Rolex and Culture
Rolex and the arts
Since founder Hans Wilsdorf fulfilled his dream of creating an accurate and elegant wristwatch at the beginning of the 20th century – a time when the pocket watch was the norm − Rolex, leader in the Swiss watchmaking industry, has always encouraged individual excellence and the pursuit of perfection. In furthering this long-standing tradition, the company makes a significant contribution to the arts through its patronage of a large variety of programmes and activities.
Rolex’s commitment to culture dates back to the 1970s when New Zealand soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who sang at the wedding of HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul’s Cathedral, became the brand’s first Testimonee in the arts.
Over the years, Rolex has extended the same support to other deserving artists in distinct domains. In the lyric arts, Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo, a renowned performing artist who has been associated with Rolex for over 30 years, American soprano Renée Fleming, Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and tenors Jonas Kaufmann from Germany and Rolando Villazón from Mexico are all brand Testimonees.
Young, talented pianist Yuja Wang and Grammy Award winning cellist and virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma are among Rolex’s array of phenomenal classical musicians, in addition to conductors Lorin Maazel from the United States and Gustavo Dudamel from Venezuela, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a Rolex sponsored orchestra recognized internationally as one of the best. Also in classical music, Rolex sponsors the Salzburg and Whitsun Festivals, in addition to presenting the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.
In a more contemporary vein, Rolex is associated with popular artists such as Canadian jazz singers Diana Krall and Michael Bublé, both Grammy award winners, Indian sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar, and French prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem.
Rolex is equally committed to helping rising artists achieve their full potential through programmes such as Operalia, an annual international singing competition founded by Placido Domingo, as well as the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a philanthropic programme that seeks out young artists and brings them together with great masters for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.
In addition to sponsoring individual talent, Rolex also understands the importance of partnering with the prestigious institutions that showcase it, such as the enchanting Teatro alla Scala in Milan, London’s historic Royal Opera House, the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera, dubbed “The Met”, in New York, and the famed Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This support extends to Asia where Rolex is the Official Watch of the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing.
More recently, Rolex partnered with Medici.tv, the leader in online video streaming of classical music. Thanks to this exclusive platform, music lovers will now be able to experience prestigious live concerts year round. Similarly, Rolex is also associated with Musica, a short television programme broadcast by Euronews that transports its viewers into the domains of music and dance, in addition to Operaonline, a comprehensive online operatic library available to all opera aficionados. All of these additions to Rolex’s artistic portfolio aim to help promote music worldwide by providing high quality access to today’s classical concerts, festivals, operas and musicians.
True to Mr. Wilsdorf’s founding vision, Rolex remains increasingly active in the arts, offering significant support in recognition of the exceptional individuals and institutions that share the brand’s passion for perfection and excellence. This support will help perpetuate an artistic heritage and make a unique and lasting contribution to culture around the world.