Rolex innovations cover over a century. If you’re a collector, or just want to verify the date of a Rolex watch type, here are important dates to know.

Rolex innovations are dedicated to pragmatic applications for land, sea, and air. That’s why they continually work with leading explorers, like James Cameron, as well as the companies that equip them, such as COMEX. Rolex has always created tools for survival, competition and organization.

Familiarize yourself with these key Rolex innovations over the past century-plus and improve your ability to spot a genuine Rolex.

1910 The first Rolex wristwatch chronometer
1926 The Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof, dustproof watch
1931 The first Rolex Perpetual winding movement
1945 The first Rolex Datejust, self-winding with a date on the dial. The Jubilee bracelet was designed for this model.

Rolex datejust dial
1953 The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer, in celebration of the ascent of Mount Everest, where a Rolex was worn.
1953 The Rolex Submariner dive watch, water resistant to 100m. Introduces the uni-directional rotating bezel to track remaining dive time.

1955 The Rolex GMT Master, the first multiple time-zone watch for intercontinental pilots. That adorable bi-color bezel that’s become so trendy? It was developed as a quick and clever way to determine night and day at a glance.

Pepsi GMT Rolex ref 16710
1956 The Rolex Day-Date, the first watch to display the day of the week and the date on the dial. The President bracelet was designed for this.

Rolex Day Date18k Gold President
1956 The Rolex Milgauss, named for its resistance to magnetic fields measuring up to 1000 gauss. Note the “electricity” second hand.

1960 The Rolex Deep Sea Special, a prototype that went into the Mariana Trench 37800 feet below sea level, strapped to the outside of the bathyscape. It came up ticking.
1963 The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph, introducing a tachymeter scale for measure speed on a racetrack.

1967 The Rolex Sea-Dweller, introducing the Helium Escape Valve for mixed-gas diving. Water resistant to 610m.


1971 The Rolex Explorer II, with a 24 hour indicator for exploring at the poles where night and day are not distinguishable.

1978 The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000, waterproof to 4000 ft.
1985 904L Stainless steel, an alloy adapted from high tech and aerospace for its resistance to corrosion.
2000 The 4130 calibre movement for the chronograph. Only 290 parts.
2005 The Cerachrom bezel, a special ceramic capable of extreme endurance, ultraviolet resistance
2005 The Parachrom hairspring, resistant to shocks and unaffected by magnetic fields
2007 The Rolex Yacht-master II, with a programmable countdown for timing the start line at a Regatta


2008 The Rolex Deepsea with a Ringlock that allows the crystal to withstand up to 3 tons of pressure.
2012 The Rolex Sky Dweller with dual time zones and an annual calendar that only needs resetting once a year.

That all of these innovations came from a single company is nothing less than astounding. And as we look to Mars colonization and asteroid mining, our money is on Rolex to beat those challenging environments first.

Learn more about Rolex history, here.



“My experience buying a pre-owned Rolex from Palisade Jewelers was perfect. I did the transaction by phone. The watch arrived, exactly as described; they gave me good, attentive service.”

– Richard


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