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Rolex

Swiss  •  b. 1905

Biography

Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

Insights

  • Paul Newman's "Paul Newman" Rolex Daytona, the Rolex reference 6239, achieved US $17,752,500 during the 26 October 2017 WINNING ICONS auction. Highest result ever achieved for a wristwatch at auction. Watch the auction footage from this night in New York here.

  • The diamond-encrusted Rolex "Bao Dai" reference 6062 — which had been commissioned by the last emperor of Vietnam in 1954 Geneva — achieved 5,066,000 CHF (US $5,060,427) during the 14 May 2017 Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE.

  • A Rolex reference 4113 — the rarest and most complicated of all Rolex models — achieved 2,405,000 CHF during the 15 May 2016 START-STOP-RESET thematic Phillips Watches auction.

  • A rare Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona, the tropical "Paul Newman Oyster Sotto," achieved 1.985 million CHF during the 15 May 2016 START-STOP-RESET thematic Phillips Watches auction.

"Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands."

Upcoming Lots

Past Lots

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