The five-pronged crown of Rolex is an apt logo for the brand that can justly proclaim itself the king of watches. Even during these trying years of the pandemic, Rolex dominated the pole position of luxury Swiss watches. A benchmark of quality recognised in every corner of the globe, if you ask anyone which is the best luxury watch brand, the answer is infallibly Rolex. If you’ve ever wondered why Rolex is the most famous watch brand on Earth, here are the answers. The Watch Book ROLEX is the second revised edition of what many consider to be the Rolex Bible. Written by renowned German watch expert and watch historian Gisbert L. Brunner, the book guides us through the brand’s timekeeping history from its foundation in 1905 through to 2021. Published by teNeues Verlag, this hardcover edition with the ‘green’ Rolex cover is illustrated with over 400 photographs and texts in German, English and French.
Divided into five chapters, the first two chapters cover the history and milestones of Rolex. Perhaps no event illustrates Hans Wilsdorf’s determination to focus on innovation and precision better than the birth of the Oyster wristwatch in 1926. Undeterred by the sceptics, Wilsdorf’s instinct that the men’s wristwatch was the next big thing was spot on, and his hermetically sealed case of 1926, christened the Oyster, would become the foundation stone of the colossal Rolex empire. To show the world that his Oyster was watertight, the watch was strapped to cross-Channel swimmer Mercedes Gleitze’s wrist as she braved the cold Channel waters during a 15 hour and 15-minute crossing. Two weeks later, a full-page advertisement appeared in London’s Daily Mail extolling the virtues of the “wonder watch that defies the elements”.
Every milestone from 1926 to 2021 is covered in the eponymous chapter with lively commentary by Brunner on the context and virtues of legendary models like the Datejust, GMT-Master, Submariner, Explorer, Daytona, Sea-Dweller, Yacht-Master and Sky-Dweller. Chapter III is dedicated to Rolex’s commitment to quality, including information on its state-of-the-art CHF 200m production facilities at Bözingenfeld, Bienne. Chapter IV covers Rolex’s lifelong support of exploration and explorers who could put the watches to the ultimate test, followed by what will undoubtedly be one of the most popular chapters on the brand’s ties to the world of motorsports. Underscoring the brand’s collectability, the last chapter covers results achieved by Rolex watches at auction.
Gisbert L. Brunner (1947) has been writing about all things related to watchmaking since 1964. He regularly contributes to specialised media and has written more than twenty books.
The Watch Book-ROLEX is published by teNeues Verlag and can be ordered online at www.teneues.com. The retail price is EUR 70, USD 95, GBP 59.95.