No wonder they say that time is money. For watch manufacturers this expression is not portable, but literal. Among the watch brands, the Swiss “Rolex” stands out, which is saturated with the philosophy of “maximum quality for maximum money”. For a long time, the company’s products have become a common name and a symbol of success.
A person with “Rolex” in his arms can not be poor. Interestingly, this brand does not stand a step above the rest of the Swiss producers. Rolex watches are not the most accurate, beautiful and expensive. Nevertheless, they managed to become a business card of success, and the watch brand – the most famous in the world.
And all thanks to a large-scale advertising company, which was conducted by Hans Wilsdorf. The creator of the company Rolex spent huge sums on the fact that the whole world heard about his watch. A clever German possessed the gift of foresight, he was able to understand that soon the wristwatch would be replaced by heavy pocket watches. But there were times when gentlemen simply did not believe that a small watch on a belt could be as practical and accurate as a pocket watch.
Wristwatches were generally considered a pampering, a female accessory and a whim. Men believed that the small size of such samples would not allow to place inside a quality mechanism. However, Hans Wilsdorf managed to change the stereotype, creating a quality product, which remains relevant today. The company “Rolex” produces watches in the amount of 650-800 thousand pieces per year, but the offer still exceeds demand.
Hans Wilsdorf was born in Bavaria on March 22, 1881. It is interesting that he initially had nothing to do with the clock or with Switzerland. At the age of 12, Hans became an orphan, but continued his education in an elite Swiss boarding school. At the same time the German manages to provide his own accommodation on his own. After graduating from school, Wilsdorf spent some time on probation at the importer of pearls. And soon his friend from school suggested that he start exporting Swiss watches all over the world. So Hans got into the watch company, quickly became interested in this world.
Having acquired valuable experience, at the age of 22 the young German moved to London, where he decided to create his own company for the sale of Swiss watches. Hans married an Englishwoman, became a citizen of this country. Together with his stepbrother Alfred Davis, he created a company originally called Wilsdorf & Devis. First, she just delivered to England the watch mechanisms from Hermann Aeglers Swiss in the cases from the company Dennison. These items went to the jewelers who inside put the W & D logo.
However, the simple resale was not what Wilsdorf wanted, he wanted to establish his own production. The German believed that it was time to take up the wristwatch. Since 1905, Hans began to produce them, offering gold and silver straps. Suddenly, the novelty begins to be in demand. The following year, customers are offered a watch with a flexible metal bracelet. As a result, the product from W & D becomes the most sold in the country.
Wilsdorf’s next step was to rename his brand. The new name should have been ringing, memorable and short enough to fit on the dial. July 2, 1908 the new name was born. There are a lot of legends about its origin. For example, it is said that the word Rolex is an abbreviation for Horologerie exquise (perfect watchmaking). Very important for the company was the official confirmation of the quality of products.
So, in 1910, a mechanism appeared that was officially given the status of a chronometer, which was fantastic for wristwatches. And in 1914, the Rolex clock managed to pass a 45-day test at the Kew Observatory in London. As a result, they were recognized as the most accurate and handed a certificate. And the official name of the company was registered on November 15, 1915, after 4 years changed to Rolex Watch. Since then, the company has changed its name several times to attract attention to its product.
By the end of World War I, almost all men realized how much better than pocket watches. Wilsdorf set himself a new task – to make the clock even better. From the very beginning of the company, Hans tried to make the watch case waterproof and dustproof. It was the only way to achieve the ideal accuracy of the move. In 1926, Rolex Oyster, or Oyster, saw the light. The clock was given its name due to the fact that the body parts were very tightly fitting to each other, like a real pearl. These watches were unique, demanding appropriate advertising. The case soon introduced itself.
Mrs. Mercedes Gleitz was the first woman to cross the English Channel. However, she was accused of cheating, so she decided to repeat her swim. Wilsdorf turned the advertising gimmick – he offered the athlete a brand new watch, if she swims the whole swim with them on her hand. And 15 hours and 15 minutes the product “Rolex” was in the water, not spoiled. It was a great advertisement.
Newspapers printed a photo of the winner, on whose raised hand the hours from the Rolex rose. They did not suffer at all from a long stay in the water, which played into the hands of the manufacturer. Such reputation allowed “Rolex” to start paying attention to extreme sports, because the mechanisms are considered the most reliable.
And in 1931 Wilsdorf shook everyone with another novelty. The Perpetual watches turned out to be self-winding, they were activated by any movement of the owner’s hand. The consumer waited for the next masterpiece in 1953, when Rolex Submariner was released, this is the first civil underwater watch. In the same year it was with them Agent 007, James Bond, in the cinema overcame both fire and water.
In 1960, a specially created Rolex dived to a depth of 10,915 meters in the Mariana Trench. The watch was attached to the Trieste bathyscaphe with the Frenchman Jacques Picard and Donald Walsh on board. “Rolex” went through this test, showing throughout the trip the exact time.
The 1970s became for the company a struggle for quality, which even began to resemble obsession. The highest standards were adopted even for invisible users of the details. All products undergo multistage testing. The sponsorship company also began to expand – tennis and golf were added to the previous auto racing, jump and regattas.
In 1990, Hans Wilsdorf died, Rolex was headed by Patrick Heininger, son of the company’s second president, André Hininger. The policy of the watchmaker has not changed much – the release of exclusive and prestigious models has continued.
“Rolex” does not pursue fashion, because models quickly become obsolete. The company offers a classic mechanical watch. The volume is limited so that not everyone can afford such an elite subject.
Yes, and the sales partners are carefully selected. “Rolex” does not switch to the manufacture of other products and does not ever discount its products, regardless of the circulation and client experience. Today, the price of the “Rolex” clock starts at 5 thousand dollars. The turnover of the company is about 4.5 billion dollars, it employs 3 thousand people.