Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Complete History Of Rolex Part 2: The André Heiniger Years

...Second Director of Rolex...

The André Heiniger Story

"Second Ghost In The Machine"


Rolex is an amazing company with an incredible history, coupled with an awe-inspiring legacy of success and achievement. In The Complete History Of Rolex Leadership Series on Jake's Rolex World, I have been exploring the history of Rolex's internal leadership, beginning with the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf.

Only six men have officially run Rolex in its illustrious history over the past 106 years. André Heiniger became the second CEO of Rolex in 1962, two years after the founder or Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, passed away at age 78. 

The photo below of André-Jean Heiniger was taken just after he took over as the official Managing Director of Rolex in 1963 when he was 42 years old. André-Jean Heiniger was born in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland in 1921, and he went to work for Rolex in 1948.

André Heiniger 1963

André Heiniger was a lawyer before he joined Rolex and prior to taking over Rolex, André Heiniger had been the head of Rolex South America, and was stationed in Buenos Aires, Argentina in South America. As a matter of fact, his son Patrick Heiniger was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 26, 1950.

The photo below show Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf at what I am going to guess is his 75th Birthday Party in 1956. In this photo we see André-Jean Heiniger on Wilsdorf's left looking down at a Camera in his hand.

1971 Rolex Explorer II
Reference 1655

Rolex introduced the Explorer II in 1971 under André Heiniger's leadership and it had an orange hand to keep track of the time in a second time zone. The current orange hand Rolex Explorer II  is based upon this cool retro-design.

Rolex Day-Date Ad
January 1973

This fascinating Rolex advertisement was published in a magazine in January of 1973, and it says: "There's a private corridor outside the Managing Director's office in our Geneva headquarters which is lined with the signed portraits of most of the world's leading Heads of State." Obviously this is André Heiniger's office.

If Only These Walls Could Talk

Below is a higher-resolution photo of the executive offices at Rolex Headquarters in Geneva in 1973. It is clear, that at least back in 1973, Rolex was very proud and interested in their history. What I want to know, is where are all those photos today? I want to see them and learn more about the amazing history of Rolex. I imagine André Heiniger's office is the one at the end of the corridor?

1976 Rolex Awards For Enterprise Founded

In 1976 André Heiniger founded the Rolex Awards for Enterprise to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the waterproof Rolex Oyster watch. Originally they were named "Spirit of Enterprise Awards", but were changed to "Rolex Awards for Enterprise."

In the photo below we see André Heiniger in 1976 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster where Rolex announced the Spirit of Enterprise Awards. In this photo we see (from left to right) racing legend, Sir Jackie Stewart, Odette Heiniger, André Heiniger, Her Imperial Highness, Princess Napoléon, and legendary Olympic Skier, Jean-Claud Killy. Photo appears courtesy of S3C Private Collection.

The photo below shows the judges for the original Rolex awards. From left to right we see Luis Marden (whose real name was Annibale Luigi Paragallo). Luis Marden was a famous American photographer for National Geographic, as well as being a diver and filmmaker. Next up we see Professor, Oliver Reverdin who was a scientist, journalist and politician, then Professor Derek Jackson who was a spectroscopist and atomic physicist. Next we see André Heiniger with Professor Jacques Piccard on the end. Photo appears courtesy of S3C Private Collection.

Luis Marden who is pictured above on the far left is featured below in the 1976 Rolex Submariner ad.

Below is a photo from the 1978 Rolex Awards for Enterprise and we see Andre Heiniger (second from left) standing next to legendary Swiss explorer, Jacques Piccard.  On the far left we see Kenneth Marten, who was a 1978 Rolex Laureate along with Bill Lasley who has a mustache along with Francine Patterson who has long blond hair.

1978 Rolex Awards Ad

The next two images below were published in 1978 by Rolex in magazines. The first image is fascinating because it appears to be a wrist shot of sorts, but if you examine it closer, you might notice the remarkable similarity to the Rolex crown logo.

In the photo below from 1980 we see André Heiniger with legendary tennis star, Bjorn Borg on June 11 0n the evening of Men's singles finals at Wimbledon. The 1980 Wimbledon Men's final match was between Björn Borg and John McEnroe was a dramatic struggle which went on for a long time with Borg prevailing. This amazing photo appears courtesy of S3C.

In the photo below taken back in the early 1980s, we see Björn Borg and John McEnroe and they are both wearing Rolex Datejust watches.

There is a famous story where a friend of André Heiniger asked him "How's the watch business doing?" to which André Heiniger responded "I have no idea." His friend laughed, not realizing that André was being serious. André continued "Rolex is not in the watch business. We are a luxury business."

This next photo is of somewhat profound significance as it was taken at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia and shows André Heiniger and his wife Odette in 1995 with then President of Rolex Italy, Gian Riccardo Marini who went on to become the CEO of Rolex in May of 2011

André and Odette Heiniger are pictured below with His Highness, The Aga Khan at the same event.

André Heiniger's son Patrick Heiniger became the Managing Director of Rolex in 1992 when the Rolex Board of Directors appointed him to replace his father. Patrick Heiniger stepped down as CEO of Rolex on December 17, 2008.

André Heiniger is pictured below with his son Patrick Heiniger who became the CEO of Rolex after him. Golf legend, Arnold Palmer is pictured on the left wearing a tuxedo jacket.

Arnold Palmer, André Heiniger and Patrick Heiniger pictured above

André Heiniger stayed on as the Chairman of Rolex until he retired from that role in 1997, and then became Chairman emeritus until he passed away three years later On January 3, 2000 at the age of 79. Over the 34 years André Heiniger ran Rolex he assisted in turning it into the ultra-succesful company it is today. I am looking forward to shedding much more light on this illustrious Rolex historical figure.

The reason the sub-title of this part of this story is "The Second Ghost In The Machine" is because so little has ever been published about André Heiniger. André Heiniger was a very private man who maintained a very low-key public presence.

To date, André Heiniger has remained an enigmatic figure, and one could argue that history–like with Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex before I wrote Part 1 of this Rolex Leadership Series–almost seems to have forgotten him. I intend to change that in 2012 by walking you through his amazing career achievements and exploring what made him tick.

André Heiniger is pictured below with his wife, Odette Heiniger, Colonel Gerard Leigh and Price Charles of Wales at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, U.K.

In this next photo, we see Gérard Souham, André Heiniger, Jan Nelson and Prince Charles.

In the next image we see André Heiniger with HIH The Princess Napoleon at a Polo match.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jay Hernandez: Rolex Watches On and Off-Screen

Rising Rolex Star...

Jay Hernandez

Toy Story 4

I watched "Toy Story 4" with my family this past weekend, and one of the voices is played by a Rolex-wearing rising star, Jay Hernandez. Jake wrote about Jay Hernandez last year when the reboot of "Magnum P.I." was first announced by CBS. Though the actor wouldn't be wearing Tom Selleck's 'stache for the reprisal of the role, the viewers were promised the red Ferrari, the dobermanns and, of course, the Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master. 

I've been enjoying the reboot, and Jay brings a fun, laid-back personality to Thomas Magnum's character. He still asks his buddies for favors and never gets hung up on money, even from his clients, though he seems always broke. For him, that justice is served and the case closed are what's important. 

I thought Jay was given the Pepsi GMT-Master II 16710 just for the role but until recently, I was unaware he was a Rolex fan.

Here the California native rocks his personal Batman while being interviewed alongside Perdita Weeks, who plays Juliett Higgins in "Magnum P.I." 

Jay Hernandez also likes to rock his Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39. I love how the light plays on the dark rhodium dial and almost changes its color. 

Before his role in "Magnum P.I.," he starred alongside Mila Kunis as the hot dad in the comedy film "Bad Moms," where he was already sporting his pre-ceramic no-date Submariner.

He was recently cast as one of the voices in "Toy Story 4," as the child's father, and now wears a two-tone ceramic Submariner 116613LN.

Few know that Jay didn't aspire to be an actor. While riding an elevator in a high-rise in Los Angeles, he was approached by a talent manager who suggested Jay had what it took to have a successful career in Hollywood. He enrolled Jay into acting school and sent his pictures to casting agents. Every Rolex tells a story, and Jay's is shaping to be an interesting one!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rolex Coolness: Denzel Washington Courage Under Fire...

...Academy Award Winning Best Actor...

Denzel Washington

Courage Under Fire

I was digging through the archives and I came across this cool post from 2012: 

My pal James from sent me a message to let me know he just put up a post with images of Denzel Washington sporting a stainless steel Rolex Submariner from the 1996 movie "Courage Under Fire."

It appears, in the photo above and below, that Denzel Washington's Rolex Submariner is suffering from the same "Pulled Winding Crown" syndrome as Robert Redford's stainless steel Rolex from the 1976 movie "All The Presidents Men"!!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Rolex Sea Dweller Poolside...

...Rolex Outdoor Shot Of The Day...



Thursday, June 20, 2019

Rolex Celebrates 5 New Laureates @ 2019 Rolex Awards

Rolex Celebrates

5 New Laureates

2019 Rolex Awards

This year's Rolex Awards Laureates have been chosen and they are ALL AMAZING!!! Check out the video below and be sure to head over to to learn much more about their life-changing missions! This year's Rolex Awards are unique in the sense this was the first year where anyone could vote for the Rolex Award winners, which is so cool if you think about it.

"Behind the Rolex crown is a way of thinking about our place in the world and an aspiration to contribute. We call this perpetual spirit.

It is based on a fundamental belief in unlimited human potential, in continuous improvement, in always pushing the boundaries and taking the long-term view. Our watches are built to last. So is our contribution to future generations."

1978 Rolex Ad

The next two images below were published in 1978 by Rolex in magazines. The first image is fascinating because it appears to be a wrist shot of sorts, but if you examine it closer, you might notice the remarkable similarity to the Rolex crown logo.