There's a moment in Gary Shteyngart's recent novel, Lake Success, when the primary character, Barry Cohen-- a failing hedge fund supervisor who is obsessed with watches-- reveals a young female whom he has actually simply slept with a choice of his watch collection. She chooses up his F.P. Journe and says, "I like this one ... Are you conserving up for a Rolex?" In another scene, Cohen attempts to convince a former colleague to wear a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar instead of a Rolex Sky-Dweller out to a club, with the idea that the Patek will draw in ladies of stability, but his colleague goes with the sure bet: his Rolex. Shteyngart's positioning of Rolex as a cultural touchstone works because Rolex is, in actuality, the very first-- and often the just-- see brand name individuals think about when it comes to high-end timepieces.
Mercedes, Gucci and Apple have accomplished a similar status on par with Rolex's. These brands have rooted themselves so deeply into the international culture that they have actually concerned represent much more than the items they label; they symbolize wealth, success, design and quality. Their cultural prominence has actually made these companies indefatigable kings of their respective domains. As Rolex approaches its 100th anniversary, it is possible to determine the visionary strategies that put the company on the horological throne. Five of those strategies stand apart: Rolex's technical development, marketing élan, design consistency, financial independence and selective deficiency have created the company's unequaled success among watch brands.
In 1905, German-born Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis established an eponymous company in London that imported Swiss motions, installed them in British cases and offered them to jewelers who put their own names on the dials. Noticing the capacity for their own brand to be successful in the blossoming watch market, Wilsdorf thought up and secured the brand name Rolex in 1908.
Rolex Founder Hans Wilsdorf Rolex Founder Hans Wilsdorf Courtesy of Rolex
From the beginning, Wilsdorf understood the appeal of precision timekeeping. In 1910, a Rolex became the very first wristwatch to bring the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Accuracy, bestowed by the Authorities Watch Score Centre in Bienne, Switzerland. Recognizing the positive impact this rating had on sales, Wilsdorf secured a "Class A" Precision Certificate from the Kew Observatory in 1914, normally scheduled for marine chronometers. This certification resonated with British clients who understood that precise timekeeping-- the option to the enduring problem of navigating longitude-- had actually empowered the British Empire to control the seas in both fight and commerce. Hence began the convention of offering civilians mechanical precision that really couple of require however lots of desire. Rolex has offered advanced accuracy since.
Need for Rolex watches rose quickly, and British taxes on the Swiss movements Rolex used prompted Wilsdorf to transfer business to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1919. With production costs decreased, Wilsdorf set out to solve the problem of wetness and dust going into the watch case and damaging the movement. The Rolex group developed a totally sealed watch case, which Wilsdorf dubbed the Oyster, and launched it to much fanfare in 1926. Throughout the 1920s this screwed-together gadget was so innovative that some customers, who were accustomed to safeguarding their watches even from rain, were doubtful. It would take some marketing brilliance to persuade the general population that the Oyster case was, certainly, water resistant.
Interestingly, the Oyster case structure is the reason for the fluted bezel discovered on numerous Rolex designs today. That bezel was fluted to receive an Get more information interlocking tool used to screw the bezel on and off of the mid-case. The caseback was similarly fluted for the very same factors, but like any caseback, it never ever ended up being a dominant visual hint. For years, Rolex's fluted bezels have actually served no function, and the fluting itself has become gently flared (more like waves than ridges) to the point where, even if one tried, no tool might interlock. As with other technical developments from Rolex, the visual impact has actually long outlasted its performance to end up being a signature of the brand name. See a professional tennis match, a worldwide airport clock or a Rolex advertisement today and you're guaranteed to see that gleaming fluted bezel not doing anything more than gleam. It's an intriguing case of kind outliving function.