Saturday, 30 June 2018 03:47

2 top brands - Rolex and New York Yacht Club and their mutual respect for 6 decades

Brands have mutual respect for each other, they also have interesting stories and history. This is the story of everyone's favourite and the iconic luxury watch brand Rolex and its relationship with another iconic brand the New York Yacht Club for 60 years. That's a milestone that needs to be told because it involves and intertwines the stories of many yachtsmen who scored a first during this partnership. They are stories of passion and grit on the sea, sometimes of a single yachtsman in the whole wide rough sea with just the sturdy Rolex for company. Rolex's first relationship with the NYCC gave the brand  a shape for its future engagements -which was the yachting world, it integrated into the heart of the industry. This is the story of not just relationships but how a brand works to build its cult image in the process helping and identifying quite a few legends in the world of sports they chose to partner.

P.S : We just love the vintage pictures, don't you?

Pioneering Alliances 1958 -1983

Rolex’s formal, first step in yachting sponsorship would come in 1958 and at the highest level imaginable. Forming an alliance with the New York Yacht Club (NYYC),the founder of the America’s Cup, Rolex became the first Official Timepiece of the world’s oldest sporting trophy. For 25 years, until 1983, the Cup was not the only reward for winning this legendary competition. Every winner also took away a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner. In 1967, a British yachtsman, Sir Francis Chichester, became the first person to sail around the world single-handed along the Clipper route, from west to east, with a single stop. During his pioneering voyage, his navigation relied upon a Rolex Oyster Perpetual chronometer, which took the same drenching and scrapes as he did. In the following year, French sailor, Bernard Moitessier put his trust in the resilience and reliability of the watch when entering in The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first-ever non-stop, single handed, round-the-world yacht race; and contest inspired by Chichester’s achievement. Eventually abandoning the contest in order to continue sailing, Moitessier covered some 37,455 nautical miles in 10 months. Writing to Rolex from Tahiti in 1969, he said, "Serving me throughout the trip as a navigational chronometer, it was one of the important elements of this voyage, thanks to its precision and its robustness.” Then, when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston returned to Falmouth, UK in 1969 as the eventual winner of the Golden Globe, he entered the history books as the first person to successfully circumnavigate the planet, solo non-stop. During his 312-day journey Rolex was his companion for navigation.

Enduring Partnerships 1983 TO 2000

These associations, both inshore and offshore, with a pioneering club and sailors at the top of their métier, led Rolex to be swiftly and firmly integrated within the heart of yachting. The link with the NYYC, in particular, helped shape Rolex’s future engagement. Commodore Philip A. Lotz explains the compatibility between club and watchmaker: “The essence of our partnership with Rolex is the union of two iconic brands, both leaders in their respective fields.” Rolex sought to establish partnerships with other influential yacht clubs and renowned events that reflected the characteristics it respected. In the early 1980s, Rolex recognized a kindred spirit in the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), which was building a reputation as the host of major, internationally regarded yachting events. The relationship would begin in 1984 and lives on, almost 35 years later, for reasons Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the YCCS, adeptly explains: “Passion, excellence and innovation represent the fundamentals that we have in common. It is the perfect partnership.” This connection led directly to two more enduring partnerships: Nautor’s Swan and the Maxi class of yacht. Moving three decades forward, these associations exhibit a timeless, natural feel.

Inspirational figures in these rarefied worlds, like the naval architects German Frers and Bruce Farr, quickly recognized parallels between their approach to design and Rolex. Bruce Farr identified the similarities between a wristwatch and a Maxi: “to combat the world’s oceans, reliability is the overriding priority”.

Deep-rooted Tradition THE 2000S

Anchored by a programme of established regattas and an increasing roster of club partnerships, at the start of the 21st century, Rolex was ready to step offshore once more securing relationships with the world’s top 600-mile classic races and the organizations behind them. Stringent examinations of seamanship and human endeavour, these elite contests and their founders have, like Rolex, been defined throughout by pioneering feats and an intrepid spirit of adventure.

The most famous are the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, founded in 1925 and catalyst for the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), together with the annual Rolex SydneyHobart Yacht Race, launched by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) in 1945.Widely regarded as northern and southern hemisphere equivalents, and supported by Rolex since the beginning of the 2000s, both are on every racing sailor’s wish list. Just to compete is considered an achievement; to win is to enter legend. John Markos, past-Commodore of the CYCA confirms the positive impact of the partnership: “The depth and longevity of Rolex’s involvement is fundamental to the success of many sporting and cultural events. It’s no different for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Robert Scheidt twice an olympic gold medalist and twice Rolex World sailor

In 1967 Sir Francis Chichester, became the first person to sail around the world single-handed along the Clipper route, from west to east, with a single stop

Sir Robin Knox Johnston winner of the Golden Globe, entered the history books as the first person to successfully circum navigate the planet, solo and non-stop

P Cayard

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chichester (1965)

Rolex Explorer K Johnson

 

 Oyster Yacht Master Perpetual II

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