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Rolex GMT-Master II with Mercedes Hour Hand at KeepTheTime.com

Why a Mercedes symbol on the Rolex Sea-Dweller/Submariner/GMT-Master?

Rolex GMT-Master II with Mercedes Hour Hand at KeepTheTime.com

This question seems to be prevalent among Rolex watch enthusiasts and collectors. The use of the iconic Mercedes symbol has no connection to Mercedes Benz, or the story of Mercedes Gleitze who admirably swam across the English Channel in 1927 wearing a Rolex Oyster.

Mercedes Benz Logo History

The Mercedes symbol is a three pointed star (also known as the Rising Star) with each point representing the three modes of transport: land, air, and sea. Unlike Mercedes Benz, Rolex has yet to confirm this as the meaning behind using this design, although it makes perfect sense that this symbol has been incorporated into the hour hand of the Rolex sports models: Explorer (land), GMT-Master (air), Submariner/Sea-Dweller (sea), etc. The consensus out there amongst the aficionados of the watch world is that the Rising Star symbol not only looks great but also offers great functionality.

As you can see above, its purpose is to hold the lume component of the watch and provide visibility of the hour hand when it is overlapped by the minute hand. This is especially useful on four handed watches like the GMT-Master II or Explorer II.

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Will Estell
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The Mercedes Symbol on a Watch Hand: How it came to Be. by Will Estell The use of the Mercedes emblem- perhaps more appropriatly known as the “rising star”-on the hour hand of wrist watches in fact has no connection to the Mercedes automobile brand other than the fact that when Gottleib Daimler and Karl Benz built and received the patent for the first Mercedes Benz (the Mercedes name being derived from the Daimler’s daughter, Mercedes, and his partner’s last name, Benz) in 1885, the two partners chose the same “rising sun” symbol for much the same reason as Rolex… Read more »

Landers Ryan
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Landers Ryan

Mr. Estell, Thank you so much for this information and for explaining the Mercedes/Rolex symbol, the ‘rishing sun’, as you call it on the hands of the Rolex. This connection in such detail was both interesting and helpful. Even as an avid Rolex wearer for some years, I had never heard this historical part in full detail. You, sir, do know your watch history and I thank you for your helpful information.

Wendell Beiter
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Wendell Beiter

I like the layout of your blog.

Watch Treme
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Watch Treme

Cheers, I love all your blog posts, keep them coming.

John Favorou
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John Favorou

Thanks Mr. Will Estell, that is wonderful info that I was unaware of even as working for a Rolex retailer for almost two years.
Interesting and helpful to myself and others in our store as we always like to know as much or more than our potential buyers.

Much appreciated,
John

hunter
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hunter

Can you tell me when (what year) Rolex first used the Mercedes hands, and how it decides which models to use them for?

Robert Safian Esq.
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Much appreciation for the excellent information on the Rolex hands and symbols. Interesting also how so many other brands from affluently appealing marques to low price department store brands have copied the use of the Mercedes symbol on their watches, just as so many have copied other features first innovated by Rolex; such as the submariner, diving bezel, I guess Rolex is somewhat of the benchmark for most all of the others in some way, even higher priced brands.

Lake Field
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Lake Field

Mr. Will Estell, You have answered a question that I have asked more than once, with (believe it or not) an authorized Rolex dealer not even being able to give me a clear answer as to why the Mercedes (as we call it) symbol is on some Rolex watch hands. Thanks for your piece in answering the puzzle for myself, and I am sure other, Rolex fans, Will. Curious also, Are you by chance the same (or related to) Will Estell from the Wisdom & Wisecracks For Aspiring Business Owners, book? Thought possibly so, due to a somewhat rare last… Read more »

Nathan Cohen
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Nathan Cohen

Nice to know. I’ve owned a Rolex for years and until coming across your info today I never knew the correct reason for what I, and many others apparently, thought was the German automobile makers’ (Mercedes) symbol on my Swiss timepiece.

Nice piece, Thanks!

Nathan Cohen

Shawn Mackline
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Shawn Mackline

I had always been curious also as to why the Mercedes star was on the hand of two of four Rolex I own. I have probably spent ten hours of my life in authorized Rolex dealers, and probably a hundred or more searching and reading about the models online, but had never come across the explanation as to why the “rishing sun” or Mercedes star, as it is know to many, emblem is on the hour hand of various Rolex. I appreciate your depth in explaining this to us Rolex fans, and love the Keep The Time blog as well.… Read more »

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[…] are a few quick pics of the movement that is in several Rolex watches including the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, DSSD, Yacht-Master, Datejust II, new Sub C (116610), etc. The caliber 3135 first hit the market in […]

Nate Rawner
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Nate Rawner

Thanks for the information about the watch hands. The “rising sun” or “rising star” is on the hand of my far less expensive Casio 1010 model. I suspected Casio copied it from Rolex for thier own divers watch. Now I know, they did…so did others. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

– FireLensMan –

Luong Gia
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Wow! It can glow in the dark