Creation of a New Watch Trade Show in Geneva in Collaboration with the Fondation DE La Haute Horlogerie

Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor leave Baselworld to create a new watch trade show in Geneva with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. The show will be held early April 2021 at Palexpo, at the same time as Watches & Wonders. This departure follows a number of unilateral decisions made without consultation by Baselworld management, including the postponement of the watch show until January 2021, as well as its inability to meet the brands’ needs and expectations.

The new show, which will be linked to Watches & Wonders, organized by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, is to take place at Palexpo. The aim is to offer partner brands the best possible professional platform, applying a shared vision to successfully meet future challenges in the watchmaking industry. It will also give crucial prominence to the sector’s expertise and innovations, both in Switzerland and internationally.

Other brands may also be added, according to terms that have not yet been defined. This new event will be geared predominantly towards retailers, the press and VIP customers.

Jean-Frédéric Dufour, Chief Executive Officer, Rolex SA, and Board Member, Montres Tudor SA, said: “We have taken part in Baselworld since 1939. Unfortunately, given the way the event has evolved and the recent decisions made by MCH Group, and in spite of the great attachment we had to this watch show, we have decided to withdraw. Following discussions initiated by Rolex, it seemed only natural to create a new event with partners that share our vision and our endless, unwavering support for the Swiss watchmaking sector. This will allow us to present our new watches in line with our needs and expectations, to join forces and better defend the interests of the industry.”

Thierry Stern, President, Patek Philippe said: “The decision to leave Baselworld was not an easy one to take for me, being the fourth generation of the Stern family to participate to this traditional yearly event. But life evolves constantly, things change and people change as well, whether it is at the level of those responsible for the watch fair organization, the brands or the clients. We constantly have to adapt ourselves, question what we do, since what was right yesterday may not necessarily be valid today! Today Patek Philippe is not in line with Baselworld’s vision anymore, there have been too many discussions and unsolved problems, trust is no longer present.

We need to answer the legitimate needs of our retailers, the clients and the press from around the world. They have to be able to discover the new models from Swiss watchmakers each year, at one time, in one place, and this in the most professional manner possible.

That is why, following several discussions with Rolex and in agreement with other participating brands, we have decided to create, all together, a unique event in Geneva, representative of our savoir-faire.“

Frédéric Grangié, President of Chanel Watches & Fine Jewellery said: “Like its partners, CHANEL shares the same independence and the same desire to protect and promote the values, know-how, utmost quality and precision of Swiss Watchmaking. This initiative marks a key milestone in the history of CHANEL Watchmaking and is part of a long-term strategy, which began with the launch of this activity in 1987. This exhibition will allow us to present all of our new creations in an environment that meets our high-quality standards.”

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President Chopard et Cie SA said: “Chopard first exhibited at the Basel fair in 1964 with a stand of some 25 square metres. After careful consideration, our family decided to support the Rolex initiative and retire from Baselworld – a painful decision. The creation of this new watch show in Geneva, in parallel to Watches & Wonders, will allow us to better serve our watchmaking partners and our customers. Through the alliance, these grandes maisons will also be able to collaborate in promoting the values and best interests of Swiss watchmaking.”

Jérôme Lambert, on behalf of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Council said: “The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is delighted to welcome a new salon which will strengthen the historical Watches & Wonders event in Geneva next year in early April.”

Further information will be published at a later date, in particular concerning the name of the new watch fair and its organization.

From 15-18 August, during four action- packed days, California celebrated the legacy and the future of the automobile, paying homage to its on-going influence on the modern world. Attracting an array of international manufacturers, competitors and spectators, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex, showcased beautiful, pioneering and innovative vehicles. As part of its almost 85- year association with motor sport, Rolex has supported classic car events since 1997, highlighting the Swiss watch brand’s continued commitment to ground- breaking engineering.

Mark Webber, Rolex Testimonee and multiple Formula 1® race winner, described his visit to the Pacific Coast: “California is synonymous with extraordinary cars and style. Coming here for the first time, I’ve been amazed by the variety of motoring activity. We’ve seen unbelievable cars from all around the world at The Quail and at the Concours, while at the race track it was great to see the cars being pushed to the limit.” Emphasizing the level of excellence on display, Webber continued: “It has been staggering to see the passion, the patience and the painstaking love that the owners put into getting these cars to this extraordinary level. Both Rolex and classic car events reflect the meticulous precision it takes to make something elegant and robust – something that is timeless and forever.”

As the sun set on this week of motoring activities, it was the 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting Sports Tourer that was crowned ‘Best of Show’ at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. Embodying style and authenticity, it was only fitting that in Bentley’s centenary year one of the brand’s cars took top honours. Following the prize giving ceremony, owner Sir Michael Kadoorie said: “I feel very privileged to be the recipient of the ‘Best of Show’ and it is extra special as Bentley is celebrating 100 years. Reaching such a milestone says a lot about the people who have put in a great deal of effort to enrich the Bentley name. To win a Rolex watch, thanks to this wonderful car, is a great pleasure.”

The event began when the cars rolled onto the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links® during Dawn Patrol. As the fog lifted, the cars on show, all of varying provenances, eras and designers, were judged in their respective classes by over 100 technical judges, before the ‘Best in Class’ winners and subsequently the ‘Best of Show’ were announced. Away from the 18th hole, leading car manufacturers revealed highly anticipated new models while the concept lawn exhibited pioneering inventions.

The acclaimed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca played host to the four-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion as racing cars spanning a century – from 1910 to 2013 – took to the track across 14 categories. Spectators were enthralled by the sights and sounds as these vintage automobiles re-enacted motor sport history. In the paddock, prominent constructors showcased cars from a variety of motor racing disciplines while the visiting public had the chance to meet the drivers and witness the mechanics fine-tune the vehicles. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the featured marque of this year’s event, proudly displayed over 100 of its most successful cars to commemorate the organization’s 50th anniversary. The event encapsulates the spirit of motor racing and Rolex’s enduring support of the sport, as cars from across the decades compete like they were originally built to, around a challenging 11-turn, 3.602 km (2.238 mile) circuit.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering hosted 6,000 guests as automobiles and motorcycles competed to reach the Rolex Circle of Champions. The garden party atmosphere, showcasing vintage and futuristic cars, global cuisine and fashion, takes place annually on the greens of The Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel. This year, the launch of the Bugatti Centodieci, the debut of the Acura Type S Concept and the US reveal of the Lotus Evija, made headlines as manufacturers looked to the future. As the day drew to a close, the 1931 Stutz DV 32 Convertible Victoria by Le Baron was honoured as the 2019 ‘Rolex Best of Show’. Gracing the stage with her family to collect the award was Caroline Cassini who reflected on the significance of this week of motoring events: “These festivities promote lots of camaraderie but really it is all about these wonderful works of art – the cars at The Quail are rolling sculptures. This Stutz has been in our family for a while now, and it is definitely a very special car.”

As the sun shone down on Portola Road, a remarkable collection of cars from across the ages lined up for the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex. Bringing to life the history of the automobile, this exquisite motorcade travelled along portions of the famous 17-Mile Drive and down Highway 1, crossing Bixby Bridge, before returning to Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch. The diverse line-up of vehicles provided aficionados with a preview of the spectacular field to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, and was a fitting way to start Rolex’s long weekend of automotive activities in California.

Rolex’s commitment to motoring excellence and timeless style dates back to the 1930s, when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke land speed records with a Rolex timepiece on his wrist. To this day, the Swiss watch brand continues to honour the influential role of the automobile, paying respect to the designs of the past while appreciating the cutting-edge cars of the present and future.

Building on a long-standing partnership with Rolex, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is pleased to announce the brand’s participation at Dubai Watch Week, set to take place from 20 to 24 November 2019.
This is the first time that Rolex will participate at a watchmaking event in the Middle East, with a dedicated exhibition exploring the universe of the Oyster Perpetual Submariner.

Through panels and interactive displays, the Submariner exhibition tells the story of how the celebrated divers’ watch developed over the years. Guests will also discover how, over time, the Submariner became an emblematic watch on land as well as at sea. “We are extremely honoured to have Rolex presented for the first time at Dubai Watch Week. This is something really special for Dubai following the opening of the largest Rolex Boutique in the world in 2018” said Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of Seddiqi Holding.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is also organizing an exhibition that will feature some inimitable vintage Rolex timepieces. As a curator of time and advocate of horology, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons continues its commitment towards the watch industry by investing in initiatives that support the development and education of the watch sector in the region.


Timeless Design And Heritage To Be Celebrated In California

Many of the world’s most acclaimed automobiles will be on display next month as the Californian coast becomes a hub of motoring activity. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, held between 15-18 August, will honour the heritage and style of vehicles from yesteryear together with the cutting-edge models of the future. Committed to pioneering design and continuous innovation, Rolex began supporting the illustrious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 1997 as part of its long-standing partnership with motor sport that dates back to the 1930s, when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke World Land Speed Records at the wheel of his car Bluebird.

Mark Webber

The Rolex Testimonee and multiple Formula 1® race winner who will be attending the annual celebrations for the first time, considers the significance of the past: “We all like to look forward but it is equally important to reflect on what has been achieved and to appreciate the remarkable stories and legends of sport. Look at Mercedes Gleitze swimming across the English Channel in 1927 and Sir Malcolm Campbell breaking land speed records in the 1930s – Rolex was a part of these amazing feats. That’s why it is so important to celebrate events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Rolex has such an authentic relationship with these events because of its long history and strong links to pioneering moments of the past.”

Timeless Design And Heritage To Be Celebrated In California

Pebble Beach Golf Links®, which staged golf’s 2019 U.S. Open last month, hosts the most prestigious event of the week, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® on Sunday 18 August. Automobiles are driven onto the picturesque 18th hole during the legendary Dawn Patrol, and throughout the day, expert judges assess the vehicles on style, technical merit and accuracy. The winner of the Best of Show Award is declared during the closing ceremony, in recognition of the exceptional show of passion and desire to preserve the past. This year, Bentley cars are set to make up almost a quarter of the entrants and will feature across six classes as the manufacturer marks its centennial year. Italian design house Zagato, which also celebrates its 100th anniversary, has a dedicated category. Away from the golf greens, the concept lawn will continue to showcase innovative designs as state-of- the-art automobiles are revealed to the visiting public.

Timeless Design And Heritage To Be Celebrated In California

The Concours is preceded by the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex on Thursday 15 August, when spectators catch their first glimpse of these classic automobiles. A delight for the senses, this parade roars to life as the cars depart Portola Road, heading south down the coast via Bixby Bridge, before circling back to Carmel-by-the-Sea where they are displayed on Ocean Avenue for the afternoon.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a cornerstone of California’s automotive festivities, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). Announced as this year’s featured marque, it will be the first time that an American racing organization has received this honour at the event. From Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 August, more than 550 authentic and period-correct automobiles – spanning 103 years of motor sport history – will compete in 14 categories around the challenging 11-corner, 3.602 km (2.238 mile) WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit. The open paddock, bustling with activity, provides enthusiasts with an opportunity to interact with drivers and admire the racing cars as they pay homage to motor racing and recognize its influence in the USA and across the globe.

Timeless Design And Heritage To Be Celebrated In California

On Friday 16 August, against the backdrop of the Santa Lucia Mountains, an array of eclectic cars and motorcycles will assemble for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. In its 17th year, this distinguished event will present the ‘25th Anniversary of the McLaren F1’ and ‘A Tribute to the Electric Car Movement’ among its featured themes. Alongside this premier vintage automotive display, international cuisine and style are celebrated on the rolling greens of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club. Judged by fellow entrants, car collectors compete to reach the Rolex Circle of Champions, where the vehicle of the highest calibre is awarded the Rolex Best of Show to reflect the Swiss watch brand’s ongoing commitment to excellence in both design and production.

Timeless Design And Heritage To Be Celebrated In California

Rolex’s partnerships with Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and these Californian events celebrate ground-breaking craftsmanship and iconic style, values which continue to shape both the automotive and watchmaking industries. Sir Jackie Stewart, Rolex Testimonee and three-time FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion, says: “It is a wonderful relationship because passionate car and watch aficionados understand the great privilege of owning something very special, with a long history and timeless elegance. The Concours, Reunion and The Quail celebrate the heritage of the automobile, featuring the most beautiful cars ever built. Rolex always aligns itself with excellence in every endeavour it supports and it continues to lead the world in that respect.”


Tom Kristensen at 24 Heures du Mans Race

After 24 hours of competition at the 13.626 km Circuit de la Sarthe, it was the No. 8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing that took victory this afternoon at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019. The record-breaking 61-car field that started the 87th edition of this historic endurance challenge, demonstrated the durability and robustness of the modern sports car. Rolex has championed 24-hour racing since the 1960s, recognizing the on-going quest for engineering excellence and precision. The Swiss watch brand has been the Official Timepiece of the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001.

Completing 385 laps, the No. 8, driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, took the lead with just under an hour to go when the sister No. 7 car suffered a puncture in a dramatic final act of the race. The No. 7 had been fastest all week, taking pole position on Thursday and, through record-breaking pace in the early stages of the race, secured a healthy gap, before being forced to pit for new tyres twice in quick succession, forfeiting the win to finish second. With victory, the No. 8 secured back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans titles and the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance LMP Drivers’ Championship.

Closely-fought racing continued down the field. The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) category teams proved reliable as 16 of the 20 starters crossed the finish line, with the No. 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut at the head of the pack, one lap ahead of its nearest rival. In an epic contest of endurance, that often felt more like a sprint race, the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Pro (LMGTE Pro) class had wheel-to-wheel racing from start to finish, with manufacturers separated by seconds for much of the 24-hour marathon. The result was ultimately decided when the No. 63 Corvette Racing spun off the track, allowing the No. 51 AF Corse to take the LMGTE Pro win in the year that Ferrari marks 70 years since its maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans victory. The No. 85 Keating Motorsports built an unassailable lead in the LMGTE Am class, completing a total of 334 laps to stand atop the podium.

This edition marked the first time the 24 Hours of Le Mans hosted the season finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Over the course of 86 hours of driving across six countries and 14 months, the WEC witnessed incredible technical developments across the field as the teams continuously closed the competitive gap to one another.

Rolex Testimonee and record nine-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Tom Kristensen remarks: “This weekend has illustrated the rollercoaster of emotions at Le Mans – we have experienced the thrill of close racing, as well as the anguish of untimely reliability issues. The race demands absolute perseverance and durability from both human and machine in their shared pursuit of the ultimate performance.”

Presented to the overall winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, acknowledging the legendary status of the contest and the achievements of those who continue to take on this definitive race against time.


The illustrious reputation of the Rolex Giraglia has been sculpted by the passion and persistent pursuit of excellence of those who take part together with the dedication and purposeful collaboration of the event’s established partners. The 2019 edition, the 67th uninterrupted annual running since 1953, provided a resounding demonstration of why the event has endured. Rolex, a supporter of yachting since the 1950s, has been a close and committed partner of the event since 1998.



Memorable moments
A total of 297 international yachts, and nearly 3,000 sailors, took part across the weeklong competition. Sporting highlights included the three days of inshore racing off Saint-Tropez and the 241 nautical mile offshore race to Monaco. Very few sailing events command such large participation nor comprise such a diverse programme, uniting intense competition, majestic locations and convivial social events. Rolex’s longstanding relationship with the sport includes enduring partnerships with individuals and organizations who set the highest standards. The organizers of the Rolex Giraglia – the Yacht Club Italiano and the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez – together with hosts of the 2019 finish, the Yacht Club de Monaco, fit emphatically within this criterion.





One of the greatest golfing venues in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links will welcome 156 of the world’s best professional and amateur golfers for the 119th edition of the U.S. Open from 13–16 June.

This will be the sixth time that Pebble Beach has hosted the event, one of the four annual golf Majors, highlighting the championship pedigree of this revered course which celebrates its centenary year in 2019. This year also marks the 40th edition of the tournament that Rolex will preside over as Official Timekeeper, a position it has held since 1980.


For more than 50 years, the Swiss watch manufacturer has nurtured one of the most enduring relationships between a brand and sport. In 1967, Rolex partnered with Arnold Palmer, joined by friends and rivals Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, affectionately known as The Big Three, who played a key role in modernizing this ancient sport.

Since then, Rolex has become intimately linked with golf, extending its support to every level of the game, from its elite players, to men and women’s Major championships and the foremost professional tours around the globe. It is a partnership steeped in quality, reliability and a pioneering spirit, attributes that permeate everything Rolex does.

Not only is it an important year for the Swiss watch manufacturer and Pebble Beach, Rolex Testimonee Brooks Koepka will arrive at this dramatic stretch of California coastline with the opportunity to continue his sequence of historic victories. In winning the 2019 PGA Championship in May, Koepka reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking and became the first golfer to successfully defend two Major titles. He clinched his fourth Major at the Bethpage Black Course on New York’s Long Island after claiming the 2018 PGA title at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri. At Pebble Beach he will be aiming to become only the second golfer to win the U.S. Open title three years in a row, a feat not repeated since Scotland’s Willie Anderson won in 1903, 1904 and 1905.

The course requires long drives from the tee, yet precise iron play around the greens, an exacting challenge that ensures only the worthiest can be crowned champion. In his quest for a momentous third successive U.S. Open title, Koepka must once again rely on his accuracy and consistency, qualities that are echoed in Rolex’s quest for perpetual excellence in all its endeavours.

Should the 29-year-old win at Pebble Beach, he would join an elite group of Rolex Testimonees to have won the U.S. Open at this famous venue. In 1972, Jack Nicklaus won his third title here. Ten years later he was pipped by great friend and rival Tom Watson, who claimed his only U.S. Open title with one of the greatest finishes in Majors history. And Tiger Woods’ win in 2000 by a then record 15 strokes is considered one of the greatest performances in golfing history. His victory was the first en route to holding all four Major titles at the same time, the so-called Tiger Slam, a feat no other golfer has achieved.


Rolex is celebrating, in 2016, the 90 years of the Oyster,
 the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch in the world. 
It was an innovation that transformed watch
design forever. Precise, robust and reliable, the Oyster became the timekeeper of choice for explorers and pioneers of all types whose exploits played a part in forging the status of this legendary watch. Today, Rolex has further reinforced the performance 
criteria that qualify Oyster watches as Superlative Chronometers.

The Oyster, « The best wristwatch in the world »

 “Gentlemen, we make the best wristwatch in the world.” In January 1927, the founder of Rolex addressed an assembly of watch retailers to present his most recent creation: the Rolex Oyster. It had been launched a few months earlier, in 1926, and was the first-ever completely hermetic and waterproof wristwatch. “The Oyster is, in our opinion, the most important invention regarding watches of recent years,” he assured them. And Hans Wilsdorf was a man to be believed. In little more than 20 years, he had founded and established a pioneering wristwatch brand renowned for its spectacular advances in precision and original designs. He could legitimately proclaim that he had created by that time “more successful models of wristwatches for the British market than the whole of Switzerland combined”.

Mastery of precision

Hans Wilsdorf had made precision his top priority. In 1910, a Rolex was the very first wristwatch to obtain a chronometer certificate – an official mark of precision. Granted by an official watch rating centre in Switzerland, it showed for the first time that a wristwatch could be as precise as a pocket watch, the benchmark in those days. In 1914, when the Kew Observatory in Great Britain – the highest authority for chronometric precision at the time – awarded a “Class A” precision certificate to a Rolex wristwatch, the watchmaking world received the news with astonishment. This was a certification that involved extremely rigorous tests lasting 45 days and had generally been reserved for large marine chronometers. Rolex had now proved that a wristwatch could rival the most precise of timepieces – a fact scarcely believable at the time.

Such success for Rolex contributed significantly to establishing the credibility of this type of watch. Until then wristwatches had been considered jewellery items of particular appeal to women and lacking in precision.

In a document written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rolex in 1945, Hans Wilsdorf spoke about the doubts that had beset watchmakers back in that era: “Watchmakers all over the world remained sceptical as to [the wristwatch’s] possibilities and believed that this new-fangled object was bound to prove a failure. Their arguments against the wristwatch were, inter alia, the following: firstly, the mechanism required by this type of watch must of necessity be small and delicate and it could never withstand the violent gestures of hand and arm. Secondly, dust and damp would rapidly spoil the mechanism, even if it were well constructed. Thirdly, accuracy and regularity of working could never be obtained with so small a movement.”

After conquering precision, Hans Wilsdorf turned his attention to overcoming the other two challenges. “To my technical assistants, my constant refrain from the earliest days was: ‘We must succeed in making a watch case so tight that our movements will be permanently guaranteed against damage caused by dust, perspiration, water, heat and cold. Only then will the perfect accuracy of the Rolex watch be secured,’” he explained.

Waterproofness, guaranteeing reliability on every count

The introduction of the Oyster marked a second fundamental milestone in the realization of Hans Wilsdorf’s vision. The Oyster offered, he said, “the ideal solution [to] a problem that has baffled everybody since watches [have been] worn on the wrist”. And he continued: “I prophesy that the Oyster will popularize the wearing of wristwatches with men more than anything else has done.” With the Oyster, Hans Wilsdorf explained, it was no longer necessary to remove the watch to wash one’s hands or bathe, or while at work in a dusty workshop or when perspiring profusely. “You just keep your Oyster on your wrist whatever happens and it will never fail you.” A time-honoured promise that would lead to the Oyster’s being chosen and relied on by numerous pioneers – from climbers of the highest peaks to explorers of the deepest reaches of the oceans.

The hermetically sealed Oyster provided optimal protection for the movement, thanks to an ingenious case with a patented system of a screw-down bezel, case back and winding crown. It was a total watchmaking concept. Case and movement were considered as one in the overall goal of improving chronometric performance. If Hans Wilsdorf presented the Oyster as such an important invention, it was down to the fact that its waterproofness also contributed greatly to maintaining precision over the long-term. As the founder of Rolex explained at length in 1927: “Apart from being waterproof, dirt and every other proof [the Oyster] has the very important advantage over all other watches [in] that it will maintain its time keeping and not…vary gradually, more and more, for the simple reason that the true cause of such irregularities is banned. We all know that the pivots must run in oil, and oil attracts all those ne particles of dust, which constantly, although in only very small quantities, penetrate into all watch movements, however well the cases are made. The rotary action of the pivots gradually makes a paste of the oil that thickens more as time goes on, and dust gets attracted and is mixed up with it. This paste acts like emery paper on the very ne pivots and pinions and gradually they get worn away, very little of course, but sufficiently to cause bad time keeping. […] Our Oyster excludes all dust and consequently it will always maintain perfect time.”

The Oyster had yet a third advantage. Hans Wilsdorf appreciated the importance of aesthetics for a wristwatch, which is much more conspicuous than a pocket watch: “Once and for ever the problem of having a hermetically sealed watch is solved – and solved in such a way that beauty of design goes hand-in-hand with utility.”

A watchmaking revolution

The Rolex Oyster was one of the most important watchmaking inventions of its time and, in 1945, talking about the 1926 era Hans Wilsdorf said: “In those days, the idea of a watch impermeable to water appeared quite utopian and without future to the majority of manufacturers and technicians who did not, in fact, see its necessity or utility. At trade congresses and meetings, the ‘waterproof’ watch was held to scorn by specialists and a discussion of the problem provoked sarcasm rather than useful and objective arguments.” However, Mr Wilsdorf persevered and, through a communications drive, made the watch known and appreciated all over the world. “Other manufacturers had to follow the movement which was to exercise an enormous in influence on the entire Swiss watchmaking industry… Statistics show that since 1927 waterproof wristwatches, to a value of more than one thousand million Swiss francs, have been exported throughout the five continents. Another and no less tangible result of the development of the waterproof watch is the profound modification it has brought to the manufacture of watch cases generally in Switzerland. Old machinery, incapable of turning out such delicate work, had to be replaced by new and more accurate machines. Millions of francs were invested in this modern technique and the machine industry entered a new era of prosperity. The Swiss watchcase industry itself regained its position as the first in the world and this at a time when it seemed to have most serious foreign competition to face.”