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Rolex facts and figures

A wristwatch that was both elegant and extremely precise – that was the dream of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf when he established his first company in London in 1905. He pursued his goal, driven by a pioneering spirit and a passion for the art of fine watchmaking. In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch ever in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. Since that time, the company – which relocated to Geneva in 1919 – has continually developed revolutionary watches. Rolex has submitted more than 400 patents since its founding.

Rolex watches: pioneering technological advancement

Quality, precision and functionality – these were the guiding principles of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf when it came to developing new watches. This allowed the watch manufacturer to introduce countless technological innovations that would change the craft of watchmaking forever. To this day, the powerful, sporty and extremely reliable timepieces that were produced as a result remain popular, sought-after wristwatches that last a lifetime.

Ernst Bucherer and Hans Wilsdorf’s close friendship resulted in an equally close business relationship that continues to tie these two renowned companies to this day.

Rolex and Bucherer – a connection that spans generations

The two entrepreneurs – Ernst Bucherer and the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf – were connected by a powerful pioneering spirit and a passion for high-quality watches. Their friendship, which began at the turn of the 20th century, soon developed into a close business relationship: the family-owned and -operated Bucherer Group began carrying Rolex watches in the 1920s – a time in which the brand was little known.

In the years to come, Rolex watches gained a reputation around the world thanks to their extreme precision, excellent water-resistance and high level of durability. The Rolex watch from Geneva became popular amongst well-known figures ranging from politicians to athletes, which also contributed to the company’s success.

The Rolex Oyster: the world’s first water- and dust-resistant watch

The world’s first water- and dust-resistant watch

The Rolex Oyster, the world’s first water- and dust-resistant watch, was created in 1926. It was submerged in a small aquarium in the window display in order to prove to customers that this sensational innovation lived up to its name.

To convince the rest of the world that not a single drop of water would make its way into the case, Hans Wilsdorf had a spectacular idea: he gave the British swimmer Mercedes Gleitze a Rolex Oyster to wear during her attempt to swim the English Channel in 1927. The watch continued to work perfectly even after more than 10 hours in the water. The sporting event captured the attention of the media and also helped to make Rolex a household name around the world.

Rolex Day-Date 40 in platinum

Every watch is made by hand

Rolex developed and manufactured all of the main components of their wristwatches themselves – from casting the gold alloys all the way to the assembly and finishing touches on all of the components of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Every watch is carefully assembled by hand.

The Rolex Datejust was the first mechanical watch with an automatic movement to show the date on the dial.

The world’s first automatic watch

Rolex developed the first ever automatic watch in 1931. It was the first automatic wristwatch with a freely rotating rotor in a water-resistant case in the world. Rolex was not only the first company to achieve this innovation; it was also the first to create a mechanical watch to indicate the date in a window on the dial. This second innovation was the Datejust, which was introduced in 1945 and remains one of the most popular watches in the Oyster collection to this day.

The Rolex Day-Date with date magnifier

The date magnifier as a signature design element

A small magnifier over the date display sets the watch apart: Rolex developed this design element in 1953 and called it the cyclops. To this day, the date magnifier positioned at 3 o’clock remains a distinctive feature of Rolex watches. This is also one way to verify the authenticity of a Rolex.

Made in Switzerland: the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

All of the components made in-house

The exclusive watches are manufactured using state-of-the-art watchmaking technology at four locations in Switzerland. Rolex’s headquarters in Geneva-Acacias is not only home to the company’s management, but also to its research and development department. 

In Biel, more than 2,000 employees develop and assemble Rolex movements using hundreds of components. Highly skilled watchmakers assemble and adjust the movements by hand. The Chêne-Bourg site is where the dials and the watch components that are set with gemstones take shape.

Among other things, the green seal accompanying every Rolex guarantees the extreme accuracy and water-resistance of these watches.

COSC certificate and the green Rolex seal

The official Swiss chronometer testing institute – Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) – regularly assesses the accuracy of Rolex watches. The watches are evaluated based on scientific criteria over 15 days and 15 nights. Rolex watches comply with the organisation’s strict quality criteria and receive a certificate stating that the chronometers have been tested and approved by COSC. This is reflected by the words “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”, which are inscribed on the dial.

Rolex tests watches with cased-up movements with regard to their chronometric precision and water-resistance as well as their automatic movement in its in-house laboratory subject to strict test conditions. The green Rolex seal confirms that the watches have passed the company’s final check. The green seal is coupled with a five-year warranty, which applies to all Rolex models.

Cerachrom bezels: exceptionally robust and impervious to scratches

Cerachrom bezels: robust and durable

A Cerachrom bezel consists of extremely hard ceramic, which makes it exceptionally robust and virtually impervious to scratches. Rolex developed the bezel for specific Professional models such as the GMT-Master II and the Oyster Submariner.
Cerachrom bezels ensure lasting beauty and functionality – even under extreme conditions. 

Rolex’s robust and elegant bracelets

Rolex bracelets and clasps

Elegant, robust and reliable – the bracelets and clasps of a Rolex watch are what lend each timepiece its unique personality. The complex alchemy of form and function is reflected in every Rolex bracelet. Rolex bracelets are complemented by the patented clasps such as the Oysterclasp, the Oysterlock and the Crownclasp.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller with gold from the foundry in Plan-les-Ouates

The gold foundry in Plan-les-Ouates

The gold foundry is located in Plan-les-Ouates, in the canton of Geneva, within the largest Rolex site. This is where Rolex creates the 18K gold alloys used for its wristwatches: yellow gold, white gold and Everose gold – an exclusive pink gold alloy developed by Rolex. What makes Everose gold so special? As opposed to conventional pink gold, which fades over time, Everose maintains its pink colour forever thanks to an additional, high-quality platinum alloy.

Bucherer: an official Rolex specialist retailer

At Bucherer, we are proud to belong to the global network of official Rolex specialist retailers. As such, we are authorised to sell and maintain Rolex watches. Our stores carry a vast selection of Rolex models. As an official specialist retailer, we are experts when it comes to Rolex technology, and we can guarantee not only that every detail of your watch will function flawlessly, but also that your Rolex is 100% authentic.

Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment with one of our Rolex specialists. We are happy to help you choose the perfect Rolex watch for you.