooth bezel, and stainless Oyster bracelet...
Category

1970s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

Materials

Stainless Steel

Rolex Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold Two-Tone Ladies Datejust Wristwatch
By Rolex
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A beautiful ladies estate watch made by Rolex and produced in the 1980's. A timeless and iconic DateJust featuring a two-tone stainless and 18K yellow design. It has a fluted bezel, ...
Category

1980s Swiss Modern Vintage Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

Materials

Gold, Stainless Steel

14-Karat Yellow Gold Rolex Men's Dress Watch
By Rolex
Located in Hamilton, Ontario
14-karat yellow gold Montres Rolex Geneva Swiss watch with a genuine calfskin leather strap, circa 1945. -17 jewels -Model number 1210 - Weight of case 10.8 grams -Measure: Case ...
Category

1940s Swiss Vintage Rolex Collectibles and Curiosities

Materials

Gold

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