When people talk of luxury watches, they often think that it’s a man’s turf. They often relate them with businessmen or avid collectors-but rarely a woman. However, the first-ever recorded wristwatch was designed for a woman. In 1810, Caroline Murat (the younger sister of Napoleon I), more commonly known as the Queen of Naples, asked the watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet to make an oval timepiece attached to a bracelet. Seventeen craftsmen in Breguet’s workshop took two and a half years to make the watch. The finished piece was made with a silver dial with Arabic numerals and a case made of yellow gold, attached to a bracelet made of gold threads.
Fast-forward to today, Rolex is now a household name. Men and women alike are fans of the brand. Primarily, it catered almost entirely to a male clientele. Thankfully, things have changed, and women are now a big part of the brand’s market.
In this article, let’s learn the history of Rolex watches for women, and we’ll see how their wristwatches came from being exclusively a male’s accessory to every lady’s fantasy.
Rolex’s Masculine Beginnings
Almost a century after the invention of a wristwatch, Rolex was founded. In 1905, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf set up his business making watches majorly for a male audience. It did produce a small number of timepieces for the ladies; however, they were delicate pieces adorning bracelets. They seemed ornamental and are seen as more of a mere accessory.
1. Rolex Takes a Dive
Starting in 1922, typist Mercedes Gleitze dreamed of being the first woman to swim across the English Channel. After failing seven times in 5 years, she finally became the first English woman to cross the Channel in October 1927. Despite her feat, many people, including the Channel Swimming Association, were doubtful of Gleitze’s success. Undaunted, Mercedes Gleitze claimed to swim the channel again after 14 days to prove her skeptics wrong. In this vindication swim, founder Hans Wilsdorf took the chance to test Rolex’s first-ever waterproof watch.
Wilsdorf gave Gleitze a complimentary Rolex Oyster wristwatch. He asked her to wear it during her swim—to which she did, only on a riband around her neck. After 10 hours in the water, Gleitze noted, the watch still kept perfect time. One month after the famous swim, Wilsdorf paid for a full-page spread on the Daily Mail highlighting Mercedes Gleitze and the Oyster’s success-cementing Rolex’s name in history.
2. The Rolex Datejust
Launched in 1945, the Rolex Datejust was a timepiece designed for men. It was the first self-winding wristwatch that features the date on its dial. The Datejust enjoyed enormous success, and it sealed the watch as a functional and fundamental accessory for men. Because of this success, in 1957, Rolex watches became more available for women through Lady-Datejust’s unveiling. It is the first official ladies’ version of the famous timepiece. It has the same iconic features as its male counterpart but smaller to accommodate a woman’s delicate wrists.
Although trends and designs have changed, Datejust’s performance is still unparalleled in the market. The Datejust and its feminine equivalent have now become the all-time bestselling watch that Rolex has ever released.
3. The Rolex Pearlmaster
In 1992, the Rolex Lady-Datejust got an upgrade – its new version, the Pearlmaster, was launched. These timepieces became jewelry watches. The Pearlmaster is a line exclusively made for the ladies. These watches are made in white, yellow, or Everose gold and studded in precious stones like rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. With intricate handiwork, each watch dial is exquisitely crafted, giving it a luxurious look. The Pearlmaster became the “crowning jewelry watch,” and rightfully so.
Modern Watches for Modern Women
Equipped with a priceless catalog, Rolex has a watch for every woman. Rolex has a functional and fashionable timepiece to go with any outfit, whatever the occasion may be. Here are some of their prized wristwatches that may be suitable for the modern woman:
1. Lady-Datejust 18ct Yellow Gold Automatic Cornflower Green Diamond Dial
This exquisite watch has 18-carat yellow gold with a face in cornflower green. The diamond-studded hour markers add a beautiful touch to this watch. Scratch-resistant sapphire adorns the front of the watch, makes for a durable accessory one can wear anywhere. Diamonds embellish the watch’s bezels adding to its timeless look.
2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34 Purple Grap
For a unique yet classy look, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual with a Purple Grape Dial is a fantastic choice. It boasts three-piece links of Oyster steel with a clasp. Going for a modern look, the index and hands on the watch have a minimalist style. The face is a reddish-purple hue with a sunburst finish. For women who want to keep it simply elegant, this watch is easily the perfect choice.
3. GMT Master II Black & Brown Bezel Stainless Steel
GMT Master’s were initially made for men. However, the recent decades have seen a blurring of lines between genders. It is not unusual to see a woman wearing a Daytona or a GMT Master. This particular GMT Master watch flaunts a combination of stainless steel, rose gold, and a black dial. Simple dots mark the indexes of the watch. This watch can go well on any lady (or gentleman).
It certainly took a lot before ladies could enjoy Rolex watches for themselves. Even though they spent many decades focusing on their male audience, it is clear Rolex does not neglect their female market anymore. Ladies’ watches released every year carry more and more designs, and they certainly do not compromise each piece’s structure and value.
If you are a woman seeking a Rolex watch, worry not. With the variety of styles available, it would be effortless for you to find a timepiece that suits your needs and fashion. Have you found the perfect Rolex watch for you? Let us know by leaving a comment below!