From The Straits Times    |

Since the 1900s, Rolex has set the benchmark for luxury timepieces, and has been the discerning choice for those with more than a little moolah to spare. The brand is synonymous with excellent craftsmanship, reliability and performance. But what else do you know about this superior Swiss watchmaker? Here are 10 interesting facts to watch.

1. The name “Rolex” was used because it’s easy to pronounce in any language and is short enough to fit on the dial of a watch.

2. The company rolled out several world’s firsts – waterproof watch, wristwatch with a date on the dial, and watch to show 2 time zones at once.

3. The first person to scale Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, wore a Rolex Explorer.

4. A Rolex watch, painstakingly assembled by hand, is built to last for a very long time. There are over 4,000 highly skilled Rolex watchmakers from more than 100 countries.

5. Rolex, owned by a private trust and not publicly held, is actively involved in philanthropic programmes. Among them are 2 primary programmes: The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which provides financial assistance to individuals embarking on selected noble fields, and The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which helps to foster the next generation of artistic talents.

6. In 1927, a year after the first waterproof watch Oyster was released, a young English woman, Mercedes Gleitze, wore one and swam the English Channel. The watch remained in perfect working order after the crossing ended, which lasted over 10 hours.

7. The glass casing of a Rolex watch almost never shows signs of wear and tear as it’s made of sapphire crystal, which is strong and scratch-resistant.

8. Love the shine of the steel on Rolexes? That’s because Rolex uses 904L steel, a stainless superalloy, for the cases, winding crowns, bezels and bracelets of its watches. 904L steel is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, pressure or dust.

9. These Hollywood big shots are only proud to display their favourite watch.

10. Rappers, like Lil’ Wayne, are fans of Rolex, too. In fact, some of them like the brand so much that they’ve even included the name in their song lyrics.