Rolex has a long and rich history intertwined with creating tool watches to help others reach new limits. In designing these iconic watches, they have utilized them and those wearing these watches to produce a rich history of advertising with some very remarkable ads. We're going to take an even closer look at the brand itself by diving into some historical Rolex advertisements. Most are connected to outstanding achievements and famous people. Others focus on fashion and versatility of the different models.
The first advertisement we are going to take a look at focuses on Mercedes Gleitz's being the first women to swim the English channel. This wasn't her first swim, but critics doubted she had accomplished this achievement, so she decided to swim a "vindication swim." At this point, Hans Wilsdorf recognized the marketing potential, and he persuaded Gleitze to wear a Rolex Oyster - launched only the previous summer on her wrist during the swim. He asked for her honest experience in exchange for the complimentary Rolex. This ad appeared one month after her swim on the front page of the Daily Mail. Rolex was already on the right path to proving its quality and name by using real user experience.
As time passed, Rolex used certain requests by different companies to create specific models according to the requirements needed and then marketed to the general public. Here you can see Rolex worked with PAM AM to launch the GMT Master. The GMT Master "was specifically designed for pilots, ship's captains, navigators, and world travelers."
Below are two more examples of Rolex using different activities or sports to create a specific tool watch for and then advertise for the general public.
Finally, another tactic Rolex has used to market its brand over the years is to recognize famous people wearing Rolex. Between famous athletes to celebrities (like James Bond) to political figures (including Winston Churchill - which is a story for another time), Rolex tactically markets different models in this manner. Here is an example of this type of advertisement.
Rolex is a brand rich in history. These ads reveal accomplishments and involvements Rolex has in such a wide range of areas - and, this is only scratching the surface.
We’re about to embark on a series that explores relationships between Rolex and sporting events, so stay tuned as we explore more of what is behind some of these ads.