Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Vintage Rolex Hotness Ads...Through Time

...Rolex Hotness...

The Rolex Woman

What Kind Of Woman Wears A Rolex?

The Evolution Of The Female Rolex Archetype 

They say you can tell a lot about a man by observing what kind of watch he wears, as well as the by the kind of shoes he wears. But what about a woman? They say with a woman you can tell a lot about her by her handbag, as well as her shoes. What about her watch? Does that tell you anything?

I have noticed from many decades of observing women's watches, that women who wear Rolex watches have certain worldview characteristics: They are typically Ladylike, Timeless, Chic, Charismatic and relatively traditional. More like a Ralph Lauren model than punk rocker... When I think of women wearing Rolex, I think more Elle MacPherson than Cyndi Lauper. 

I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and thus, highly subjective. When I think of the ultimate woman wearing a Rolex today, Ingrid Hoffman comes to mind. Ingrid is ambitious, outgoing, stylish, chic, feminine, wholesome, and naturally beautiful...

There are many other beautiful women that come to mind when I think of women wearing Rolex, including Sofia Vergara, and Jennifer Aniston.

It is fascinating to note that starting in the 1960s, women began wearing men's Rolex tool watches, like the Rolex Submariner, Rolex GMT-Master, etc. Today I notice more women wearing men's Rolex models that are 40MM, than I do the smaller, more petite models. The supreme irony in this is the fact that up until the 1990s, Rolex was known for being "THE Big Watch Company", but today Rolex makes typically smaller watches!!?

Rolex ads have always fascinated me, so I thought it would be interesting to put together a story that chronicles Rolex ads that feature females in chronological order. Looking at these ads in chronological order is so interesting for so many different reason. First, from an anthropological perspective it is fascinating to see how social mores toward women have evolved over the last ninety years. Secondly to see how different generations of Rolex Leadership handled marketing material, and to see how Rolex branding evolved from typically including verbose language into taking a very simple approach.

You can't help but notice that in early Rolex ads, Rolex was ALWAYS trying to prove themselves, then in the 1990s, all of a sudden, they didn't seem like they had anything to prove any more.

So let's get in the Rolex Time Machine and travel back to the mid 1920s...

Ladies Rolex Oyster Ad

Rolex introduced the famous Rolex Oyster in 1926, and began a world-wide marketing campaign to familiarize the world with the many benefits of owning a truly waterproof watch. 

The following Rolex ad from 1926 is the earliest know Rolex Oyster magazine ad I am aware of, and of course you can always learn much more about The Complete History Of The Rolex Oyster on Jake's Rolex World.

In this article we will learn that the first Rolex brand ambassador was a woman, not a man, and that Rolex Founder, Hans Wilsdorf brilliantly marketed to females.


Italian Rolex Mermaid Oyster Poster

Hans came up with the idea of associating the fantasy of mermaids with the waterproof Rolex Oyster as seen in the 1926 Italian Rolex advertisement seen below.

Rolex Oyster Introduction Brochure 

This next illustration depicts Mercedes Gleitze as she emerges from the English Channel. In the past I wrote a detailed article about Mercedes Glietze swimming the English Channel titled, "The Oyster and The Mermaid."

Rolex Oyster Introduction Advertorial

The Rolex photo below from the late 1920s features actress Evelyn Laye, as she demonstrates the waterproof quality of her Rolex Oyster, by submerging it in a fishbowl.

Watch & Clock Maker

This is a fascinating art-deco style Rolex ad from 1929. In particular it is interesting they refer to what we refer to today as a wristwatch as a wristlet. This ad was obviously published after the advent of the Rolex Oyster, but before the Oyster Perpetual. Notice how similar the art-deco case in the bottom left looks to an early Panerai.



Rolex Princesse


French Rolex Ad

Swiss Rolex Poster

Beyer, Zürich, Switzerland

The poster below was printed in Switzerland between 1942 and 1945, and this particular poster was published by Beyer, which was the only Rolex Authorized Dealer in Zürich, Switzerland at the time. Beyer is still in business today, and they have been in business for over 250 years, making them one of the oldest jewelry storers in the world!

The poster text is in German since Zürich's  primary language is German. Rolex is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, where the primary language is French.

World War II 

Women In Service Rolex Ad



Ladies Rolex Chameleon Ad


Rolex Golden Dream Series


ALL IN GOOD TIME . . . Smart Women


Vogue Magazine


Rolex Advertising & Sales Promotion Guide

This 1950s Rolex Advertising and Sales Promotion guide cover is fascinating. The juxtaposition between the sturdy Rolex Submariner (No Crown Guard) diving watch and the beautiful woman is fascinating to me for some reason.



 Commander Whitehead 
& Pauline Trigere Ad

The 1959 Rolex Magazine ad pictured below showcases two really successful and iconic celebrities. The first is Commander Whitehead, who built the Schweppes brand, and the second is fashion designer, Pauline Trigere.


Shelia Scott

Sheila Scott broke over 100 aviation records in her lifetime of flying airplanes. She was the first person to fly over the North Pole in a small aircraft.

Sheila Scott is pictured in the Rolex ad two images above, and in the photo above, we see her sporting her Rolex GMT-Master. I think it is very likely that Sheila Scott was the archetype for the Pussy Galore character in the 1964 James Bond movie, Goldfinger. The image below is a screen grab taken from the end of Goldfinger and is shows Honor Blackman, who plays Pussy Galore, sporting a Coke GMT-Master.


Pauline Trigère


French Rolex Ad
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

How cool is this totally mod French Rolex Ad from the early 1960s, which features a beautiful woman with her distinguished man sitting on the hood of his Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. Very La Dolce Vita & Mad Men.

"She Knows what a watch means for a man."


Breakfast At Tiffany's
Ladies Rolex Catalog 

The following images come from a 1962 Rolex catalog, and if you read the poetry, it is just amazing!!! It is so DIFFERENT than the Rolex of today...so interesting...

The images in this set are from a ladies Rolex catalog from the early 1960s. My best guess is this theme was inspired by the Audrey Hepburn's character she played in the 1961 movie titled, "Breakfast At Tiffany's"

The next image below is in Spanish and originally appeared in a Mexican Rolex catalog in the early 1960s.

Pepsi GMT-Master

It's Fashion On The Front Page

It's All The Rage

Vogue Magazine Cover 

October 1, 1963

The Vouge Magazine cover below from October 1, 1964 pictured below features Vouge model and actress, Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger wearing a Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master [Reference 6542] and it fascinatingly predates the Honor Blackman poster by less than three months as Goldfinger was released in theaters on January 9, 1965. Nick Gould was responsible for discovering the identity of Tania Mallet on this cover and he pointed out Tania was in Goldfinger.

This Vogue Magazine cover fascinatingly pre-dates Honor Blackman in her role as Pussy Galore in the James Bond film, Goldfinger wearing her GMT-Master, which ads a whole new Rolex History Puzzle piece...It’s fascinating if you think about it to consider JFK was President of the United States when this Rolex Vouge cover was published!?!! Below we see a publicity photo from Goldfinger of Tania Mallet playing Tilly Masterson.

The photo below of a model wearing a yellow gold Rolex GMT-Master appeared three years later in Vogue Magazine in November of 1966, which at the time would have been considered to be very avant-garde. 

This newly discovered information really does beg the question of what inspired women to start wearing men's professional Rolex watches back in the mid 1960s. The first known women I have documented that wore a Rolex GMT-Master was Shelia Scott who is pictured below in a 1966 Rolex GMT-Master Ad.

Rolex Submariner
Astrid Heeren in Vouge Magazine

Rolex Ladies Datejust
Rudi Gernreich Ad


Rolex GMT-Master ad
Rudi Gernreich Ad

This newly discovered information really does beg the question of what inspired women to start wearing men's professional Rolex watches back in the mid 1960s. The first known women I have documented that wore a Rolex GMT-Master was Shelia Scott who is pictured below in a 1966 Rolex GMT-Master Ad.

This newly discovered information really does beg the question of what inspired women to start wearing men's professional Rolex models? The photo below shows Shelia Scott rocking her Rolex GMT on her wrist back in 1966 as she was in the process of breaking over 100 aviation records.

Women wearing professional men's Rolex models is the epitome of style and refined elegance and femininity.

Speaking of How Women Began Wearing Men's Rolex Watches, we see Vanessa Redgrave pictured below back in 1965 from the film Blow Up (Released: January 1, 1966) rocking a Rolex Submariner.

In the photo below we see Vanessa Redgrave rocking her Rolex Submariner on a leather strap on the outside of her shirt cuff, which was another trendsetting style.


Rolex Ladies Magazine Ad


Lady-Date Rolex Ad
Some People Want More Than Just A Pretty Face




The late 1960s add below features Twiggy, who was a super-famous model during that era. Twiggy was know for her tomboy look that was slightly androgynous. All I can say is "Groovy, Baby! Yeah!!!!"



Rolex Lady-Datejust



Hong Kong Rolex President Ad In Chinese


Mrs. Jackie Stewart

1970s Rolex Brochure

Strange as it may or may not sound, I think many Rolex watch designs and brochures are high-art and these images from the 1970 Rolex USA catalog are no exception. I really like this first vintage Rolex Hotness image. It is remarkable how timeless the photo, watch, clothing and hairstyle is, and I love those beautiful light pink nails.


Pauline Trigère

The New Rolex Standard

My best analysis is Rolex tried to make it a trend for women to wear men's Rolex watches from 1960 to 1966 which apparently did NOT catch on. I say this as I have NEVER seen a non Rolex related female voluntarily wear a Rolex men's professional model until the trend seemed to pick back up a decade and a half later in the early 1980s when super-leggy-model, Elle Macpherson began wearing Rolex professional watches, as we see in this first photo with a GMT-Master on her wrist. 

Today it's common to see women wearing Rolex Professional watches, but like many things Rolex, they often take a long time to catch-on, but then they become a Permanent trend. I imagine when a trend persists and becomes permanent we would refer to it as the new standard...


Chris Evert


Lyn St. James


Adrienne Vittadini


Ekaterina Gordee


Picabo Street

Sophie Mautner
Award Winning Pianist




Riyo Mori


Ana Ivanovic


Caroline Wozniacki


Sophia Loren