In December, Rolex has launched a new website under Rolex.org, dedicated to perpetuating the Founding Spirit of Rolex, inherited from the man behind the Crown, Hans Wilsdorf. The new site also lists Rolex's philanthropic efforts, as the company supports the pioneers in the world of art, science, nature, exploration, architecture, sports and more.
The theme and also the very foundation of Rolex as we know it today is a Perpetual Legacy. Aptly named after the Perpetual winding rotor that is part of every Rolex watch manufactured today, it is a tribute to the dedication to excellence. Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex, as well as the ever-growing family of Rolex Testimonies stand behind the concept as well as the realization of pushing boundaries of what is possible in the aforementioned fields.
It all began with the young Wilsdorf's fascination with watch movements and how, at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, wristwatches were widely and commonly regarded as feminine accessories. Wilsdorf was among the very first to realize how the changing everyday life and the more active lifestyle that it entailed would necessitate the abandoning of pocket watches – beautiful and charming timepieces that required too much time and effort to check the increased number of times people grew to read the time during the day.
Wilsdorf partnered with a Swiss manufacturer who was producing unusually compact watch movements – this company, called Aegler S.A. and the future of Rolex became closely intertwined. Today, Rolex produces all components in its watch cases, bracelets and movements, as well as its dials and gem-set components, along with operating its own precious metal foundry, silicon hairspring manufacture and gemology department.
It all begun with Wilsdorf's keen eye to realize the global potential in a timepiece that could be worn on the wrist. The story, make no mistake, did not conclude, rather it had only begun at this very stage. You see, pocket watches had lived a really rather uneventful life, spending their time either on desks and bookshelves, or cocooned inside the silk-lined pockets of coats and jackets, cut from the heavy and durable fabrics of the time.
Rolex is a proud and longstanding supporter of pioneering scientists, photographers and explorers, who dedicate their lives and expertise to the betterment of nature – from the deep blues to the highest peaks
A wristwatch, however, even a hundred years ago had been subject to all sorts of trials – trials by shocks, temperature fluctuations and, yes, trials by water. Rolex, under the guidance of Mr. Wilsdorf had pushed the envelope – and with it the presence and utility of the wristwatch – by creating the first waterproof wristwatch with the Rolex Oyster.
A watch that was so novel that Rolex had to think of creative ways of convincing the people of the era that a waterproof watch was indeed a reality: they had placed water tanks with fish in them in the windows of watch stores, with the Rolex Oyster floating inside the aquarium and Rolex has partnered with Mercedes Gleitze, the first swimmer to attempt swimming across the English channel wearing a waterproof watch. When she emerged on the other shore, the watch was still ticking and the Rolex Oyster proved its might to the world.
This spirit, reflected in the countless cutting-edge Rolex innovations including the Perpetual rotor, the Superlative Chronometer certification, the Everose gold alloy – with the list truly extending further than we could dare try and replicate on these pages – is what lives on within Rolex and its Founding Spirit.
Visit Rolex.org to find fascinating articles and videos on the Perpetual spirit of inventiveness and corporate social responsibility of Rolex and to learn about the unique set of values that define, drive and separate Rolex today.