With over 150 patents in their possession, Rolex maintains their mystique with tightly guarded secrets. What isn't a secret is the timeless style and quality that lasts a lifetime.
Each Rolex wrist watch gets assembled by an expert watchmaker. Then withstands intense testing of each component.
By the time it makes it to your wrist, you'll have a stylish piece of engineering built of the finest materials. Rolex approaches watchmaking with a sense of fanatical obsession that leads to some of the finest watches in the world.
Do you know these 10 facts about Rolex and what it takes to create your watch?
1. The Steel is Better
Not all stainless steel is created equal. It comes in different types and grades. You will find that most watches use 316L stainless steel.
Rolex uses 904L stainless steel. This high in chromium type of steel is especially resistant to pitting and corrosion.
904L Stainless Steel
904L stainless steel was originally developed for sulphuric acid. Along with pitting resistance it also has an excellent ability to resist stress cracking.
For those in subzero temperatures, 904L steel can withstand impacts without breaking. Finally, it is non-magnetic so no risk of interference with the timekeeping components.
Why Are They The Only One?
The upgrade to this type of steel made sense for Rolex. They make every part in-house, whereas competitors buy their parts from outside suppliers.
All of the steel working machines had to get replaced before the new steel could enter production. The added expense and difficult workability prevent others from choosing this steel.
2. They Have a Science Lab
There is a lab full of top scientists researching better methods of manufacturing. One department tests oils and lubricants for the machines performing the manufacturing process.
Another department analyses the metals and other materials as they go through the manufacturing process. A third department tests the completed watches.
The Stress Test Room
This famous room is where every watch goes through a series of tests. Custom made machines will test the movements, latches, bracelets, and cases.
Each watch will go through a 1000 clasp and unclasps. Rolex designs the watch to last your lifetime and into the next.
3. Your Watch is Handmade
Machines will do the bulk of the sorting and cataloguing of Rolex parts. They will also do the fine tasks humans are not as good at.
Humans assemble the movements and bracelets though. Then the watch hands get set by a trained technician.
4. There's an in House Gold Foundry
All gold and platinum used on the Rolex watches go through production in-house. The company begins by receiving 24k gold.
Then the company turns it into 18k yellow, white, and Everose gold. This lets them control the metal quality and finished product.
5. Technology Embraced
Rolex uses many more robots and machines than other watchmakers. They have a higher demand that warrants the high price of the machines.
The machines run the master supply room for the company. A watchmaker will order the needed parts through the system.
A robot will gather the requested parts and have them delivered in 6-8 minutes via conveyor. Most of the robotic machines take over tasks that are repetitive.
6. Security is Everything
You will not find any pictures of the inside of the manufacturing facility. The strict no photos policy helps prevent outsiders from knowing the inner workings.
For employees, they have an ID badge that must be docked at all times. This can only happen after the employee "checks in" with a fingerprint scan.
To enter the vault, you will have to pass a series of checkpoints. The final stage to get through the bank vault door is an iris scanner.
Every watch within the vault has its own serial number. Then the box it goes in has a different unique serial number.
7. Dive Watches Can Actually Dive
All original Rolex watches go through testing, but the dive watches get extra testing. This goes beyond the standard air pressure test that standard watches go through.
Oyster case dive watches get tested in water-filled pressurized tubes. These tubes replicate the pressure the watch would experience in up to 300 meters of water.
After the water tank, each watch goes through a scanner that tests for condensation. Less than 1 in 1,000 watches fail this testing.
Deep Sea Watches
This same test goes to a whole new level for the deep sea watches. Rolex worked with COMEX to develop a tank that tests for pressure equal of 12,000 meters down.
8. Each Stone Gets Tested
Rolex claims that in the 20 million precious stones that they have tested, only 2 were fake. Every precious stone goes through x-ray testing to ensure they are real.
Once deemed acceptable, a department of fine jewellers create the settings for the watches. Each stone then gets hand selected and set.
9. A Year in the Making
It takes an entire year for a Rolex watch to get produced. This is mainly due to Rolex's fanatical insistence on high quality for each component.
Given that Rolex produces almost everything in-house, it is easy to see how it can take a year to complete one watch. Once an assembly finishes, the extensive testing then adds to production time.
10. Everything In-House
If it isn't obvious by now, Rolex produces almost everything in-house. The dial hands and synthetic sapphires are the only parts not produced by Rolex.
Though given Rolex watch history, it wouldn't be surprising to find that they move to in-house production. Over the years Rolex has continually invested in new processes and techniques.
Rolex Wrist Watch
In 1926 Rolex produced the first Oyster. Since then, the company has dedicated itself to produce watches that last a lifetime.
Each component is painstakingly crafted in-house. The highest quality materials must go through testing before getting put to use. Then tested again once the assembly gets completed.
Dive watches go through even more testing to ensure their quality. You'll have no concerns about getting your watch wet on your next adventure.
It takes a year to complete each Rolex wrist watch. This is no surprise and well worth the effort for one of the finest quality watches in the world.
Select your next Rolex watch today.