Rotary Watches celebrates 125 years!

The Rotary team is proud to have continued building upon a foundation and story that is rare amongst the echelons of watch brands. With 125 years of excellence in horology, Rotary is a staple in British watchmaking with roots in the acclaimed Swiss circles of manufacturing. Here, we go back in time and discover the journey of Rotary from its inception in Switzerland to where it is today.


Nestled in the Swiss Jura mountains is the bustling town of La Chaux de Fonds, known for its watchmaking and in which in 1895, a man named Moise Dreyfuss planted the seeds of what would develop into the world-renowned Rotary brand. Surrounded by other aspiring titans in the world of horology, Dreyfuss was one of many ambitious craftsmen in the esteemed watch valley. Focused with creating timeless beauty in watchmaking, the brand rapidly grew in popularity as demand for accessible quality manufacturing increased. Since the beginning, Rotary has excelled in delivering the highest standard of craftsmanship with a nuanced approach to pricing.


This reputation gained traction and by 1905, the Dreyfuss family expanded their reach and opened an office in the United Kingdom to enchant more corners of the European market. In the 1920s, Rotary debuted its iconic winged logo, securing its legacy for the next century and beyond. A decade later, the brand’s masters of horology achieved a milestone in technology and manufacturing, launching Rotary’s first shockproof watch in 1934.


This very enthusiasm for marrying function and style paved the way for the British Army to formally adopt Rotary as one of its official watch providers. Seeing a need for faultless design during the wartime movement in the 1940s, Rotary evolved even further and began developing non-magnetic watches, stressing the importance of optimised accuracy in a time when mistakes in time telling could be more consequential. Indeed, this desire for precision was honoured throughout the coming years when growing the Rotary brand. Accuracy would become all the more desired among watch buyers. The advancement in horological technology eventually opened doors for Rotary’s first ever automatic timepiece in 1942, an ideal moment for when more men and women were on the move than ever before.

By the late 1950s, Rotary had masterfully married function and beauty, evolving their design output into seasonal collections to mimic fashion’s journey into ready-to-wear. The brand had grown from strength to strength and in the 1960s, was in the privileged position to offer apprenticeships and training schemes to not only nurture its valued employees, but to continue its legacy in quality watchmaking.

The 1970s helmed the way for one of the most important breakthroughs in watch technology: the popularisation of the quartz movement. In 1973, Rotary launches its first quartz watch using new electronic oscillator technology. This adoption of new exciting technology came hand in hand with the experimentation of more contemporary designs. The next few years would see Rotary become a proud sponsor of major sporting events, such as the F1.


After numerous awards and accolades for its design and value, it wouldn’t be until the early 21st Century that the brand achieved Superbrand status, with particular focus on its enduring commitment to quality. With society becoming more and more active, Rotary’s watches have been developed over the years to resist scratch and denting thanks to sapphire glass and 316L stainless steel casing. Another feature, which is the standard across all high-quality watchmaking, is water resistance up to the likes of 200m.

In the present day, Rotary remains at the forefront of exquisite craftsmanship, versatile design, unbeatable value and forward-thinking precision. In celebration of the brand’s 125 year anniversary, Rotary draws upon its timeless Heritage collection, a watch family that has seen enduring success over the decades, by revisiting three models. Limited to 300 pieces each, the vintage-inspired models possess a modern 21 jewel self-winding movement for more efficient time-keeping.

“The new additions build upon their predecessors’ success offering classic and striking aesthetics to our strong heritage story”, says Matthew O’Neill, Head of Design at Rotary Watches. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed going through the archives to deliver this collection and know that just like us, many will fall in love with the charms and contemporary styling of the new models.”