If you are a tennis lover, especially The Championships, Wimbledon popularly referred to as simply Wimbledon, you will notice that the clocks on the tennis grounds are all Rolex. It is not an elaborate advertisement but rather the constant scene in every Wimbledon is because Rolex is the official timekeeper of the event. You might even see that some of the players have Rolex watches so you wonder what Rolex has to do with Wimbledon. You might even have heard of Rolex Wimbledon watches so, here is the entire story regarding their partnership that has lasted for over four decades.
Combining Elegance with Prestige
Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament worldwide, dating back to 1877 when it was held for the first time at the All England Croquet Club. It is the origin of lawn tennis hence has retained grass, becoming the only major tournament played on grass. Wimbledon holds high regard for all its players and attendees. Female players have the titles “Miss” or “Mrs” in their names in the scoreboards, and to adhere to the etiquette, any married female player is referred by her husband’s name. Players must don white outfits, and some players like Andre Agassi said that it was during Wimbledon that he learned to wear white and accepted the tradition. Uniforms of court officials are green and purple. Of course, purple has for so long symbolized royalty. Therefore, do not be surprised that the Royal Family attends the tournament every year, watching the matches from the Centre Court while seated in the Royal Box. Wimbledon has to maintain its prestige; thus, even when the Wimbledon clothing was contracted to an external party, only Ralph Lauren could meet the expected high standards demanded of the designs. Consequently, when Rolex decided to partner with a tennis tournament, only Wimbledon could pass the test of prestige. After all, the watch manufacturer has a reputation to maintain with its unrivaled elegance that has not been compromised. They say iron sharpens iron, and as World Tempus cites, the two forged a partnership made in heaven. Their commitment to ensuring that they always provide the best services and products has seen the collaboration last since 1978 when Rolex became the official timekeeper of Wimbledon.
Elements of the Tennis Partnership
Choosing Wimbledon as the first partner in the world of tennis meant that Rolex also had to put its best foot forward by picking winners as its brand ambassador. Its selectiveness has seen the watch manufacturer picking tennis players such as Caroline Garcia, Dominic Thiem, and Grigor Dimitrov. However, no one ever surpasses that formidable relationship that Roger Federer has established with Rolex. The tennis player has made memories with Rolex. When he defeated Pete Sampatra in 2009 and broke the Grand Slam record, he wore the Rolex. Till now, he remembers how he achieved the victory. While the watch has nothing to do with his ability to become a better tennis player, he praises the company saying every time he is on the court, he can feel that Rolex is behind him all the way. Besides, Rolex being a Swiss company could not have made a better decision than choosing the Swiss national to be the watch ambassador, an honor he has held since 2006. Besides having the greatest players represent the brand, Rolex has shown that it is more than willing to support tennis, not just one tournament. It already made its mark with Wimbledon, but Rolex has since joined forces with other smaller tournaments. According to Watch Master, Rolex supports Laver Cup, a tournament named after renowned Australian tennis player Rod Laver who was a top player in the 1960s. Laver Cup is a competition between Team World and the best tennis players in Europe. The watchmaker has also supported the US Open since 2018, becoming the tournament’s official timekeeper after taking over from Citizen. The multi-year agreement was implemented immediately as preparations began for the 2018 US Open. As a result, timepieces and clocks donned the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds. The signature clock on the Arthur Ashe Stadium facade became the iconic Rolex display. As Haute Living published, Rolex took its relationship with tennis a step further. It sponsored the Western & Southern Open, USTA National Campus, and USTA Foundation.
Rolex First Partner in the World of Sports
Rolex’s first involvement in sports was not in tennis; instead, it was in swimming. According to Bob’s Watches, Mercedes Gleitze is the mother of all Rolex brand ambassadors. Hans Wilsdorf was determined to make a waterproof watch to keep out moisture and dust. In 1922, the first attempt to make a waterproof watch proved impractical because it needed a second outer base to protect the main body. Since the outer case had to be opened daily to wind the watch, the metal gasket sealing the opening weakened. In 1926, Rolex came up with the waterproof watch that would push it to the next level. The Rolex Oyster was marketed as the wonder watch and displayed in fish tanks in jewelry shop windows to prove its waterproof feature. However, it was not until Gleitze swam 22 miles across the English Channel that the watch had its proof that it was indeed waterproof. She wore a gold Rolex Oyster around her neck; it withstood over ten hours of exposure to cold water without letting in water or skipping a beat. Until now, the athlete is used in the brand’s marketing campaigns. Strangely, The Subdial reported that Gleitze did not wear the Rolex Oyster during that swimming feat; thus, did not prove the waterproof ability of the Rolex Oyster. Regardless of what transpired, the fact remains that Rolex has a reputation to maintain, and the many partners it has today are carefully selected to help make a point: that the watch manufacturer is only interested in excellence. By partnering with Wimbledon, Rolex pushed its brand to the upper echelons of the watch-making industry.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith