Winston Churchill wore one, Pablo Picasso, too. Even the Dalai Lama has a few. Founded in 1905, Rolex is decades younger than luxury watch brands the likes of Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne. This brand that was founded in London over 100 years ago has made its own mark in the world like its peers and is often worn by notable individuals and those who have taste for the finer things in life.
In 1919, Rolex moved its operations to Switzerland and became one of the most well-known Swiss-made brands in the world. For decades, Rolex watches have been sought after, valued, and admired.
Although the brand is globally recognizable, Rolex has maintained a certain mystique and its strict no photography policy inside its facilities takes discreetness to a whole new level. Apart from this air of secrecy and the obvious beauty of every Rolex watch, many wonder what makes these watches so valuable.Rolex Uses Expensive Materials
The standard steel for the luxury market is 316L. Rolex, on the other hand utilizes a harder, shinier steel called the 904L. 904L steel is difficult to work with but for Rolex, it’s worth it. This particular steel is hardier, it is rust and corrosion resistant, and looks better than other types of steel. It also takes special skills and special tools to work with 904L.
Aside from this special steel, Rolex also uses bezel, a scratch proof ceramic and lines it with sandblasted platinum. The brand also incorporates gold, platinum, and precious stones into its watches.
Movements are as complicated as car engines, only on a smaller scale. Since the parts are so small and delicate, the failure rate during assembly is far higher. While the parts are made by a machine, all movements are put together by hand. For Rolex, this is the only way to do it. Each watch is also polished and finished by hand.
Almost Everything’s In-House
For all of Rolex’s contributions in the watchmaking industry, it comes as no surprise that the company controls every part of their production process. Rolex is obsessive when it comes to quality control. Rolex has its own science lab, gemology department, foundry, and even employs its own jewelers.
Their internal Research & Development department works on different items that are involved in the manufacturing process. This includes the development of oils and lubricants to make machines work more efficiently, an area for research dedicated to new watches and parts, and a place where they take a closer look at metals.
The brand also has its own stress test room where watches go through simulated wear through the help of robots. Additional tests are done depending on the specific model. Rolex Dive watches, for example, are tested for water resistance inside pressurized tanks.
This luxury brand makes its own gold and processes platinum in its own foundry as well.
Rolex also has its very own gemological department that tests every batch of diamonds or precious stones that come their way. On top of all that, the luxury watch brand also has traditional jewelers in-house. They are the ones who set hand-selected stones onto each watch.
It Takes a Long Time to Make One Rolex Watch
Although Rolex is pragmatic with technology, it does not take shortcuts when it comes to making its watches. It is true that the brand makes almost a million watches per year, but quality and performance are their topmost priorities. That’s why you’ll always pay premium for a Rolex.
The wording “Swiss Made” was formally adopted by Swiss watch brands in the 19th century. On some older Swiss Made watches, the word “Swiss” is used alone and placed right on the dial. Other terms like “Suisse” and “Swiss Movement” are also used.
In January of 2017, new regulations in Switzerland were put in place to protect luxury watchmakers and the “Swiss Made” label. New regulations now scrutinize which brands qualify as “Swiss Made”.
Based on the new “Swissness” bill, 60 percent of a watch’s manufacturing must occur in the country. This is a stricter regulation compared to the Swiss Made bill codified in 1971.
Brands want to be labeled as “Swiss Made” because it represents a standard quality and performance not found anywhere else in the world. It is extremely attractive to those who want to buy luxury watches and, for decades, has been a magnet for foreign direct investment. Unfortunately, this label has become a selling point for lower cost brands. With the new regulations, low-cost brands will likely abandon the label.
It is argued that Swiss Made watches operating under the new law will not only guarantee quality but will also ensure domestic investment from the watchmaking industry.
Take a look at some of the hottest Swiss luxury brands below.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot is known for combining gold and rubber in its watches. Each wristwatch from the brand is durable, stylish, and adaptable. A sought after brand because of its design, Hublot is a fine choice if you are looking for a modern watch.
Apart from the distinctive porthole shape of a Hublot and the rubber rim that complements its dials, the band of every Hublot watch conforms to the wrist of the person wearing it. Every watch made by the brand is comfortable and almost weightless, which explains why it has always been the go-to choice for sportsmen and individuals who always work with their hands.Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is synonymous with luxury and prestige. Founded by Edward-Auguste Piguet and Jules-Louis Audemars in 1875, the brand is among the best and most luxurious Swiss Made brands around. A leader when it comes to trends, it is noted for making the first steel sports watch. Audemars Piguet also produced the first oversized watch in 1993.
Unlike other Swiss brands, the company is still owned by the families of its founders. The luxury brand supplies its movements to Bulgari and Cartier. That alone says a lot.Ulysse Nardin
Founded by Ulysse Nardin in the year 1846, the brand of the same name still makes its watches in the original place where the first Ulysse Nardin watch was made. Operating even during the two World Wars, the Swiss brand still holds its office in Le Locle, the place where it was founded.
A leader in marine chronometers, Ulysse Nardin has produced a range of wristwatches that are distinctive and visually appealing. Known for working with modernized materials, the brand often gives its watches unique leather bands in a range of colors.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and you’re thinking of giving your man a watch.
But with so many options available at every conceivable price point, it’s difficult to make a decision on which wristwatch to buy. Should you look at Rolex watches? Or maybe opt for an elegant Jaeger-Lecoultre?
Let us help you out! Below are some of the best watches that your man will surely love.
1. Rolex Air-King Stainless Steel
Rolex watches are often seen as a sign of opulence even if many watches from the brand are not sold at stratospheric prices.
It’s not often that you see celebrities and personalities wear unknown brands, because classic brands are seen as a status symbol that they want to flaunt. One of these classic brands is Rolex. Martin Luther King, for example, wore a Rolex when he uttered those infamous words, “I have a dream”. Artist Pablo Picasso also sported a Rolex and even the Dalai Lama has a rumored 15 watches from the brand.
If you want an easily recognizable brand that the man in your life can wear just about anywhere, the Rolex Air-King is a fine choice. It has a scratch resistant sapphire crystal, a waterproof screw-down crown, and features a stainless steel case. This beauty is sold at $5,500.
2. Breitling Windrider Callisto
A brand known for specializing in technical watches, Breitling has played an important role in chronograph development. A world leader for this particular component, every Breitling watch is expected to be sturdy and reliable. And they are.
The Breitling Windrider Callisto is no exception. A watch from the 90s, this wristwatch is a wonderful gift for every watch connoisseur. It is water resistant and has steel movement. It can be found on sale for as little as $999, making it a great choice for the budget conscious.
3. Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Duometre
The Jaeger-Lecoultre’s Duometre Unique Travel Time watch is a combination of elegance and functionality. It features an 18K rose gold frame and comes with manual wind functions for hours, minutes, seconds, and dates. This beautiful watch also features a world time and a second time zone complete with a day/night indicator. It has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Sold for $39,550, this Swiss-made watch is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for men who are always on the go.
4. Cartier Ronde Solo Steel Black Leather Midsize Watch
This unisex midsize watch is a Swiss-made beauty that features a 6.5 mm-thick case. It has a stainless steel back and a crocodile skin embossed leather strap in black. Sold for $3,750, this Cartier watch also has a silver opaline dial with black sword-shaped hands. A great choice for stylish men, this watch can be worn with a suit and tie, but also pairs well with casual attire.
5. Zenith, 42mm El Primero “Captain Chronograph” Limited Edition
Like all limited edition Zenith watches, this exclusive model is reflective of centuries of watchmaking history. It is an exceptional piece that comes with a stainless steel case, luminescent hands and markers, and an elegant alligator leather strap with blue stitching. This is a sought-after watch making it a perfect gift for any occasion. Sold at $6,250, it also features a date display and is water resistant up to 50 meters.
Picking a watch for the love of your life all depends on his personal style and what functions make up the type of watch he needs. Be the hero this Valentine’s day and give him a timeless gift he’ll never forget.
Refined, fashion-conscious men who don’t hesitate to indulge in luxury when it comes to choosing their timepieces often appreciate the discrete elegance and sophisticated detailing of watches from brands like Patek Philippe, Lange and Sohne, or Graham.
Above anything else, they’re looking for timeless, high-value accessories that can become a part of their daily outfits, complementing both casual and formal attire. The right watch also reflects a glimpse of their personality and unique style in a classy, non-ostentatious manner.
Rediscovering the Beauty of 7 Classic, Versatile Watches
Perhaps you’re also interested in classic timepieces that go extremely well with just about anything and can be worn with great pride anytime, anywhere? If so, here are seven exquisite watches for any occasion, which you should consider adding to your personal collection.
1. Rolex Submariner Date. When it comes to investing in a luxury timepiece carrying a hefty price tag, you want to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you’ve agreed to pay for, and maybe even a little more.
The iconic Rolex Submariner is a great pick for those looking for a high-end piece with a manly, subtly elegant design. Since its release in 1953, this model has been marketed by its maker as arguably the sole watch that you can pair with a tuxedo, and as such has been interpreted as the epitome of effortless sophistication and class.
2. Patek Philippe Calatrava. With its chic 38mm case, its refined silver dial color, and its luxurious black crocodile leather band, the iconic Patek Philippe Calatrava 5296G hardly needs an introduction and can be worn at black and white tie events by the same people who like to wear a high-end watch at work on a daily basis.
3. Cartier Pasha Steel 36mm Watch. If you love versatile watches with a simple, stunning design, chances are that you’ll love the 36 mm stainless steel Cartier Pasha. The watch features an elegant blue quarter Arabic dial, comes with a stylish steel bracelet, and has what it takes to complement both the daily uniform and festive attire of any successful businessman.
4. Breitling Chrono Avenger Model E13360. Breitling is a popular brand among the fans of luxurious, agelessly beautiful timepieces that make great conversation starters and complement just about any outfit choice in an effortless manner.
The 44mm steel case and blue Arabic dial of the E13360 Breitling Chrono Avenger are two masculine features that add instant appeal to menswear. At the same time, its fuss-free rubber bracelet and 300 meters water resistance turn this popular timepiece into a great choice for active people who enjoy a wide range of leisure activities, such as swimming, in their spare time.
5. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. If you’re on a quest to find one of the best-loved, most versatile Swiss-made automatic watches available on the market, take a closer look at the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore (MODEL 26170TI.OO.1000TI.04).
Its 44mm titanium case, blue dial, sharp automatic engine, and robust, chic construction are only a few of its main traits that will help you make a great impression at work, on a date, at a gala or a cocktail party, or in any other social context.
6. Graham Chronofighter Oversize Ranger 46mm. In case you’re looking for a luxury watch with a bold, masculine 46mm case, traditional functions (hours, minutes, and seconds), a robust, appealing stainless steel construction, and a black rubber band, look no further. This multifaceted Graham Chronofighter Oversize Ranger may just be the best luxury item that you can wear on your wrist on a daily basis.
7. Chanel. You couldn’t possibly talk about versatile watches suitable for any occasion without mentioning the spectacular Chanel J12 Black Ceramic 33mm. This gem is a popular unisex designer watch with a stylish 33mm ceramic case.
Featuring a black, round dial with Arabic numbers, this item is appreciated for its high-precision quartz movement, and also for its superluminova indicators and hands added to enhance visibility in poorly lit environments. This masterpiece is constructed of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and is water resistant up to 200 meters.
All these ageless models reflect their makers’ highest quality standards and passion for superior craftsmanship, and constitute an excellent choice for buyers craving for luxury timepieces.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the classic men’s pocket watch evolved into a variety of versatile wristwatch models.
During World War I, the first wristwatches made available to soldiers were seen as both a key military tool and an iconic fashion accessory associated with essential, positive attributes, such as power, punctuality, and responsibility.
The First Wristwatches Responded to a Practical, Battlefield Need
The 100th anniversary of the start of World War I was seen by many watch and fashion powerhouses as a perfect opportunity to celebrate and re-envision their most iconic timepieces. At the time of their conception, wristwatches allowed military personnel to coordinate their actions on the front and prepare themselves for the challenges brought on by the era of airplane-enabled battle.
Some historians believe that the history of the wristwatch began a few centuries ago, when Napoleon was allegedly frustrated by the fact that he had to open and check his pocket watch during battle. Whether true or not, most experts agree that the birth and widespread availability of the wristwatch as we know it is connected to World War I. It was certainly the environment that allowed this iconic piece to become a statement accessory serving both as a men’s jewelry essential element, and a military tool of great importance.
Modern Wristwatches are Seen as an Indispensable Men’s Fashion Accessory
As you can probably imagine, a heavy pocket watch would be difficult to carry around and use on a daily basis, not to mention during armed battle. Faced with this challenge, an officer from the German Imperial Navy discussed this issue with his superiors, claiming a watch tied to his wrist would be the simplest, most convenient solution to the problem. A wristwatch would eliminate all the drawbacks linked to a conventional pocket watch.
In this context, watchmaker Girard-Perregaux brought some of its finest craftsmen from Switzerland to Berlin to work on small, lightweight, revolutionary timepieces meant to stay attached to the wearer’s wrist. This bold move encouraged other prestigious companies to follow the same approach, and produce iconic wristwatches that served both as an innovative fashion accessory, and a key military tool.
In 1917, for instance, Cartier rolled out its legendary Tank Watch, a design inspired by war tanks seen by its maker on the western front. Present-day luxury watch buyers who appreciate the versatility and timeless appeal of Ulysse Nardin, Zenith, and Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, can find no less than 41 reinterpretation of the iconic Tank design. These new models are available in different high-end combinations of precious metals, including white, rose, and yellow gold, as well as steel.
Luxury Modern Timepieces Display an Ideal Balance between Form and Function
More than one century ago, the classic wristwatch as we know it started making history as a statement piece worn with great pride by distinguished soldiers. Nowadays, watches go well beyond their initial purpose, and mesmerize potential buyers with their increased practical and aesthetic value.
Aside from telling the time, sought-after timepieces – including Jaeger-Lecoultre, Ulysse Nardin, and Zenith watches – are interpreted as the epitome of professional and personal success, and are a great indicator of their wearer’s style, taste, personal preferences, lifestyle choices, and social status.