Rolex Logo: The Complete Story Behind The Iconic Crown

Nov 08, 2019
Rolex Logo: The Complete Story Behind The Iconic Crown

One of the most recognisable and successful trademarks in the world is the Rolex logo — the iconic Rolex crown. In fact, the Rolex logo is sometimes the sole reason some people purchase a Rolex watch. It’s THAT famous and the branding is THAT good that it draws people to spend thousands of dollars just to own a piece of it.


Seen on the face, bracelet and the screw-down crown of the watch, the Rolex logo features a five-pointed crown with small dots at the tips. Some say that the shape of the “crown” symbolises power and prestige similar to the crown worn by royalty. Others believe that the crown-like shape of the Rolex logo represents the five letters of the name Rolex.


No matter the reason, one thing is clear, the Rolex logo represents something that almost everybody wants to own.


In this article, we will talk about the iconic Rolex logo — from its rich history, meaning and symbolism, all the way to how effective it is a commercial branding.

History of Rolex and Its Iconic Logo

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex watches
Hans Wilsdorf, Founder of Rolex / Photo by Rolex

Along with the rich history of the brand, the Rolex logo itself has enjoyed a long and prosperous journey. Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, who was only 24 then, and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis.


Initially, Rolex was named after its founders Wilsdorf & Davis — W&D. However, Wilsdorf wanted his watches to have a name that was not only short but also easy to say and remember. Another consideration was that it had to be a name that will look good on the dial. So, in 1915, they changed it to “ROLEX”.


The brand did not give any official reason for coining the name. However, Rolex aficionados, of course, have their own speculations concerning the origin of the name. Some say it was inspired by “Horlogerie Exquise”, a French phrase that means “exquisite watchmaking”. Others claim the name Rolex actually has the same sound that a watch makes when it is being wound.


As to how the name came to be, Rolex has a whimsical story about it. According to the Rolex website, after so many attempts trying to come up with the right name for the brand, combining letters of the alphabet, the name came to Wilsdorf when a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in his ear one day while out in London.


After the founders finally settled on the name, finding the appropriate logo was the next step. Designed by Wilsdorf and Davis themselves, the Rolex logo crown came to life and was eventually trademarked in 1925.

The Enduring Design of the Rolex Logo

logo design of Rolex watches
Photo by Rolex

Looking all sleek and exquisite on the dial, the iconic Rolex logo with its five-pointed crown insignia fits right on top of the name “Rolex” like a glove.


With the word “Rolex” — written in Garamond typeface — being short and concise, it does not clutter the dial. This allows for more room for opulence and sophistication for the Rolex crown. Although the colour of the Rolex logo varies depending on the watch, it always appears in gold above its green-coloured brand name “ROLEX” in advertisements and other promotional brandings.


front view of Rolex Air-King watch
Photo by Rolex

In fact, the only watch that embraces the original colour scheme of gold and green of the Rolex logo is the Rolex Air-King, one of the simplest and least expensive of all Rolex watches. The watch sports the gold crown and green “Rolex” on its simple and minimalist dial.


Gold seems to come naturally to embody prestige and opulence in a crown, which not only symbolises the Rolex logo in this case but also epitomises what Rolex watches are all about. Gold also represents the precious metal that Rolex uses to make their watches. In short, gold portrays an image of luxury and prestige befitting a Rolex watch.

Rolex Logo Colour Scheme, Rolex Logo Design, Green Shade, Brown Shade
Rolex Logo Colour Scheme / Photo from

In the Rolex logo, the brand uses the Metallic Sunburst (#A37E2C) shade in the gold crown, which perfectly complements the Cadmium Green (#006039) used in the brand name, ROLEX. While the gold crown represents prestige and luxury, the green in the brand name symbolises wealth and money.

Symbolism Behind the Rolex Coronet

A symbolic headgear traditionally worn by royalty and deity, the crown symbolises power and prestige. It represents authority and honour. Rolex strongly translates all these into their watches, not only with the success of their iconic Rolex logo in terms of brand recognition but also the way one feels about owning a Rolex watch.


closer view of Rolex Logo Coronet Up and Crown
Rolex Logo Coronet Up Close / Photo from Rolex

Some attribute wearing a Rolex watch akin to wearing a crown — they feel honoured and privileged. Some claim that Rolex is the ‘King of all Watches’ — with which many can only agree.


Aside from representing a crown fit for royalty, observers claim the five-point coronet also looks like fingers. While to some, the Rolex logo represents five tree branches with pearls on each tip. Besides the obvious — that the Rolex logo represents excellence, exclusivity, and high-quality watchmaking craftsmanship, Rolex didn’t give clear-cut information on what exactly the Rolex logo represents.


Perhaps the brand feels the company slogan explains it all: “A Crown For Every Achievement”. As every Rolex owner can attest, wearing a Rolex watch, indeed, feels like a crowning glory for whatever goal one achieves and accomplishes. It’s no wonder a Rolex watch is one of the most popular, not to mention the most appreciated, gifts for all occasions.

The Design Evolution

Almost a century after the Rolex logo was trademarked in 1925, its design hasn’t changed very much. But it has always retained the original essence of the logo, which makes it recognisable to this day.


Evolution Of The Rolex Logo design

In the brand’s history, the Rolex logo only underwent two revisions. In 1965, Rolex decided to change the crown’s colour from the original gold to bronze, and the Rolex text from green to greyish-blue. They also removed the original golden outline in the text.


However, in 2002, the brand decided to go back to its original colour combination — the gold crown and green font, but this time they didn’t bring back the golden outline. To this day, the brand still successfully uses the same incarnation from 2002.

The Prestige that Goes with the Rolex Logo

Ranking among the most iconic and recognisable logos of all time, the Rolex crown sits on top along with Mercedes Benz, Apple, and General Electric logos. And rightfully so, because almost everybody, even the non-watch aficionado, recognises the Rolex logo.


Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch on wrist

Of course, prestige and exclusivity come with owning a Rolex watch. And the Rolex logo has a lot to do with it. In fact, with its intricate design detail, the Rolex logo is among the first things that buyers check to avoid purchasing a fake Rolex. Buyers have learned to look closely at the Rolex crown to make sure the watch they are getting is an authentic Rolex watch.


With stiff competition in the watchmaking industry, and with many watch manufacturers regularly coming up with extraordinary Swiss watches, no one has yet to rival the prestige and recognition that Rolex embodies. This is largely due to the iconic Rolex logo and the successful branding that goes with it.

Successful Rolex Logo Branding

Synonymous with success, prestige, and wealth, Rolex has undoubtedly mastered the art of successful branding. Ranking #78 on Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands in 2019, Rolex boasts a brand value of $9.1 billion. Needless to say, it has graced the wrists of the most successful and powerful people in the world, from John F. Kennedy to Tiger Woods.


John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, President, US Congress, Speech
Photo from

One of the most infamous of all Rolex watches belonged to JFK. The Rolex Day-Date he owned was said to be a gift from Marilyn Monroe in 1962, bearing an inscribed message: ‘Jack, with love, as always. Marilyn’. The watch was said to be put away and only brought back to public attention in 2005 when it was auctioned.


Without a doubt, Rolex watches are as iconic as the Rolex logo that represents them. Its presence is undeniable be it in sports — from golf to tennis, yachting and water and motorsports, or entertainment — or movies and entertainment.


Among the most famous Rolex cameos in equally famous movies include the Rolex Submariner 6538 worn by Sean Connery in the James Bond film Dr No, and the Rolex GMT Master 1675 on the wrist of Marlon Brando in the movie Apocalypse Now.

James Cameron, Filmmaker And Explorer, Wristwatch, Rolex Figures, Director
James Cameron, Filmmaker and Explorer / Photo from Rolex

And, of course, nobody can deny the impact of the new Rolex testimonials by four of film’s most legendary directors: James Cameron, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, and Kathryn Bigelow.


To say the least, the Rolex logo is a great example of exceptional branding. Rolex has successfully created a symbol that has withstood the test of time. One that has proven its success and enduring presence in over a century since its launch. Truly an outstanding feat!

Rolex Datejust In Rose Gold watch on wrist

Pride in Owning and Gifting a Rolex Watch

Producing almost a million watches every year, Rolex often appears in almost every important event and occasion in a man’s life. This aptly epitomises their slogan: “A Crown for Every Achievement”. Hence, as mentioned above, a Rolex watch is a perfect gift, not just for others but for oneself.


Just a peek of the Rolex logo gives one an undeniable excitement of something great to come. Whether it’s a gift to yourself or to a loved one, a Rolex watch is a great choice. This is not only because of obvious reasons, namely, high-quality craftsmanship and prestige, But also because it is a gift that impresses, practical, and most of all, a great investment.


Nobody can dispute — even the serious watch snob who doesn’t think a Rolex watch is a masterpiece — that Rolex has one of the greatest investment and resale values among the top watch brands. This is precisely because people can relate to what Rolex is all about. Again, this boils down to how good and effective the Rolex logo and branding are.


Simply put, there’s an undeniable pride in owning a Rolex. Seeing that iconic Rolex logo every time they look at their wrists is one of the reasons people purchase the watch.

Rolex Logo Tattoo, Anyone?

Apparently, some people love their Rolex so much that they go to great lengths to even have the Rolex logo tattooed on them!


Pinterest features images of people proudly showing off their Rolex logo tattoos. Some were done tastefully, and some were not so. But the reasons behind each tattoo can sometimes be something personal and meaningful.


One wrote that his grandfather had a jewellery store and used to sell Rolex. The brand was such a huge part of his family history that he decided to immortalise it in a tattoo. A group of friends even had matching Rolex logo tattoos to seal their friendship. This also sealed their passion for the iconic Swiss watchmaker.


Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel even made headlines for sporting a new Rolex Logo tattoo. Although some may claim that he did it hoping to land an endorsement deal with Rolex. But no matter the reason, it cannot be denied that he, too, takes pride in having a piece of the Rolex logo on him.


Keen to learn all about the history and symbolism behind the Omega logo as well? Check out our interesting feature here

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