The Rolex Oyster Case in the Words of Hans Wilsdorf

3:30 PM

Early Rolex Oyster Ads 
“In those days, the idea of a watch impermeable to water appeared quite utopian and without future to the majority of manufacturers and technicians who did not, in fact, see its necessity or utility. At trade congresses and meetings, the ‘waterproof’ watch was held to scorn by specialists and a discussion of the problem provoked sarcasm rather than useful and objective arguments.” Speaking in 1945, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf looks back at the reception his Oyster innovation received in the watchmaking community of the late 1920s. 
First Rolex Oyster, 1926
“Other manufacturers had to follow the movement which was to exercise an enormous influence on the entire Swiss watchmaking industry... Statistics show that since 1927 waterproof wristwatches, to a value of more than one thousand million Swiss francs, have been exported throughout the five continents. Another and no less tangible result of the development of the waterproof watch is the profound modification it has brought to the manufacture of watch cases generally in Switzerland. Old machinery, incapable of turning out such delicate work, had to be replaced by new and more accurate machines. Millions of francs were invested in this modern technique and the machine industry entered a new era of prosperity. The Swiss watch-case industry itself regained its position as the first in the world and this at a time when it seemed to have most serious foreign competition to face.” 

Hans Wilsdorf Quote, 1927
“The fact that, like an oyster, it can remain an unlimited time under water without detriment to its parts, gave me the idea of christening it the ‘Rolex Oyster’, the name under which it has become famous throughout the world.” 

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