Learning all about a particular model’s features, functions, materials and history not only helps you in selecting the perfect watch for you, it is also fascinating and a lot of fun. The trouble is, it can be quite time consuming. Scanning review after review, website after website to uncover the answer to a specific question could well start to take over your life if you’re not careful. To help out, we have compiled a list of the most Googled questions in regards to Rolex, along with their answers. We’ve consolidated 80 questions and boiled it down to 26 of the most relevant questions so you can access all the information you need in one place.
Historical Rolex Questions
- When was Rolex established?
Opening for business at 83 Hatton Gardens in central London, U.K. in 1905, the company which would go on to become Rolex was originally called Wilsdorf & Davis, after its founders; Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis.
- How did Rolex get its name?
Contrary to popular belief, the name Rolex doesn’t actually mean anything. It was simply a word which popped into Hans Wilsdorf’s head as he was riding the bus through London one morning, and it had a number of points in its favor. It was short enough to fit on a watch dial, it was easy to memorize and it would be pronounced the same in any language.
- When did Wilsdorf & Davis become Rolex?
Wilsdorf registered the trade name in 1908. However, the brand didn’t officially change from Wilsdorf & Davis to Rolex until 1915 when, following the outbreak of WWI, anything sounding even remotely Germanic was guaranteed a frosty reception in England.
- How did Rolex start?
Initially, Wilsdorf & Davis assembled watches by sourcing the finest individual components from all over Europe and combining them, rather than manufacturing them themselves. The completed models were then sold on to jewelers who added their own names to the dial.
- When did Rolex stop using tritium?
Tritium is one of a number of different luminescent materials watch manufacturers added to hands and hour markers so wearers could read the time in the dark. Rolex started using it in 1963 after the dangers of the previous substance, the highly radioactive radium, became well known.
Although tritium is also radioactive, it is at a far lower and safer level, and Rolex used it up until 1998.
- How did Rolex become the king of watches?
Rolex is undoubtedly the most famous watchmaker of all time. The brand has managed to sustain its reputation primarily through building a portfolio of superb, highly robust and extremely reliable models. They also, unlike many others, stick with their designs—changing them only nominally over the years and so giving them a timeless quality. Coupled with that is some of the best marketing in the industry. You will see that familiar coronet logo at all the major sporting events the world over, as well as spotting their watches being worn by some of the most famous celebrities.
- Who wears Rolex?
It might be quicker to tell you who doesn’t wear Rolex. Going back through the 20th century, it was the brand of choice for everyone from Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, the Dalai Lama and Warren Buffett.
Add to that nearly all U.S. Presidents since 1945, leaders in every field from business, politics, entertainment and sport and you can start to get an idea of just how vast Rolex’s market share really is.
Technical Rolex Questions
- Are Rolex watches handmade?
Rolex reportedly produces around 1,000,000 watches every year. With that kind of scale, it stands to reason some of the processes involve sophisticated machinery. However, most of these machines are still hand operated, and everything, from bracelets to the highly complex movements, are hand-assembled by highly skilled technicians.
- Are Rolex watches automatic?
Every watch in Rolex’s current collection is automatic, i.e. self-winding. Some vintage models may have hand-wound movements and for a quick duration Rolex even produced Quartz movements.
- Are Rolex watches waterproof?
Everything Rolex makes is water resistant to some degree, but to different depths. The standard, non-dive Oyster models can withstand the pressure of 100m. The Cellini collection, the dedicated dress watches, are only rated to 50m.
- When should I service my Rolex?
Brand new Rolex models have a suggested service interval of every 10-years, one of the longest from any watchmaker. For vintage models, recommendations vary, but every 5-7 years is good practice.
- Where are Rolex watches made?
Rolex changed location from London to Switzerland in 1915 and have been there ever since. Their manufacturing base now covers four enormous facilities, three in Geneva and one in Bienne; Les Acacias (HQ, final assembly and quality control), Plan-Les-Ouates (case making, gold foundry and main laboratory), Chêne-Bourg (dials and gem-setting) and Bienne (movements).
- Where is my Rolex serial number?
Each watch that is manufactured has a Rolex serial number. Older models will have this number between the watch’s lower lugs, behind the bracelet at the 6 o’clock. From 2005, the brand also included it on the rehaut (the inner bezel ring between dial and crystal). Then, since 2008, the serial number is only found on the rehaut.
- Can Rolex glass break?
The modern sapphire crystal Rolex uses to protect dials is extraordinarily strong, second only to diamond on the Mohs scale. Even so, it is not impregnable. Hit with enough force, sapphire crystal can break. If it does, it tends to shatter, potentially allowing tiny shards inside the case and damaging the movement.
Older models, around pre-1980s, used acrylic crystal for their coverings, which can be damaged far more easily.
- Can Rolex watches be traced?
Yes. Rolex keeps a record of every watch they make, so if yours is stolen, you can contact the manufacturer with your serial number. Should the watch turn up at an official service center, they will be alerted.
- Can Rolex rust?
In the early 2000s, Rolex switched from the industry standard 316L steel to the more corrosion resistant 904L. Allegedly it was in response to older watches exhibiting signs of pitting and rusting caused by exposure to moisture and particularly seawater.
The new metal, renamed Oystersteel by Rolex, is extremely resilient and highly unlikely to ever suffer from rusting.
- How does an automatic Rolex watch work?
Rolex was the first to develop a workable automatic (self-winding) movement, all the way back in 1933. Called the Perpetual, it features a weighted rotor attached to the mainspring which revolves freely in both directions as the watch moves with the natural motion of the wearer’s arm. With each rotation, the weight spins, winding up the spring, and it is that stored energy which powers the movement.
Financial Rolex Questions
- Why is Rolex so expensive?
Rolex watches are expensive to buy because they are expensive to make. The brand uses nothing but the very finest materials to create their timepieces, and they are built by some of the best technicians in the world.
On top of that, not only will a Rolex last pretty much forever if looked after properly, they also hold their value better than just about any other manufacturer, and can actually appreciate over time.
- Are Rolex watches a good investment?
While we don’t suggest buying any watch as a potential investment for the future, the fact remains that certain models sell for far more than their official retail price on the preowned market. Usually the models that have an uptick in value are typically sport models.
- Which Rolex watches go up in value?
In general, it’s the steel sports watches from Rolex which perform best financially. Icons of the industry like the Submariner, Daytona and GMT-Master II are always in very high demand. Rare or recently discontinued models are also highly likely to increase in value.
- Which Rolex watches are most readily available?
Rolex ruthlessly limits the supply of their most sought-after watches to their dealer network, in order to drive up demand. That is why new versions of the sports pieces we named above command such a high premium on the preowned market; they are difficult to source through official retailers.
- What Rolex should I buy?
Buying any watch is a personal thing, and your choice depends on many factors. Obviously, you want one with looks that match your individual tastes, but you will also have to take into account whether you will be wearing it in casual or formal settings, or both. Fortunately, most Rolex watches are suitable to pair with everything from jeans and t-shirt right through to tuxedos.
After that, choose whether you want a modern version or a vintage one, and then decide on your budget.
- Where is the cheapest place to buy a Rolex watch?
Independent retailers in some Eastern European countries (Romania, Hungary, Poland, etc.) often have Rolex watches for relatively low prices. However, there is always the danger of being sold a fake. While you can learn how to spot a fake Rolex, you should do research and make a decision with a reputable company. Japan is a great place to go for some of the best vintage models, but it is an expensive country to visit. Ironically, the Duty-Free stores at major airports are the favorite places of many watch collectors. Everything will be authentic and rates will be lower due to the reduction in tax.
Overall though, online dealers offer the best all-round experience. There is a huge amount of choice and, with no bricks-and-mortar premises to pay for, they are able to offer better deals.
Be careful though; always research the seller thoroughly before parting with any money.
- Will Rolex increase prices in 2021?
It is impossible to tell at the moment, but as there was already a price increase in 2019, coupled with the current state of world economies due to COVID, it is likely Rolex will increase prices this year.
However, it is equally unlikely that prices will decrease either. Sorry!
- Can Rolex dealers give discounts?
Rolex relies on its image of exclusivity and as such, prohibits their network of retailers from discounting prices. If you are very lucky, the dealer may offer an incentive with your Rolex purchase (money off on another watch from a different brand, for example). However, this is not always the case.
- Which Rolex watch makes the best investment in 2021?
Going by recent past performance, the five-digit Rolex Submariners (the ref. 16610 and ref. 14060 No-Date) still have excellent investment potential. Both models saw a 20% increase in value last year.
Surprisingly, the ‘entry level’ Oyster Perpetual models are trading far above their retail price currently as well.
And there is also a real trend for solid gold watches at the moment. Often thought of as a ‘foolproof’ place to park money in turbulent economic times, investors see them as a safe commodity.
If you have more Rolex related questions let us know by reaching out and we will be more than happy to assist you.