The History of Rolex and Golf
You’re watching the final round of the Open; the leaders are walking up to the 18th green. The T.V. coverage cuts to the scoreboard to show the gap, and there it is…
Something you have seen every time you have watched a professional golf tournament, and no, we don’t mean the scoreboard. Instead, we mean the instantly recognizable and infamous green band with a golden crown.
Introducing; Rolex. The king of watches, and the watch of kings.
A staple of luxury and high society, Rolex has been associated with some of the most influential people in history, from actors to astronauts, presidents to pop stars. Yet, despite this A-list clientele, Rolex is perhaps best known for its association with golf.
Now that we’ve said it, you can’t unsee it, can you? Whether it’s the Open, the Masters, or the Ryder Cup, Rolex is always there. But how did this watchmaking giant become so intrinsically linked with golf?
In this article, we are going to look at the history of Rolex and golf. We will explore how the two have become so intertwined, and some of the reasons behind it. If you have ever wondered how Rolex ended up being the official timekeeper of golf, read on!
Teeing Off: The History of Rolex
It all started way back in 1905, with Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. The company originated in London, England, when the two founders created Wilsdorf and Davis, a watch dealership. The duo specialized in importing high-quality Swiss timepieces, which they then sold to jewelers around the U.K.
It was during this time that Wilsdorf came up with the idea of creating a brand name for his watches. He wanted something that was short, easy to pronounce in any language, and that would look good on the watch dial. After much brainstorming, he came up with the name “Rolex.”
The first ever Rolex watch was produced in 1929 and featured the now-famous crown logo. The company quickly established a reputation for creating high-quality and innovative timepieces.
How Does Golf Fit Into All This?
Now that we know a bit about the history of Rolex, let’s take a look at how golf fits into all this.
As we mentioned earlier, Rolex has been associated with golf for many years. In fact, the company has been involved in the sport since the early 1900s.
One of the first recorded instances of Rolex and golf working together was in 1967, when none other than Arnold Palmer became the first official Testimonies - this is what Rolex names its official brand ambassadors - for the company.
If it wasn’t enough to have the face of golf in the mid-60s, Rolex went and signed deals with the other two best golfers at the time - and arguably in the history of golf - Jack Nichlaus and Gary Player. This trio was known as the “Big Three'' in the history of golf. Have you heard of them? Did you know they were Rolex’s official ambassadors?
This is just the start of Rolex’s long and illustrious history with golf. In 1981, the company became the official timekeeper of The Open Championship - one of golf’s four major tournaments. It has held this title ever since. In fact, Rolex recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as the official timekeeper of The Open.
Full 18 or Nothing
If the Open is one of the four majors, then what are the other three? The Masters, the AIG Women’s Open, and the PGA. And what do they all have in common? Well, only that Rolex is the official timekeeper of all three.
The Masters: The Masters is arguably the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. It is held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA. Like The Open, Rolex has supported this bastion of tradition and excellence since 1999 and became an International Partner in 2008.
- The AIG Women’s Open: The AIG Women’s Open is one of the five major championships in women’s golf. It boasts a rich heritage, having been first played in 1953. Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper of the U.S. Open since 1980 and of the U.S. Women’s Open since 2003.
- The PGA: The PGA of America is a golf organization with almost 29,000 members. It is dedicated to growing and teaching the game to increase interest and participation in golf. Rolex is both the official timekeeper and partner of the PGA at Southern Hills Country Club.
So, there you have it; the history of Rolex and golf in a nutshell. Two brands that are synonymous with luxury and excellence, working together to bring us some of the most iconic moments in golfing history. Here’s to many more years of partnership!