[Behind the Brand - ROLEX] The Secret Of Success

"On looking back into the past, I find that, in developing and extending my business, I have always had certain aims in mind, of course from which I never deviated. Perhaps these aims can be summarized as follows:

1.) To create watch designs suitable for both men and women.

2.) To standardize a range of movements of different sizes.

3.) To obtain so high a degree of quality, that our watches, whatever the caliber, should be recognized as “ chronometers” by the Observatories.

4.) To give current models the benefit of the results and improvements obtained with specially constructed high precision specimens.

5.) To maintain this high degree of precision by protecting the movements against the penetration of dust and impurities, the danger to which the wrist watch is particularly exposed.

This last point presented a problem which could only be resolved by protecting the movement against all outside influences. To my technical assistants, my constant refrain was, from the earliest days: “We must succeed in making a watch case so tight that our movements will be permanently guaranteed against damage caused by dust, perspiration, water, heat and cold. Only then will the perfect accuracy of the Rolex watch be secured."

This seemingly insoluble problem has been solved. After years of untiring research, and at the cost of innumerable difficulties, the waterproof case was finally created in 1926. This invention was applied exclusively to the Rolex watch, was also the first realization of the permanently waterproof watch–and still is.

The fact that, like an oyster, it can remain an unlimited time under water without detriment to its parts, gave me the idea of christening it the “Rolex-Oyster", the name under which it has become famous throughout the world.

It was on October 7, 1927, that the "Rolex-Oyster” underwent the ordeal which was to justify its name. On that day, Mercedes Gleitze, a young London stenographer, swam the Channel in 15 hours 15 minutes, and with her went a faithful companion, the Rolex–Oyster. Imagine the surprise of the reporters present at her landing, when they found that the watch was still running as perfectly as if it had never left dry land.

The event caused a sensation at the time, for the waterproof watch was still unknown to the general public. On November 27, 1927, I reserved the front page of the “Daily Mail” (at a cost of 1600 British Pounds) for an advertisement proclaiming the success of the first waterproof watch. This was the first step in the triumphant rise to fame of the “Rolex-Oyster".

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