Introduction

When it comes to watches, no name is as renowned as Rolex. This British – Swiss company has been an innovator in watchmaking for over a century. Their models are timeless and classic, expertly blending technical precision and ingenuity with handsome styling and undeniable prestige. A Rolex on your wrist tells the world that you are uncompromising in your principles, enthralled by beautiful objects, and successful in life and business. Nest Egg Auctions is always glad to evaluate and sell Rolex watches at auction. In fact, the auction market for Rolexes is favorable to all parties involved. Sellers find excellent resale value in their prized watches, while buyers can find the timepiece of their dreams for a fair price.

History

Rolex has its origins in London, England. In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf founded a business in London that sold Swiss watches. These watches were technically superior to what was on the British market at that time, and Wilsdorf wanted to attract Britons with their precision. This was more difficult than one may anticipate, as these were a newfangled type of watch: the wristwatch. Rather than selling the popular pocket watch, Wilsdorf believed that wristwatches were the future. It was an uphill battle, but Wilsdorf eventually prevailed. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer Watch. Ca. mid 20th century.

In 1908, Wilsdorf came up with the name “Rolex”. “Rolex” is a made-up word of no particular meaning, but Wilsdorf believed that it was easy to say, looked good on a watch face, and was short. In this, he was correct.

The popularity and prestige of Rolex watches grew in the 1920s, after their move to Geneva, Switzerland, and the release of their Oyster watch. This watch was the first in the world that was both waterproof and dustproof. The superior design of the watch was proven in 1927 when Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel with a Rolex Oyster on her wrist.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date President Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date President Watch

Why Rolex Watches?

Ever since Gleitze’s fateful swim in 1927, Rolex has been proven by experience, with famous athletes, explorers, and scientists wearing and using Rolex watches in conditions that would shatter any lesser timepiece. Rolex makes watches that can withstand magnetic fields, run on the bottom of the ocean, and keep time at the summit of Mount Everest. When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak of Everest, they were wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches on their wrists. The Rolex is incredibly precise, often needing very little servicing with even hard use. While the Rolex is a status symbol, it is neither fragile nor effete.

Rolex was also the first watchmaker to utilize a self-winding mechanism in 1931. The significance of this development cannot be overstated. Until this time, the wearer needed to physically wind their watch every day. A self-winding movement does precisely what its title suggests: it winds itself using the movement of the wearer. So, as your arm moves when you walk, your Rolex winds itself. This made Rolex a pioneer among watchmakers, and though many can claim a self-winding or automatic movement, no one has done it as long (or as well) as Rolex.

Popular Rolex Watches

Rolex has multiple models of watches, both Mens and Ladies, to suit any lifestyle. Generally, Rolex watches are split into two types: classic watches and professional watches. Classic watches are dressier, though they are sufficiently tough to withstand daily wear and enjoyment. Professional watches are designed with style, strength, and precision in mind; they are working watches that exceed the needs of everyday life, and can hold their own in the most extreme conditions.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watch. ca. 1940s - 50s.

The Oyster Perpetual

The Oyster Perpetual is perhaps Rolex’s most famous watch. It is the perfect marriage of the waterproof and dustproof Oyster watch with the self-winding Perpetual movement. The Oyster Perpetual is the classic statement watch for anyone and everyone. When you think of Rolex, you think of the Oyster Perpetual.

The Datejust and Day-Date

Many of Rolex’s watches were developed from the Oyster Perpetual, including the Datejust and the Day-Date. The Datejust includes the added complication of the date, while the Day-Date additionally tells you the day of the week it is. Given the nature of a watch as a time-keeping device, knowing the day and date is as important as knowing the time of day. These two watches are timeless classics, designed to fit the needs of a world that never stops moving, just like their Perpetual movements.

Rolex Datejust Watch
Ladies Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Watch
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Watch
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch

The Daytona

Among Rolex’s Professional watches, the Daytona is among the most popular. Developed in 1963 for race car drivers, the Daytona is an accurate chronograph timepiece that can withstand incredible speeds and help drivers to track their speed with a tachymeter. This watch is associated with speed, class, and luxury. The Daytona is always hot on the market.

The Submariner

The Submariner is a marvel of engineering. While many watches claim water resistance, the Submariner can back it up. Developed in 1953 for the use of deep sea divers, the Submariner is rated for diving between 100 and 300 m. At those depths, most watches would shatter and break, but not the Submariner. This watch has been proven on countless diving expeditions and scientific surveys, where precision and toughness of equipment is required, not optional. Finally, the Submariner is a handsome watch to boot.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King Watch. ca. 1970.

The Air-King

Rolex also makes a watch to fit the needs of pilots and aviators: the Air-King. Developed in 1958, the Air-King is specially designed to be indispensable to those in flight. The Air-King is easy to read and scientifically accurate, as this is necessary. The Air-King can stand up to the rigors of flight, while also being a handsome timepiece.

These are only some of what Rolex has to offer, and other models are likewise sought after. Among other popular models are the Explorer, the Sea-Dweller, the Sky-Dweller, and the Cellini.

Nest Egg Auctions and Rolex

Here at Nest Egg Auction, we have a deep knowledge of, and appreciation for, Rolex watches. We have practical experience in the appraisal and evaluation of Rolexes. We have sold many Rolex models, including all the examples pictured here. They sell exceedingly well at auction, and are often among the most popular items with our bidders.

Do you have a Rolex that you would like to sell? We can sell it for you at Nest Egg Auctions! We will give you a fair estimate of its value, expert cataloging, and a worldwide clientele. Nest Egg Auctions will find a new home for your beloved Rolex, and put more money into your pocket than our competitors.

Rolex Oyster Speedking Watch
Rolex Oyster Speedking Watch. ca. 1958.