The Creation Of Rolex
In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf, who would go on to become the founder of Rolex, started a business selling timepieces in London. At the time wrist watches were unusual, and often made poor time-keepers, as accurate internal mechanisms were too large to incorporate into a timepiece suitably sized to wear on the wrist. Instead, pocket watches were common place.
Wilsdorf set out to revolutionize time-piece design, and in 1908 he founded the Rolex watch company. After playing around with all the letters of the alphabet in a bid to find a name that looked good inscribed on a watch, and sounded right in any language, Wilsdorf came upon the name while travelling on a horse-drawn omnibus, stating “a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear”.
The first challenge for Rolex was to develop a timepiece small enough to be worn comfortably and fashionably on the wrist, but precise enough to keep time accurately. In 1910 Wildorf achieved certification from the Chronometry Society, proving his Rolex watches were as precise as traditional pocket watches.
Four years later, in 1914 the watches were awarded a class “A” precision certificate from Kew Observatory, a distinction that until then had been made only for marine chronometers.
Rolex watches now carry an engraving of the words “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” on the dial. The inscription signifies that the movement of the watch has undergone testing by the independent, not-for-profit COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). To achieve certification, the watch must maintain extreme precision over 15 days of evaluation, in a variety of temperatures and positions.
Once a precise mechanism had been created, that was small enough to use inside a wirst watch, the next challenge was to develop a casing which could protect it from dust and water.
First created in 1926, the Oyster case delivers the robustness needed to make Rolex watches dustproof and waterproof. Its hermetic construction guarantees waterproofness to at least 100 metres. The winding crown, the interface between the outside environment and the protected watch interior, is made up of around a dozen parts, then screwed onto a tube shaped integral part of the watch case creating a water-resistant seal.
Even 90 years ago, creating the right brand image and memorable marketing campaigns were integral to the success of Rolex.
In 1919 the company was moved to Geneva, to take advantage of the city’s international reputation for watchmaking.
In 1927 Rolex highlighted the effectiveness of their waterproofing system, when Mercedes Gleitze wore a Rolex Oyster watch for her 10 hour swim across the English Channel. The watch remained in perfect working order, and in celebration, Rolex carried a full page advertisement on the front of the Daily Mail.
Today Rolex are proud sponsors of Formula One, making the brand synonymous with extremes of speed, endurance, elite sportsmanship, and supreme technical expertise.
Rolex And Extremes
Rolex continued this marketing approach of testing watches to the extreme in 1933, when the first expedition to fly above Mount Everest were equipped with Rolex Oysters.
In 1935, Sir Malcolm Campbell was wearing a Rolex watch when he set the land speed record of more than 300 mph, in Bluebird, on Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Later that year, he penned this testimonial: “I have now been using my Rolex Watch for a while, and it is keeping perfect time under somewhat strenuous conditions”
Members of Sir John Hunt’s 1953 expedition to the summit of Mount Everest were equipped with Rolex watches, as were the PanAm pilots of the 1950s.
Over the next 60 years Rolex’s research and development team continued to create watches that could cope with extremes of temperature and pressure, and still keep perfect time.
Among our range of used Rolex watches you may find iconic models such as The Pearlmaster, The Yachtmaster II, or the 2012 Sky Dweller, all of which were designed to look amazing, while achieving perfect time keeping in even the harshest environments.
Rolex currently manufacturer around 2,000 watches each day, and every piece is subject to the highest quality standards.
Each of our second hand Rolex watches boasts the finest finishing touches like the iconic Rolex symbol on the winding crown, mirror-polished screw heads, bevelled edges, and red “Officially Certified Chronometer” seal.
Our collection of used Rolex watches offers you the opportunity to buy a piece of this historic brand’s prestigious history.
Iconic Used Rolex Watches
Here are some of the most famous, iconic models manufactured in recent years, many of which could be found among our selection of second hand Rolex watches.
The Oyster Perpetual Explorer II, released 1971, was designed for those with an adventurous spirit. The distinctive red third hand is for use with the 24 hour outer bezel, helping the wearer keep track of night and day even when underground, or near the poles.
In 1978, Rolex released the Sea-Dweller 4000, so named as it is waterproof to a depth of 4,000 feet.
The Yacht-Master I, released in 1992, is the first model in the Professional Oyster collection to be available in three different sizes, and was designed to withstand exposure to the harsh environmental conditions often experienced in competitive sailing.
This watch was updated in 2007 with the release of the Yacht-Master II. The improvements included a programmable countdown feature. This is activated by rotating the third red hand to point at the required number of minutes as indicated on the inner circle of numerals, then the hand will countdown to zero.
In 2008, Rolex released the Deepsea, a watch that can go 100 times deeper than any human can. Able to withstand up to three tonnes of pressure, this model was designed for underwater explorers.
The Sky-Dweller, released in 2012, is designed for the international traveller. The watch-face and bezel are designed to make reading two time zones easy and intuitive, and the annual calendar requires just one date adjustment each year, instead of every short month.
Why Buy A Used Rolex Watch?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you drive a brand new car off the forecourt. But this good mood can be quickly spoilt when you realise how much that vehicle has depreciated in value after just a few miles. For the same budget it is possible to buy a higher-end car with a few miles on the clock. And in just a few months, who will be able to tell whether you bought that car new or used?
The same principle applies to luxury watches. Our collection of used Rolex watches offer you the opportunity to buy a better watch for your budget than if you only considered buying new. As soon as a Rolex is taken out of its box and worn, it suffers a drop in value. Buying a second hand Rolex enables you to avoid that drop and purchase a high-end time-keeper that will retain much of the price you paid for it. If you do decide to sell your watch on, you can expect to get a good proportion of your money back. In fact Rolex watches are often bought as an investment, as many models experience an increase in value over time.
Guide To Buying Used Rolex Watches
When buying a used Rolex watch find out first what condition the piece is in, and what papers or certificates of authenticity are included with the purchase.
When inspecting a second hand Rolex watch look for the unique serial and reference numbers, which you can find by removing the watch band from the top and bottom of the main body.
At Xupes we offer a range of used Rolex watches and other luxury brands, all of which have been fully inspected for authenticity, and have had a condition quality rating allocated.