Rolex is easily the most famous luxury watch brand in the world. Despite its fame, the company's early history is little known. In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis established a watch business called Wilsdorf and Davis in London, England. The company imported Swiss movements and cased them in England to be sold by jewelers. Three years later, the name was changed to the easily pronounced "Rolex." In 1919, Wilsdorf moved Rolex to Switzerland. Watches at this time were susceptible to damage from dust and moisture. To address this issue, Rolex pioneered the use of a hermetically sealed case dubbed "Oyster" for its water resistance. The company marketed this feature by placing its watches in aquariums and advertising the channel swim of Mercedes Gleitz, who wore a new waterproof Rolex. The Oyster became the Oyster Perpetual when Rolex patented a self-winding mechanism in 1931. Rolex is credited as producing the first chronometer wristwatch with an automatically changing date display and as one of the first watchmakers to produce a dive watch. This dive watch, the Submariner, was famously worn by James Bond in the earliest films. Rolex is an independent manufacturer which makes almost every component in-house. It is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a charitable trust established in 1944. Rolex is the largest watch brand by market share, producing upwards of one million watches every year. The company is synonymous with prestige, quality, and durability.
All modern Rolex movements bear the "Superlative Chronometer" specification. Rolex not only regulates its watches to the exacting requirements of the independent Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) but further ensures movement accuracy of no more than plus or minus two seconds' deviation a day. Most collections offer watches in several configurations which feature varied case sizes, bracelets, dials, and metals. The Oyster Perpetual is the simplest of Rolex's collections. Although made to the same high standards, The Oyster Perpetual solely features hours, minutes, and seconds. The Rolex Datejust is at once both classic and modern. The iconic, versatile design has been emulated but never matched. The Ladies Datejust Collection offers the same model in more feminine variations. The Oyster Perpetual Date has a time and date movement but was offered in a 34 millimeter case diameter. Exclusively produced in precious metals, the Day-Date is one of Rolex's most prestigious watches. The Day-Date is often referred to as the "President" owing to the name of its bracelet and its presence on the wrists of several American presidents. Across the globe, Rolex is famous for functional, professional watches. A Submariner with a black dial and bezel was famously worn by James Bond in several of the early Bond films. This design is still considered the gold standard for dive watches today. Rolex has produced the Submariner in a number of variations, the most famous of these earning nicknames. The green dial and bezel "Hulk" and the black dial, green bezel "Kermit" remain popular. The Submariner is also available with and without a date function. The Sea-Dweller offers an even more functional dive watch alternative to the Submariner. The Deep Sea has a 3,900 meter water resistance rating. This particular model is available in a blue-to-black gradient dial version that commemorates James Cameron's dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. The Rolex Explorer is an iconic field watch that has joined numerous polar, caving, and mountaineering expeditions. The Explorer II includes a useful 24-hour hand and date display. The Milgauss is a professional watch created in 1956 to withstand the increasing magnetic fields present in the workplace. Consequently, the watch boasts 1,000 gauss magnetic resistance. The Rolex Air King pays tribute to Rolex's history in aviation with its highly legible, aeronautical design. The automotive-inspired Cosmograph Daytona is perhaps the best known chronograph on the market. The popularity of certain Daytonas among celebrities has made the watch iconic. The Daytona was partially popularized by actor Paul Newman, whose own watch was sold at auction for 17.8 million USD. More recently, the "Rainbow" Daytona, which is set with jewels that encompass the entirety of the visible light spectrum, has been worn by many celebrities. The green dial, yellow gold Daytona has surged in popularity due to its promotion by musician John Mayer. The GMT Master is among Rolex's most popular collections. Owing to its production in a number of colorful variations, numerous configurations of the GMT Master have earned nicknames. Famous models include the "Batman," "Batgirl," "Root Beer," and "Pepsi." The Yacht Master is inspired by Rolex's connection to sailing. The Yacht Master II features a regatta chronograph, a timer typically used to count down to the start of a sailing race. The Sky Dweller is one of the most complicated timepieces produced by Rolex. The watch features a second time zone and annual calendar. The Sky Dweller's display is unique; the month indication is located in apertures next to the hour indexes and the 24-hour second time zone is indicated with a disc. Although known for its sport and professional watches, Rolex also produces classical dress watches under the Cellini name. This collection features more traditional proportions and design attributes while still maintaining Rolex's distinctive style.