The Victories Of Rolex

Why is Rolex considered the best Swiss watchmaker? Editorial director Rüdiger Bucher outlines 9 reasons for the brand's success in Chronos, WatchTime's sister publication.

May 4, 2023


Without a doubt, among the top watchmakers in the world, Rolex is the most well-known. You've heard of it even if you've never heard of Omega, Breitling, or Patek Philippe. Customers who know a lot and those who know very little make up the two categories of Rolex buyers. Collectors are drawn to Rolex because of its remarkable quality. They could be more focused on having the best watch for everyday wear than having extraordinarily beautiful, detailed craftsmanship. The only thing that other Rolex customers know about watches is that Rolex is the best. The main justification for them is that a Rolex watch must be worn if one is going to wear a watch. And the maker deserves a huge credit for this. Because the business must be doing something right if even someone with no prior knowledge of timepieces considers one specific brand to be "Number One."

Product quality


The exceptional product quality that Rolex has maintained during its many years in business is the backbone of its success. Rolex timepieces are trustworthy, strong, and precise time keepers. Maintaining constant quality while making an estimated three-quarters of a million pieces each year requires a certain level of ability. Rolex also benefits from eliminating special complexity. It lacks minute repeaters, tourbillons, perpetual calendars, and even movements with a large date display, a power reserve indicator, and an alarm. The company concentrates on what it does well while constantly refining the details. This is true for both the motions and the case. You won't find a spinning bezel that ratchets as neatly and smoothly as the one on the Submariner or GMT-Master II from any of its competitors, not even other high-end brands with far more costly items.

Everything a watch needs


The importance of the Rolex brand is related to the company's early adoption of innovative features that made the watch appropriate for daily use. The legendary Kew-Teddington observatory received a wristwatch mechanism from Hans Wilsdorf, the inventor of Rolex, for chronometer certification in 1914. The chronometer test has created a de facto standard for in-house mechanical Rolex calibers, which is presently controlled by the Swiss organization COSC. Since it shouldn't be required to remove the crown every day to maintain a watch's water-resistance, the automatic winding mechanism was introduced a few years after the introduction of the first water-resistant wristwatch in 1927. The term "Oyster Perpetual," which is used to describe the product and is included on almost every Rolex, is a representation of these two qualities. First watch with automated winding, water-resistant casing, and chronometer certification was the Datejust, which was debuted in 1945. It offers everything you need, including the date window that retains its name.

Design and branding


The ability of a watch to be worn regularly is influenced by its design. The circular shape of a Rolex helps with readability and water resistance. To this, add a Cyclops date magnifier and a center sweep seconds hand (another Hans Wilsdorf invention). Collections that are already in existence are conserved and enhanced throughout time. According to  Percy  Christian Schoeler, a Rolex expert and the founder of the German-language websites Luxify and R-L-X-Forum, "only exceedingly thorough changes to the unique designs of certain model collections throughout the decades have resulted in a high degree of awareness." There are no dramatic design changes or leaps in scale, and even case size modifications are accomplished gradually. Typical design elements like as the grooved bezel, "Mercedes" hands, Cyclops magnifier, and Oyster bracelet are seen in a variety of models and have seldom changed, thus a Datejust or Submariner today appears quite similar to early versions. That is why a Rolex can always be identified from a distance. Watch expert Gisbert L. Brunner refers to this as the "10-meter rule," and it's not just the experts who recognize it.

Value stability


An vehicle loses half of its worth when you buy it. This is only somewhat true for watches, except Rolex. For the highly desirable sport models in stainless steel, it is feasible to obtain anything for a little less or even more than the original purchase price (albeit this is a more difficult position for gold Oyster models and the beautiful gold Cellini watches). Regardless matter whether a consumer is buying the watch for one use or another, this is a desirable feature. Knowing that you made the right decision gives you comfort.

Auction prices


Older Rolex watches frequently fetch high auction prices, which has a considerable influence on the price stability of worn but still relatively new watches. After Patek Philippe, Rolex is the second most popular brand. There have been several examples of Rolex watches being successfully auctioned off during the last few decades. Prices have occasionally reached ludicrous levels. In fact, a Rolex Daytona owned by Paul Newman sold for $15.5 million at Phillips' New York "Winning Icons" auction in October, setting a record for the most expensive timepiece ever sold at auction. The previous record for the most expensive Rolex timepiece ever sold was a Ref. 6062 with its triple date display (pointer date indicator, weekday and month in window apertures) in the one-time version with a black dial and diamond markings that formerly belonged to Bao Dai, Vietnam's last emperor. It was sold at Phillips in Geneva in May for more over SF5 million.

Artificial scarcity

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One has attained the peak of desirability when the sought object is not available. The renowned Daytona in steel has been a popular item of want for many people ever since an early version was spotted on the wrist of Hollywood legend Paul Newman. Roughly the same number of models are imported by Rolex as are expected to be sold. There are lengthy waiting lists as a result. The hunt for the most coveted watch in the world only serves to enhance the mythology of Rolex.

Marketing and communication

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Hans Wilsdorf, the man who invented Rolex, was a marketing genius. He made sure that this name was displayed on the dial and chose a name that was simple to speak in many different languages at a time when consumer allegiance was to the dealer, not the manufacturer. At the time, this was rare. Wilsdorf gave a Rolex to a swimmer who planned to cross the English Channel, and he christened his water-resistant watch the "Oyster" (which she wore around her neck). He earned a full-page advertisement for the item on the front page of the Daily Mail. There were also advertising in magazines featuring a young actress dipping her hand, wrist, and watch into a fishbowl. Marketing plans for Rolex are more subtle. In the late 1970s, it started highlighting its participation in significant sports such as tennis, golf, motor racing, equestrian sports, and sailing. Since 1978, Rolex has served as the "official timekeeper" for Wimbledon. Since 1980, it has done the same for the U.S. Open. Since 2013, it has done the same for Formula One.


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