Switzerland is home to hundreds of luxury watch manufacturers, but none are as famous as Rolex. For over a century, Rolex has been a byword for luxury, capability and style – no other watch has the same combination of precision, durability and prestige as a Rolex.
These days, when most people think Rolex, they think about models from the brand’s popular Professional collection, such as the legendary Daytona, GMT-Master and Submariner. That’s hardly a surprise: they’re iconic watches and some of the most desirable timepieces on the planet. But it’s easy to forget that Rolex has a lot more to offer than just ‘Pepsis’ and ‘Hulks’.
Indeed, the watch cognoscenti of the world are turning into Rolex’s Classic collection – the sometimes understated yet groundbreaking models that helped Rolex become the institution that it is today – for new additions to, well, their collections.
Timeless, resistant to hype and incredibly versatile, Rolex’s Classic watches remain some of the most beautiful and prestigious timepieces ever made – and are a worthy addition to any watch lover’s collection.
Let’s start with the model that cemented Rolex’s reputation as the industry’s most important brand: the Oyster Perpetual.
In 1926, Rolex changed timekeeping forever with the introduction of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch: the Oyster. Then, in 1931, Rolex changed the game again when they came up with the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor, a design which today underpins virtually all modern automatic watch movements. Put those two innovations together and you have a match made in heaven.
Today, the Oyster Perpetual represents the purest of all of Rolex’s models. Uncomplicated yet incredibly handsome, the Oyster Perpetual continues to captivate watch fans thanks to its purity as well as its versatility. Available in a wide variety of metals, sizes and dial colours, there’s an Oyster Perpetual to suit every watch wearer.
Also in Rolex’s Classic category is the faithful Datejust. When it was launched in 1945, the Datejust was the first self-winding chronometer to indicate the date in a window on the dial. In 2022, the Datejust remains one of the most practical and popular models in the brand’s repertoire.
In our opinion, the Datejust is the perfect daily wearer: stylish enough to suit the most formal occasions, but with enough sporting pedigree to accompany more casual outings as well. The iconic Cyclops lens makes checking the date a cinch, too.
Like its Oyster Perpetual sibling, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Datejust options: bezels, indices, bracelets… It’s in the Datejust range where you’ll find some of Rolex’s most exciting dial treatments, too, such as the recently introduced , eye-catching ‘palm’ and ‘fluted’ dials.
You could maybe call the Oyster Perpetual or Datejust ‘understated’ but one Rolex that certainly isn’t the illustrious Day-Date.
First released in 1956, the Day-Date was the first watch to display the day spelled in full as well as the date. Few watches are as unique or luxurious as the Day-Date, which remains to many the ultimate expression of success.
The Day-Date is unique among Rolexes as it’s only ever been available in precious metals – typically gold. Indeed, you might know the 18ct yellow gold Day-Date as the famous ‘Rolex President’, named in reference to the brand’s signature bracelet design as well as the watch’s appearance on the wrists of myriad world leaders.
What you might not know is that its day display is available in 26 different languages – a testament to Rolex’s enduring international appeal.
In 2022, the definition of luxury is multitudinous; more complex than it’s ever been before. But something that’s always relevant is a good watch – and there’s no watch that fits the bill better than a Rolex. They’re legendary for a reason. And if you’re going to invest in a legend, start where the legend began: the Rolex Classic collection. Rain, hail or shine, these watches will never let you down.
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