A brief history of the top watch brands
In 1875, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet joined forces to produce watches with complex mechanisms. Based in La Brassus in the heart of Vallée de Joux in the Swiss Jura region, Audemars Piguet Watches has been creating and marketing under its own name a range of Haute Horlogerie watches.
In 1972 Audemars Piguet launched the worlds first high end sports watch in stainless steel – The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The watch launched at the Basel watch fair was a radical departure from the current watch trends. The unique octagonal bezel was a revolutionary shape in watchmaking.
Arguably among the finest luxury watch manufacturers in the world, Audemars Piguet boasts a history that is rich with tradition. One of only a handful of watch companies that produces and assembles its own movements and complete timepieces.
PATEK PHILIPPE WATCHES
As the fashion of wearing a watch around the wrist was catching on, watchmakers began challenging the integration of various complications into their new timepieces. Patek Philippe’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch was produced in 1925. In addition to indicating the day, date and month, taking into account the number of days of each month (29, 30, 31) as well as the 29th of February in leap years, it displays the ages and phases of the moon. Patek Philippe’s general production launched the first bracelet chronographs either with or without a split-second mechanism and wristwatches with minute repeating.
During the Polish uprising in 1830, Norbert de Patek, a Polish refugee settled in Geneva preferring exile rather than facing prison. Geneva at that time was the capital of watchmaking and fine jewellery. Nine years later together with his friend and fellow-countryman, the gifted watchmaker François Czapek, they set about using their combined talents and founded the watch manufactory of Patek, Czapek & C°, with their headquarters in Geneva.
Hans Wilsdorf founded the company that we know as Rolex in 1905. Born in Kulmbach, Germany in 1881, the company, Wilsdorf & Davies ” Rolex” was based in London. By 1908 Rolex had become one of the leading watch companies in the UK. It was in this year that he coined the name for his watch company to be called Rolex.
Official Chronometer Certification was awarded to Rolex in 1910 from the “Bureau Officiel” in Switzerland, the first time this had ever been given to a wristwatch. This was to be the first of many accolades awarded to the Rolex watch, including the Class A Precision from the Kew Observatory in 1914.
In 1926 the Rolex Oyster was released. It was the first wristwatch to be considered waterproof, proven a year later when the Rolex watch was worn by the swimmer Mercedes Gleitze in his successful bid to cross the English Channel. This was beneficial to Wilsdorf “Rolex” whom had sponsored the event and gained considerable exposure for his new Rolex Oyster Watch. Wilsdorf recognised the importance of advertising and marketing his creation in order to gain publicity and prestige.
1931 Rolex saw the creation of the Perpetual Rotor, a mechanism now seen as the basis for self-winding Rolex movements. In the following years Rolex released the first Oyster Perpetual Rolex Ladydate (1954), then the Rolex GMT Master with dual time zone function (1955) and the first Rolex President Day-Date (1956).
Andre Heiniger took over the Rolex company following the death of Hans Wildorf on 06 July 1960. Rolex continued to invent and innovate in terms of technical skill and style throughout the 2nd half of the century. The Rolex Sea-dweller (1967) was certified as reaching depths of up to 1,220 metres making it the choice for Professional Divers – a point that was quickly adopted in advertising the model. The Rolex Explorer II (1978) and The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (1988) were also released to international waiting lists securing Rolex as one of the worlds most prestigious watch brands.
As of today Rolex is still committed to deliver one of the Best watches and some of the most amazing Model for the 21st century.