The Ultimate Rolex Library
by ©Edward Heliosz 2001-3

I've put together a list of Rolex reading material which I think is essential to the collector.  This is by no means the definitive library, any further recommendations and suggestions are welcome.

When I first became interested in Rolex watches, the only book that was available regarding the subject, was "Rolex - Hans Wilsdorf and the Evolution of Time 1905 - Present" by George Gordon.  I bought this book in the early 1990s and I was disappointed with it even then.  The information contained within is minimal.  What it does contain are vintage Rolex advertisements and 292 colour photographs of mainly vintage Rolexes.   This book is part of the Timeless Elegance Series. The second book in the series is "Twentieth Century Wristwatches".   This volume contains a brief history of wristwatches and is divided into six chapters: Patek Philippe, Rolex, Vacheron, Cartier, Longines & Assorted.  There are photographs of rare Rolex watches like chronographs, moon phase calendars and bubble-backs.  The third book in the series is on Cartier.  All books are written by George Gordon and were published by Alan Zie Yongder in 1988-89.  All three are out of print but readily obtainable.  Be warned, some of the watches in the Rolex book, are believed to be fake.

Probably the best known volume about Rolex watches is The Best of Time - Rolex Wristwatches - An Unauthorized History by James M. Dowling & Jeffrey P. Hess. Published in 1996 by Schiffer Publishing.  I would treat this book as the bible on Rolex wristwatches.  All the main models and their history are found here.  It is a must have for collectors and enthusiasts alike.  For updates and corrections to the book, go to James Dowling's home page at U.K.WatchesA second edition of this book has been published.  The major addition is an extra chapter titled, "21st Century".  Which features the new Cosmograph Daytona and its new in-house movement.



The next significant Rolex publication is Orologi Da Polso - Rolex by Osvaldo PatrizziPatrizzi is chairman and founder of Antiquorum Auctioneers.  He is also the author of other publications, the more noteworthy being Collecting Patek Philippe Watches.  The three volumes pictured, are the 1992, 1995 and 1998 editions respectively.  They are all published by Guido Mondani Editore and are in Italian and English text.  The first edition has just over 200 pages and has a brief history of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, The Foundation, Andre J. Heiniger and the watches themselves.  It has pages of Rolex advertising from 1939 to 1980.  The last part of the book is entitled  "Selection of Rolex Wristwatches Described by Osvaldo Patrizzi" with a two photographs a page and a short description of each watch.  It comes with a price guide for all watches that appear in the book and has a plain white cardboard slip case.  The second edition is exactly the same but with a few additions.  It has a chapter on Rolex wristwatches that have appeared in international auctions.  It is 260 pages in length and come with the price guide and a heavy slip case that has the same front cover photograph as the book.  For more information on the 3rd edition, click on the image to be taken to the publisher's web page.  There is now a 2001 edition which has been updated and expanded to 512 pages.

Vintage Rolex Sports Models is by Martin Skeet and Nick Urul and is published by Schiffer.  As it title suggests, this book focuses on Rolex sports models.  It discusses the fact that these sports models are used as tools and were designed for specific professions and pursuits.  The watches featured are: Submariner, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master, Explorer, Milgauss, Turn-O-Graph and Cosmograph.  Only steel models are shown. The book also has chapters on the ancillary items that go with a Rolex watch and a guide on collecting.  It has 216 quality pages with photographs of all watches mentioned and their variances.  The photos are at approximately one and a half times normal size.  This is a great publication that all Rolex enthusiasts should own.  There is one major complaint that I have.  Some of the information is wrong and misleading.  The photographs of the GMT and 1655 Explorer II models are not true representations.  The orange 24 hour hand is in the wrong position.  The time shown on the photos is 10:11, the 24 hour hand can only be pointing at 10 or 22 on the bezel.  See the illustration.


The Rolex Reference Guide is written and published by T. Charles Jarman.  This is a no nonsense publication with plenty of facts and figures.  It has an informative history of the Rolex Company, the Frequently Asked Questions section is essential reading as is the miscellaneous information and trivia sections.  If you want to know anything Rolex, this is the first book you should buy.  Click on the image to be linked to Charles Jarman's website.


The Rolex Report is written by John E. Brozek and is published by InfoQuest Publishing, Inc. I wish this book had been around when I first became interested in Rolex watches. This is a superb publication and should be the first Rolex book you should buy. It is professionaly printed on high quality paper, it has an ISBN allocation and it even has a forward by Jeffrey P. Hess, the co-author of The Best of Time - Rolex Wristwatches - An Unauthorized History. There are many good features about this 4th Edition, the best being a comprehensive guide to fake and counterfeit Rolex watches and what to look for in a genuine Rolex watch. I only wish that there were a few colour photographs included but you can't have everything! Click on the image to be taken to InfoQuest's web site.

 The book shown on the left is by the author Anton Kreuzer.  His other noted work is Feast For The Eyes - Omega DesignsRolex Chronometer Für Das Handgelenk is a hardbound book with 136 pages and of course, it's in the German language.  There are some nice photographs of rare Rolexes, though, these photographs seem to have been taken from auction catalogues.  The rest of the book is in the similar format as the Omega book.  Recommended to only serious Rolex book collectors.

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