Timeless symbols of excellence and elegance, performance and prestige, it is The Rolex Way with which Rolex creates its watches so deserving of such superlatives. The term "The Rolex Way" saturates everything that Rolex does – and all that they do and will ever do is to make watches.
In today's article, we begin our unique journey within the Rolex manufacture complex, all in an effort to gain a better understanding of where and how Rolex achieves its outstanding performance, quality, comfort and durability standards. In part one, we get started with an overview of the four main sites of Rolex manufacturing facilities – and if we have spiked your interest to learn more, worry not, as we shall return with yet more detailed looks inside the more important segments of this unique manufacturing system.
Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex has pioneered the development of the wristwatch through innovations affecting their waterproofness, self-winding functionalities, accuracy, reliability and more. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history, each encompassing a further development in high-end watchmaking.
Rolex is an integrated and truly independent manufacturer that designs, develops, manufactures and assembles all essential components of its watches, down to the casting of the gold alloys for its watch cases and bracelets. Dials, movement components, bracelets and ingenious engineering solutions are conceived and realized in all of Rolex's sites, thanks to the know-how and commitment of its over 6,000 employees.
Rolex headquarters are in Geneva, home to all the administrative activities and to those related to the final assembly, control and sales of the watches, as well as to the after-sales service – though a lot of that naturally happens in certified Rolex service centers across the world, including at our Petite Geneve Petrovic service centers.
The Plan-les-Ouates site is where all activities related to development, manufacturing and quality management of the case and bracelet happen. It is here where Rolex's foundry is located, where the special alloys such as Everose gold are crafted into bracelets and cases.
The facility contains a huge and extremely high-security storage area where robotized machines handle and manage over 60,000 items, stocking them and ultimately delivering them to the required segments of the manufacture on demand.
The Chęne-Bourg site comprises the development and manufacturing of the dials and gem-setting tasks. It is here where Rolex's outstanding dials are crafted, including the special and rare full pavé-set dials, the laser-etched dials of the Day-Date 40, and it is here where they work with special materials such as lapis lazuli or meteorite. Just as importantly, the iconic dials of the Submariner, Daytona and Datejust are also manufactured here.
The Bienne site houses all activities related to the manufacturing and assembly of the Rolex Manufacture Calibers. At the very forefront of modern watchmaking, these calibers Rolex painstakingly and constantly develops and refines, in an effort to push their accuracy, reliability and comfort-related performance. Enhanced power reserve, greater-than-ever accuracy, high-tech materials and engineering solutions find their ways into the often quietly updated Rolex Manufacture Calibers that power every Rolex watch produced today.
The point of this elevated focus on vertical integration? This allows Rolex to be fully independent from suppliers and the fluctuations of the larger industry when it comes to the designing and manufacturing of every important component in a Rolex watch, allowing Rolex to exercise its creative freedom in pursuit of its full potential for innovation.
Its four outstanding, state-of-the-art facilities have been designed, built and operated in the only way Rolex approves: The Rolex Way.