A Colorful Homage

When Rolex released a slew of colorful dials on their entry level Oyster Perpetuals last year, the world was stunned. ‘The Crown’, always with the serious and high-end face, had just turned jolly? The world may have been shocked, but the vintage enthusiasts were not.  Rolex had once before experimented with color. In the 1970s, Rolex conceived of several interesting dial colors that were considered "off the beaten path." Called 'Stella' after the Chatelaine and Geneva-based company that supplied Rolex with the special lacquer and pigments for the dials. The colorful dials, fitted in the solid gold day-date cases, were unusual for Rolex but quickly became highly-coveted. This modern-day homage on the Oyster Perpetual line made of stainless steel are a fun and accessible variant that is proving to be just as popular. 


In 1905, at age 24, German businessman Hans Wilsdorf founded a company with Alfred Davis called Wilsdorf & Davis in London with the goal of selling high-quality, affordable timepieces. Three years later, he and Davis registered the brand name Rolex in Switzerland with a singular vision: quality, good-looking watches. Wilsdorf created the first watch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision in 1910. In 1914, he changed the name of the company to The Rolex Watch Company and several years later he moved their headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, where the company remains to this day.

Rolex is likely the most recognizable watch in the world, and for good reason. The “Crown” (as it is affectionately called by collectors) it is in many ways the brand to which all other brands are compared. Rolex’s “firsts” are myriad and include the first waterproof watch in 1926 and the first self-winding mechanism in 1931. They are not the oldest watchmaker, nor are they the most exclusive, and certainly not the most expensive. However, when one thinks watches the first name that often comes to mind is Rolex, in large part due to it having been the timepiece of choice for athletes and adventurers.

In 1927, a Rolex Oyster made it across the English Channel on the wrist of swimmer, and in 1953, a Rolex survived Sir Edmund Hillary’s Mount Everest conquest. The dive into the Mariana Trench and the James Cameron Deepsea Expedition are two more examples of where a Rolex came out unscathed. The company also designed watches specifically for pilots, navigators, and world travelers.

It can be argued that every single model in the Rolex lineup is iconic, from the Submariner to the Daytona. For as long as Rolex has existed, the company has been synonymous with sport, adventure, luxury, and royalty. Some of the most famous names in history have donned a Rolex including Sir Winston Churchill, Paul Newman, and Roger Federer.

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