Site Review | Professional Jeweler

March 20, 2000
Rolex Rolex

With profits at slim-to-none levels for many e-commerce companies, many observers say the Web will ultimately become a form of window-shopping. The newly launched official Web site of Rolex watches may be what they've got in mind.

Nothing is sold here. It's a place to see the company's various models – some of which rotate to a rhythmic musical beat – while getting steeped in the Rolex mystique. For those who have only a general idea about Rolex, the site is designed to send them to a dealer with a specific timepiece in mind.

Just to make the message sapphire crystal-clear, new visitors to the homepage must acknowledge a pop-up message referring sales inquiries to local dealers before exploring the site.

With the notice clicked out of the way, visitors have five primary options:

  • The Collections: A full array of Rolex's Oyster and Cellini watches.
  • Rolex and You: A series of questions designed to lead the visitor to his or her perfect Rolex. (Visitors who choose a "sporty" look, express an affinity for yachting and click on a rolesium case will be invited to consider three versions of the Rolex Rolesium Yacht-Master.)
  • Rolex Quality: A short course in how Rolexes are made, with links to dealers and repair facilities around the world.
  • Spirit of the Century: A retrospective on the 20th century from Rolex's point of view. (Some tidbits: 1910 was the year Rolex received the Swiss government's first-ever chronometer certification given to a wristwatch, while in 1954 an Oyster Submariner tested waterproof to a depth of 600 feet.)
  • Rolex HQ: A tour of Rolex's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Here's a nice touch: just below the five buttons to these sections is the Rolesium Yacht-Master, with its second hand ticking away in real time. Click on this to go to a separate page where an image of the watch rotates. Click on any portion of the item and a pop-up window informs you about various features.

The site also includes a calendar of Rolex-sponsored sporting events – golf, tennis, equestrian or yachting – and a link to the company's separate Rolex Awards Web site. Established in 1976, the Rolex Awards recognize civic and humanitarian contributions.

- by Mark E. Dixon