Authorized Rolex dealers would be forgiven for choking on their morning coffee at the news that Rolex has launched a second website that will co-exist with Rolex.com.
But the almost constant anxiety dealers live with that Rolex will compete for customers with its own direct-to-consumer ecommerce play can subside for the time being because the new site, Rolex.org, is dedicated to publicizing the philanthropic work of the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a charitable trust that has 100% ownership and control of Rolex.
Along with sales estimated at around $5.5 billion (the true number is not disclosed by Rolex because the trust is not required to publish accounts) the company describes how: “behind the Rolex crown is a way of thinking about our place in the world and an aspiration to contribute. We call this perpetual spirit. It is based on a fundamental belief in unlimited human potential, in continuous improvement, in always pushing the boundaries and taking the long-term view. Our watches are built to last. So is our contribution to future generations”.
Rolex.org has extensive coverage of the charitable, environmental and mentoring work it does with exceptional young visionaries.
It also has a fascinating pictorial history of the company created by the young Hans Wilsdorf when he founded the company in London, England.
“In 1905, he started to work with a small Swiss watch manufacturer in Bienne that was producing some unusually compact watch movements. These he took to London, where he had them fitted into cases and that same year he was able to set up his own watchmaking company,” the site describes.
“He later described how, one morning in 1908, “while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear”. After a long search for the right name for his pioneering brand, it had come to him: a short word with a good ring to it, easy to pronounce in every language, and easy to remember. The word Rolex had style and authority, and looked superb on a watch dial. Within days, Hans Wilsdorf had registered the trademark,” it adds.
Rolex authorized dealers and their customers can see early images of the company’s manufacturing facilities, documentation and historic timepieces — fleshing out the storytelling that is so much a part of working with the world’s biggest traditional watchmaker.