While Rolex does enjoy quite a ranking and place when it comes to watches, there is still quite a lot about the company that isn’t known by many . The company, held privately, is actually known for its secrecy when it comes to the inner workings. However, we believe that the following 12 things are what you all should know about Rolex. Enjoy the list!
Believe it folks, although machinery is employed but all the important tasks are still carried out by human Swiss fingers that do all the hard work to deliver that classy watch you have always wanted!
Before any Rolex is deemed worthy of leaving the plant, it is supposed to survive a series of test; placement in a sensitive air pressure chamber is carried out to ascertain if there are any air leaks in the case. The Rolexes that are dive rated then go through a test of water-pressure that tests them to 300 meters depth pressure. This is followed by a condensation test where a drop of water is placed on the crystal of the watch and if optical sensor (medical grade) detects any condensation, the watch is rejected. Rolexes meant for deep sea diving are subjected to a pressure test of 12,000 meters.
Rolex is very aggressive when it comes to metal. The company makes use of an expensive grade, 904L that has higher level of chromium and nickel. They say that this grade is resistant to pitting. The grade requires better machinery to be worked upon and Rolex had to invest a lot in upgrading the machinery, however, the payoff was worth it. Also, the company has its own foundry where gold and platinum are made.
Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008 and it has been reported that he was able to scame out $900,000 from the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. After he was sentenced to 150 years in imprisonment, his Rolex collection was auctioned off to help the victims.
The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation was founded in 1944 following the death of Wilsdorf’s wife. All of the ownership shares of Rolex have been transferred to the foundation along with instructions on how to handle the finances. According to Swiss law; the private charities need not disclose about their respective charities, and as per company, the donations are kept a secret and there has been no confirmation regarding whether anyone has received a charity from this foundation.
Rolex is such a huge name that making fake rip-offs just doesn’t work for it. It is very easy to distinguish between the swift movements of an original Rolex’s second hand as compared to the start-stop motion of a fake Rolex. In fact, even strippers are trained and can easily tell fake Rolexes from stage (second hand, quality, the wearer’s personality).
A scam artist from Paris, Canada by the name of Albert Walker Johnson could have gotten away with the murder of his business partner had he not forgotten to take off the Rolex. Ronald Joseph Platt’s body was thrown into the English Channel and after two weeks the single identifiable item on the body was his still working Rolex that was used to trace back who the dead person was and finally to the culprit who had murdered him.
Rolex has managed to maintain it’s working at the top and at the bottom of the world without losing even a second; the team led by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 on top of Mount Everest wore it. In 1960, the US Navy’s bathyscaphe Trieste went about 36,798 feet deep into the ocean at Mariana Trench and despite the fact that the watch was subjected to a pressure of 14,000 psi, it still survived without even losing a second.
Most of us are familiar with Great Escape, however, not many are aware that it was made possible because of the Rolex. Corporal Clive Nutting placed an order for a replacement Rolex Oyster 3525, Wilsdorf replied to him personally while being impressed by the fact that he owned such an impressive watch. The watch was delivered at the prison camp, Stalag Luft II. Wilsdorf declined Nutting’s request to pay for the watch and even apologized for the delay. Nutting made use of this watch’s precise movement to time the guards and escape with his fellow prisoners.
During World War II, Britain’s Royal Air Force officers preferred Rolex and when they were shot down, Nazis took their Rolex. Wilsdorf, upon finding this out, gave a statement that any Rolexes that have been lost by the British prisoners shall be replaced based on their word only. This confidence of victory along with the quality of the watches resulted in Rolex becoming the word of the day and a status symbol not in the British Air Force but also at American Air Force.
As per Wilsdorf, the name was chosen because it was short and looked good on a watch’s face and is capable of being pronounced in any language. Another quote from the founder says that he believed this is how a watch sounded when it was being wound.
The famous watchmaking company didn’t start out in Switzerland from where it operates but rather began working from London. You would also be surprised to know that the company didn’t start as a watchmaking company but rather a watch assembling company. The founders in 1905, Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis, used to import Swiss movements and then incorporated them into English watch bodies. Afterwards, they were sold to jewelers who would use their own logo and sell them. However in 1908, they realized that it would be more profitable to make their own watches. The HQ shifted to Geneva in 1919 from London following the World War I.