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by Aleta Saeger August 03, 2020 3 min read

Most of us know that Rolex watches are Swiss-Made and certified chronometers according to COSC. We recognize the world renown symbol of the crown. We see it displayed at famous tennis matches, races, or golf tournaments. We know Rolexes are expensive and one of a kind. But, today we are going to explore the following top 10 little known facts about Rolex watches. 

1. Rolex doesn't have a meaning.

Rolex doesn’t mean anything actually. Some people believe it is derived from “hoROLogical EXcellence.” However, the more commonly accepted answer is that Hans Wilsdorf simply wanted a name that would be easily pronounced in various languages. 

2. All Rolex watches are photographed with the time at 10 past 10 (and 31 seconds).

There are multiple reasons why Rolex product photos are all photographed at 10:10. It’s not just aesthetics for its symmetry; it is also because the hands don’t overlap. Additionally, the logo is clearly visible at the 12 o’clock position, and finally, some say 10:10 is a happy position. The two hands look like a smile or a “V” as in victory.

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3. Rolex was founded in England by both Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis.

Hans Wilsdorf is the more prevalent name when it comes to wondering who founded Rolex. But, Alfred Davis, his brother-in-law, was also a founder. And, for a quick side note: the company was based in London, England prior to moving to Switzerland after World War I in 1919.

4. Rolex is a charity.

Because Rolex donates a large part of its profits to charity and social causes, Rolex is considered a nonprofit institution. 

5. The winding crown is made up of 10 different parts.

As with all aspects of a Rolex watch, Rolex pays great attention to details including the winding crown. Ten different parts are screwed hermetically onto the watch case to make up the winding crown.

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6. Rolex makes all of its gold in-house.

Rolex makes their own gold, so they can control the production and machining of it. This also means Rolex can ensure the quality as well as the appearance of the material. Rolex is the only watch company which makes its own gold with a real in-house foundry.

7. Rolex has made no watches with see-through case backs except two.

Two extremely rare Rolex models from the 1930s had see-through case backs made of glass. Other than these two models, there is no more manufactured with see-through case backs because for tool watches it doesn’t make any sense. For a dive watch, for example, the back would have to be thicker compared to steel. Additionally, Rolex is concerned with quality and precision with its movements. They’re powerful and extremely reliable, not designed to be ornamental.

8. The “Day” wheel on the Rolex Day-Date models is available in 26 languages.

Rolex exemplifies its immense international expansion by offering the Rolex Day-Date in so many different languages. The languages available include: 

  • English
  • German
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Danish
  • Spanish
  • Basque
  • Catalan
  • Ethiopian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Dutch
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Moroccan
  • Norwegian
  • Farsi 
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

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9. Rolex gained a lot of popularity during World War II.

Rolex was and still is known for its high precision, quality and durability which are traits the military needs in their watches. Many pilots in the British Royal Air Force used Rolex watches during World War II. During World War II, many of these Rolex watches were taken by Nazi soldiers. When Rolex found this out, they offered replacements to the British soldiers who had lost their watches based only on their word. This contributed to Rolex’s reputation substantially. News spread fast among the other nations’ soldiers, and Rolex gained immense popularity.

10. Rolex uses IIII instead of IV on its Roman numeral dials.

The Roman numeral IIII is known as the “clock-maker’s four.” There are arguments as to why Rolex uses this Roman numeral composition instead of IV. Historians believe this is because IIII was used on most watch and clock dials (sun dials too), which King Louis XIV decreed during his reign. Analysts argue that with the usage of IIIIthere are four hourly markers which use only I’s, four which use I’s and V’s, and four which use I’s and X’s. Such usage creates a sort of systematic balance. Another thought is that the IIII was used to visually balance the VIII on the opposite side of the dial, so the argument would be that Rolex uses IIII for aesthetics and symmetrical balance. 

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These ten interesting facts span both the past and the evolution of Rolex. Rolex wasn’t and isn’t like any other Swiss-Watch company. The brand continues to be a worldwide icon for precision and perfection. Rolex continues to evolve and innovate. Customize your Rolex with a Swiss-Made Everest Band here.

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Aleta Saeger
Aleta Saeger



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