The Best Rolex Watches
There’s Rolex and then there’s everybody else. Coveted by all, Rolex watches might not be the most expensive or exclusive brand in the business, but they certainly are the most internationally renowned.
27th June 2023
Through its history, the cultural connotations of Rolex have come to denote luxury and engineering excellence.
Rolex as we know it was born from the wave of technological advancements that sprung from the early twentieth century and the outbreak of the First World War. But the specific visionary brilliance of Hans Wilsdorf is what brought the company to life in 1905. At just 24 years old, Wilsdorf revolutionised the precision, water resistance, and strength of timekeeping. He dreamt of an elegant timepiece designed to be worn at the wrist, and set out to seduce horological enthusiasts of the wristwatch’s unrecognised potential
Over a century later, Rolex boasts of notorious celebrity affiliations, crucial roles in marine and aerospace research, and record breaking achievements such as being the first to fly over Everest. Collectors today who take care of their luxury Rolex have seen first handjust how well a Rolex holds its value, This article explores just some of Panache’s most beloved Rolex pieces, their original purpose, and historical significance.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Refined. Water resistant. Revolutionary. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is an evolution of the original 1926 Oyster case. This classic piece was the cutting-edge solution that long plagued watchmakers: how to construct a truly waterproof model. This groundbreaking victory was again matched with the introduction of the Oyster Perpetual. The term ‘perpetual’ speaks to Rolex’s idiosyncratic self-winding movement. But beyond its initially subtle aesthetic, newer Oyster Perpetual editions would go on to experiment with a manifold of vibrant colours and precious metals. All of which seemed to climax with the recently launched avant-garde Bubble Dial edition that showcases glimpses of every colour that's been made available in this unique collection.
Part of the Oyster Perpetual family, the Datejust is one its most popular enhancing variants. First developed in an era of great change in the aftermath of WW2, the Datejust was the first realisation of a self winding chronometer simultaneously displaying the calendar date. Practical, distinguished, and perfect for every day usage, the Datejust is yet another example of momentous innovation. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rolex, the Datejust features a venerable Jubilee bracelet and iconic fluted bezel. The Datejust has been an enduring titan in the Rolex collection, maintaining a minimum generous case size of 36mm and continuous technological updates. Unsurprisingly, the Datejust has consequently been a favoured piece to witness significant international and historical affairs, having been worn and loved by ambitious figures like Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Rolex GMT-Master ii
The pilot’s confidant. The GMT-Master has always had ties to large scale navigational aerial expeditions, aiding adventurers voyage the globe since 1955. The GMT-Master is renowned for its 24-hour bezel divided into two crescents. The red represents daylight hours and the blue nighttime. Various new editions offer disparate colour combinations and solid colour models. But in 2014, Rolex made a bold return to the original red and blue stylisation, this time developing a ceramic ‘Cerachrom’ bezel. Again, in 2019, Rolex took the GMT-Master ii further, curating an 18 ct white gold timepiece with, extraordinarily, a meteorite dial. Each dial is crafted from an exceedingly rare cutting of iron. This material has had the time to slowly crystalise during its incredible journey of billions of kilometres from the outer depths of our solar system.
Dating back to 1963, the Cosmograph Daytona has a legendary place in the Rolex canon and auto racing success. Modern editions of the Daytona are fitted with sophisticated self-winding, high-frequency chronograph complications. These movements are indicative of Rolex’s engineering excellence with its unfailing accuracy. The design and performance of the Daytona has been perfected through the dedication of the Rolex team and countless experimentations with various calibres, each of which has sought to break away from convention. It has since been the favourite timepiece for motor sport professionals since the watch’s launch. The decorated Danish driver, Tom Kristensen, praised the Daytona saying “this chronograph has a history and class around it that everyone trying to aim for the top in motor sport understands and respects. Each driver wants to win ‘their’ Rolex Daytona”.
How much is a rolex submariner? Well the underwater survival tool has reached prices of around £7,700 in 2023. Described as the ‘key to the deep’, the Rolex Submariner has grown to be the unrivalled champion timepiece of athletes, explorers, and artists of all calibres. Its ability to endure underwater depths of 330 feet in 1953 revolutionised aquatic disciplines, but over the years this feat has been beaten time and time again by Rolex themselves. Now, modern Submariners easily reach sea depths of over 1,000 feet. Its impressive price is explained by how indispensable the Submariner has become; an iconic ancestor to Rolex’s other deep sea diving watches, such as the SeaDweller and the Deepsea Challenge.
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