For more than a century, Rolex stands apart as the most coveted and most legendary brand of watches in the world. A Rolex connotes many things: the quintessence of the luxury timepiece, a tool of power for movers and shakers, the symbol of passage into adulthood. New labels pop up, styles come and go, but the brand at the top never changes. Ever the record setterÑthe Daytona that had belonged to Paul Newman was auctioned by Phillips in New York in October 2017 for $17.8 millionÑit comes as no surprise that Rolex is the most collected watch label in the world.
The history of Rolex is rooted in the visionary spirit of its founder, Hans Wilsdorf. In 1905, young Wilsdorf founded a company in London for the distribution of timepieces, but his true dream was to produce wristwatchesÑin their infancy at the time, and not very preciseÑthat would be technically durable and reliable, and supremely elegant. The company first concentrated on producing the highest quality movements, and this quest for precision rapidly led to the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne in 1910. Four years later, Kew Observatory in Great Britain awarded a Rolex watch a class A certificate, a distinction that had been previously reserved exclusively for marine chronometers.