Rolex is everywhere. Turn on the TV on a Sunday afternoon to watch the F1 and you may as well be watching the Rolex Show with a guest slot of some racing cars. Rolex is a quiet giant, secretive and powerful, and it makes one of the best selling, most often copied luxury watches in the world: the Submariner. The Submariner did to watch making what the Model T Ford did to the automotive industry, creating a legacy that still goes on to this day. But how?
Contrary to popular belief, the Submariner wasn’t the first water-resistant watch – it wasn’t even Rolex’s first water-resistant watch. When Hans Wilsdorf founded the brand in the early 1900s, he was already focused on a singular concept: making solid, accurate watches for the average person. His watches were affordable, sold in large numbers and did the job they were supposed to do, admirably. The watch market already had its Rolls Royce and Aston Martin in the form of Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre, what it needed was a Volkswagen, a hearty, reliable product for the masses, and that’s what Wilsdorf provided.
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