As Wimbledon is well underway, we cast an eye over the finest watches from Rolex, the tennis tournament’s Official Timekeeper
Even if you’re not tennis-mad, there’s no avoiding the knowledge that Wimbledon is now upon us. The world’s finest tennis tournament takes over in London for the next fortnight – and Rolex is once again timing all the action.
This year, as ever, Britain’s hopes rest on reigning champ Andy Murray, as well as world number 7 Johanna Konta, who suffered a surprise early exit in the second round at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham recently.
Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper of Wimbledon since 1978, but its involvement in sport began in the 1920s, when Mercedes Gleitze became the first Englishwoman to swim the English Channel, wearing the newly launched Rolex Oyster on her wrist. When she emerged from the water, the watch was still in perfect working order, proving that the brand was more than capable of high-performance watchmaking.
Today, many of the globes greatest tennis players wear the iconic Rolex Oyster and its brand ambassadors include Roger Federer, a man who needs no introduction, and Milos Raonic, last year’s Wimbledon finalist and the current world number 3.
We at Watches of Switzerland are proud to be an official Rolex retailer, and offer an extensive selection of stunning Rolex timepieces. This week, our specialist watch buyer, Faye Soteri, shares her top Rolex Oyster Perpetual picks to sport on your own wrist at Wimbledon.
In 2016, Rolex bestowed the new Air-King with a 40mm case (increased from 34mm on the previous model). It also added its signature green detailing to the dial – an accent it borrowed from the Rolex instruments in the Bloodhound SSC, the impressive jet-and rocket-powered car in which current world land-speed record-holder, RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, will attempt to reach 1000mph in October (sponsored, of course, by Rolex). The handsome Air-King also benefits from the brand’s Superlative Chronometer, meaning the movement is now accurate to -2/+2 seconds per day.
At this year’s Baselworld, Rolex unveiled the new timepieces in its Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 collection in steel or white Rolesor – its combination of gold and steel first introduced in 1933 – with a wide selection of dazzling dials. On its launch in 1945, the Datejust became the first self-winding waterproof chronometer watch to display the date on the dial. Today’s Datejust 41 models are classics in their own right and come equipped with the very best in modern watchmaking. Inside ticks the new Calibre 3235, which has an impressive 14 patents, including Rolex’s highly efficient Chronergy escapement made from nickel‑phosphorus, which offsets magnetic interference. We think this steel and yellow-gold example is sure to look the part as you sip your Pimm’s courtside.
Should 41mm be a little on the large side for your wrist, consider the Datejust 36, which, incidentally was the case size of the first Datejust. This yellow Rolesor model combines steel and 18-carat yellow gold to great effect, complementing its champagne-hued, diamond-set dial. Another feature borrowed directly from that first Datejust is its supple five-piece link metal Jubilee bracelet, which was commissioned for the original, back in 1945. As ever, it’s fitted with Rolex’s cleverly concealed Crownclasp.
Last year, Rolex delighted female fans with the latest models in its evergreen Lady Datejust collection. The new pieces are cast in either 904L steel or white Rolesor, and come with a colourful array of dials. The original Lady Datejust, launched in the late 1950s, and this year’s revamped models feature a redesigned, larger 28mm case and a new mechanical movement, the Calibre 2236, which powers a date function under a cyclops lens at 3 o’clock. However you dress for a day at the tennis, we’re pretty certain this steel and Everose gold diamond-set model, with its shimmering mother-of-pearl dial, will turn heads.
For a sportier look, there’s the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers, when it was first introduced in 1963, it features a bezel with a tachymetric scale that can measure speeds of up to 400km per hour. This eye-catching 40mm model is cast in 18-carat white gold and features a cool steel dial with contrasting black sub-dials and a comfortable rubber Oysterflex strap – perfect on a hot summer’s day.