ROLEX: Obsession with...Communication
We’ve already described in a previous article: one doesn’t just become a leader by accident…even less so when you’re talking about luxury watches.
And a fashion is defined as transient because it only lasts a very brief time, connected as it is to a particular cultural or social phenomenon that inevitably vanishes and is inexorably forgotten. The world and the history of luxury watches is full of such fleeting phenomena, objects that were perfect for that one special moment in time but that were not capable of regenerating themselves. Such is not the case with Rolex, and this is of course obvious given the love that exists for the brand (in Italy it’s a must), just look at the brand awareness of the crown trademark and its position at number 57 in the prestigious 2012 Forbes list of luxury brands, just behind the top drawer Louis Vuitton and Coach, first (and only) manufacturers of luxury watches (http://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands).
I won’t get into the methods used by Forbes but as an aficionado, and according to the communication strategy used by Rolex for the last 100 years, I will try to provide what I believe to be the basic elements of such success.
The product: Ever since it launched its first Oyster case, Rolex has always emphasized “reliability”, not just technical but applicable to every aspect of the product. The word “reliability” in Rolex has many facets: perfect operation at 200 meters below sea level and an irreplaceable calling card during any important business meeting or elegant cocktail hour. Simple in design, without any useless contraptions or super technical complications, almost always with a steel wrist band appropriate to its dual use and immediately recognizable.
The ambassadors: Rolex was the first maison to understand the importance of endorsements by famous personages in publicizing its brand: And it chose its spokespersons with great care: Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Alain Delon, Paul Newman to cite just a few.
On the wrist of politicians, philanthropists, artists and men of culture: Rolex is not just a luxury watch, it has now been elevated, as obvious from the ad campaign launched in 2013, to the level of “culture of luxury”.
You don’t buy a Rolex (modern or vintage) just for its excellent features and design, but because you are, or want to be, part of an elite, be it in the field of sports, politics, culture or the arts. And if we want to talk about its most recent ambassadors… it seems that Rolex is the only brand that was chosen by Roger Federer, rather than the other way around!
904L steel – the best steel available
Cerachrom ring – obliging everyone else to follow suit
Exceptional Waterproofness – the only maison to have succeded in making a watch that works correctly at a depth of 12,000 metres
- Blue Parachrom hairspring
And we could go on...
(Photo: Google; Rolex Press)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter - Watches & Luxury