When it comes to luxury watch brands, Rolex is the name that emerges as the clear winner. In fact, no watch lover can consider his collection complete unless he owns a piece or two of this most influential brand in the world. Forbes has listed it as the most valuable brand amongst leading luxury wristwatches. It is the epitome of style and sophistication, with every single piece having a personality of its own. Whether you consider stylish good looks, latest technological features or timeless appeal, Rolex scores full marks on every scale. But there is a lot more to this brand that its value or aesthetic appeal. There are some interesting facts that you would love to know, starting from where it originated from to its evolution over the years and how it creates masterpieces of art today. Let us unveil 6 amazing facts that every Rolex lover should know.
1. The glorious history of Rolex
The history of Rolex goes back to 1905, when Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis founded as a company called Wilsdorf & Davis Ltd. in London. Later in 1908, Wilsdorf registered “Rolex” as a trademark and went on to open an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Rolex became the official name of the company in 1915. The most surprising fact about this premier watch company is that it was born English, not Swiss as most Rolex lovers believe it to be.
The company was originally a commercial entity that was engaged in selling watches and it was only later when it became a manufacturing entity and started creating the most famed timepieces in the world. Even as a manufacturer, it was sourcing its parts such as dials, cases, movements and dials from the best Swiss suppliers. Surprisingly, it started proper integrated, in-house manufacturing only in the modern era.
2. The amazing innovations of Rolex
Another fact that you should know about this brand is that it has several amazing innovations, with an array of firsts and patents in its names. It became the first watch brand to be awarded the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision in 1910. Another glorious year in its history was 1925, when it patented the famed Oyster, the first waterproof watch. In 1945 came the Datejust, which was the first self-winding wristwatch that showed the date in a tiny window on the watch dial.
Rolex innovations did not end here as it presented the first watch that broke the sound barrier in 1947, followed by the Submariner in 1953. This was another first, a divers’ watch that was waterproof up to a depth of 100 m. another milestone for the brand came in 1960, as it became the first one to send its watch in the depths of the Mariana Trench. In 1985, Rolex became the first watch brand to use 904L stainless steel.
3. Rolex has its own science lab
Like many other watch brands, Rolex too has invested in its in-house Research & Development department but it has gone a step ahead with several dedicated science labs at their facilities. The scientists and research professionals are not only engaged in researching new watch technologies but also finding out more about innovative manufacturing processes and techniques. These labs are well-equipped and diverse; you will be surprised to know that the company even has a Chemistry lab that researches and develops lubricants and oils to keep the watches running in a great condition.
Rolex labs are also equipped with advanced equipment such as electron microscopes and gas spectrometers, which are used for having closer look at the minute parts and finding ways to make them better than they are. There are also stress test rooms where products are subjected to rigorous quality analysis. These tests use advanced robotics and custom-made machines to test watches with simulative techniques.
4. The movements are hand-assembled
Another incredible fact about Rolex is that all the watches that it manufactures get a human touch as their movements are hand-assembled. The company does use machines and robots for automation of tasks such as sorting, filing and cataloging. A majority of these machines are operated by humans. Moreover, Rolex movements are assembled by master craftsmen who have unmatched skill for doing delicate tasks such as the application of just the right amount of pressure while attaching pins and aligning the tiny parts.
Truly, this is a brand that is obsessed with quality and adheres to its standards in every single piece it manufactures. The watches are tested multiple times and they make their way out of the manufacturing unit only after they match the benchmarks of perfection. The movements, in particular, are given extra attention and have to get a chronometer certification to be considered good enough. Even after that, the movements are re-tested with simulating wear tests before they are packed and shipped to the retailers.
5. It takes a year to make a single Rolex watch
If you find it difficult to believe the advertisement that it takes a year to make a single piece of Rolex, you must believe it because it is a fact. Even though the brand delivers almost a million watches annually, the manufacturing process is time-taking because it focuses on quality and precision at every stage. The company is constantly engaged in improving their processes and techniques to deliver the best watches that you can see here. They leave no stone unturned during the entire cycle of watch production, from research to manufacturing, testing and shipping for sale.
The brand is capable of speeding up the cycle with the resources it has; each watch is made of multiple parts that are made from the base materials manufactured in-house. Once all the parts are completed, they are carefully hand-assembled and then tested individually by experts. The company never compromises on the quality; every single piece is created and tested with the same care and passion. This is the reason that despite the huge production capacity, the brand is stuck to the decision of manufacturing each piece painstakingly.
6. Rolex has an in-house team of gemologists
You will be surprised to know that Rolex has its very own in-house team of gemologists. The brand has set its benchmarks for the precious metals and gemstones that it procures from suppliers and uses for crafting its products. The dedicated gemological department that comprises of expert gemologists is responsible for testing, buying, arranging and setting the precious gemstones in a wide range of Rolex models. The team uses advanced techniques and equipment to verify the authenticity of every single gemstone that is used in manufacturing.
In addition to these tests, these stones are hand-selected and hand-set by these professionals. Through the years, they have been devoting time to testing diamonds and gemstones to ensure the quality of the watches they manufactures. Furthermore, traditional jewelers are employed for creating custom settings in the exclusive pieces of the brand. It comes as no surprise that Rolex has earned global acclaim for the delicate care and master craftsmanship that is invested in each of its piece.
You may have known many of these Rolex facts while many might be new to you. Rolex is a brand that deserves every bit of fame and appreciation that it is getting today. The watch has an amazing list of fan following; whether it is the royals, celebrities, sports stars, political figures, billionaires or collectors across the globe, no one is left untouched by the magic of Rolex. So when are you planning to become a proud owner of one?