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This early production Rolex wrist watch is one of the earliest gentleman’s wrist watches.


My customers’ father received this watch between 1916 and 1918 around the time of the First World War.   The inside case markings tell the story of the early Rolex Watch Company.  

The case is made of .925 sterling silver and is case marked 1916, indicating the year the case was made.   Other inside markings included stamps from both (W & D) and Rolex.

The original company was founded in 1905 by the German Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis, (W & D).  Originally, Hermann Aegler’s Swiss movements were imported to England and placed in the quality watch cases.    In 1908, Hans Wilsdorf registered the trademark name Rolex, the origin of the word is not known.

rolex2 By 1912, W & D Company moved out of Great Britain due to high taxes and duties on the case metals, to Geneva, Switzerland where they remain headquartered today.  In 1915, the company name was registered to Rolex.  It is thought that this name changed occurred in part to popularize the wrist watch which was primarily a novelty for women, as pocket watches were still more common and Hans Wilsdorf desire to have a name pronounced easily in any language.

The company name was officially changed to the Rolex Watch Company in 1919, later changed to Montres Rolex, SA and finally to Rolex, SA.

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