In the Tradition of Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex Supports United States Veterans

Rolex & Fisher HouseFollowing in the tradition of founder Hans Wilsdorf during World War II, Rolex helps open Fisher House, designed to help United States veterans and their families. Dedicated to the well being of United States service men and women, the Fisher House Foundation offers aid and support to the families of military veterans who require medical care after being wounded while on duty. The Fisher Houses provide a friendly and safe place for military families to stay while visiting their loved ones in a Veterans Administration Hospital. Rolex has made what it describes as: A significant financial pledge” to the opening of the new Fisher House facilities in Los Angeles and Dallas in 2008. Allen Brill, president and chief executive officer of Rolex Watch USA, said, “We are extremely proud of our long association with the Fisher House Foundation. We admire their dedication to our greatest national treasure…our military men and women and their loved ones.”

Rolex receiptThe direct support of military personnel by Rolex falls right into the traditional footsteps of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf and the legendary actions he took to support British Prisoners-of-War during the Second World War. If an allied prisoner of war was captured by the Nazis, they could write to Rolex via the International Red Cross and the company would send them a Rolex watch. Like Rolex, the International Red Cross was headquartered in Geneva. In addition to the watch, a letter would be sent to the prisoner, asking that the watch be paid for in Swiss Francs at the end of the war. Hans Wilsdorf himself wrote the letters that accompanied every watch dispatched to a P.O.W. and ran the administration of the program. The reason the British Prisoners of War needed a new watch was that most of them would have had their own wristwatches confiscated when they were captured. Hans WilsdorfWilsdorf also led programs that sent food and basic resources to the P.O.W camps while making sure to support any Rolex employees and their families caught in the fighting.

By supporting the Fisher House Foundation, Rolex continues to do the positive work that Wilsdorf began, expanding a tradition that reflects the very best of the corporation. Rolex has been a long-time supporter of the foundation. Contributions from Rolex have aided the opening of Fisher Houses in Ft. Campbell, Ky. and San Antonio, Texas, in recent years. Since its inception in 1991, more than forty Fisher Houses have been opened and by the end of 2010 as many as 59 Fisher Houses may be opened. On account of advanced medical practices, the survival rate for soldiers with extreme wounds is much higher now than ever before. The Fisher House Foundation and other organizations that support the returning veterans and their families have become essential. By supporting such a cause, Rolex recognizes the importance of caring for American soldiers not only during the conflict, but afterwards as well. If Hans Wilsdorf were alive today, he truly would be proud!

Posted by John Lavitt on January 21st, 2009 and filed under Rolex Marketing | No Comments »

Who Represents the True Spirit of Rolex More Than the Legendary Clint Eastwood?

Eastwood w/ DatejustLegendary actor and director Clint Eastwood truly represents the daring spirit of Rolex. At the age of 78, Clint Eastwood has been receiving accolades and awards for his performance in and direction of the film Gran Torino. Although primarily known as a successful action star, Eastwood has directed more films than Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas combined, and he has won two Academy Awards for directing. Earlier this year The Changeling, directed by Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, was released. In his acting career, Eastwood has worn a Rolex watch in several of his films. In Firefox, he wore a Rolex GMT Master with a Jubilee bracelet, and in the hit film, In the Line of Fire, he wore a two toned Rolex Datejust.

Gran TorinoIn 2007, French President Jacques Chirac awarded Eastwood the Legion of Honor, a rare distinction for an American citizen. Recognized around the world as a true artist of the cinema, Eastwood’s talent has evolved and expanded over the years. In Gran Torino, Eastwood plays with his classic Dirty Harry tough guy image by showing a similar character grown up to be a bitter, angry man. “You always look for a character that can go somewhere, start one place and go another,” Eastwood said in a voice that now is almost a whisper. “I was intrigued by the Gran Torino script because it was not only about the Hmong culture, which was new to me, but it is also a kind of statement that you’re never too old to learn tolerance and learn a lot of things. stainlesssteelDatejustw/blackdialOf course Walt Kowalski is a man who’s out of his time and he has trouble adjusting, but that makes hurdles to go over and they make the character fun to play.” Like Rolex, Eastwood has learned not only to love adventure and daring, but also the importance of giving back and helping his fellow man. It is hard to imagine an individual more deserving of wearing a Rolex watch than Clint Eastwood.

In Gran Torino Eastwood worked with an unknown cast of non-professional actors, including Bee Vang and Ahney Her, both born in the US to Hmong parents. “They were very nice kids and they were really earnest,” he says. “It’s interesting with the young people of the Hmong culture that, although they were born here, they all know the language of their parents and grandparents and they have a great respect for adults.” At 78, Eastwood demonstrates incredible energy and daring, continuing to evolve as an actor and an artist. If we could choose a Rolex watch for Clint Eastwood, a Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust with a Black Dial and a Fluted Bezel would be the perfect fit. With a combination of elegance and robustness, it matches the legendary character of this American icon.

2T Rolex DatejustGMT Master

Posted by John Lavitt on January 21st, 2009 and filed under Rolex Pop Culture, Rolex Watches | No Comments »

Harrison Ford Wears A Rolex — Why Not Indiana Jones?

Indiana JonesArguably, the most successful actor of his generation in terms of the box office, Harrison Ford chooses to wear a Rolex Datejust in his everyday life. In the thriller Frantic, renowned director Roman Polanski has Harrison Ford’s character wear a stainless steel Datejust on a Jubilee Bracelet. If one legendary film character, however, definitely should have worn a Rolex, the adventurer’s watch, it is Ford’s greatest creation, Indiana Jones. In relation to Ford’s mastery of the character, one critic wrote, “Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. He owns the role like a seasoned Rolex.” Furthermore, like the conquerors of Mount Everest or the divers in the ocean’s deepest depths, Indiana Jones represents the very essence of Rolex quality and daring. Yet, for some unknown reason, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg never gave Indiana a Rolex watch to wear on his wrist. Even worse, they made Harrison Ford stumble through the final film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, backed by a bad plot and a terrible screenplay. If Indiana Jones had worn a Rolex watch in the last film, he might have been checking the time to see when it would be over like members of the audience.

The plot line left many patrons not merely bored, but angered, as illustrated by a controversial South Park episode, which left Kyle moaning about the third film’s Alien’s. If you did not see the film, are you shaking your head right now? Aliens in an Indiana Jones story just reduces it to the absurd and mocks the classic adventure roots of the character. Indeed, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a mockery of perhaps the greatest adventurer in modern film. Moreover, not giving Indiana Jones a Rolex is simply doing him a great disservice. First, as you can see from the pictures, Harrison Ford looks great in a Rolex watch, whether it is silver or gold. Second, like the real life adventurers that Rolex has teamed up with over the last century, Indiana Jones represents the best of man’s daring and courageous spirit. Nothing, not even Nazis or a tunnel overflowing with the grossest bugs you could possibly imagine, ever stopped Indiana from achieving his goals. In real life, Harrison Ford looks positively awesome in his Rolex Datejust. Indiana Jones may have done better with a Rolex GMT Master II, a Rolex Explorer, or even a Rolex Submariner like James Bond. In the end, Indiana should have had a better send-off in terms of a quality film and a Rolex on his wrist.

Ford w/ Rolex55i8_daytona-f2

Posted by John Lavitt on January 16th, 2009 and filed under Rolex Pop Culture, Rolex Watches | 4 Comments »

A Culture Of Giving Back: Rolex Philanthropy and the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation

WilsdorfWhen it comes to giving back in the form of charity and cultural support, philanthropy is an intrinsic part of the Rolex culture and philosophy. Through the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a large percentage of the profits of the Rolex go directly to philanthropic causes. Upon the death of his wife in 1944, Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in which he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that some of the company’s income would go to charity. The company is still owned by a private trust, and shares are not traded on any stock exchange. The foundations funnels much of the profits generated by Rolex into various charitable endeavors. Given that Rolex is not a publicly held company, exact numbers are not known, but it is clear they generate huge sums of money for worthy charities. Below, the descriptions of the two eminent Rolex philanthropic programs are paraphrased directly from Rolex accounts that describe the programs with a perfect balance of humility and clarity.

Rolex Awards for EnterpriseThrough its two primary philanthropic programs, the Awards for Enterprise and the Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, Rolex fosters innovation in science, exploration, conservation, and the arts worldwide. 
 The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were created to foster a spirit of enterprise and advance human knowledge and well being around the globe. They support pioneering work in five areas: science and medicine; technology and innovation; exploration and discovery; the environment; and cultural heritage. In each series, ten Awards are presented to visionary men and women whose groundbreaking projects benefit their fields of endeavor, their communities and the wider world. Winners are innovators who typically work outside the mainstream and often have limited access to traditional funding. Rather than reward past achievements, the Rolex Awards provide financial assistance and recognition to individuals embarking on new ventures or carrying out ongoing projects. Grants of $100,000 are awarded to five Laureates and $50,000 to five Associate Laureates in each series. These grants must be used to complete their projects. All ten also receive a Rolex chronometer. Each of the Laureates represent the best work being done in their field, reflecting the excellence that Rolex has accomplished with their ground-breaking watches.

In 2002, Rolex launched the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a global program that pairs emerging artists with masters in dance, film, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts for a year of intensive collaboration. Building on a legacy of supporting culture that dates back to the 1970s, Rolex launched the Arts Initiative to help ensure that artistic excellence is passed on to the next generation. Unparalleled in its artistic and geographic reach, the program has helped over 200 notable talents from 39 countries since its beginnings. Noting the lack of corporate support for individual artists in a multitude of disciplines, Rolex created the program to foster the next generation of artistic excellence and fill a void in arts philanthropy. Renowned artists from around the globe have participated in the program, ranging from Rolex representative and Mexican tenor Placido Domingo to Israel violinist Pinchas Zukerman. Through the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, Rolex has expanded its influence well beyond the scope of groundbreaking watches and chronometers. Through its philanthropic programs, Rolex created a true corporate culture of giving back, leading to cultural achievements and scientific breakthroughs that have benefited the entire world.

History RolexFive Ideas

Posted by John Lavitt on January 13th, 2009 and filed under Rolex Culture, Rolex Watches | 1 Comment »