How Long Does a Rolex Watch Last?

Diamond Gold Rolex Watch

So how long will a Rolex last? Could it need some repairs along the way? What about maintenance and the role it plays in longevity? Here’s some basic information you should know, including an idea of how long that recently-purchased Rolex is likely to last.

If there’s one thing you’ve come to expect from Rolex, it’s the fact that the watches are made to last. Far from being something that might serve you well for a few decades, these watches are suitable for passing from one generation to the next. The fact that they hold up so well is one of the reasons why collectors continue to seek out different Rolex lines as investments.

Understanding the Origins of Rolex Watches

What would become Rolex S.A, was founded in 1905. The team of Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf focused on importing Swiss movements to England and placing them in cases for sale. At the time, many of the jewelers who carried the watches branded them with their own names.

By 1908, the business moved in the direction of branding their own watches, choosing Rolex as the brand name of choice. The company also set up a presence in Switzerland. The goal of choosing a brand name was to go with something easy to remember as well as pronounce.

In the following decades, Rolex came to be known as a brand of quality and prestige. That reputation remains today, with the brand producing in the range of 800,000 timepieces per year.

Choosing Materials for Rolex Watches

One of the factors that has helped Rolex build such a strong reputation is the careful selection of materials. Rather than attempting to cut corners, only the best goes into the creation of each Rolex watch. Quality controls over the materials help to weed out anything that would adversely affect the function or the overall quality of any watch.

Even after a watch is completed, it still undergoes rigorous inspections before being shipped to an authorized dealer or a customer. This attention to detail has ensured that the brand continues to enjoy one of the most positive reputations in the world.

The Evolving Technology Associated with Rolex Watches

Throughout the company’s history, the goal of making a good thing better has remained in place. To that end, Rolex has invested significant time and resources in finding ways to make their watches more cutting edge. This includes being able to make them lighter while maintaining the durability and function.

Several of the innovations originated by Rolex remain popular today. The company released the first waterproof casing in 1953. The following year produced a design that included the ability to display two time zones simultaneously. By 1955, Rolex offered watches that included an automatically changing day and date on the dial.

At times, the goal of enhancing quality while improving the overall design has led to collaborations with other makers. One example is the 1968 participation in a project involving 16 different watch manufacturers. The result was the creation of a quartz movement that improved on anything currently available. The Beta 21 quartz movement that resulted paved the way for the 5035/5055 movement that would eventually make the Rolex Oysterquartz the leader that it has remained in the decades since.

The Importance of Maintenance by Authorized Dealers

Owners of Rolex watches have two options for maintenance. One is to return the watch to Rolex for periodic maintenance and upkeep. This includes a thorough cleaning.

A second approach is to approach a qualified independent watchmaker who has been trained and is currently certified by Rolex to perform the maintenance. This type of professional will have an active Rolex parts account, ensuring that all replacement work is done using original Rolex parts. Watchmakers who offer this service typically provide documentation to confirm that all work and all parts are in line with Rolex standards.

Why choose one of these options for maintenance? One reason is that doing so protects the market value of the watch. In the event that you should decide to sell it in the future, there will be no problems receiving the top pricing.

Another reason has to do with protecting the function and durability. By having the maintenance done by an authorized source, you can rest assured the watch continues to provide accurate time and will be something you can pass on to the next generation.

Rolex Submariner watch

Example of a Durable Rolex Line: the Submariner

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner was developed in 1953 and first sold to the public in 1954. It’s considered to be one of the best diving watches on the market today. Known from the beginning as offering superior resistance to corrosion and water, it has become known as a classic design.

Today’s Submariner and Submariner Date lines continue to be water resistant at depths of up to 1000 feet (300m). So how long will a Rolex Submariner last, given the quality of the construction? There are first-generation Submariners that are still in use today. That means you can expect to enjoy decades of reliable performance as well as excellent styling.

Rolex and the Options for Luminescent Dials

Rolex was a pioneer with luminescent dials. While the first ones were made using radium, that has not been true for decades. Moving away from radioactive materials was a priority that led the company to look into the use of materials like tritium. That became reality in 1963 when Rolex discontinued the use of radium and went with this material.

While still radioactive, tritium was found to have a much lower level of radiation. This also meant that the luminescent qualities of the dials would only last for roughly 12.5 years. While an improvement in terms of reducing radiation, this solution has since been replaced with a superior option.

Luminova was first used in 1998 and offered the benefit of not producing any radiation. It also held up longer than tritium, allowing the watch dials to remain luminescent for more years. By 2000, Rolex introduced the use of Super Luminova, an improved version. Since 2008, Rolex has used Chromalight, a non-radioactive material that is believed to produce better results than Super Luminova. One of the distinguishing characteristics is that Chromalight produces a blue hue that is easier to see clearly in the water.

Given the latest generation of materials, how long does Rolex lume last? The projections vary, but current owners with watches using Chromalight report up to 8 hours of luminescence per use. It will take time to see if Chromalight’s life expectancy will exceed that of Super Luminova, but there are projections that the material will continue to work properly for as long as five decades.

The Bottom Line With Durability

Whatever make or model of Rolex you choose, expect it to offer superior performance for decades. Along with excellent time keeping, any other features included on the watch will work properly. As long as you take proper care of the watch and ensure it receives maintenance on a regular schedule, it will continue to appreciate in value and remain a valuable asset.

Luxury Rolex Watch

Remember that Rolex has been around so long because of the quality and the performance. Choosing to buy a Rolex today means you’ll have something that will last for the rest of your life and possibly the entire life span of one of your descendants.