What You Did Not Know About Rolex’s Watchmaking Process
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It’s well-known throughout the watch industry that Rolex guards its trade secrets about as closely as Fort Knox. And interestingly, the mystique that this tight-lipped approach casts over its brand actually adds to its appeal in the eyes of many consumers. But fortunately for us, the Swiss luxury timepiece giant will occasionally allow a journalist or two limited access for a small glimpse of just what makes Rolex tick (pun intended).
Ariel Adams, a prolific writer who presides over the watch authority website A Blog to Watch, was recently allowed inside four Swiss Rolex manufacturing facilities for a brief tour. He was not allowed to take photos, so he reported some interesting facts and tidbits in his blog, 10 of which we will share here:
10 Things to Know About Rolex
- Rolex only uses the most expensive steel because it produces a superior look. The grade of steel Rolex uses for its watches is called 904L steel, and almost no other watchmakers use it. Why? Because it’s difficult to work with and requires special tools and expertise. It also produces a flat-out superior watch with a great tactile feel and weight, which you will notice immediately when handling a Rolex watch.
- Rolex created its own science lab. From testing new technologies, experimenting with various metals, to meticulously refining their already precise manufacturing process, Rolex uses a multitude of science labs for its watchmaking process.
- Rolex assembles all movements, and tests them by hand. Machines don’t build Rolex watches; human hands
What Sets a Rolex Apart: A Peek Inside the Process to Create a Masterpiece
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Rolex watches are admired, revered and respected throughout the world. From celebrities and sports stars to politicians, a Rolex graces the arm of the world’s most powerful and wealthy people. Although the Rolex reputation is extensive and spans back many years, you may wonder, what is it about these watches that really makes them a standout, aside from their reputation?
The Rolex name and the company as a whole, far exceed that of just a watchmaker. They’re a pivotal part of history, and in today’s fast-paced and competitive retail landscape, it takes a little delving into the inner workings of the Rolex company to understand why they remain untouchable.
While most of us will never actually know exactly what happens during the creation of a Rolex (the company is shrouded in secrecy, and doesn’t allow photography in their factories), we can give you a few glimpses into the process.
One of the primary factors that differentiates a Rolex from even other high-end watches is the grade of steel used. Steel is not created equally—it’s available in a range of types and grades, and while many watches are made using a type of stainless steel called 316L, the Rolex is made from 904L steel.
The reason this makes a difference? 904L steel is extremely resistant to rust and corrosion. Although it has tremendous benefits, most watchmakers shy away from it because it’s difficult to machine. The Rolex company uses specialized machinery and tools to manipulate this particular type of