Rolex is, indisputably, the first name that comes to mind when someone utters “luxury watches.” And for good reason.
As one of the lead examples of excellency in the watchmaking space (and owner of many many patents), Rolex has become synonymous with greatness. That doesn’t come to much surprise considering the watch brand is beloved by filmmakers, pro athletes, entrepreneurs, even seen on fictional characters (hello, James Bond), and others who are equally great at what they do.
But Rolex is also great because there is something called The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which pays homage to its founder Hans Wilsdorf and celebrates innovative global project initiatives to better the planet and future generations. Does it get more excellent than that? Nope.
For these reasons and more, the Rolex name continues to embody prestige, even after 100 years since its inception. And due to its effortless association with status, luster, and greatness, Rolex is one of the most highly desirable and valuable timepieces in the world – both to watch enthusiasts and watch connoisseurs, alike.
Aside from its quality and advanced timekeeping technology, it’s worth taking note of some of their most popular models.
The Rolex Daytona
Would you believe the Rolex Daytona was originally one of the least popular watches? Due to poor demand, Rolex was almost considering dropping this model altogether, but then Paul Newman (an avid Rolex wearer) sported his Daytona religiously, and suddenly the demand for the watch skyrocketed. The watch is designed with features allowing the wearer to measure time and calculate average lap speed, making it the perfect watch for professional racecar drivers – and of course, anyone who wants a wristwatch that tells time fashionably, and quite impressively.
Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona watch became known as the “Paul Newman Daytona” and was sold at an auction for $17.8 million back in 2017 – the most expensive watch to ever be sold among watch collectors. In Newman’s lifetime, he wore it countless times, including at his races.
The Rolex Submariner
The Rolex Submariner styles were originally designed in 1953 to be the ultimate diver’s watch and are part of the Oyster Perpetual line. This model’s iconic design makes it instantly recognizable. In 2008 Rolex began etching ‘ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX’ at the inner bezel ring surrounding the dial to make it harder for counterfeiters to mimic their designs.
Additionally, the crown on these watches is intentionally oversized so divers can handle the watch with ease while wearing gloves. The Rolex Submariner is waterproof to a maximum depth of about 1000 ft. Earlier Submariners were water-resistant only up to 660 ft deep.
Fun fact for the avid watch and film lovers: The Rolex Submariner has frequented the wrist of Sean Connery in his first four James Bond movies. Free tonight to binge some 007 movies?
The Rolex GMT-Master II
Seems like there’s a Rolex watch for every purpose. Land, sea, and, you guessed it, the air. The GMT-Master was originally designed in collaboration with Pan Am Airways for air navigation and airline crew flying long-haul flights. GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, also commonly referred to as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The features of this watch allow the wearer to view more than one time zone simultaneously, using the 24-hour rotating bezel to adjust and read a secondary time zone.
In 1983, the GMT-Master II was released and on the outside looks very similar to the GMT-Master. But on the inside, the only technical difference is the independently adjustable hour hand for local time; this feature can be adjusted without stopping or changing the other second or minute hands.