Monday, June 17, 2024

New Rolex Factory in Bulle: Another Rolex Mystery?

 New Rolex Factory in Bulle 

Another Rolex Mystery?


Rolex demand has been off the charts for decades now. I remember when I first started Jake's Rolex World back in 17 years ago, back in 2008, how the original LV Submariner was super popular and hard to obtain, which is the first time I can remember waiting lists for any Rolex, with the exception of the stainless steel Rolex Daytona models which had waiting lists for decades prior. In other words, if you walked into any Rolex Authorized dealer back in 2008, you would be able to find all the different Rolex models in the jewelers case, with the exception of the Daytona and LV Submariner.

As time went by, many more Rolex models became more popular, and developed waiting lists, and Rolex did its best to try to keep up with international demand. They even added more shift at their factories in Switzerland, but it seemed like no matter what they did, the demand kept exceeding what they could produce. 

Recently Rolex announced they would be creating a new factory in Bulle, Switzerland, which surprised me as I had never heard of Bulle. I had to even look it up online to figure out where it is located. First let's examine where Rolex watches are made, which is exclusively in Switzerland, which we see on the map of Europe seen below.


If we zoom in, to Switzerland we see Geneva, which is located in the bottom left hand corner. The Canton of Geneva, Switzerland is located on the western side of Switzerland, just next to France. If you visit Rolex in Geneva, you will witness that the vast majority of Rolex employees, if not all, speak fluent French, yet most if not all of them speak English as a second language. It is interesting to note Rolex watches have historically only used English on their dials, which is arguably the international language.

Rolex has three factories in Geneva, where they do all the final assembly, and create dials as well as bejeweled parts. These three factories are close together, and most final assembly takes place at Rolex Headquarters in Geneva. The Rolex movement factory is located in Biel/Bienne, which is located about 160 Kilometers (100 miles) north of Geneva. If you drive from Geneva, to Bienne, based on traffic conditions, it takes around 2 hours. In the image below we see Bulle located on the right side of the map, and as we see, it's about half-way between Geneva and Bienne.


If you continue driving north of Bulle you will end up in Bern, which will bring you closer to the northern border of Switzerland, which is shared with Italy. I am speculating, but I am guessing Rolex chose Bulle as the land was probably a lot less expensive than prime real estate in Geneva. My understanding is that the property they purchased was previously used as farmland. I also assume they chose this location to make it easy for watchmakers to be able to easily travel to and live near the new factory. Our Captain Danny, recently published a fascinating story titled "Rolex Reveals Details of Bulle Project", on his Coron.et Rolex Blog. I reached out to Captain Danny to ask him for more detail and clarity, and he told me he discovered the story published in a local newspaper near Bulle named, La Gruyère.

Rolex created the renderings at the top and bottom of this story which show their new factory which will span 380 meters, which is 415 yards. Rolex said their goal is to give their new facility a "campus feel".


Rolex continues and said all four buildings will be used for production, and will be connected for "administration, support, catering, meeting and rest areas." Rolex also said the southern most building will house a main entrance to the site. Rolex mentioned they are making the entire campus environmentally green, including roofs which will provide solar power, and they also plan to plant 500 trees.

Having toured all four Rolex factories in the past, I can tell you I have only ever seen one other factory that matched their prowess, which was the Tesla factory located in Fremont, California. I mean, Rolex factories are elaborate works of art, that are magnificently elegant, while remaining highly utilitarian.

So the great question, which I have not been able to answer is "What will Rolex be producing in Bulle?" In other words, will they produce entire finished watches, or just components, which will be transported to Geneva for final production? I have no idea, but plan to reach out to Rolex for clarification. Wither way, what we know is that Rolex plans to launch their new facility in 2029 in the canton of Fribourg, in Switzerland.

Rolex plans to create 2,400 jobs for its fifth factory, which wills include a Rolex training center. Bullet plans to build at least two new elementary schools, and a junior hight school, as well as revamping its recreation center. The new Rolex factory is estimated to cost around a billion Swiss Francs.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Father's Day from Jake

 Happy Father's Day 

A Message From Jake

The eruidite message in the video below from Jake titled "Why I wear a Rolex, A lesson from my Father", is deeply profound. I hope you enjoy this Rolex-centeric message from Jake, and have a Happy Father's day!!!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Yacht-Master Glow Power

 ...Rolex Lume Shot of the Day...

Yacht-Master Glow Power

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Rolex X-Files...Wally Schirra


Rolex X-Files

The Right Stuff

Wally Schirra

1923-2007

Discovered Wearing Rolex Daytona Reference 6240 
in 1968 for his Apollo 7 portrait!!!

Brilliant Horological investigator, Nick Gould made a game-changing discovery when he discovered this Official NASA portrait that shows Apollo Astronaut Wally Schirra wearing a Rolex Daytona Chronograph Reference in 1968!!! I showed the image to Paul Boutros from Phillips Auction house and he said "Very cool! And with screw-down pushers! Very likely a Reference 6240 in 1968."


In photo we see Schirra holding what appears to be a Hasselblad camera with a Carl Zeiss lens.


At first glance a person could easily dismiss Schirra's watch as being an Omega Speedmaster as it is clearly a chronograph with a black bezel, but upon closer inspection there are many tell-tale characteristics that confirm Wally Schirra is wearing a Rolex Daytona including:

1. The Rolex Crown Coronet Logo on the winding Crown.
2. The drilled lug holes which Omega lacked.
3. The Screw Down plungers.
4. The riveted Rolex Oyster Bracelet.




After a great deal of investigation Nick Gould (
@Niccoloy) made another major discovery that enhances the detail (pun intended) in this story. 
Nick reached out to Philip from MoonWatchUniverse to ask him if he had a higher-resolution NASA photo of Apollo 7 Astronaut, Wally Schirra, and you are looking at the result below. This photo is taken from a slightly different angle and reveals that Wally Schirra was indeed wearing a Rolex Daytona Reference 6240 with a silver dial with black Subdials as we see below: 




This photo below of Wally Schirra was taken just before he took off aboard Apollo 7 and we see he is wearing a chronograph, which I always assumed to be an Omega Speedmaster. A great question is if Schirra wore his Daytona aboard Apollo 7?



Wally Schirra


Below is the original story I published on Wally Schirra on February 2, 2019, and it includes additional update I just made!:



Recently we took a look at NASA Astronaut, Frank Borman and today we are going to take a look at another famous Astronaut. Wally Schirra was one of the original Mercury Astronauts and he wore a Pepsi GMT-Master as we will see in this story. Schirra was not only the first astronaut to travel into space three times, but the first ONLY one to have flown in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions! The photo below of Wally Schirra with his family was taken on October 10, 1968, which was the day before he took off aboard Apollo 7.



Nick Gould recently pointed out an article published on Fratellowatches.com that featured an interview with Wally Schirra back in 2007 by Chuck Maddox in which Schirra reveals he received his Rolex GMT-Master from the Naval Academy Alumni in 1965.







The Original 7
NASA Mercury Astronaut Team
March 1, 1960 

Wally Schirra was chosen to be one of the original NASA Mercury 7 Astronauts, and he is pictured below with the other pilots who were chosen for the program. 



Pictured above we see the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) group portrait of the 'Original Seven' astronauts from the Mercury program as they pose in front of an Air Force Jet, in Florida, in January 1963. From left, Scott Carpenter (1925-2013), Gordon Cooper (1927-2004), John Glenn (1921-2016), Gus Grissom (1926-1967), Wally Schirra (1923 -2007), Alan Shepherd (1923-1998), and Deke Slayton (1924-1993).”


The photo below taken April 8, 1959 shows the seven NASA Astronauts of the Mercury program: Walter M Schirra, Deke Slayton, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Alan B Shepard, Virgil Grissom and Gordon Cooper.”




It is fascinating to note that to date I have documented 4 out of 7 of the Original 7 Mercury Astronauts wore Rolex watches!!!



Mercury Sigma 7




Below we see NASA Mercury Astronaut, Wally Schirra who was the fifth Mercury Astronaut to fly, in his Sigma 7, which achieved six orbits around earth. Wally Schirra then flew on Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford. Next he flew on the Apollo 7 mission.






This next image shows Wally Schirra during capsule testing for Gemini 6A.


This next image is one of my favorite NASA images of all time. It was taken December 12, 1965 and shows Walter R. Schirra Jr. arriving at Pad 19 during the Gemini 6 prelaunch countdown. This is the Right Stuff!




The photo below was taken on December 15, 1965 and shows Wally Schirra maneuvered the Gemini 6 spacecraft within 1 foot (30CM) of Gemini 7 which was its sister craft. The two spacecraft were not designed to dock with each other, but maintained this close approximation to each other for more than 20 minutes straight.





In the photo above and video below we see Walter Schirra's to the White House to visit President Kennedy.




In the photo below we see Wally Schirra with JFK at Cape Canaveral in November of 1964, just before JFK was assassinated.





In the photo below we see Wally Schirra on April 17, 1967, testifying before a House investigation subcommittee in a probe on the fire that occurred aboard Apollo I, in which three NASA Astronauts died. Wally Schirra is pictured below in between Donald Slayton and Alan Shepard. If you look closely Wally Schirra is wearing his Pepsi GMT-Master.






Apollo 7

In the photo below we see Wally Schirra's Rolex Oyster bracelet with his GMT-Master and the Nasa caption reads "Donald (Deke) Slayton, Director, Flight Crew Operations (l) at the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, briefs Apollo 7 Astronauts from left: Donn Eisele, Walter Schirra, and Walter Cunningham. October 9, 1968. Scan by Ed Hengeveld. Caption by Kipp Teague"


In the photo below we see an official Nasa photo with a caption that reads: "Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., enjoys breakfast before boarding the Apollo 7 spacecraft. October 11, 1968. Scan by Ed Hengeveld. Caption by Kipp Teague."



For the image below the Nasa caption reads: "Apollo 7 astronauts breakfast with NASA officials. Walter Cunningham, second from left; Donn F. Eisele, second from left across table and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., next to Eisele. Kenneth Kleinknecht, Manager, Apollo S Spacecraft Office. October 11, 1968. Scan by Ed Hengeveld. Caption by Kipp Teague."



Nasa caption for image below reads: "Apollo 7 astronauts breakfast with NASA officials prior to their launch into earth orbit atop a Saturn IB space vehicle. Joining the trio at breakfast was James Webb, left foreground, former NASA Administrator. October 11, 1968. Scan by Ed Hengeveld. Caption by Kipp Teague."



In the photo below we see Apollo 7 Commander, Wally Schirra suiting up for Apollo 7 and notice he is wearing a really cool Omega Speedmaster on the outer sleeve of his space-suit!





This next photo of Wally Schirra appears courtesy of Philip and was taken on October 23, 1968 during the Apollo 7 Mission debriefing after the crew returned from the USS Essex recovery ship, and you can clearly see Schirra's Pepsi GMT-Master on his wrist. These facts beg the question of wether he wore his Rolex on the Apollo 7 mission?




The official NASA caption for the image above and below reads: "Apollo 7 astronauts (l-r) Walter Cunningham, Donn F. Eisele, and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., compare notes at a mission debriefing conducted today at the Kennedy SpaceCenter. October 23, 1968. Scan by Ed Hengeveld. Caption by Kipp Teague."



This next photo was also taken on October 23, 1968 shows Wally Schirra with fellow Apollo 7 Astronaut, Walter Cunningham, and we see Schirra rockin' his GMT-Master.




Schirra logged a total of 296 hours in space and after Apollo 7, he retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy, as well as NASA. He went on to consult with CBS News during their coverage of the following Apollo flights, and joined Walter Cronkite as the co-anchor for all 7 NASA Moon landing missions. Wally Schirra is pictured below in 1968 with fellow Apollo Astronauts, Jack Swigert and Donn Eisele. In this photo I believe it is likely both Jack and Wally are wearing their Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master watches.







Walter v. Walter

After WALTER Schirra retired from his astronaut career he became a special NASA commentator and host on CBS News where he worked side by side with WALTER Cronkite. Walter Cronkite told a story where Wally Schirra was apparently trying to get Cronkite to wear a Rolex Sports watch. Walter Cronkite said in his book titled, "Conversations with Cronkite" Shirra said to him: 


"What you need, Walter (Cronkite), is a Rolex, like the Astronauts. 

We have these special Rolex watches!" 

—Walter Schirra




As we see in the photo below Walter Cronkite wore a two-tone Rolex Datejust on a matching Jubilee bracelet. 



Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra covered the Apollo 13 fiasco live on CBS News as you can watch below.





In the NRA magazine ad below from 1983 we see Wally Schirra discussing his passion for hunting and notice he is wearing his Pepsi GMT-Master.




Below we see a photo of Wally Schirra taken toward the end of his life and we see he was still wearing his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master. 




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Reference 6239


...Studio Shot of the Day...

Rolex Daytona
Yellow Gold Reference 6239 

Phillip's Watches auctioned this magnificent rare yellow gold Paul Newman Daytona which is one of the most beautiful Rolex watches ever made. The design language of this watch is beyond timeless...




Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Roland-Garros 2024 Winners


...Rolex Grand Slam Titles...

Roland-Garros
The King and Queen of Clay
Moments of Achievement to Cherish 

Roland-Garros recently wrapped up and for 2024 we have two amazing champions. First we have Iga Świątek who won her firth Grand Slam Title, which was here fourth Roland-Garros victory.

Next up we have Carlos Alcaraz who won't his third Grand Slam Title in a breathtaking victory.

Monday, June 10, 2024

1956 Rolex Oyster Ad



1956 Rolex Oyster Ad

30th Anniversary Of the Waterproof Watch

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Speaking of Beautiful Women Wearing Mens Rolex Watches...



...Super Leggy Model...

Filippa Hamilton Palmstierna
Stainless Rolex Daytona


Sorry, I could not resist this image of Super-Leggy-Model Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele sporting a mens Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona with a Black Dial. Ouuuuuuuuch!!! Oh Behave!!!!






Saturday, June 08, 2024

1967 Mexico Rolex Ad for Rolex Chronograph


1967 Mexico Rolex Ad

Rolex Chronograph 

This is a really cool vintage Rolex magazine ad which was published in Mexico in 1967. The interesting thing about this ad is the Rolex Chronograph has no tachymeter scale on the bezel or on the dial. My best guess is that this is a Rolex Chronograph Reference 6238.

Friday, June 07, 2024

Single Red SEA-DWELLER Fluted Light Bezel Effect


...Wrist Shot Of The Day...

Single Red SEA-DWELLER

Fluted Light Bezel Effect

Back in 2017, I was in a San Francisco restaurant that had an outdoor room, with a closed canvas canopy above that had black and white stripes on it. I looked to see what time it was and noticed this crazy reflection the canopy was having on the ceramic bezel insert on my Single Red SEA-DWELLER. It almost made it look like it had a fluted bezel. Interesting... 


If you are into larger watches, without going overboard, I think the 43MM Single Red Sea-Dweller SRSD offers a perfect Rolex Sport Watch fit and vibe. Specifically, I like the SRSD way more than the DEEPSEA as it lacks the etched rehaut, which makes the dial larger, and more visible. Also, the shape of the case is much more flat in profile. 

I love the Black and Blue DEEPSEA gradient dial, and wish Rolex would make a 43MM SD with a similar dial. In other words, I would much prefer a watch with a larger dial like on the SRSD, as apposed to the raised rehaut that has meaningless words that say "ORIGINAL GAS ESCAPE VALVE & RING LOCK SYSTEM", which looks like unnecessary text like jackets that have a huge goofy Tommy Hillfiger logo on it. Also, no human would ever wear a Rolex on their wrist deeper than 4000 feet, so why make a watch that can descend down 12,800 feet!?!! In other words, I would love to see Rolex return to simpler designs, with less unnecessary text that is visually distracting.

I put together the image above to illustrate my idea. On the left we see the current DEEPSEA D-BLUE, and in the middle we see the current Single Red SEA-DWELLER, and on the right we see my dream D-BLUE SEA-DWELLER, which I think is infinitely simpler and better looking.
I kept a diary on my experience with the Single Red SEA-DWELLER, which offers insight into wearing it long term.