At Rolex, watchmakers are the people responsible for bringing timepieces to life, ensuring their smooth functioning and generally caring for them. They are present at every stage of the process – from the initial design, to manufacturing, and the later servicing of the watches.
Dedicated to perfection and innovating constantly, these watchmakers give spirit to Rolex watches, which stand apart from the rest and are built to last.
Experts dressed in white, at computerized workstations, displaying absolute concentration in silence and calm – the atmosphere in the Rolex workshops is one of deepest serenity and complete devotion to quality work. To create the brand’s timepieces – mechanical objects of great precision and exceptional longevity – these specialist watchmakers rely on their wide-ranging skills and expertise. They make use of time-honoured techniques passed down through generations as well as cutting-edge technologies. They are pioneers, passionate about doing their jobs meticulously by devoting as much time as is required to carry out their tasks, and always striving for perfection.
Watchmakers are at the heart of the company and have played a fundamental role since the very beginning. They are key to the precision and reliability of Rolex watches, as well as the timepieces’ unrivalled reputation for excellence. They give a personal touch to the watches. Far removed from the throwaway culture, the watchmakers go to great lengths to ensure a watch’s longevity. They provide each Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watch with the particular characteristics that confer durability and incomparable beauty on the mechanical timepiece.
In each workshop, with each different process, watchmakers perpetuate classic techniques and traditions, working with the rigour and patience of their forebears, while also integrating highly sophisticated technologies. As part of an historic continuum, they keep an ancient heritage alive and take the art of watchmaking to new heights thanks to the impressive production facilities made available to them.
In the laboratories, production processes and the after-sales services, watchmakers always work as part of multidisciplinary teams. Since the company’s early days, Rolex has always valued their skills and knowledge while also placing great importance on training of the highest quality.
During the initial phase of research and development, when a new watch is being perfected and the first laboratory tests are performed, the watchmaker’s experience helps engineers to decide upon technical aspects of the design, manufacture and future maintenance of the watch. Laboratory watchmakers within the Research and Development Division play a crucial role in this phase. With their ability to analyse and measure the prototypes’ performance and put forward improvements, the watchmakers are essential to the quality of the design process. This systematic collaboration from early in the process guarantees the exceptional quality of the final product.
From the first drawings, watchmakers bring their expertise to the creative process, including an active participation, for example, in the elaboration of the assembly and lubrication plans. They assemble the prototypes with parts made by the micromechanics teams and deploy all their knowledge to bring them to life and see them through to production. They conduct reliability and accelerated aging tests. They formulate all the performance measurements that will determine final model approval. When a new model is launched, they train the personnel that will be responsible for assembling the watch in the industrialisation phase.
During the manufacturing process, in which components such as bridges, plates, gears, balance wheels, microscopic screws and the tiny hairsprings are so carefully produced, the manufacturing watchmaker ensures the watch meets the requirements set out in the design phase.
They make any adjustments needed, a task that no machine will ever be able to accomplish in their place. Once the model is approved, manufacturing watchmakers take over at the various stages of production, in Bienne as in Geneva. During this phase, they keep a close eye on the watches during the manufacturing and assembly processes, always in partnership with the Research and Development Division.
They provide technical support at every juncture. An essential part of their job consists in performing quality controls during the various processes, analysing the results of these checks, proposing improvements and providing training support for the assembly personnel. The watchmakers ensure that production conforms to the set specifications elaborated upstream and meets the brand’s stringent quality criteria.
AFTER-SALES SERVICE WATCHMAKERS
A Rolex watch is made to last. From the outset, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the brand, was committed to ensuring quality maintenance in the years after the purchase of a watch. The principle of robustness gradually became one with that of Rolex quality and ease of maintenance was soon listed on the specification sheet for every new product.
In the after-sales service phase, watchmakers are responsible for the maintenance of the watches. They perform the complete servicing, a set of procedures which contributes to reliability over time and, aesthetically, restores the watches’ original radiance. Because their expertise is taken into account from the design stage of the watches, the after-sales service watchmakers are in a position to fulfil their role efficiently, thus guaranteeing quality service to satisfy the expectations of Rolex customers worldwide.
These professionals work in Switzerland at Rolex sites in Geneva and Bienne, at the company’s affiliates abroad and in the shops of Official Rolex Retailers. All have had in-depth professional watchmaking training, are kept fully up to date about the technical information on new Rolex products and participate in ongoing training sessions organized by the brand to update and perfect their knowledge.
Training centres across the world ensure Rolex’s expertise and watchmaking heritage is passed on in full to the next generation. The watchmakers therefore contribute actively to the longevity of the company and its watches, each and every day and throughout the world.