Home Continuing Series Historical Horology Historical Horology: The First Rolex Certified Chronometer

Historical Horology: The First Rolex Certified Chronometer

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Rolex-1914-Kew-Certificate

If you spend any amount of time looking at the dial of a Rolex, you’ll notice the wording that shows up. Look at another one from a different lineup, and you’ll see the same words appearing – certified chronometer. Far from being a bunch of marketing fluff, this is something Rolex rather prides themselves on, and made the decision from early on that all of their watches would carry this certification. As with all things, it had to start somewhere, and that’s what we’re talking about today – the first Rolex Certified Chonometer.

Now, if you are only familiar with the Rolex of current day, you’d probably expect this “first watch” to be something rather masculine in appearance, ready to take on the world. When you realize that this watch got the certification in 1914, however, your expectations need to shift. The little gold watch that was certified is pretty unassuming, and definitely would be (in this day and age) considered a women’s watch (and, rightly so, as in that era, wristwatches were firmly a feminine accessory). Appearances aside, why is this watch important?

Rolex-Kew-Certified-Chronometer-Wristwatch

In large part, its due to where the certification occurred – the Kew Observatory in Great Britain. At that time, Kew was responsible for ensuring watches and clocks were up to the task at hand of being used by the Royal Navy. The testing itself wasn’t any walk in the park – put through a variety of environments over the course of 45 days, and measured in five positions, the little Rolex managed to pass the testing with flying colors, keeping itself to an average rate of within + 1 second.

That’s an astonishing feat for a watch to get today – and that’s 100 years after the fact, with all manner of improved materials and manufacturing methods. There is no doubt that Rolex has come a long way with its craftsmanship and designs in the intervening century. As with so many things, though, it is of benefit (and, likely, interest) that we dig into the history of things. For a much deeper dive into the first Rolex Certified Chronometer, check out the full article over at aBlogtoWatch.

Rolex-1914-Kew-Results

 

All images courtesy of aBlogtoWatch

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