A Brief History of Rolex

A Brief History of Rolex
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Posted in: Watches

Beverly Loan Company has made pawn loans on hundreds of different watch models, but the most we see by far are watches from Rolex. Whether a borrower brings in a Submariner, a Daytona, a GMT or a President, Beverly Loan has the expertise to assign a competitive value to their watch.

While Beverly Loan makes pawn loans against Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Panerai, Cartier, Patek Philippe, and other prominent brands, Rolex is the most recognized and highly sought-after luxury watch brand, and for good reason. Not only have they revolutionized the watch making industry, but their groundbreaking watches have united with history for decades. The Rolex SA company history is long; filled with innovations, world records, & war.

Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis founded the company in 1905 with the intention of creating a reliable wristwatch, with accurate timing and beautiful craftsmanship. Their early wristwatches were sold to jewelers, who in turn but their own brand names on the dial. In 1919, the company was moved to Geneva, where the headquarters are located to this day, and renamed the Rolex Watch Company.

Wilsdorf and Davis invented many features and movements that impacted and changed the watchmaking community, which propelled Rolex to its elevated status, where it has remained ever since. Some of their most notable innovations include:

  • Automatic Movements; the first self-winding watch was introduced to the public in 1931
  • The waterproof wristwatch, the “Oyster”, in 1926
  • The first wristwatch to show two time zones, in the Rolex GMT Master 1954
  • Automatic changing of the day and date on the dial, with the Rolex Day-date, in 1956

Not only were these inventions revolutionary to the watch making community, but they had strong impacts on the world in general. Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel in 1927, wore a waterproof Rolex Oyster that kept perfect time, despite the harsh conditions of the water. In 1953 Edmond Hillary wore a Rolex Oyster on his expedition to Mount Everest, reaching 8,848 meters. A specially designed Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deep-Seal Special went to 10,916 meters during the 1960 Challenger Deep/Mariana Trench Dive.

In the beginning of World War II, the Royal Air Force officers purchased Rolex Watches to replace their standard issue watches, but these watches were confiscated when many soldiers were captured and sent to Prisoner of War camps. When Hans Wilsdorf heard this news, he offered to replace all the watches worn by the officers, and not require payment until the end of the war. This had a strong effect on the British army, boosting morale, because it was obvious that Wilsdorf did not believe the Nazi party would win the war.

The history of Rolex is fascinating and provides insight as to why so many people prefer the reliable, classic Rolex watch, rather than the new fashion forward watches on the market. Beverly Loan’s experience with classic, modern and vintage Rolex models will ensure that whether you’re securing a loan, selling a watch, or purchasing a Rolex with us, that you’ll get the best value possible.

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