Ever Wanted to See the Notoriously Secret Rolex Factory?
When we heard that there were seven golden tickets hidden inside Rolex boxes that granted access to the factory … just kidding … while similarities to Wonka’s fictional chocolate factory abound, there was no golden ticket contest.
That said a writer from Esquire Magazine was lucky enough to get a tour. Here’s what we learned:
- Rolex is a fully vertically-integrated manufacturer
- They start with 24-karat gold and then do their own smelting to produce 18-karat yellow, white, and Rolex’s Everose gold (its non-fading version of 18-karat rose gold).
- Rolex is the only watch manufacture that has its own foundry in-house.
- The movement is created in the northern Swiss town of Bienne; the dials, cases and bracelets at factories in Geneva suburbs of Chêne-Bourg and Plan-les-Ouates, and the final assembly is done in a clean room at the global headquarters in Acacias, central Geneva.
- They combine ultra sophisticated machinery with skilled human hands. Each watch hand is still set by hand.
- They have massive laboratories that study and create new oils and lubricants for their machinery.
- After the watch is assembled, it goes insanely rigorous testing. The tests check the precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding to the order of -2/+2 seconds per day – more than twice that required of an official chronometer.
The expression, “no one wants to see how the sausage is made,” DOES NOT apply in this situation. Indeed, the more one learns about these miniature marvels, the more magnificent they become.