Timeless Style: the Rolex Revolution

Antiquorum is celebrating Rolex’s 100th anniversary with a travelling exhibition of rare examples charting the evolution of that highly desirable timepiece, the Rolex sporting watch. The ‘Revolution’ exhibition includes a prototype Sea Dweller, and visits Hong Kong, Peking, Tokyo, Geneva and Los Angeles during April before ending up in New York, where the watches will be auctioned at Antiquorum’s sale on April 17.

Rolex was founded in 1908. In 1926 it revolutionised the world of watch-making with the introduction of the Oyster, the world’s first watertight and airtight watch. The following year the Oyster faced its most stringent test, when Mercedes Gleitze wore one on a cord around her neck while swimming the English Channel. After 15 hours in the water, the watch still functioned perfectly. The evolution has continued for 80 years, with milestones including the first ever waterproof, self-winding watch – the Rolex Oyster Perpetual – the Submariner (waterproof to 100m depth), the Cosmograph and the Sea Dweller.

Timeless Style: the Rolex Revolution Timeless Style: the Rolex Revolution

Rolexes have survived plane crashes and shipwrecks, sub-zero arctic temperatures, desert heat, and the weightlessness of outer space. They have broken the sound barrier and one was ejected from a fighter jet at 22,000 feet. All still ran perfectly afterwards. Notable Rolex wearers include Sir Malcolm Campbell (who took his Oyster to over 300mph on the Salt Lake Flats in 1935), and the members of Sir John Hunt’s British Himalayas Expedition, whose Explorers remained accurate even at the summit of Everest. And, of course, Rolex was the timepiece of choice for James Bond, as played by Sean Connery in Dr No.

Estimates range from $10,000 to $150,000. Further details can be found on www.antiquorum-japan.com.

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Antiqourum

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