Since founder Hans Wilsdorf fulfilled his dream of creating an accurate, reliable 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. The brand evolved, as did its product, in a constant pursuit of perfection. As part of this evolution, Rolex watches – made from only the highest quality materials and designed by the industry’s best – became symbols of elegance, prestige and the highest performance.
In fostering this long-standing tradition and those values, the company makes a significant contribution to excellence in the arts through its patronage of a carefully selected variety of artists and activities.
Rolex sought to associate with activities that, like itself, were motivated by passion, precision and performance. Naturally, Rolex gravitated toward the world of the arts, forming an alliance that dates back to the 1970s through the forging of a long-standing partnership with New Zealand soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Over the years, Rolex has extended the same support to other deserving artists in distinct domains. In the lyric arts, renowned Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo has been associated with Rolex for over 30 years. Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, tenor Jonas Kaufmann from Germany and bass-baritone Byrn Terfel from the United Kingdom are all brand Testimonees.
Young, talented pianist Yuja Wang is among Rolex’s array of phenomenal classical musicians, in addition to conductor Gustavo Dudamel from Venezuela, the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a Rolex-sponsored orchestra recognized internationally as one of the best.
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.
In addition to sponsoring individual talent, Rolex understands the importance of partnering the prestigious institutions that showcase it, such as the enchanting Teatro alla Scala in Milan, London’s historic Royal Opera House, and the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera, dubbed “The Met”, in New York. Rolex also sponsors the highly acclaimed Salzburg Festival, as well as 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.
Rolex is equally committed to helping rising artists achieve their full potential through programmes such as Operalia, an annual international singing competition founded by Plácido 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.
More recently, Rolex partnered 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 Hans Wilsdorf’s founding spirit, 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.