The Origin of Rolex and Wimbledon
The partnership between luxury watchmaker Rolex and the sport of tennis began in 1978. That year, the brand became the official timekeeper at Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Since then, tennis has become an important facet of the iconic brand.
Rolex has gone on to partner with other Grand Slam tournaments, like the Australian Open, as well as other events, like the Shanghai Masters, BNP Paribas Open, and Monte-Carlo Masters. In addition, they’ve enlisted a number of the top players in the sport as ambassadors for the brand. However, this year is particularly special. It marks the 40 year anniversary of when this longstanding partnership commenced. At the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, Rolex is celebrating four decades of working with the tennis industry, back where it originated.
A Forty Year Legacy
Since their partnership started 40 years ago, Rolex has continuously played an important role in the Grand Slam event’s history. They not only support The Championships as the official timekeeper but also recruit many star tennis players as official ambassadors. From top men’s players like Juan Martin del Potro, Grigor Dimitrov, and Dominic Thiem to top women’s players like Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, and Caroline Garcia, Rolex has a strong presence both on and off the court.
However, the brand’s most significant ambassador is undoubtedly Roger Federer. He took home his first Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in 2003 and has won a record eight titles at The Championships since, all while proudly representing the Rolex brand. After matches, you can find him sporting one of a number of pieces from his collection, including a Sky-Dweller, Oyster Perpetual Platinum, Daytona, Datejust, or GMT Master II. There’s not one particular model that Federer considers a good luck charm or that has led him to his victories. It’s simply his unmatchable talent and Rolex.
To commemorate the brand’s 40-year milestone with the sport of tennis, Rolex has placed current tennis stars like Federer, Wozniacki, and Muguruza, along with tennis legends like Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, and Chris Evert, in their 40 Love campaign. The ads showcase the tagline, “It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.” This exemplifies the importance of the heritage between the brand and the sport.
Lasting Iconic Duo
Another important piece of the partnership between Rolex and the tournament is the Datejust 41, the unofficial watch of Wimbledon. Like The Championships, the Datejust embodies a great deal of history. It was the first self-winding, water resistant wristwatch with a date window on the dial in its 1945 debut. Since its inception, it has served as the modern archetype of the classic watch and the forerunner for other favorite Rolex models like the Explorer and Submariner.
Wimbledon has taken place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London since 1877. Although Rolex joined the event just about 100 years after the first tournament, they’ve since become synonymous with the games. Now, it’s hard to picture the iconic Center Court grass without the Rolex reference clock that times the matches. The two are the perfect pair, each valuing a commitment to tradition, excellence, and innovation.