Rolex is one of the top global brands for over a century. The crown symbol is recognized throughout the world. Rolex watches are designed to exceed expectations. It takes more than a year to assemble over 220 minute pieces. This is done systematically by hand and is extremely detailed oriented. In fact about 400 operations are conducted only on the main plate. The assembly is put through rigorous testing and retesting. So rigorous in its testing that if the movement deflects for less than one second, the entire assembly is often disassembled and the entire process is restarted from the beginning. Due to high standards and excellent quality control, Rolex is the brand that will continue to be the leader in luxury wristwatches.
Known to be the world's bestselling watch company, with over 100 years of history, Rolex could be written as the definitive textbook in branding, with an emphasis for luxury items. Unfortunately, for many customers today, branding has taken on a negative nuance. Pop culture ads that rely on fashion and polling trends, naming right battles, mass production that sacrifice quality through outsourcing â€“ these are some of the different means that companies use to gain success. However, Rolex has stood its ground and has not resorted to any such means in building its image. It let's its quality products speak for itself. Hence it stands as the standard in the wristwatch industry.
Quality, performance, innovation and stability are the four pillars that Rolex has built its brand, since the inception of the history of wristwatches. The company first sold pocket watches and folding watches called travel clocks when it was first formed in 1905 as Wilsdorf & Davis. Interestingly, until this time, it was only women who wore wristwatches. Later it became popular when people realized how impractical it was to have pocket watches, this was during the Boer War of South Africa (1899-1902) when they noticed the soldiers with wristwatches.
Seeing the opportunity in this new market, Hans Wilsdorf, along with his brother-in-law, William Davis formed the company and began producing high quality watches. Around three years after W & D was formed, the company's name was officially changed to Rolex, a name that was trademarked by Wilsdorf. Somewhere during that time, the benefits of having a logo and brand name to distinguish a product from its competitors was just being discovered, and Wilsdorf capitalized on this opportunity. In essence they wanted a name that was easy to pronounce by all, had no meaning as such in any European language and something that was short and easy to spell. Another example of simple brand name was George Eastman naming his camera Kodak.
It was from Herman Aegler's Rebberg firm that Rolex got their mechanics in a watch. As a teenager Wilsdorf worked at Cuno Korten with Aegler, a watch exporter in Switzerland. Quite often Wilsdorf would set up 15 watches and check them each for accuracy and it was here at Cuno Korten that Wilsdorf's obession with accuracy began. Also he would submit the most accurate ones to the Neuchatel Observatory for testing without permission. However this was overlooked since all the testing passed and he received much praise from his seniors. Much later Aegler's company came to produce exclusively for Rolex, as it does today. Aegler's descendants still run the company, although owned by Rolex.
With his new company, Wilsdorf's obsession for accuracy continued. He was awarded the world's first chronometer award for a wristwatch, after sending the first Rolex movement to the School of Horology in Bienne, Switzerland. Rolex began to gain a worldwide reputation for the finest quality watches, with this award. Rolex watches went on to win a number of awards. Rolex received numerous awards. In 1914, Rolex received the Class A Certificate of Precision award from the Kew Observatory in England, previously only given to marine chronometers. During the testing the watches were subjected to three temperatures and five positions. This entire testing lasted for 45 days. After, Wilsdorf insisted that all Rolex watches would be sold only with an Official Timing Certificate and all their watches would be subjected to a similar testing.
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