WHERE ARE ROLEX WATCHES MADE?
Whilst many of us look longingly into the windows of AD’ to stare at the pieces we desire or simply admire, have you ever stopped to think where these incredible pieces were made? Rolex, through their famous endorsements at Wimbledon, Formula 1 and many celebrities wearing them in public, are well known world wide. Despite knowing of the brand and even the names of the models and sometimes the reference numbers, not many know where exactly they are made.
Switzerland is a country that needs no introduction in the world of horological manufacturing and creation, it is home to some of the largest watch brands in the industry including, TagHeuer, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Rolex to name just a few. However, the famous horological makers do not all use the same manufactures and headquarters.
It was in Geneva that the founder Hans Wilsdorf decided to set up his beloved Rolex manufacturing and headquarters buildings. Rolex have four key buildings that every Rolex watch will pass through from the beginning of its creation until it's ready to be shipped off to a lucky AD to give a client a call to pick up their new factory-fresh timepiece.
Despite not starting out as a Rolex owned factory, Rolex bought and has now owned the Bienne facility since 2004. The Bienne facility is where the highly skilled watchmakers of Rolex work to assemble and manufacture the incredible work-horse movements. Both impressive machinery and craftsmanship occur within the 92,000 square metres of the facility. Another key building to Rolex is the Plan-Les-Ouates facility which is also known as Rolex’ central laboratory of watchmaking.
Built in 2006, this enormous facility features 6 large departments all housing technical machinery and the foundries Rolex use to make their own cases. The building spans across 11 stories in total, however looking from outside, you can only see 5, the other 6 are well hidden underground. Rolex do not accept visitors and ensure secrecy in their own processes they use to construct their timepieces.
Source : Watchonista
Source : Time & TIde
Chêne-Bourg is another facility belonging to Rolex, however this one is one of the 6 large departments at the Plan-Les-Ouates facility. Despite this, it is still unique to the other 5 as Chêne-Bourg only specialises in one area, dial making. This is where every Rolex dial is made and has its hour markers or gem stones set as well.
On average a Rolex dial will have over 60 different operations performed on it from start to finish and Chêne-Bourg has a little over 800 members of staff working there. You can begin to get an idea for the scale of which Rolex operates on yet still ensures there are more than enough highly skilled watchmakers to produce nothing short of perfection.
The most Rolex looking facility would be their 10 story high headquarters, Les Acacias. The building features a prominent Rolex green colour with their yellow gold crown, this would probably the only facility you could easily identify as Roelx, the others opt for a more inconspicuous look. Les Acacias is where you can find all the Rolex executives. Inside the facility are all of Rolex’ secrets and rich knowledge in watchmaking along with the watches being assembled, designed and marketed. Les Acacias is the heart of all of rolex’ operations and it’s also the last stop a Rolex model will make before being distributed to ADs around the world.
Source : Monochrome
Since 1905, Rolex has remained in Geneva developing multiple manufacturing buildings, research and development labs and headquarters. Hence if you look at the 6 0’clock position on all Rolex watches ever made since the first one in 1929, you will see ‘Swiss Made’ or ‘Swiss Crown Made’ on the newer models. No watch brand or indeed any product ever made can simply slap the words that we associate so well with high quality on their products without there being any truth behind it.
Source : mattswristshots
However, the criteria for a manufacturer to put ‘Swiss Made’ on their products means that only 60% of the final product must have been made in Switzerland itself. Specifically for Rolex, this means their movements, cases and inspections must all be made and assembled in Switzerland at the very least.
Rolex has been notoriously known to uphold its watches to the highest of standards and test, and that is why Roelx does not outsource anything. Whether you see a steel, gold or platinum Rolex watch, Rolex have their own foundries in Switzerland so they can make their own materials needed for their watches.
This does not mean Rolex mines their own gold ro raw materials from Switzerland though. Sourcing the raw materials is the only process Rolex looks for outside the beautiful countryside of Switzerland and turns to countries all over the world, like all other watch brands.
Switzerland is not the most wealthy country when it comes to natural resources, hence many of the alloys that Rolex use to make their steel, gold and platinum watches comes from outside. Excluding sourcing the natural materials, the rest of the process takes place in Geneva, the heart of the watchmaking world.
Source : mattswristshots
Similar to Rolex, ZEALANDE also is a Swiss manufacturer product with our rubber straps focusing on attention to detail and ensuring nothing short of the highest quality straps are made. ZEALANDE’ vulcanised rubber straps come in a variety of different colours and fit many Rolex models to make sure you can choose the perfect strap for your Rolex!