ROLEX: The Art of Watchmaking

Whenever you produce a product that is unique, there has to be something unique as well in the way of producing it.

Rolex came to my mind directly with a series of questions:
What makes Rolex watches unique from other brand watches around the world?
What are the distinctive features of the environment in which Rolex watches are manufactured?
What are the distinctive characteristics of the Rolex employees that make the watches?

 

At Rolex, men and women who service and produce these machines are considered artists, who blend both science and design to create these master pieces of art. They understand the interplay between all the materials used, and combine all the thoughts needed to create an object that is a reflection of care and intent. At the end, they believe that it is a piece of living art that is greater than the sum of its parts. Furthermore, and this is the heart of Rolex, people who work on watches are very passionate, have incredible ideas and are always excited to produce such products. Hence, when
you are caring, passionate and enjoying what you are doing, you will do it with the utmost attention and care. And that is the secret at Rolex when producing their luxurious watches. It is like producing a thing with pleasant feelings and creating another soul.

From another angle, the workshops where the watchmakers work are very much organized. Managers say that the person is expected to work in a library like atmosphere (i.e. clean and quite) that will enable the watchmaker to focus and to be comfortable. I believe, watchmaking is not for everybody, it requires talent, time management, commitment and patience.  What adds to all of this as well is dealing with very delicate and expensive products. Not to mention, adding the jewelry further pressurize the watchmaker.

At Rolex they will only bring people who believe that working as a watchmaker is the right career at the right time.

I searched until I found this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGd4XHfG-G8

Enjoy every bit of it!!

20 thoughts on “ROLEX: The Art of Watchmaking

  1. This is really attention-grabbing topic Ali as Rolex is well known and has been the No. 1 choice for several decades. Making an incomparability magnificent watch while maintaining a high quality and precision is not an easy job. For an organization to ensure such a thing is achieved, they must imply a well-built quality management system. Also, staff involved must undergo intensive training and obviously the job needs patience and passion in order to optimize the production process.

  2. Very interesting post Ali. I totally agree that workers that deliver such a beautiful piece or art are artist, and they have to be very efficient in what they do, and that is where passion matters the most. I believe the appropriate equation is Passion + with high quality standards + well developed training.

  3. I believe that passion is very important in production of such an amazing master peace, the Rolex watch is like the Ferrier in the car industry the older the better………it’s just a classic.

    I think that Rolex had managed to successfully distinguish its product from all other companies in the watch industry and will be able to keep it for years to come.

  4. Reading about the production of one of the world’s top watch brands has been very interesting. Your description of how the watchmakers design the product with creativity as if ‘it is a piece of living art’ reminded me of the organizational culture at 3M. Known for its innovation and creativity, 3M had been known for allowing its researchers to dedicate time and resources to pursue whatever research ideas they fancied. Along with their regular work, 3M employees would spend years researching and testing product ideas and some of those led to ground-breaking inventions such as Scotch Tape, Post-It notes and Thinsulate. For instance, Arthur Fry, a product development researcher at 3M, came up with the Post-It note when he was using an adhesive developed by coworker Spencer Silver to make bookmarks for his church choir book.

  5. It always interests me to read about very successful and premium brands such as Rolex because it just makes me think that operation management is not just about setting a specific process, designing the work place environment or choosing the right material and logistic system. It makes me conclude that it is a much bigger thing that includes setting a unique culture, choosing the right people and other elements. For example, in your post, it shows that the passion, the people, the work environment and knowing how to choose the right materials, all these combined together formulates a strong operation management style that makes the brand Rolex. These elements together makes Rolex unique and different from their competitors and this is their core competency.

  6. I find it so interesting how the line between artisan and factory worker is so blurred in the field of watchmaking. With the employment process being so self-selecting, I must imagine Rolex serves as an interesting benchmark its competitors try to compare to. While rolex’s reputation and name surpasses itself, I still think their products are of finest quality. Owning a rolex today is a statement saying: I appreciate the finest luxuries and craftsmanship. It would be interesting, however, how Rolex has been adjusting over the years with regards to their expansion, are they keeping quality consistent, or are they lowering costs and quality in the prospect of increased profits?

  7. As we all know that Rolex watches are popularly regarded as status symbol and it believed one of the worthless properties of a person. Original Rolex watches use Swiss clockwork, which quality is away from reproach, in addition the casings were deliberately made luxurious as well as resistant, so as to make the result even more of an expensive luxury item.
    Rolex have always maintained divergent characteristics of employees by providing healthy working environment for the employees and continuous control of the raw material and energy consumption to save resources, more over continuously trying to reducing the waste. More recently new steps have been taken to curb the negative effects on the environment. Because the employees of Rolex work in high secure and safe work environment therefore they concentrate more on the work rather than their safety, so therefore they have peace of mind and hence it can increase their production capacity.

  8. It’s very important to employ people who really believe in what they are selling especially for unique watches like ROLEX.
    Nice Video Ali I really enjoyed watching it , WATCHES IS A PIECE OF LIVING ART

  9. An amazing artcile Ali ! I strongly believe that Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand in the world.. and in order to produce such high quality watches the company has to recruit hiqh quality employees who have the necessary knowledge and experience in making watches but most importantly they should be passionate about making watches because the employees of Rolex are the main reason for the success of Rolex !

    Moreover, I really enjoyed watching the video ! Thank you Ali for sharing such an amazing video !

  10. I agree that a watch like Rolex is a piece of art, but not exactly in the sense you seemed to imply. Personally, I think Rolex watches look gaudy and unattractive, and prefer other high-end brands. However, unlike women’s watches, which are expensive because of the materials used, men’s watches go up in price due to the mechanical way in which they keep time (as opposed to digital or quartz, for example) and the more complicated the mechanism, the more desirable (and structurally beautiful) the watch. All of those tiny moving parts are a wonder to see. Therefore, with Rolex beauty truly is on the inside.

  11. I feel they need to employ passionate workers is important and agree becuase if you love what you do you can do it in your sleep and think about it just like a collector you do what ever it takes to bring out the best products you can get your hands on. Rolex is a piece of art like the Roll Royce high attentions to detail and craftsman where their workers go to school for and is their trade of work.

  12. Very interesting article! It makes sense why Rolex would want its watchmakers to work in a quiet library-like atmosphere as well as only hire people that believe watchmaking is their desired career – they are making one of the most sought after and luxurious products in it’s category so it comes as no surprise that the watchmakers are passionate about their product. It’s crazy how much energy can be put into making watches and how much value can be created. There are so many luxury watches on the market (Breitling, Cartier, Panerai, Audemars, etc) yet still to the general public – Rolex is the number one brand, at least in terms of recognition – I’m not an expert on watches so I don’t know too much about how they compare in quality.

  13. I definitely agree that in order to produce a quality product, a lot of care and thought needs to be put towards creating it. I think that it is the main reason why they have been so successful for so many years. Everyone looks at Rolexes as “pieces of art” that have taken time and craftsmanship, and this is what makes the people believe in the product so much. This makes them spend a lot of money on a watch, because they know that once they buy it, they are going to have it for a lifetime.

  14. Last quarter I did a research paper on TIFFANY & ROLEX & CARTIER (focusing on watches). For that paper I found that the name Rolex is associated with beauty, accuracy, precision, style, durability, quality, and taste. The Rolex wristwatch has over time been associated with precision. The watches’ points of parity to other brands include durability under extreme conditions, accuracy over a long time, and attractiveness. Rolex watches show innovation in design and features, unique symbol of prestige, and have a long and rich history and heritage. I think people want to spend a lot of money because a Rolex watch is the most practical, durable as an efficient and precise timepiece.

  15. I believe that the idea of passion goes beyond just a fine tuned product such as Rolex to nearly all luxury items on the market. Yes, watches in general require a large amount of precision and dedication, but I recall reading about Apple and how important one material was to the entire production process of a single product line (Macbook). As time has progressed so has the technology as well as efficiency for many of these “luxury” products. The unique aspect in watches, specifically Rolex, is that they require such a large presence of human interaction. Numerous times I have heard how the atmosphere for employees creates the atmosphere for customers. Rolex has mastered this idea, though the mundane quiet work benches I think could be spiced up for this twenty first century work environment.

  16. Very interesting article to say the least. Rolex is a vey well-know watch maker and I would say it is among the top tier of watchmakers. With such a high quality product I am not surprised that they have a very well experienced staff making the watches. Rolex is not as exclusive as it used to be, with the rarest and most wanted model, the Stainless Steal Daytona, always being sold for around 15k can now be found for as little as 9 or 10 grand. Rolex has fierce competition that offer just as high or and even higher quality. Overall great article.
    -John

  17. Interesting! Rolex has always been known to be at the top of the watch-making industry. I might not agree with the price but from a quality point of view it’s superb. I understand that the staff is well experienced and highly trained, but I thought that they were exaggerating a little bit (how they are considered artists, and how this job is not for everyone, etc) I don’t find it artistic to assemble a watch, I know it’s not an easy job but it’s not a surgery either; what would be artistic is to design one. Well, it could be artistic 30 years ago but not today with all the new technology(I found a video that shows short scenes inside Rolex factory). Rolex is doing a great job marketing their product exclusively to the upper-class groups in the society, for instance by sponsoring sports that rich people are interested in like for instance tennis and golf. All in all, Rolex will always be this figure that reflects luxury whether it is today or 10 years from now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5ArSjYlJ9Y&feature=related

  18. The original poster described how Rolex is manufactured but I have a hard time understanding the product out of context. I think it is helpful to compare Rolex to its competitors; such as Omega, Patek Philippe, or Vacheron Constantin. No one purchases any of these luxury watches for their functional value (a $5 digital watch is more accurate) or for their artistic value (platinum couplings are a sufficient substitute). People purchase these watches purely as a status symbol.
    This presents Rolex with a tradeoff. The more watches they sell the greater their profit. However, each additional watch sold will reduce the prestige (exclusivity) of their brand name. The key to their success is finding a balance between exclusivity and volume. I think this marketing management strategy is more important than the physical manufacturing of the product.
    This article from “The Economist” newspaper describes their marketing stragety in greater detail.
    http://www.economist.com/node/3930533

  19. I think this type of work (extremely specialized and focused…dedicated) is what creates an amazing company in the business industry today. When you are good at what you do and dedicate your efforts you will be successful and I think that is reflective of everything in life. When you go to an interview and your whole heart is not in it, you probably won’t get the job. When you’re in a relationship and your efforts aren’t in it, it probably wont be long lasting. When you’re studying for a test and decide to cram, you probably won’t do as good. If you are focused on succeeding in a beneficial way, I believe you will.

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