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R for Rolex

Published on , by Thomas Bravo-Maza

How did Rolex become Rolex? The world’s most famous watch brand still unleashes passions and fuels bidding wars. Behind the myth, an unsung hero established this symbol of success, excellence and boldness.

This nearly 100-year Oyster is a concentrate of modernity (a screw-down crown, back... R for Rolex

This nearly 100-year Oyster is a concentrate of modernity (a screw-down crown, back and bezel, Ultra Prima caliber) and timeless elegance (a cushion case, blued steel Roman hands).

January 23, 1960, 1:00 pm. The Pacific Ocean, Guam sector. Depth: 10,916 m. Welcome to the hadopelagic zone, where no man has ever been before. After a seemingly endless five-hour descent, the bathyscaphe the  Trieste reaches the bottom of the Mariana Trench. On board, Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy lieutenant Don Walsh are tense. At this depth, the pressure, one ton, or 1,000 bars, is so great it can crush every square centimeter. Amazed, they observe the first traces of life through their tiny porthole in utter silence. At 4:56 pm, they rise back up to the surface. The explorers note that the prototype watch they had hung on the outside of the submersible has not exploded. The Rolex Deep Sea Special no. 3 was still ticking. This would be Hans Wilsdorf's last joy: the founder of Rolex died a few months later. Childless, he left his estate to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in Geneva, which has a clear goal: to carefully safeguard Rolex’s heritage.   What does the name Rolex mean? There are several hypotheses, but for lack of proof, the riddle remains unsolved. The brand’s highly successful communication strategy is based on secrecy. It will be impossible to…
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