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A closer look at: Rotary Watches

by Michael Weare
13 November, 2012
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email:


This article was written and contributed by Jonathan Fairfield, a Writer and Teacher living in Thailand.

Swiss watch maker Rotary has for over a century cemented itself as arguably one of the leading manufacturers of stylish, yet affordable precision timepieces. This is obviously part of the attraction with the brand; it’s a solid, mid range option that produces more than its fair share of decent watches. A watch snob might turn his nose up at the mention of Rotary Watches, but in the real world they offer reliability, style and affordability.

Rotary Watches has an interesting history. Founded in 1895 by Moise Dreyfuss, the brand originates from the town of La Chaux de Fonds, which is of course synonymous with fine Swiss horology, so the credentials are impeccable. During the 1920’s the Dreyfuss family started importing their watches to Britain, which was and still is their largest and most successful market. By the 1940’s Rotary became a household name after becoming the official watch supplier to the British army. More than 60 years later, Rotary’s place in the UK watch market was cemented further by being selected as one the United Kingdom’s ‘superbrands’.

Rotary Watches has a diverse range for both men and women in their collection; from ‘sport’ watches, suitable for all occasions to stylish timepieces made from gold and other precious metals. Some of Rotary’s most popular collections include Les Orginales, Aquaspeed and Evolution. Typically, Rotary watches use quartz movements, which the company first introduced in 1970.

Today, Rotary is still an independent company with Moise Dryfuss’ great grandchild, Robert at the helm, making it the oldest family owned and run Swiss watch maker.

Rotary Men’s Les Originales Classic Chronograph


What is arguably the flagship in the Rotary collection; Les Originales gives a gracious nod to watch designs of yesteryear, whist still managing to look stylish and modern. The watch shown here is the Rotary Men’s Les Originales Classic Chronograph (GS90021/21). Featuring a polished silver frame and simple black leather strap, this robust timepiece would be a great choice for everyday work wear. What is a unique take on a classic design helps to make the watch quite an eye catcher. This is perhaps helped by the vivid blue hour and seconds hands which really stand out upon the white background. The roman numerals also help to give the watch a bold and striking look. The stainless steel case measures 42mm in diameter. The watch also features a magnified date window, as well as three sub dials which display day, minute and second indicators. The Men’s Les Originales Classic Chronograph (GS90021/21) uses a quartz movement and offers full chronograph functionality. It is also waterproof to approximately 330feet, making it suitable for swimming, shallow diving and water sports. The GS90021/21 is available on the Rotary website for $620.

Rotary Ultra Slim GB08101/02


Rotary Ultra Slim

The Ultra Slim collection features 15 models of men and women’s dress watches which is said to be inspired by vintage styles from the 1970’s and 80’s. The sleek designs mean that the watches in the collection are a little over 4mm thick. Here the GB08101/02 features sapphire crystal glass and a two tone stainless steel bracelet and case. The classic two step white dial with gold features complement each other well. The case itself measures 35mm in diameter. The watch is also water resistant to 330 feet meaning that it is suitable for swimming or snorkeling. Prices for the GB08101/02 start at around $500.

Ladies Rotary Evolution Range

Ladies Rotary Evolution

The Evolution range is the newest collection from Rotary Watches. For the first time in the brands history they have designed a watch which features a reversible dial, meaning that it can display two different times simultaneously. The reversible dial is available in blue on one side and white on the reverse. The blue side comes with a trendy stone set bezel, which goes nicely with the black leather strap. The blue dial features smart, elongated hour markers, where as the white dial uses Roman numerals with striking blue hour hands. As for the measurements – the case has a width of 35mm and depth of approximately 12mm. The watch is water resistant to 30 metres and features a Japanese quartz movement.

Rotary Gents Precious Metals Collection

Rotary Precious Metals

Another example of Rotary’s diverse range is the Gents Precious Metals range The  GB10900/03, is a 9ct gold bracelet watch which is perhaps suited for more formal occasions the Chronograph above. Available in yellow gold, the watch’s subtle details are set nicely against the champagne colored dial. Measuring 33mm in diameter, it might not be as bold on the wrist as the Chronograph, but is certainly much more refined. The watch also features a day calendar, as well as the classic Rotary winged wheel logo.  The Rotary Gents GB10900/03 usually costs somewhere in the region of $7000.

Rotary Aquaspeed Limited Edition Aquaplunge Kit

Aquaspeed Aquaplunge Kit

This chunky interchangeable all weather timepiece is based on an original design from the 1960’s. The limited edition set comes in a presentation box, which includes an additional orange rubber strap and a strap removal tool. Where the black strap might look a little more professional, the trademark orange Aquaspeed strap is the one that certainly stands out. Either way, this limited edition timepiece could be a good choice for the fashion-conscious sportsman. The watch itself measures 48mm in diameter, with a case depth of 15mm (we did say chunky!). The tough stainless steel case features a contrasting black and orange bezel. The black dial displays bold Arabic numbers, complete with silver and orange hands. Water resistant to 200 meters, the watch also comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Rotary Watches Sponsorship

Help for Heroes Logo

Rotary Watches have forged a partnership with a number of different sporting events, past and presents, including the prestigious Beaufort Polo Club, which is a favorite of Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge, no less. Rotary Watches also act as the main sponsor for a number of more adventurous sporting events such as the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the Shelley Jory Powerboating Championship. In 2010 they sponsored explorer Kevin Sheppard on a 350 mile race to the Magnetic North Pole, across the High Arctic, braving the extreme conditions armed with a Rotary Aquaspeed.

Recently, Rotary Watches made a timely reminder to their history as the British Army’s official watch supplier during the Second World War with the new release of their classic military timepiece. For each of the new watches that are sold, Rotary Watches will make a donation of £1 to the charity Help for Heroes.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email:

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