7 Things You May Not Know About Rolex

June 13, 2016

Rolex watches have been around for over a hundred years but there are a few things about the watchmaker that most people probably don't know. From the materials they use for their timepieces to their achievements in the luxury watch industry, Rolex follows a unique business model that was set in place by founder Hans Wilsdorf in the early 20th century. This has allowed them to remain at the top of their game for over a century with no signs of slowing down in the future.   

Rolex Makes Their Own Gold
Rolex Gold Foundry (photo: Rolex/Jean-Daniel Meyer)
One of the most interesting aspects of Rolex's wristwatch production is that they make their own gold. Rolex has a foundry in their Plan-les-Ouates site in Geneva, Switzerland, where they create gold alloys. Most notably, Rolex patented the composition of their Everose gold alloy in 2005. This falls in line with their vertically integrated business model, allowing them to control the materials that they rely on to produce their watch cases and bracelets. The watchmaker also produces their own 904L stainless steel alloy.  

The Rolex Deepsea Challenge Experimental Dive Watch Was Created in 4 Weeks
Engineer Working on Rolex Deepsea Challenge (photo: Rolex/Jess Hoffman)
While Rolex aficionados may be aware of their participation in James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge of 2012, they may not know that the watchmaker committed to the challenge only 4 weeks prior to the descent. Having the materials needed to create the experimental dive watch on hand, engineers and designers had to drop everything to get this watch completed and on the vessel in time. Another interesting note about the experimental watch is that it was not equipped with the Helium Escape Valve that is characteristic of the Deepsea model. 

Rolex is Not a Public Company
Rolex Founder Hans Wilsdorf (photo: Rolex)
Hans Wilsdorf and his wife May never had children, putting into question what would happen to his company upon his death. When May passed away in 1944, Wilsdorf created the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. He stipulated that, upon his death, the company would be controlled by the foundation and never become a public company. To this day, Rolex is under the control of the foundation and does not have to disclose their financial information to the public.

Rolex Watches Have a Certified Precision of -2/+2 Seconds Per Day
Rolex Superlative Chronometer Certification (photo: Rolex)
The Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (or COSC) certifies that mechanical watch movements submitted to them are precise within up to -4/+6 seconds a day. In addition to this certification, Rolex timepieces receive an in-house certification known as the Superlative Chronometer Certification that certifies their precision up to -2/+2 seconds per day. For more information on how their watches receive the green seal shown above, click here.

Hans Wilsdorf Founded Tudor Watch Company in 1946
Tudor Watch Company Founded in 1946 by Hans Wilsdorf
Hans Wilsdorf founded the Tudor Watch Company in 1946 to offer timepieces that boast the quality of a Rolex at a more moderate price. The company is still producing reliable, precise mechanical watches with varied model configurations like the popular Black Bay Bronze. The Tudor name is an homage to the Tudor dynasty of England and the original company logo was the Tudor Rose.  

Rolex is the Most Reputable Company in the World
2016 RepTrak Ranking 
The Reputation Institute placed Rolex at the top of their 2016 Global RepTrak 100 List, the largest global reputation study that ranks companies based on several metrics and across all geographic locations. Rolex beat out companies like Disney and Google due to receiving high ratings for their products and services. For more information on the metrics and ranking, click here 

Rolex Created the First Waterproof Wristwatch
Rolex Oyster Case (photo: Rolex)
Rolex introduced the Oyster case in 1926, making the first wristwatch that was completely waterproof. They still use this hermetically sealed case design to this day. The middle case is stamped out of a solid block of gold or steel and attached to a screw-down fluted case back and the crystal and bezel are friction fitted onto it. A Twinlock or Triplock winding crown is also screwed into the Oyster case for watertight security.


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