A voyage into the world of Rolex

Hans Wilsdorf was firmly convinced of a person’s ability to innovate and strive for excellence.

Nearly 120 years years after the creation of the brand, the founder’s philosophy is more present than ever, from the manufacturing of the company’s watches to its commitments worldwide.

“The opposition I encountered seemed insuperable.”

Commitment to excellence

Since the beginning, the story of Rolex has been characterized by the quest for perfection and the ambition to push back the boundaries.

At the turn of the last century, a visionary entrepreneur, relocated to London, is in the process of establishing himself relying only on his willpower. His challenge? Introducing the watchmaking world of those times to a still-unknown signature: Rolex. A novel name, invented in 1908, destined to become within a few decades one of the world’s most famous brands. The difficulties seemed, at first glance, insurmountable: this is how Hans Wilsdorf recounts the Company’s beginnings in his memoirs.

In those days the entrepreneur does not have great means, but the man possesses invaluable qualities: vision, perseverance and an uncommon ability to work. Orphaned from the age of twelve, armed only with his determination to overcome obstacles, Hans Wilsdorf invented the world’s first waterproof, self-winding, Perpetual rotor wristwatch. A watch that today is a reference in quality and prestige.

“Too complicated, too fragile, too inadequate”-this is what one constantly hears Hans Wilsdorf saying. Thanks to his deep convictions, he successfully took up the bold challenge and his Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual, became the archetypal waterproof, precise and rugged watch capable of withstanding any circumstance. Hans Wilsdorf is not only a visionary who gave Rolex watches their fundamental technical and aesthetic characteristics. His perpetual quest for perfection goes hand in hand with his great generosity and unshakable faith in human potential.

The sum of numerous savoir-faire

Rolex, as an independent and vertically integrated manufacture, has an industrial tool that integrates numerous savoir-faire. Watchmakers, engineers, designers and experts from various other fields collaborate closely first on the design, then on the making of the watches. The corporate culture is based first and foremost on human values, which place “knowing how to do” and “knowing how to be” at the center of various activities.

Rolex represents a myriad of different trades, passionately carried out by the women and men of the Manufacture, experts in their respective fields. In fact, the Brand is in control of all the essential components, from the casting of the gold alloys to the assembly of the elements of the movement, case, dial, and bracelet, to the machining, finishing, and setting. It also makes all its expertise available worldwide through its network and outstanding service centers.

To ensure the continuity of these skills, Rolex created its own unique Training Center. This Geneva-based center, dedicated to nurturing talent and growing the Brand’s employees, dispenses ongoing training aimed at employees and managers and provides training for apprentices. The mission of this space for sharing knowledge and expertise is to ensure the handover in accordance with the values of the Brand.

A watch unlike any other

The Oyster Perpetual collection built on the success of the original Oyster model, patented and introduced in 1926. The role of the Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, was pioneering in the development of the modern wristwatch. Over the years, it has conveyed numerous other innovations, such as automatic winding by means of the Perpetual rotor (1931), that have defined the identity of the models in the collection and forged Rolex’s reputation for excellence, which is based among other things on the chronometric precision of its watches and their reliability.

The Oyster has gradually declined to form a collection of watches with new features and innovative technologies. The basic principles of this watchmaking archetype are present in all the timepieces in the collection, which share a strong visual identity. Today the collection includes 12 ranges divided into two categories: Classic watches such as the Datejust and Day-Date, and Professional watches such as the Explorer and GMT-Master II.

The pioneering brand of the wristwatch is credited with many major innovations in the watchmaking industry: in fact, it has filed more than 500 patents throughout its history.