Rolex is proud to be a major force at play behind the finest events, players and organizations in golf, encouraging the development of the game worldwide.
The roots of Rolex’s affinity for sports and human achievement can be traced back to the pioneering origins of the company. When founder Hans Wilsdorf set up his watchmaking firm, he was influenced by the swift changes sweeping through society at the beginning of the 20th century. In an era when wristwatches were still regarded as fragile items of apparel, he was determined to create a wristwatch that would be robust, precise and reliable, adapted to ever more active lifestyles.
In 1910, a Rolex wristwatch obtained the first certificate ever granted to such a watch by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne, Switzerland. In 1926, Rolex invented the Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch in the world, thanks to a case equipped with an ingenious patented system consisting of a screw-down bezel, case back and winding crown. To prove his invention, Hans Wilsdorf equipped Mercedes Gleitze with an Oyster when she swam the English Channel a year later. The Rolex watch emerged from more than 10 hours in the water in perfect working condition, and the young Englishwoman effectively became the brand’s first Testimonee – a witness to the watch’s uncompromised performance.
In 1931, Rolex invented the first wristwatch self-winding system with a free rotor, called the Perpetual rotor, the precursor of contemporary self-winding systems.
With Hans Wilsdorf at the helm, Rolex continued to use the world as a real-life proving ground for the Oyster, demonstrating time and again its reliability in the most extreme conditions, on land, in the air, in the depths of the ocean or on the tallest peaks. By being associated with so many achievements, Rolex became the trusted reference for chronometric precision, robustness and reliability around the world.
Meanwhile, Rolex 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 and prestige.
As the most elite and trusted timekeeper of the day, known for having changed the world of watchmaking, it was only logical that Rolex should partner Arnold Palmer in 1967. This charismatic American holds a special place in golf legend, thanks as much to his natural talent as a player and his many victories on the course, as to his pioneering role in the history of the sport. He, along with fellow Rolex Testimonees Jack Nicklaus, record holder at 18 for most major wins, and Gary Player, ranked third overall for the number of professional wins, contributed to modernizing golf and giving it a worldwide dimension. Together, they are commonly known as the “Big Three”.
Since 1967, the relationship between Rolex and golf has continuously grown and prospered thanks to the brand’s trendsetting initiative in the field of sports sponsoring. Today Rolex is golf's leading supporter and is associated not only with the most important and prestigious entities governing the sport worldwide, but also with golf's principal professional tours, competitions and athletes.
For over 30 years, Rolex has been the proud partner and Official Timekeeper of The Open Championship, where the world’s greatest players compete for the sport’s oldest title. This prestigious tournament is organized by The R&A, golf’s governing body responsible for monitoring the official Rules of Golf. The Rules, set out by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, have preserved the integrity of the sport for over 250 years. Both The R&A and The Rules have long-standing partnerships with Rolex.
Rolex is also a major sponsor of the USGA, which is responsible for organizing the renowned U.S. Open Championship. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game of golf worldwide, promoting and sustaining the game and acting as custodian of The Rules.
Also in the United States, Rolex proudly supports the Masters, one of golf’s emblematic events played every year at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Like Rolex, the Masters is a classic known for its traditional values and the only invitational tournament among golf’s majors.
Alongside the majors are the Rolex-sponsored team competitions. The Ryder Cup pits the United States against Europe, while The Presidents Cup is played between the United States and a team comprised of the top-ranked players outside of Europe. These high-profile events are unique since no prize money is awarded.
Rolex is further involved in men’s golf as Official Timekeeper of prime tournaments such as the World Golf Championships, The Players Championship and the Tour Championship. In addition, Rolex is the Official Timekeeper of golf's main tours: the PGA Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour. And as part of the brand’s mission to encourage the development of this great game, Rolex also supports the most prestigious amateur events worldwide.
In addition, Rolex backs many of the sport’s best players. Besides the Big Three, Rolex counts among its Testimonees American golf legend Tom Watson, as well as Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer; multiple-major winners Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen; top contenders Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Adam Scott, Matteo Manassero and Rickie Fowler.
Rolex celebrates more than 30 years with the LPGA as its Official Timekeeper and is also a proud partner of the Ladies European Tour. Rolex is the Official Timekeeper of the five majors, including the newly added Evian Championship, and the Solheim Cup, the premier team event in ladies golf. Rolex also sponsors the LPGA's top awards, such as the Rolex Player of the Year and the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year. Among LPGA Tour players, Rolex counts among its Testimonees legends Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, as well as top talent Yani Tseng. And, as a committed partner of the sport of golf, Rolex was named, in 2006, the Title Sponsor of the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, the first-ever world rankings system for women's golf.
Driven by a passion for excellence and a great appreciation of golf, Rolex, the world’s leading Swiss watchmaker, is committed to cultivating the strong ties that bind these two prestigious worlds in their shared pursuit of perfection.