/The History of Rolex Quartz Watches

The History of Rolex Quartz Watches

A little bit about the history of Rolex Quartz watches


1905 – 1910

Rolex watches can be traced all the way back to 1905. Visionary Hans Wilsdorf, founded his timepiece company in the year 1905 at the young age of 24. While wristwatches were not popular at the time, Wilsdorf set out to prove that watches could be both practical and sophisticated. Especially when worn on the wrist. 

After he established his company, Hans set out to convince the public to see the need for these new and innovative timepieces he’s created. Now fast forward to 1908. The company needed a good reputable name. Something that would speak to people. Wilsdorf wanted his watches to have a name that looked good, was short, and one that was easy to remember. 

Hans claims a genie gave him the name Rolex, saying “I tried combining the letters of the alphabet in every possible way. This gave me some hundred names, but none of them felt quite right. One morning, while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.” 

At first the Rolex company focused heavily on the quality of the watch movement. But it wasn’t until 1910 that they were finally successful in creating the perfect chronometric precision. This was the year that the very first Rolex wristwatch would receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. A certificate granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne.

1914 – 1945

With great success comes even greater success for Rolex. In 1914, four years after they won the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, Rolex was awarded a class “A” precision certificate from Great Britain. This is an award that was reserved strictly for marine chronometers, that was until Rolex came alone. And from that point on Rolex wristwatch was equivalent.

In 1926 the company created the first ever waterproof and dustproof wristwatch to hit the market naming it the “Oyster.” With their fully dedicated team and patented designs, the Rolex wristwatch company was at the peak of their business. And things only got better from there. A few years later in 1931 Rolex invented and patented the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor for their timepieces. 

1945 was the year of the first Rolex Datejust. The Datejust in the pillar of the Oyster collection was the first self‑winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date inside a window on the dial. This was a whole new ballpark for the public. It was a watch that had a great distinction, unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. 

1953 – 1960

The 50’s was a time when watches became more than just watches. Especially the Rolex watches. The company began to develop wristwatches intended for professional activities, such as deep-sea diving, aviation, mountain climbing, and even scientific exploration. These were a huge game changer and ultimately became known as the watches for achievers.

In 1955 we saw the world’s first GMT-Master, a watch that was designed specifically for airline pilots. And then in 1956, the Oyster Day-Date made its debut as the first wristwatch to display both the date and day of the week. I mean talk about a huge innovation. Nearly every year Rolex was coming up with something new and unprecedented that the public wanted – and needed.

The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss was introduced to the world in 1956 and was the first watch designed strategically for the scientific community. After rigorous testing done by CERN engineers, the watch earned its reputation as the ideal magnetic shield. These are just one of the magnificent achievements the Rolex company has accomplished throughout the years. Today Rolex continues to thrive as one of the most successful timepiece companies to ever grace the market.

Quartz Movement

In 1962 Rolex along with several other Swiss watch manufacturer formed what was called the Centre Electronique Horloger. The sole purpose of this group was to develop a quartz movement. They wanted to use quartz in their wristwatches. So when the movement began the numerous companies competed to build quartz watches to sell for practical use. Their first prototype was produced in 1966 and by 1969 there was a second edition. 

Quartz Watches

Rolex Quartz watches like this Texano Yellow Gold Vintage Watch operates by counting the swinging motion of tiny quartz crystals that vibrate up to to a million times per second. The crystals are able to vibrate because of the piezoelectric principle. The principle the of the piezoelectric law allows electric current to pass through the airwaves of the crystals causing them to vibrate. 

When the quartz crystals vibrate it causes a swinging like motion in the electric current that can be detected and measured by a tiny computer. This computer then counts the oscillations. But one thing to note about quartz watches is that they take a battery. Most Rolex’s don’t take a battery, but these ones do. 

Final Thoughts

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