Rolex Crown
Sabine Meding, last updated on 10/12/2023

It is inextricably linked with the Rolex brand and a powerful symbol: the crown. It is much more than "just" a logo, because it contributes significantly to the function of the high-quality watches. This article takes a close look at the world-renowned Rolex crown and considers its meaning from several interesting perspectives.

The Rolex crown as a brand logo

Whether Sea Dweller, Deep Sea, Yacht Master, Day-Date or GMT-Master II: every watch from the house of Rolex is adorned by the unmistakable crown. First and foremost, it functions as the logo that is internationally associated with the company and represents the watch brand in a way that probably no other symbol could.

According to Rolex, the logo stands for "a crown for every success" and thus fits perfectly with the image of the luxury watch manufacturer. After all, Rolex has been synonymous with unparalleled quality, supreme precision and innovative achievements in the watch industry for decades in a way that few other brands can claim. The crown expresses the company's pursuit of innovation and is a sign of the enormous success that the Geneva-based manufacture has enjoyed.

The decision to use the crown as a logo, the origins of which we will discuss in more detail later in this article, may ultimately have played a significant role in the success of the Swiss company. After all, the mighty crown gives people a sense of the brand at first glance and manages to express without many words what Rolex stands for - quality, elegance, high quality, knowledge and power.

The history of the Rolex crown

To find out the historical background behind the famous trademark, let's take a short trip into the past and travel back to the time when the crown was introduced as a logo.

The crown came into play in 1931, a few years after Hans Wilsdorf founded the Rolex company. Its introduction is closely linked to an event that is still remembered today: the athletic feat of British professional swimmer Mercedes Gleitze. Gleitze swam the English Channel in 1927 - an impressive feat that earned her a great deal of respect. Now, of course, one wonders what this has to do with Rolex. It's simple: Gleitze wore a Rolex Oyster around her neck, which she had previously received as a gift from Hans Wilsdorf himself. Wilsdorf's generous gesture was nothing more than an ingenious marketing prank: when Gleitze got out of the water, the Oyster was still working perfectly, thus proving its waterproofness to the public.

The slogan behind the logo - "A crown for every success" - is sometimes reminiscent of the English Channel crossing, which is a groundbreaking success not only for Gleitze, but of course also for Rolex. The watch brand's watches, which crown every success, are aimed not only at top athletes, but also at "ordinary" people and their everyday successes, whether it be passing exams, family milestones or very personal steps in development.

The design of the Rolex crown

On Rolex watches, the crown is omnipresent: it can be found on the dial, directly above the Rolex name, on the winding crown, and sometimes also embossed on the back of the case.

Visually, the logo is unmistakable. Hans Wilsdorf opted for a five-pointed crown with dot-shaped tips, which looks absolutely noble despite its lack of frills. The tapered points each end in a large dot, resulting in an extremely harmonious and balanced look. It's an all-around successful logo that many a watch lover will never get tired of.

How the Rolex crown works

While the crown as a logo fulfills purely optical and marketing purposes, the winding crown of course has several important functions. In total, it can be set to four different positions, which serve different purposes.

The 0 position is virtually the fully screwed-in starting position and thus the only position in which the watches' water resistance is guaranteed. It is therefore essential to return the crown to this position after each adjustment so that the seals can do their job.

To reach position 1, unscrew the crown counterclockwise until it pops out slightly. In this position, you can take care of winding the movement. For this purpose, the winding crown is turned clockwise, whereby about forty turns are necessary for a full winding.

Position 2, which is reached by pulling the crown out one more step, is for date correction. Watches with an ordinary date function can now be corrected by turning the crown clockwise. For more complex date indications, such as on a Day-Date, turning the crown counterclockwise also adjusts the large display of the day of the week.

Which brings us to position 3: In the outermost position, the watch can be stopped. Subsequently, the time can be adjusted forwards and backwards.

Some models offer functions that - in conjunction with the rotating bezel - go beyond the classic setting options. To operate them correctly, additional know-how is required. These include the GMT-Master II and the Sea Dweller, which require even more knowledge from the watch fan due to certain variations in operation.

If one deals with the crown in detail and tries out its setting options in practice, it quickly becomes clear: this is a highly functional instrument that can certainly exert a great fascination on the proud owner of the watch.

The Rolex crown as a sign of quality

If you ask watch lovers and connoisseurs of the industry about the most prestigious watch brand in the world, you will certainly often hear "Rolex" as an answer. No wonder: the name alone immediately evokes certain associations among watch fans and makes luxury, quality and success resonate. The international reputation of the watch brand is unparalleled and hardly anyone with a penchant for timepieces does not cherish the desire to one day be able to admire his own Rolex on his wrist.

To fulfill this wish, customers sometimes accept extremely long waiting periods of several years or very high prices on the secondary market. The reason: a Rolex is quite simply more than "just" a luxury watch. The watches with the unmistakable crown have long been considered status symbols, attesting to their wearer's sense of style, financial strength and a good knack for timepieces.

The crown also makes a Rolex immediately recognizable as such - in principle, even to the layman. If you spot the unique five-pointed shape, you know immediately what you are dealing with. Thus, the crown is a generally known quality feature, the meaning of which is almost intuitively understood by everyone.

The crown and the water resistance of Rolex watches

At least since the success story of Mercedes Gleitze, who swam the English Channel with a Rolex around her neck, Rolex watches are always associated with a particularly high water resistance. On this very subject, there is a detail to be learned about the crown, the majority of which is known only to "professionals" in the watch world. We are talking about the significance of the dots located under the logo on the winding crown.

If you look at different models, you will notice that sometimes there is only one dot, sometimes two or three dots, or even a bar at this point. What is this all about? The explanation is obvious: The dot markings provide information about the water resistance of the respective watch. Models with a Twinlock system that can withstand water up to at least 100 meters are marked with one dot, two dots or a bar. One bar is reserved for steel and white gold watches, while Twinlock products made of yellow gold or rose gold typically have two dots. If, on the other hand, only a single dot is visible, you are most likely dealing with a Twinlock watch as platinum.

And the third of the dots? Well, only models with Triplock system have "earned" this one. This system, which has existed in Rolex watches since 1970, is characterized by a third seal placed in the barrel and a correspondingly even higher water resistance. In this version, the material does not matter in terms of awarding points: all Triplock watches are awarded three points, whether they are made of platinum, gold or steel.

The Rolex crown in the collector market

Owning a genuine Rolex is not infrequently high on the list of things collectors would like to achieve in their lives. But those who want to become the proud owner of such a luxury watch often have to resort to the secondary market. This is because the number of watches that Rolex issues to dealers each year is severely limited. So if you don't happen to belong to the esteemed regular clientele of a concessionaire, but would like to call a coveted Rolex model your own, you have little choice but to look around on the secondary market - a costly solution.

Despite the sometimes almost outrageously high prices that are called on the secondary market, the Rolex crown seems to magically attract buyers. However, it is important for prospective buyers to know that the crown alone is not a feature that guarantees the authenticity of a Rolex watch. After all, the logo is quite easy for the savvy fraudster to forge, and so the crown may be emblazoned on timepieces that, at their core, have nothing at all to do with the Rolex brand. In order to avoid falling victim to fraud, it is therefore essential to take a close look not only at one or the other photo, but also at the papers and certificates and, if necessary, to seek the assistance of professionals when making a purchase.

The Rolex crown as a distinguishing feature

The decision for or against a Rolex is ultimately a question of taste, but also of knowledge in relation to the watch world and, last but not least, a question of budget. Those who adorn themselves with a Rolex in their everyday life are thus outwardly displaying their preference for luxury goods, their special knowledge and their success in a particularly style-conscious way, and are also revealing themselves to a certain extent in terms of their personal values. After all, the Rolex company and the Rolex crown stand for innovation, quality, robustness, the desire for optimization and "pure luxury".

As a unique symbol with huge recognition around the world, the Rolex crown is consequently much more than a cleverly chosen logo. It is an identifying feature that immediately evokes certain associations even in the minds of people who have little to no involvement with the watch industry.

Conclusion about the Rolex crown

All in all, the Rolex crown can in good conscience be called the standout and possibly most admired sign of success and luxury in the watch world. Everyone knows that a watch with this crown is meant for more than just telling the time. It is a status symbol, an expression of pure high quality and a sign of ambitious striving for "more" - whether in sports, in private or in business.

About the author
Sabine Meding

The broad topic of horology has always interested me, especially how multifaceted and varied the world of watches is. I love writing about the different brands and models and can no longer imagine life without watches. What I like best are models that display both the day of the week and the date. If the dial is also made of mother-of-pearl, the watch is perfect for me.