This Just In: The World’s Most Valuable Watch Brand

There are few names more synonymous with luxury watchmaking than Rolex. Whether to the novice or an expert, the brand holds a mystique and reputation for prestigious craftsmanship and luxury time telling in a status symbol that is famous worldwide.

Rolex watches have graced the wrists of some of the most recognizable names around, both real and fictional, from the 6538 Submariner made famous by James Bond, to Clint Eastwood’s GMT Master. No matter who is wearing it, Rolex invokes a spirit of durable and functional luxury and is consistently viewed as one of the best wristwatches with which to start a fledgling watch collection.

It’s no wonder then that Rolex is the world’s most valuable watch brand, weighing in at an estimated $8.05 billion, according to marketing firm Kantar Millward Brown. It is not only one of the world’s most powerful brands, but also the single largest luxury watchmaker, producing thousands of timepieces each day.

 

History

The brand has duly earned its superior status. Rolex began in 1905 in London before moving operations to Geneva in 1919. Founders Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf had previously dealt in importing Swiss movements to the United Kingdom where they were then made into bespoke pieces and sold to jewelers. The two men soon decided to create their own pieces under the Rolex brand, which was short and succinct enough to fit on a watch face.

In 1926, the brand created the first waterproof wristwatch, the now famous Oyster, which could withstand the pressure of a depth of 330 feet (100 meters). Less than three decades later, Rolex created the first wristwatch to display two time zones at once, the GMT Master. Two years after that it introduced the first watch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial, the Day-Date.

Highlighted Innovations

The watch manufacturer is also well-known for creating models to suit a variety of extreme activities, from caving to mountain climbing, polar exploration, deep-sea diving, and aviation. The Submariner and the Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller were some of its earliest sports models and still feature prominently in the brand’s portfolio today. With its dual time zone feature, the GMT Master was created at the behest of Pan Am Airways to outfit crews with a timepiece that could display Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) along with another zone, as it was the standard used in aviation.

Rolex is also currently the largest manufacturer of Swiss-made certified chronometers, Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC). For many years, more than half of the COSC certified chronometers produced annually were Rolexes. The brand still maintains the record for the most certified chronometer movements in its wristwatches.

 

Watch Collections

Rolex produces its timepieces in three watch lines: Oyster Perpetual, Professional, and Cellini. The Oyster features three different primary bracelets in bands of stainless steel, white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold.

The Oyster Perpetual features a variety of different movements, cases, bracelets, buckles, and bezels.

The Datejust, which is another famous model, has a vast range of customization options, from other metals to diamond embellishments.

The Daytona model was inspired by racecar drivers and enthusiasts and includes an automatic winding movement that still attains the highest vibrations per hour (VPH) at 36,000 VPH. While the later six-digit Daytonas are all certified, self-winding chronometers with chronograph functions.

The Yacht-Master sports watch was first introduced in 1992 in 18-karat yellow gold, and then later released a mid-size men’s model to provide a smaller professional size watch. Today, the Yacht-Master comes in a two-tone model with upgraded movement and weightier gold links.

Famous Fans

Rolex remains the gold standard for watch collectors, aficionados, and enthusiasts alike. The brand has been popular with everyone from royalty to pop stars, Presidents, and stars of the stage and screen.

Rolex created its famous Daytona model with Paul Newman and his appreciation for race car driving in mind. He reportedly wore the watch every day of his life.

Winston Churchill was another loyal fan of the brand and even had his Datejust model in 18-karat gold with a self-winding chronometer and waterproof case, customized with his personal coat of arms.

Befittingly, John F. Kennedy took his President Day-Date model Rolex with him to the White House. While Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson were also fans of the brand.

In more fictional tales, Rolex played a prominent role as the iconic timepiece of choice for both Roger Moore and Sean Connery’s James Bond, Tom Cruise’s character in Rain Man, Robert Redford in All The President’s Men, and more.

 

DavidSW

DavidSW is one of the premier providers of Rolex watches to the Florida area and beyond. For more than a decade we have been the source for some of the most popular luxury watch brands at reasonable prices and outstanding customer service. In addition to buying and selling authentic Rolex watches, we also deal in Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Panerai, Tudor, New Old Stock, and more.