Wilsdorf & Davis Rolex Wire Lug
Wilsdorf and Davis 1920's silver trench watch with dramatic black porcelain dial. 34 mm in diameter with original lume and onion crown distinguishing this lovely example. The porcelain is also in near mint condition. An amazing opportunity to obtain a nearly century old Rolex.
The history of Rolex is inextricably linked to the visionary spirit of Hans Wilsdorf, its founder. In 1905, at the age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf founded a company in London specializing in the distribution of timepieces. He began to dream of a watch worn on the wrist. Wristwatches were not very precise at the time, but Hans Wilsdorf foresaw that they could become not only elegant, but also reliable. Rolex first concentrated on the quality of the movements. The relentless quest for chronometric precision rapidly led to success. In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne.
Four years later, in 1914, Kew Observatory in Great Britain awarded a Rolex wristwatch a class “A” precision certificate, a distinction which until that point in time had been reserved exclusively for marine chronometers. From that date forward, the Rolex wristwatch was synonymous with precision.
Rolex moved to Geneva, a city renowned internationally for watch making. Montres Rolex S.A. was registered in 1920. In 1926, the creation by Rolex of the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch marked a major step forward. Given the name “Oyster”, this watch featured a hermetically sealed case which provided optimal protection for the movement. It is one thing to claim a watch is waterproof. It is quite another to prove it. In 1927 a Rolex Oyster crossed the English Channel, worn by a young English swimmer named Mercedes Gleitze. The swim lasted over 10 hours and the watch remained in perfect working order at the end of it. In 1931, Rolex invented and patented the world's first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. This ingenious system, a true work of art, is today at the heart of every modern automatic watch. The year 1945 saw the birth of the Datejust, the first self winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date in a window on the dial. A watch of great distinction, the Datejust was equipped with a Jubilee bracelet created especially for it and a fluted bezel, making it immediately recognizable as a Rolex. It is the pillar of the Oyster collection. Initially for men, it became available in various models for women in the course of the following decade. In 1953, Sir John Hunt’s expedition, in which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, was equipped with Oyster Perpetuals. Launched in 1953, the Submariner was the first divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet). Its rotatable bezel allows divers to read their immersion time. In 1956, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date made its debut. Available only in 18 ct gold or platinum, it was the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week spelt out in full in a window on the dial. With the President bracelet, originally created especially for it, the Day-Date continues to be the watch par excellence of influential people. Launched in 1963 as a new-generation chronograph, the Cosmograph soon gained the name that became the mark of an icon: Daytona. Designed as the ultimate tool for endurance racing drivers, the Cosmograph Daytona was robust, waterproof and featured a tachymetric scale on the bezel for calculating average speed. In 1985, Rolex became the first watch making brand to pioneer the use of 904L for the cases of all its steel watches. Most commonly used in high technology and in the aerospace and chemical industries, its excellent anti-corrosion properties are comparable to those of precious metals and it offers a final polish of exceptional sheen.