Rotary Watches (History, Facts & Buying Guide) in 2021


I think we can all agree when I say that the watch industry has passed the boundaries of countries. The time belongs to no one, and as such, it is available to be delivered from the hands of the most resourceful manufacturers. Rotary watches, for example, is that type of watch brand that has found a strong connection with several countries.

The brand was founded in Switzerland, did business for a long time in Britain, and lately, Rotary Watches brand is owned by a Chinese company. The headquarters of Rotary is in London UK; and their movements, parts, and assembly are handled in Switzerland, Japan, and China as well. The watch industry is now global and the days of craftsmanship are long gone to be replaced by machinery, corporations, and contemporary designers. 

Rotary Watch brand logo





However, the Rotary watches of the past are some fine timepieces that are worth telling their story. The latest ones are not so bad either. Not a crazy fan of Swiss made watches, just being straightforward. Read more about Rotary watches below…

Rotary Watches Brand Passport

The year of foundation: 1895

Where was it founded: La Chaux de Fonds – Switzerland

Brand founder: Moise Dreyfuss

Watch type: Dress Watches

Price range: From $500 up to $2000

Movements: Sustainable Quartz and Mechanical mechanisms from Switzerland, Japan, and China

Brief History of Rotary watches

Rotary was founded in 1895 in La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland by Moise Dreyfuss. As with most watch houses at that time, Rotary started its journey as a humble clockmaker and repair shop. With the growing need for more and more tool watches, Rotary expanded and opened a subsidiary in Britain in the 1920s. 1925 marks the year when Rotary introduced their “winged wheel” brand logo, which they have kept unchanged to this day. Several years later, the brand introduced the first Rotary shockproof watch. It was a groundbreaking approach at that time and the watch was vended as one of the most sustainable and durable watches on the market.

Rotary watches in Britain

Expanding to Britain was the smartest move the brand could make as Rotary watches soon started to gain popularity in the British market for their avant-garde watches. 20 years later, in 1940, Rotary was the official supplier of the British Army. With a customer of this magnitude, the future for Rotary was written in gold. 

History of Rotary Watches

In the following years, the Swiss-made watch brand created its first line of Rotary automatic watches. They also tried to develop their own anti-magnetic watches, some of which were also used by the British Army. 

Rotary Watches after World War 2

With the end of the war, the demand for luxury watches increased significantly, and the manufacturers got back to their workplaces to start working with the next best thing in the world of watches. Rotary, now led by the third generation of the Dreyfuss family, had positioned itself along the “good to have on the wrist” range of watches. They were already familiar with the British marketplace for their durability and sustainability. The expansion to luxury watches was just a matter of overall aesthetics and new concepts. 

Rotary watches old advertisements

Influenced by the Quartz Revolution, in 1973 Rotary watches launched their first quartz watch, with a new oscillator mechanism. Only three years later, in 1976, Rotary was the British Racing Motors sponsor in the F1.

Rotary watches as the British Racing Motors sponsor in F1

In the following years, Rotary introduced their “Dolphin Standard” enabling the wearer to swim with a Rotary watch on his wrist worries-free. The year 2006 marks the year when Rotary Round Revelation was created. The watch was unique in concept and design, therefore the SuperBrand Status Award was given by the British consumer.

Who owns Rotary Watches Company?

Today, after Rotary watches has been a family-run watch house for 4 generations, the ownership has passed to China Haidian Holdings Limited (officially renamed Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited) – a Hong Kong-listed investment company. The brand was sold for (£27million) in 2013 from Dreyfuss Group. Robert Dreyfuss (the grand-grandson of  Moise Dreyfuss) and his management team will keep managing the expansion department to deliver the same strong results recently achieved. 

In short, Dreyfuss said that he is happy to see Rotary watches being sold in more than 65 countries, courtesy of the recourses and distribution network of China Haidian Holdings Limited. … The new owners will lift Rotary watches to a global brand leader, to ensure my great-grandfather’s legacy lives on. The family values, the Swiss heritage, and the long-term customer relationships with be all respected and preserved. 

Where are Rotary watches made today?

As mentioned throughout this article, Rotary was primarily created in Switzerland and the brand still manufactures some of its best watches there. The head office of Rotary watches is at 13-16 Elm Street, London, England. 

This is where Rotary watches are designed. The manufacturing and assembling happen elsewhere. In addition to Switzerland, Rotary now manufactures its watches in Japan and China. Keep in mind that the Swiss made Rotary watches today are grouped under the Les Originales collection. The models manufactured in Japan or China are from the Avenger, Henley, and the Heritage collections. 

As you already know, the century and a half old watch brand that started its journey to the world of watches as a Swiss manufacturer is today wholly owned by a Chinese company. There is nothing wrong with it. However, the resale value of Swiss made Rotary watches is higher when compared with Made in Japan or Made in China Rotary watches. This is due to the added features, quality movements, and the higher standard of craftsmanship. 

Swiss made Rotary watches Review in 2021


Rotary Round Revelation

This award winning watch is a proud patented creation of Rotary. The timepiece was introduced to the public in 2006, the same year Rotary was honored with the SuperBrand award from the British marketplace. 

Rotary Round Revelation watch models feature two watch faces with two different dials. The watch is ideal for busy travelers as it can be set in two different time zones. However, more than a tool watch, Round Revelation has what it takes to be the ultimate dress watch to adorn your wrist with. Featuring scratch resistant sapphire crystal glasses on both watch faces and stainless steel or PDV plated cases, along with genuine leather straps, these dress Rotary watches can not pass unnoticed. The two different designs of the dials allow the wearer to switch styles as they see fit. A similar concept with JLC Reverso, but with a totally distinctive mechanism.  


Rotary Tradition GMT GB90181/32


Rotary Tradition GMT GB90181-32

Case diameter: 40mm

Stainless steel

Swiss-made quartz movement

100 meters water resistance rating

Domed sapphire crystal glass

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From the Les Originales collection, we decided to pick a great tool watch that comes with a GMT function. Tradition GMT houses a Swiss made quartz movement, which is responsible for the accuracy of a second-time zone function, and a calendar that is displayed by a date window positioned as unusual at the 6 o’clock position. From the resistant domed sapphire crystal, you can catch a glimpse of the vintage-looking dial, inspired by the previous models of Rotary watches. 


Rotary Verbier GB08150 / 06


Rotary Verbier GB08150-06

Case diameter: 42mm

Stainless steel

Swiss-made automatic movement

100 meters water resistance rating

Sapphire crystal glass

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Verbier is another Rotary watch that reflects the identity of the Swiss manufacturer. The watch features a classic design with a stainless steel case & bracelet and a silver-toned sunburst dial. From the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, you will see the luminous hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and the minute markers positioned in the outer rim. The watch reminds you of the iconic Rolex Explorer 1, judging by the style of the dial. Featuring a Swiss made automatic movement and 100 meters of water resistance rating, the price of this Rotary watch is truly competitive. 


Rotary Lausanne GB90110/06


Rotary Lausanne GB90110/06

  Case diameter: 38mm

  Stainless steel

  Swiss-made quartz movement

  100 meters water resistance      rating

  Sapphire crystal glass

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Named after the beautiful city of Switzerland near Lake Geneva, this timepiece from Rotary reflects identical beauty. The watch comes with a Swiss-made quartz movement that is fitted in a 38mm stainless steel case. This stylish dress watch comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, from whom you can see the rose-gold-toned hour hands and markers. The rest of the dial is completed by a date window at the 3 o’clock position along with the Rotary watches winged wheel logo at 12 o’clock. If you prefer simplicity and minimalism, this is the watch you should consider taking a look at this watch. 


Rotary Watch Aquaspeed AGB90045 

Rotary Watch Aquaspeed AGB90045 

Case diameter: 50mm

Stainless steel

Swiss-made quartz movement

100 meters water resistance rating

Sapphire crystal glass

Screw-down crown

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Closing our picks for the best Swiss made Rotary watches with this badass durable diver watch that will definitely start a conversation. The watch comes with a 50mm case diameter, which will find comfort on not so many wrists. The robust construction features a screw-down crown, a sapphire crystal glass, and a stainless steel case to protect the Swiss made quartz movement within. The luminous hands and markers along with a unidirectional rotating bezel guarantee legibility and functionality underwater.