What you see are the two versions of the very first Replica Rolex Oyster watch, in other words, the world’s first water-resistant timepiece. It was proven on the wrist of a swimmer, and when it was released in 1926 it was a rather big deal. The origin of the Oyster name is rather straightforward, borrowed from the sea-dwelling mollusk of the same name, and has been a hallmark of Rolex ever since. In fact, all Rolex replica watches sale produced today are technically in the Rolex Oyster collection (except the less common Cellini Prince models), sharing the first Replica Rolex Oyster watch’s focus on durability and water resistance.
Rolex was a young brand when the original Replica Rolex Oyster watch was released, but it was not until later in Rolex’s history did the brand focus on the Rolex Oyster concept almost exclusively. Hans Wilsdorf, German born and living in London, entered the Replica Rolex Daytona watch industry in 1905 doing timepiece distribution in Britain and the British Empire. He went on to produce his own watches a few years later, and the Rolex name came about in 1908. In about 1920 he moved to Bienne, Switzerland to open Montres Rolex S.A., which is when everything really begun. Just six years later the brand’s hallmark product family would be released.
One thing is notably absent from the 1926 Replica Rolex Oyster watches. The trademark crown logo is missing. Rolex didn’t come up with the crown logo until the early 1930s, but you can see that on one of the pieces the Rolex name was presented in the same font and style that it is in today. You’ll also notice the fluted bezel, which is also a hallmark of Rolex design on today’s Datejust and Day-Date models (among others) This was part of the patented water-resistance system employed in the Replica Rolex Oyster. Hermetically sealed, the Replica Rolex Oyster was innovative not just for being able to be taken into the water, but for resisting a range of liquids and particles such as dust from entering the case. The system was all about screwed-down elements. The original Replica Rolex Oyster watch was innovative because the case back, bezel, and crown were all screwed-down. The fluted bezel was an important part of this because Rolex developed special tools which allowed them to tightly seal up the cases…
A further development that helped increase the safety of the movements was in the later Replica Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. In 1931 Rolex developed a module to fit over their movements that offered automatic winding, and thus the “Oyster Perpetual” was born. This new term joined Rolex Oyster and today is on the dial of all mens Rolex replica watches. This is good to know in case you’ve ever wondered why “Oyster Perpetual” is on the dial of every Rolex watch sold these days. Automatic winding was a benefit to water resistance and other durability matters because the wearer did not have to unscrew the crown and wind the watch manually, thus opening up a small area of the case. The Perpetual rotor (as it was called) allowed the watch to be wound merely by wearing it.
It is also worth mentioning an extra added item of fake Rolex watches history that is related to the cushion-shaped case of the original Replica Rolex Oyster. Does it look familiar? Rolex went on to increase the size of the case and develop a diving watch for Italian instrument company Panerai. The now iconic Panerai case was actually a Rolex creation. If you put a modern Panerai next to this small (under 30mm wide) Replica Rolex Oyster you will see exactly where its design DNA came from. While so much of what Rolex is today evolved in the first few years of the brand, the traditionally-styled dials and cases of the first Replica Rolex Oyster watches are a thing of the past. They are rather typical of watches from that era. In fact, the wristwatch as a popular consumer good wasn’t even really a decade old at that time. What Hans Wilsdorf understood from a very early point in the industry is what consumers wanted, as well as needed. It is interesting to see these first Replica Rolex Oyster watches and see not only how far we’ve come, but how much of Rolex’s heritage really began from that start.