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September 12, 2022 8 min read
The Stories Behind Two Well-Known Watch Brands and DWISS
We know that there are legendary brands like Rolex and Omega. But most of us actually don’t know how they got there, how it all started.
Why do people like these brands? What’s so special about them?
Today we are going to look at the history behind these two brands, and what they are offering today.
A properly crafted timepiece isn’t just for telling the time. It’s an emotional and financial investment. With time it will be a family heirloom, going from generation to generation.
If there is a watch brand that everybody knows of it has to be Rolex. Celebrities, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and basically the rich, that overall describes their audience and clients. Rolex is known as the most notorious watch brand.
When starting a business it’s very common that the first big achievement is buying a Rolex watch. We are going to take a look at how the name was forged and rose up from nothing to being one of the best.
Rolex has been around for 122 years now. It has been aboard the first submarine that reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench and it was the first automatic winding wristwatch.
THE BEGINNING OF ROLEX
1905 is when Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis in London. Hans Wilsdorf was a German businessman. He had a dream and he decided to move to England.
Rolex did not have a name until 1908 when Wilsdorf was trying to think of a name that is easily pronounceable in every language. That’s when the name Rolex was born.
From London to Geneva
They manufactured their watches in Switzerland. The quality of the watches was undeniable, even back in the days, it was made out of the best materials. After the first world war, in 1919 they moved the company from London to Geneva. The reasoning behind the sudden switch was the England taxes. And it also brought them closer to their supplier.
The First Waterproof Watch
Rolex made the world’s first waterproof watch in 1926. A long-distance swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wore it while she was swimming across the English channel. The case was still sealed and it was working just fine. Rolex was acknowledged. Dwiss has a whole article about divers watches that you can find here.
The 40th Anniversary
Rolex introduced the Datejust at their 40th Anniversary event. It was special. Fully waterproof and had a version with 18-karat gold. It was the world’s first self-winding chronometer to have a date on the display. One of the people who wore this watch was none other than Martin Luther King Jr.
Breaking The Ice
In terms of design, Rolex was always playing with silver and gold. In 2005 they had a new face for their top-tier models that shocked many people in the industry. It was black and shining blue with verdant green. These watches were scratch-proof and crafted from super durable ceramic materials.
One of the most well-known collection of Rolex timepieces is the Day-Date.
Initially presented in 1956 Day-Date is the first watch to indicate the day of the week spelt out in full. It was Worn by many world leaders.
The Day-Date was one of the first wristwatch to combine these basic complications. It was the first self-winding, waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the date and the day of the week spelt out in full in two separate windows.
Day-Date can display all writing systems, like Arabic, Latin, Japanese, etc…
The date and day of the week are spelt out in full, as of today it’s available in 26 languages.
Made exclusively of precious metal and accompanied by its emblematic President bracelet, its multiple dials make it the ideal canvas for self-expression.
The elegant and imposing President bracelet is inherent to the standing of the watch. Immediately recognizable, this solid 18 ct gold or 950 platinum bracelet with three semi-circular links provides complete reliability and comfort.
The President bracelet is fitted with a concealed Crownclasp, opened with a hinged Rolex crown.
Originally, the fluting of the Oyster bezel had a functional purpose. It served to screw the bezel onto the case helping to ensure the waterproofness of the watch.
Over time, the fluting became an aesthetic element, a genuine Rolex signature feature. Today the fluted bezel is a mark of distinction, always in gold or platinum.
In the end, Rolex is the leader of watch brands and will continue to make world innovations.
What if I told you that one of the best watch brands was made by a 23-year-old young watchmaker who opened a workshop in a small village? The next brand we are going to take a look at is Omega.
The founder of Omega
In 1848 Louis Brandt was 23 years old when he created a company that was to become Omega. He was a passionate young man who was all about precision and accuracy. He made quality watches and in a few years, his reputation increased in Switzerland and later on throughout Europe.
The next chapter
In 1879 Louis Brandt passed away and his two sons Louis-Paul and César took over the company. They were driven by their father's passion for watchmaking. But at the time they did not know that they were about to change the whole industry.
They moved the company to 96 Rue Jakob-Stämpfli which is known as Omega’s home.
The New Era
They made their first series-produced calibre called the “Labrador”. With the launch of their new series, they adapted many technological advances and superb timing results. It had excellent quality and it provided the base for future innovations. It was a strong beginning.
After that, they went to make the world’s first minute-repeating wristwatch. It was similar to the pocket watches that were used in 1892 but it was more complex and it was one of its kind.
The Birth Of Omega
In 1894 the brothers launched a new calibre that become the company’s namesake known as the 19-ligne calibre. The movement set a new standard for watchmaking, it was not really accurate but the components could be replaced easily by any watchmaker.
the achievement they reached was called “OMEGA”. They have seen the future with precise movements. It took some time but as the company grew the public realized that as well.
After that, they changed the company name to OMEGA Watch Co. They have become one of the largest manufacturer in Switzerland.
Omega served as an official timekeeper for many sporting events in Switzerland and even abroad. At this point, they have become known worldwide by many watchmakers.
They made watches for the British army and its allies. It was water resistant, shockproof, and anti-magnetic. They launched the Seamaster collection in 1948 and it is one of their most known creation. We will take a look at one of their models later in this blog.
They have made timepieces for pilots as well. You can read about pilot watches on the Dwiss website by just clicking here.
The Omega speed master was qualified by Nasa and it was the first Omega watch in space on the Mercury Sigma 7 mission.
In 1995 they launched the 007 Seamasters. James Bond was wearing one of these watches in the movie, and they are still making this collaboration up to this day. We wrote a whole blog about the topic.
I promised that we are going to take a look at the modern Seamaster. So here it is. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf edition.
These watches are available in different colors and with different straps.
Seamaster Aqua Terra is a superb tribute to OMEGA’s ongoing connection to the global game. In the 41mm model, the symmetrical case has been crafted from stainless steel, with a wave-edged design featured on the back.
The watch is presented on a sporty black and orange striped NATO strap. This chronometer is powered by the OMEGA Master Chronometer calibre 8900, certified at the industry’s highest standard by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology.
The design includes a silvery dial distinguished by a horizontal “teak” pattern as well as a date window and blackened hands and indexes filled with white Super-LumiNova. Orange is used for the central second's hand, the "Seamaster" wording, and the four-quarter numbers on the minute track.
The crystal they use is domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.
This means that domed sapphire crystal glass is round on both the inside and the outside of the dive watch. Watches with double-domed sapphire crystals are on the high end.
Any watch can tell time, DWISS tells it differently! This statement is the foundation of DWISS (Design Watch Independent Switzerland), a niche brand created in 2011 by Rafael Simoes Miranda, a multi-awarded designer in the pursuit of producing state-of-the-art Swiss made timepieces showcasing the time in formats never explored before.
Its vision of innovation does not comprise solely the design of unique time display systems. DWISS is the first company to produce a Niobium watch, it is also one of the first brands to accept cryptocurrency as payment method and the creator of the first watch Club in a subscription-based plan where members design their watch together as a team.
DWISS has already participated of important watch fairs, like Basel World and Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair, but since the beginning the focus was on online sales. It has also benefited from the enthusiasm for crowdfunding on the internet raising so far more than a million Swiss francs from watch aficionados and collectors. They are today a community of loyal customers and friends who support the brand and follow it on all the social networks.
The brand has created several collections over the years. The Classique collection introduced the brand first models made with precious and semi-precious materials: the Brasilia model was made out of 14k gold, and the C2, the world’s first Niobium watch, was design awarded with the IDA (International Design Award) in 2012.
The M collection was launched in 2011 with the model M1, followed by M2 (2016), a model design awarded two times, and lately the M3 (2020), the world’s first watch designed with members of DWISS Club that won the European product design award and the legendary Good Design Award, all models in these collections uses an ETA 2824-2 movement.
With the collections R1 (models RC1 and RS1), DWISS presented its first complications, using a Swiss made tourbillon in the top range models. The other models of these collections used automatic and mechanical movements. The R1 collection have an extraordinary achievement of several design awards. The latest model in that collection the RW1 (2018) won among all the design awards the renowned IF design award with DWISS first wandering hours watch.
In 2021 DWISS commemorates its 10th Anniversary, with the model M3W, inspired in the previous model M3, the anniversary edition watch has a domed bezel and double domed sapphire crystal, and the most important: an wandering hour module with three satellites discs over the skeleton dial that shows the modified Sellita SW-200.
DWISS is a guarantee of innovation and quality. It creates only certified Swiss made watches with the most precise and reliable movements. It is one of the most disruptive and design awarded (14 awards by the day of this article) microbrands that invests in excellence, quality and the right price.
We’ve taken a brief look at how Omega and Rolex all started. Both of their founders were driven by the dream of making watches and they both ended up leading and changing the whole industry. We are sure that both of them will still change the future and come up with mind-blowing innovations. In the new ages of watchmaking few are trying to represent time in different ways, DWISS is one of the ones and the most design awarded of them. Not only changing the representation of time but also integrating new technologies on production, distribution and sales.
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