March 20, 2000
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
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
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
- 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.
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
- by Mark E. Dixon