Monday, November 28, 2022

Demolition of Rolex USA Building





Three years ago, I broke the news about Rolex's redesign plans for its iconic home on the corner of 5th Avenue and 53rd Street in New York, a 12-story building Rolex USA has occupied since the 1970s. 

Last April, demolition preparations of Rolex's headquarters in America were just getting underway at the site, with a portion of the windows boarded up and scaffolding assembly more than halfway complete.

Demolition is progressing, and the building is now wrapped with black netting. It has been razed one-third of the way down. Rolex USA set up a temporary location in the Nike building across the street.

Titan Industrial SVC Corp. is the general contractor in charge of the demolition. 

The new 25-story replacement, which looks like five cubes stacked on top of each other, will have the corrugated windows that use the fluted motif — more and more seen in Rolex's architectural design language.

The new Rolex high-rise is designed by David Chipperfield Architects and developed by Rolex Realty Company. 

"We are proud to have been selected to design the Rolex USA headquarters building," Sir David Chipperfield said. "Our team is committed to creating an exemplary building befitting the heritage and culture of the Rolex brand as well as its prominent 5th Avenue location." 

Sir Chipperfield is a 2016-2017 Rolex Mentor.

A Rolex store will take up the northern corner of the ground floor, and a separate entrance to the tower will sit to the south. A couple of escalators will bring occupants to a grand three-story atrium beginning on the second level.

I believe it is no coincidence Rolex headquarters in the U.S. is right next to Madison Avenue, the center of American advertising since the 1920s. 

When I think of Madison Avenue I think of the backdrop for the AMC television drama "Mad Men," which focuses on the advertising industry during the 1960s and where actor Jon Hamm plays Don Draper.

The new 165,000-square-foot building will become an important symbol of Rolex’s presence in Manhattan — and America. The building is designed in accordance with LEED Platinum standard, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating for environmental efficiency. It takes into consideration the increasing concerns of sustainability and energy consumption.

No official completion date for the building has been announced, though sometime in late 2024 is likely.

If you missed it, I wrote also about the new Rolex building in Dallas here

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2022 – Preview


Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2022 Preview

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an icon of its sport. First held in 1945 and partnered by Rolex since 2002, the 628-nautical mile (1,163 kilometre) offshore race is revered as one of sailing’s most gruelling challenges. This year marks the 77th edition of the event organized by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with the support of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. An impressive international fleet has registered for the race which commences, as is tradition, on 26 December from Sydney Harbour. Their ultimate destination is Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania. The journey south takes competitors on a compelling racecourse, comprising a long passage down the New South Wales coast and then across the easternmost edge of the exposed and infamous Bass Strait. While some of the world’s fastest and most powerful yachts will contest line honours the most treasured prize is the Tattersall Cup awarded to the overall race winner.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Avatar, Rolex, and Saving the Planet





After reading the "Avatar" script for the first time, the head of 20th Century Fox had some choice words for the author, according to James Cameron: 

"I like this story, it's a good script, but can we get all this tree-hugging, hippie bullshit out of it?" 

Mr. Cameron, a lifelong climate activist, refused and told the executive:

"The reason I want to make the film is exactly because of the tree hugging, hippie, hairy-legged, Birkenstocks-wearing bullshit." 

That was 15 years ago. On Dec. 16, Mr. Cameron, an Oscar-winning film director and Rolex brand ambassador, will release the sequel to "Avatar." And this time, the movie heavily features underwater scenes. "Avatar: The Way of Water," revolves around the theme of ocean conservancy.  

This month, Rolex unveiled the Deepsea Challenge, the watch with the highest depth rating ever commercialized. James Cameron presented the new watch from Rolex's headquarters in Geneva. A day later, the trailer for "Avatar: The Way of Water" made its debut on the internet. 

Mr. Cameron's and Rolex's goals are aligned in a way rarely seen before among brand ambassadors. And the filmmaker's partnership with Rolex was formed organically.

"I always knew that Rolex made the best dive watches," Mr. Cameron said. "I was asked if I would become an ambassador for this prestigious brand. I’ve worn a Submariner for over thirty years so it seemed natural to accept." 

And when Mr. Cameron needed a new watch for his record-setting solo dive to the deepest point on Earth, in 2012, Rolex built one in just five weeks.

Both Mr. Cameron and Rolex have made preserving the planet their raison d'être. Both have invested dearly in exploration. Both support the cinema. Rolex is also the biggest sponsor of the annual Academy Awards, where Mr. Cameron will likely be nominated in 2023.

On Wednesday, Rolex released a video called "Perpetual Planet."

In the video, Rolex clarified its position on supporting today's explorers: This is no longer about exploration for the sake of discovery or setting records. But to find ways to safeguard the planet and conserve the oceans. 

We may think we’ve seen it all. But the world has its limits after all. But why do explorers, adventurers, scientists continue to venture out there again and again? Certainly not just for the record! So, what do they seek, really? To understand more intimately how complex and delicate our planet is? To document its change and how we can affect it for the better? As long as they need it, we will be at their side. Because today, the real discovery is not so much about finding new lands. It’s about looking with new eyes at the marvels of our planet. Rekindling our sense of wonder and acting, here and now, to preserve this pale blue dot and make it perpetual.

While "Avatar" lost the Best Picture Oscar in 2010 to "The Hurt Locker," it went on to be the highest grossing movie for at least a decade. Still, this was a double win for Rolex: "The Hurt Locker" was directed by Mr. Cameron's ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, also a Rolex ambassador. 

More importantly, after the release of "Avatar," indigenous leaderships in various parts of the world reached out to Mr. Cameron and shared their experiences. 

The movie he'd just made, they all said, was showing the types of things they were actually living.

So for a couple of years, Mr. Cameron went on to become an overt activist, trying to help indigenous tribes, whether it was in the Athabasca tar sands, in Alberta, or down in Brazil with the Belo Monte Dam.

During Mr. Cameron's research into indigenous cultures, he met Raoni, the leader of the Kayapo people who live deep in the Amazon forest. Mr. Cameron said Chief Raoni welcomed him and gave him "gifts of things that had great meaning to him." 

Mr. Cameron gave him his Rolex in return: "It wasn’t a sacrifice. It was a token of friendship," he would later said.

"What do I have that has that kind of value that I could give him?" Mr. Cameron said in a Rolex video. "I couldn't think of anything except my watch that had been with me for 20 years and had been through all my experiences." 

"It was a Submariner [that] I wore for 20 years, everywhere I went, everything I did, 33 dives to the Titanic making all the films that I made during that period of time. I was wearing the watch the first time I saw Titanic for real through the porthole of a submersible ... and I was wearing the same watch in my black tie when I went up on the stage to get the Oscar for directing 'Titanic' and it was equally appropriate in both places. It's the one constant companion. People come and go; the watch is always there."


But Mr. Cameron did not want to become a "drive-by do-gooder," he said. He wanted to reach a much wider audience—and do it through "Avatar" movies. 

As the director of two of the three highest grossing films in the world, Mr. Cameron has essentially become the biggest spokesperson for the Perpetual Planet initiative that Rolex ever had. The new "Avatar" will likely be as popular and, at the same time, raise awareness about the threats facing our oceans even though it is about Pandora's. 

"It may be with a somewhat-diluted message because it's interwoven with entertainment," Mr. Cameron said. "But it throws a much broader net and that's important."

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving from Jake...


A Note from Jake

Happy Thanksgiving 

Hi Everybody!!!

It is hard to believe it is already Thanksgiving again on Jake's Rolex World!!! It has been another absolutely amazing year filled with growth and fascinating new Rolex historical content!!! I am now in my 15th year of publishing Jake's Rolex World and I still feel like I am just getting warmed-up with Rolex history. I have many, many more exciting pieces of the Rolex history puzzle to share with you in the future, as well as some major announcements coming up...

"The First Thanksgiving" painting by Jean Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)

2022 has been another really bizarre year for everybody—but nonetheless, I am very grateful to have so many great readers all over the world and I hope you have found some solace and inspiration in all the amazing Rolex history I have shared with you. So many of you have written in over the years to help correct my typos, as well as to share your valuable insight and enthusiasm, for which I am eternally grateful!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday as it gives us a chance to pause and reflect on how fortunate we all are to be able to experience this amazing miracle, known as life, on this spinning marble we all share–named Earth.

I recently completed my new studio, and shot my first Rolex video for my JAKEeSHOW, and am currently working on editing my second episode, which I plan to publish soon...In case you missed my first Rolex episode, I am including it below...

As many of you know, I have been working for some time now on a series of dozen books that cover the entire Rolex history arc. I plan to start rolling out my 12 volumes next year, with Volume 1 dropping in late Q1 of 2023, with each following volume releasing on a rolling quarterly basis, which means I expect to publish the final volume in Q4 of 2025.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022



Rolex just launched this AMAZING new video about how they support Rolex Explorers with their perpetual planet support initiative...

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf used the world as a testing ground for his watches, supporting explorers who ventured into the unknown. Rolex continues his legacy but with a new mission to help make the planet Perpetual by supporting those who protect the oceans, study the effects of climate change and create a more sustainable world. Rolex stands behind the scientists, explorers and visionaries who will spark the imagination of future generations – for the sake of a Perpetual Planet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Rolex to Build New Factory in Bulle





If you were wondering whether demand for Rolex watches will continue to outstrip supply, Rolex is giving you one billion reasons. 

Rolex will invest 1 billion Swiss Francs into a new manufacture it plans to build in Bulle, Switzerland, the watchmaker's biggest move yet to thwart product shortage. Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), a Swiss public broadcaster in French, was first to break the news. 


One of the biggest challenges Rolex had been facing when considering tackling record demand is to find land to build a new manufacture in Switzerland, one Rolex employee told me. Rolex is a vertically integrated company, and Switzerland is a small country, one-tenth the size of California. 

But the news broke Monday Rolex had found land in the business-friendly canton of Fribourg to build a new manufacture, its fifth. According to one of the county commissioners interviewed by RTS, it is a project of rare ampleur for the county. The word "jackpot" has even been mentioned. The Bulle City Council will likely approve the sale, a decision expected by Dec. 12. The land, which is comprised of two parcels, covers a total area of 24 acres.


The City of Bulle is centrally located between Lausanne and Bern, the capital, and this will help with staffing. One of the challenges when building a new manufacture is to find qualified labor. 

As you can see on the map above, the other Rolex manufactures are near the French border. Many Rolex employees are frontaliers; meaning, they live in France, where costs are cheaper, but cross the border to work in Switzerland. Bulle, however, is deeper in Swiss country, far from the border. Still, its location between Lausanne and Bern should provide an adequate pool of qualified workers, a factor in the decision by Rolex to choose Bulle. 



GENEVA: The Rolex world headquarters is home to all the management, administrative and communications activities of the company, as well as those related to the final assembly, final control and sales of the watches, and to Rolex World Service, which is responsible for after-sales service activities. The site is also home to Rolex design and research and development teams in addition to the laboratories that test all the assembled watches before they are distributed worldwide.

PLAN-LES-OUATES: This site groups all the activities related to the development and production of Rolex watch cases and bracelets, from processing and machining of the raw materials to polishing and finishing the final components.

CHÊNE-BOURG: This site brings together all the activities related to the development and manufacture of the dials and gem-setting. Cerachrom bezels and bezel inserts in ceramic are produced at Chêne-Bourg, and the site is also home to the brand’s gemmology laboratory and gem-setting workshops.

BIENNE (BIEL): This site is devoted to the manufacture of Rolex movements. Here, the components of the movements, from 200 to almost 400 for the most complex calibres, are manufactured. 


Rolex says it plans to hire 2,000 employees for the new manufacture, a sizable growth when considering Rolex currently has 9,000 Switzerland-based employees.

The new manufacture will be operational no sooner than 2029. The acquisition of 24 acres of land to build a new Rolex factory is the latest sign Rolex doesn't feel the demand will relent anytime soon even amid economic uncertainties. This is good news for those who already own Rolex timepieces, as their value on the secondary market still exceed retail prices. 

Starting in 2029, though, this might be a different story. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Oysterflex on a Yacht-Master

...Rolex Studio Shot of The Day...

Oysterflex on a Yacht-Master