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Every Rolex tells a story

Letters to Rolex

In addition to the votes of confidence from its Testimonees, over the years Rolex has received spontaneous messages of endorsement from many of its customers, delighted at the robustness and reliability of their watches. All mention the outstanding quality and longevity of Rolex watches, worn in conditions that are often just as extraordinary. Rolex published collections of many of these testimonials in 1957, 1969, 1981 and 1990.

In the first collection of testimonials, Hans Wilsdorf wrote in the preface:


"In presenting these letters to the public, I would like to emphasize how very proud we of Rolex are of them. I feel that they speak far more highly of our watches than we would ever have dared to do ourselves."

Rolex founder signature - Hans Wilsdorf

Letter dated 31 March 1982

From Everest to Underwater Archaeology

“I have worn a Rolex Submariner for 17 years now and used it throughout the world on mountain climbing expeditions (including Mount Everest), underwater archaeological research (including the world’s highest dive at 19,300 feet in Northern Chile), desert crossing, sky diving, jungle exploration and during numerous anthropological investigations. I doubt that many people have subjected a Rolex watch to worse punishment over such a period of time. Yet it still functions perfectly.”

Johan Reinhard, Ph.D. Illinois, USA.

Letter dated 10 May 1986

Hewn from a Solid block of Ice

“I am an ardent skier and have had a Rolex for many years. I would like to tell you a short story about an extraordinary experience I had with your product!

"In January 1985 I participated in a European Cup ski event near Salzburg. As in every competition I need my Rolex almost as much as my skis. Unfortunately, at the end of the race, I discovered that I had lost my watch.

"I immediately informed the Tourist Office and asked them to let me know immediately if my watch was found. I had almost given up hope when, two and a half months later, I had a phone call. It was incredible but someone had found my watch in the snow – it had been frozen in the ice for over two months.

"The person who found it had to break off the ice with a hammer. And even more incredible, the Rolex was still working, second hand and date still functioning. I was absolutely delighted to see that your product is a real survivor!”

Christa Kinshofer, Germany.

Letter dated 8 May 1989

Treasure on the Reef

“In November 1988 my 12 year old Lady-Datejust was lost whilst I was boating offshore in the St Vincent Gulf. I thought my cherished watch was lost forever! With almost no hope, I notified Rolex Australia, knowing that it would be identified, should it by some miracle be found.

"In March I received a telephone call to inform me that my watch had been recovered. The watch had been washed onto a reef and had been found seven weeks after being lost - only a little worse for wear, but still working! I am overjoyed and have a tale to tell, which will be told over and over.

"I am sure you will be pleased to learn of yet another testimony to the good name of Rolex.”

M. Higgerson, South Australia.

Letter dated 22 July 1982

Rolex Survives Grand Prix Powerboat Crash

“At the end of last season I was involved in a horrific powerboat crash while taking part in the Belgian Grand Prix on the River Meuse.

“While leading the race at the halfway stage my boat was lifted by a gust of wind. I was travelling at 200 kph.

“The result was a totally destroyed boat and I was taken to hospital with ten broken ribs and a punctured lung from which I made a complete recovery.

“On my left wrist throughout the accident I was wearing my Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner-Date which although suffered superficial damage remained very much intact and has maintained its accuracy to date.

“I have always admired Rolex watches and this certainly proved to me just what superb timepieces they are.”

Allan Nimmo, Stirlingshire, UK.

Letter dated 28 November 1988

Baked Brown but Still Running

"Several years ago, while doing some mechanical work on my 4-wheel drive truck, I accidentally hit my GMT-Master (and my wrist) with a wrench which had slipped. The watch protected my wrist, with the exception of a slight bruise, but the crystal received a solid blow which cracked it.

"Later that day I noticed there was some moisture condensed inside the cracked crystal. I had been out in the rain for a while. I was particularly upset since there is nothing more damaging to a fine timepiece than moisture and I could not open the case to dry it.

"That evening over supper I thought it might help to place the watch in a warm place to drive some of the moisture out. I placed the watch in a pie tin in our kitchen oven where it would be warmed by the gas pilot light. I then retired for the evening.

"Next morning I discovered to my surprise that my watch had been well baked at some time during the night! I had neglected to tell my wife where I placed the watch before going to bed.

"My wife was working late on a computer project. Sometime during the evening she was hungry and decided to prepare something to eat in the broiler located beneath the oven. She did not open the oven.

"Needless to say the heat (I believe it may have been up to 500°F) had driven the moisture off! It also exploded the crystal and bezel off the case and baked the luminous dial a well done shade of brown. The watch was still running!

"The watchmaker at the Rolex repair shop was extremely surprised at this misadventure. I became quite the celebrity with the owner and staff (I am sure it was because of the humor of the situation). After a thorough cleaning, lubrication, adjustment, and replacement of the crystal, my GMT-Master went back onto my wrist and into ‘normal’ service again. I did not have the dial face replaced but the luminous spots have since faded to white again!"

J.J. Adams, CDR USNR. California

Letter dated 1954

Journey into the Sahara

“I am happy to tell you how pleased I have been with my Rolex. It has certainly given me wonderful service, for it really ‘went through it’. Our journey was not blessed with very good weather conditions. We had to struggle more or less continuously against terrible sandstorms, which sometimes went on for days without a break.

“I took an ordinary watch with me to compare its performance with my Rolex, but it broke down after five days.

“My Rolex, on the other hand, kept admirable time, although I can assure you I didn’t spare it in any way.

“I’d like to add that my Rolex was admired in the desert by all kinds of people.

“What struck them most was not only the automatic self-winding, but more than anything else the complete waterproofness that I was always delighted to prove”.

H.-C. Golay

Letter dated 1954

Crossing the Atlantic

“I would like to tell you about the Rolex Explorer watches which we all wore on our double crossing of the Atlantic in my Motor Yacht 'Aries', when we established a new record for the first double crossing of the Atlantic in a small boat under power. We relied entirely on the watches, not for taking the time but also for navigation.

"The ability of the watches to keep accurate time so we could navigate successfully under the most trying conditions was fully proved.”

C. Harcourt-Smith

#EveryRolexTellsAStory