Economic downturns come and go, but Rolex rarely loses any of its sparkle. Currently celebrating its centenary, the Swiss company is still arguably the world's best-known manufacturer of luxury timepieces. It was responsible for introducing many of the functions we now take for granted in a watch, including waterproofing, a self-winding mechanism, and even the day and date dial. The brand retains its position as one of the world's most prestigious status symbols, its cachet protected by a price range that starts at around $2,500 and can reach more than $175,000 for the company's most gold and diamond-encrusted models. Although it has been largely unaffected by previous recessions, there were signs that Rolex felt the impact of the 2009 downturn more severely, not least because of an unprecedented slump in its core US market.
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