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The GQ Guide to Rolex watches

To many the last word in robust and reliable timekeepers, to others a cast-iron investment that outclasses all other watch brands, Rolex's story is as remarkable as the prices it now reaches at auction. Here's why....

What is it about Rolex that makes it the go-to brand for those looking for their first (or second, or third) “serious” timepiece and seasoned speculators alike? In a word, image: Rolex has cultivated possibly the most refined yet globally recognised “personality” in the horological firmament, driven – in no particular order – by what you might call the “three Rs”: Recognition (it features very near or atop every luxury brand survey going), Reputation (it's responsible for manufacturing more certified chronometers than any other watchmaker), and Resale – a Rolex, as anyone who’s read the headlines will know, is becoming something of an “alternative currency” in its own right as a reliably safe bet for those looking for a return on their investment should they decide to sell.

It’s the reason why many hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of words, have been written on this one brand. But for the record, all you need to know about Rolex can be summed up in just nine and helpfully they feature on the dial of even the “simplest” Rolex on the market. These are: “Rolex” “Oyster” “Perpetual” “Superlative” “Chronometer” “Officially” “Certified” ”Swiss”-”made”

 

So, the name. Rolex was born in London 110 years ago this year, when it was registered by company founder Hans Wilsdorf. Its derivation is hotly contested, but it’s safe to assume Wilsdorf liked the fact it was short, and therefore would look bigger on the smaller dials of the day – and that it’s easy to read and say – no small detail in today’s polyglot consumer world.

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