Sports / Tennis

Rolex, a balance between tradition and innovation

By Zhuan Ti (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-08 13:40

Rolex, a balance between tradition and innovation

The 2015 Shanghai Rolex Masters will be held from Oct 10-18 in Shanghai. Rolex/Gianni Ciaccia

Rolex is proud to be a major force behind the finest events, players and organizations in tennis. From Wimbledon and the Australian Open to Swiss phenomenon Roger Federer, Rolex has forged a strong relationship with this great sport.


The roots of Rolex's affinity for sports and human achievement can be traced back to the origins of the company. When founder Hans Wilsdorf set up his watchmaking firm, he was influenced by the swift changes sweeping through society at the beginning of the 20th century. In an era when wristwatches were still regarded as fragile items of apparel, he was determined to create a wristwatch that would be robust, precise and reliable. He believed it should adapt to the ever more active lifestyles.

In 1910, a Rolex wristwatch obtained the first certificate granted by the Official Watch Rating Center in Bienne, Switzerland.

In 1926, Rolex invented the Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, thanks to a case equipped with an ingenious patented system consisting of a screw-down bezel, case back and winding crown. To promote his invention, Wilsdorf equipped Mercedes Gleitze with an oyster when she swam the English Channel a year later. The Rolex watch emerged from more than 10 hours in the water in perfect working condition, and the young Englishwoman effectively became the brand's first spokesperson for the watch.

In 1931, Rolex invented the first wristwatch self-winding system with a free rotor, called the Perpetual rotor, the precursor of contemporary self-winding systems.

With Wilsdorf at the helm, Rolex continued to demonstrate time and again the watches' reliability in the most extreme conditions, on land, in the air, in the depths of the ocean or on the tallest peaks. By being associated with so many achievements, Rolex became the trusted reference for chronometric precision, robustness and reliability around the world. Meanwhile, Rolex evolved, as did its product, in a constant pursuit of perfection. As part of this, Rolex watches, made from only the highest quality materials and designed by the industry's best, became symbols of elegance and prestige. Rolex then began seeking out activities that, like itself, were motivated by passion, excellence and precision. Naturally, Rolex gravitated toward tennis, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1970s when the brand became the official timekeeper of Wimbledon.


Rolex values its long-standing partnership with Wimbledon, the world's first lawn tennis championship, initially held at the All England Club in July 1877. The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon has succeeded in making significant improvements to its grounds as well as the sport, while preserving its unique image and character. This perfect balance between tradition and innovation is similar to the evolution of Rolex's Oyster Perpetual and has formed the basis for a lasting alliance between two entities.

The Australian Open

Associate sponsor and official timekeeper of the Australian Open, Rolex is proud of its link with this major tournament, dubbed by Rolex spokesman and four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer as the "happy slam". The first of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments, it attracts large numbers of tennis enthusiasts who gather to watch the world's best players compete in Australia's summer heat.

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page

Most Popular
What's Hot