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The History of Rolex (Part 2)

25th May 2020

If you haven't read already, please read Part 1 to get the full breadth and history of Rolex's excellence!

Rolex has stood the test of time not only because they were prestigious as most people know of them as today. The truth is that Rolex was on the cutting edge of innovations throughout history. Aside from making the first Self-Winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor, you could see the brand testing itself by completing the first Cross Channel Challenge in which the young English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English channel. In the 10 plus hours that it took her to cross the channel, the Rolex was in perfect working order, proving it to be waterproof, tried and true. In 1933, the first expedition to fly over Mount Everest was equipped with Rolex Oysters and the crew were definitely satisfied with the performance of the watches.

The first Datejust was made. It was the first self-winding wrist chronometer that indicated the actual date on a window of the dial. It was adorned with the Jubilee Bracelet which is quite famous now. It is the pillar of the Oyster collection to this day which was initially for men, but was tailored for women as well within the first decade.

Rolex was the pioneer in making watches that not only told the time. These watches served functions that went into extreme weathers and professions such as deep sea diving, aviation, scientific exploration, and mountain climbing. Because it was tailored to assist in such endeavors, the enthusiasm was long lasting and Rolex became known as the watch of achievers.

The first trip to the peak of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay was equipped with Oyster Perpetuals. This is when the Explorer was made. It was inspired by all the knowledge gained in the search of fascinating human adventures and to celebrate the victorious ascent of Everest.

The Submariner was also made this year and was the first Diver's Watch to be waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet). The rotatable bezel allows divers to read immersion time easily.

The watches of achievers soon became the watches of leaders with the Day-Date from Rolex. Often associated with those who changed the destiny of the world, their visions, their achievements and domains of excellence. These exceptional men and women have in common often the watch that they wear which is the Day-Date.

The Milgauss was also made this year in which CERN realized could withstand magnetic fields of up to 1000 gauss. It was designed to meet the demands of scientific communities. Made of ferromagnetic alloys, it consists of two components in which one is screwed to the movement and the other, to the Oyster case. After rigorous testing by CERN engineers, it has earned it's name as the perfect magnetic shield.

The Lady's Datejust is created carrying its heritage of timeless elegance and functionality

Sir Malcolm Campbell the man who set world speed records and multiple wins donning the Rolex and endorsing it, manifested Daytona Beach's racing which is still today a test of man and machine in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This would also manifest into a Cosmograph watch in the Daytona in 1963, which was robust, waterproof and featured the tachymetric scale on the bezel for easily calculating average speed.

The Deep Sea special is created by carrying out rigorous testing. Working on top of all the research from their previous watches, the Deep Sea Special was made to withstand the most rigorous underwater conditions in the Challenger Deep Sea Challenge. An experimental Bathyscaphe was successfully descended into the Mariana Trench, which was the deepest part of the Earth's surface. Lt. Don Walsh, along with Jacques Piccard took the Trieste deep, 10,916 meters (37,800 feet) deep to be exact, into the Mariana Trench and returned to have the Bathyscaphe attached outside to be in perfect working order. This forever raised the bar of deep-ocean exploration.

The Sea Dweller was made with a waterproof depth of 610 meters. This was to meet needs of professional deep-sea divers. The case was equipped with a helium escape valve so that during long decompression phases in hyperbaric chambers, the helium from the gas mixtures used could be released without damaging the watch.

Part 3 (final chapter) coming soon!