Rolex, since its founding in 1905, has always kept the highest of quality at its heart. Originally created by brother's-in-law Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, they changed the brand name to Rolex in 1908 and opened operations in Switzerland. in 1914 they fought hard to receive the 'Class A' accolade from the Observatory at Kew which was only reserved for the time pieces with the upmost precision, normally the most complicated of marine chronometers. The demand for wristwatches grew during the First World War due to their ease of use and necessity, until then pocket watches were the norm.
Rolex saw their market expand with the needs of precision timekeeping in certain sectors, their 'Job' watches for Submariners, Airmen, and Engineers. They created many ranges to expand their brand including, Submariner, Daytona, Datejust, Oyster Perpetual and Explorer, each bringing something different to the needs of their clients. As time has passed the wristwatch has been made as much a statement as it has a useful tool to tell the time. With different designs and ranges comes a huge collectors market which has seen a huge expansion over the past few years. Watches which had been seen as retirement gifts and inherited gifts are commanding higher and higher prices.
In 2013, a lady visited our offices with a watch, in need of some advice. Before showing us her item, she asked 'is there any value in fake Rolexes?' Our answer was simple, 'Not really' however, we asked her to show us the watch, just to make absolutely sure it was a fake. To everyone's amazement, it turned out to be totally original. Moreover, it was a vintage Rolex Submariner with an extremely rare Explorer 3-6-9 dial. It wasn't in the best condition, having been been worn by her father continuously for nearly 50 years, since its purchase in the early 1960's. It was consigned for sale and entered it into a specialist watch auction. Rolex collectors' get very excited about previously unseen vintage watches and aren't particularly bothered about the condition in most instances. After marketing it online across the world, we sold it for £86,000, a world record at the time. There was frenzied bidding on the telephones and in the room, but it eventually sold to an internet bidder in China. Suffice to say, our vendor was delighted.