Rolex Watches History
Rolex’s history is linked to 24-year-old Hans Wilsdorf, who in 1905 founded a unique company in London that specialized in timepiece distribution. His dream was to create a watch you could wear on your wrist. At the time (the early 1900s), wristwatches weren’t extremely precise, but Wilsdorf had the vision that these timepieces would not only offer a luxury accessory to users, but also be a reliable method for telling time. By 1919, the Company had grown and expanded so much, it moved to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1926, the first waterproof wristwatch was released by Rolex and was given the name “Oyster”. The year 1945 saw the first self-winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date in a window on the dial, the Rolex Datejust. In the 1950s, Rolex began designing tool watches that were intended for professional activities like deep-sea diving, aviation, mountain climbing, and more. This led to the release of the Explorer in 1953, Submariner in 1953, Milgauss in 1956, Deep-Sea Special in 1960, Cosmograph Daytona in 1963, and Sea-Dweller in 1967. The growth of this luxury watch brand continued, eventually creating the household, luxury brand name that is so well-known today.
Recent Watch Releases and Discontinuations from Rolex
A few favorite releases from Rolex over recent years include: the Batman in 2013 and Pepsi in 2016 with new Cerachrom bezels and the Rolex Daytona with a ceramic bezel in 2016. Colorful dials also made an appearance in Rolex’s new line of Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches in the latter half of 2020. These dials are inspired by the Stella lacquered dials seen in Day-Dates from the 1970s. Color choices include blue, green, orange, oxblood, peach, pink, purple, red, salmon, and turquoise. In 2020, Rolex discontinued a few fan-favorites like the Rolex Hulk Reference 116610LV and Rolex Smurf Reference 116619. For collectors and enthusiasts pursuing these models, WatchBox’s ever-changing inventory of pre-owned Rolex watches may feature these in our inventory.Make sure you browse our full collection of men’s Rolex watches for our entire assortment of offerings.
Rolex Watch Models
40mm Case Size
One of the cornerstones of the Rolex lineup, the GMT-Master II is a durable and accurate pilots watch. Explore popular GMTs like the Pepsi, Coke, Batman, and Root Beer.
40, 41mm mm Case Sizes
As the first wristwatch waterproof to a depth of 100 meters, the Submariner set the standard for reliable divers watches. Browse iconic Submariner models like the Hulk and Kermit.
40mm Case Size
The Daytona was designed for professional racing and is the only chronograph that Rolex produces—learn more about this unparalleled sports watch.
26, 28, 31, 34, 36, and 41mm Case Sizes
Launched in 1945 as the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch, the Datejust is one of Rolex’s most emblematic and wearable watches.
36 and 40mm Case Sizes
This Rolex model was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer to offer an instantaneous calendar with the day spelled out in full on the dial. Shop our pre-owned assortment of “Rolex President” watches.
24, 26, 29, 31, 34, 36, 39 and 41mm Case Sizes
Created in 1926, the Oyster Perpetual was the first waterproof wristwatch. The “Oyster” namesake comes from the difficult-to-open shell of an oyster, representing the timepiece’s tightly sealed case.
40mm Case Size As one of Rolex’s most technically advanced dive watches, the Sea-Dweller Deepsea has traveled to the deepest known part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench.
36, 39, 40, 42mm Case Size
The Explorer is durable, water resistant, and highly legible. Introduced in 1953, this timepiece was developed as Rolex’s ultimate field and expedition watch.
40mm Case Size
As Rolexs tribute to the aviation exploration of the 1900s, the Air-King is known for its distinctive black dial and oversized numberals on the current model.
37, 40, 42mm Case Sizes
Today’s Yacht-Masters are some of the most elegant sports watches from Rolex. Durable and refined, these timepieces feature a unique bidirectional bezel.
40mm Case Size
Designed to withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss, the Milgauss was created for those in the scientific community that would be exposed to high magnetic fields.
36mm Case Size
Released in 1977, the Oysterquartz remains Rolex’s first and only quartz watch. This collection was produced for 25 years and discontinued in 2001.
Guide to Rolex Watch Materials & Terminology
Proprietary Rolex Materials
Learn more about Rolex’s unique nomenclature for materials in their catalogue or read our guide to Rolex materials.
Oystersteel - Resistant to corrosion and harder than steel, Oystersteel was first introduced on the Sea Dweller in 1985. Now, this material can be found throughout Rolex’s model range.
Everose Gold - In 2005 Everose was Rolex’s answer to the booming pink gold craze. This alloy blends a small amount of platinum, as well as copper to improve the material’s shine.
Cerachrom - Cerachrom is Rolex’s ceramic material, which allows for the flawless execution of bi-color bezels and reduces the potential for color fading over time.
Chromalight - Introduced on the Sea-Dweller in 2008, Chromalight has a crisp blue glow that lasts up to 8 hours when it’s fully charged from UV exposure.
Rolesor - Rolesor is simply the brand’s terminology for their two-tone watches, no matter the combination.
Oyster - Introduced in the late 1930s, this robust metal bracelet features flat three-piece links. It’s seen on Rolex’s Professional watches as well as the Datejust, Day-Date, and Sky-Dweller.
Jubilee - Featuring five-piece links, this metal bracelet is comfortable and supple. It was designed for the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust in 1945.
President - This exclusive bracelet has semi-circular three-piece links. Created in 1956, it was first seen for the launch of the prestigious Oyster Perpetual Day-Date. Now, President bracelets are also seen on certain versions of Ladies Datejusts.
Pearlmaster - Sophisticated and elegant, the Pearlmaster metal bracelet has rounded five-piece links. It was created in 1992 for Pearlmaster models.
Oysterflex Rubber - This innovative bracelet features a superelastic metal blade. It provides the reliability of a metal bracelet, while preserving the comfort of a rubber strap.
Oysterclasp - This clasp is the standard clasp of Oyster bracelets, seen on Rolex’s less sporty watches.
Oysterlock - Developed for Rolex’s Professional watches, this clasp has a locking mechanism that is crucial for a sports watch.
Crownclasp - Concealed with a small crown-shaped lever, the Crownclasp is Rolex’s most discreet clasp and is seen on Jubilee and President bracelets.
What Makes Rolex Watches So Desirable?
Today, virtually everyone (from all around the world) recognizes the brand name. It is a company synonymous with luxury, exclusive timepieces. In fact, today, wearing Rolex watch can help to define you as a person with a luxury sense of style. With a Rolex on your wrist, it shows the world you not only have exquisite taste, but also appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the best mechanical watches in the world.
Why Buy Pre-Owned Rolex Watches?
While Rolex Watches offer excellent value retention, new watches -- like new cars -- often depreciate when you take them out of the store. Purchasing a pre-owned Rolex watch allows you to avoid the depreciation of a new watch. The value will remain intact, and often rise over time. Additionally, as time continues to pass, certain models, like the Rolex Submariner, are becoming collector’s items, causing the value to skyrocket. Another reason to buy a pre-owned watch is that you have access to years’ worth of Rolex models to choose from, even those that have been discontinued and are no longer offered to buy new. WatchBox specializes in watches that are in like-new condition. When you go to a new watch dealer, you are limited to the watches that are currently in production. When you buy pre-owned Rolex, their entire history of production is at your fingertips!
Why a Rolex from WatchBox is Trustworthy
WatchBox is committed to the integrity of the luxury watch industry. Our pre-owned Rolex watches are evaluated, authenticated, and brought to manufacturer operating standards without compromising value or provenance, before entering our curated inventory of pre-owned Rolex timepieces for sale. Learn more about our guaranteed authenticity and unrivaled selection.