The sea is Rolex’s natural environment. As the world’s premier waterproof, highly accurate and reliable wristwatches, its Oyster Perpetual models have proven invaluable instruments for yachting, adopted by the pioneers of racing and circumnavigation alike. Rolex’s relationship with the maritime world dates back to the brand’s earliest days. In his endeavour to create an accurate and reliable wristwatch, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf used the marine chronometer’s renowned precision as a benchmark to produce the world’s first wristwatch- chronometers. And, in order to protect their high precision from damaging dust and moisture, he devised the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster.
Such pioneering innovations drew the attention of the world’s yachting elite – including the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), Rolex’s first partner in the sport, in 1958, and the instigator of yachting’s oldest trophy, the America’s Cup. For 25 years, from 1958 to 1983, when racing was at its purest, every winner of this iconic regatta was awarded a Rolex chronometer. And the seminal partnership between Rolex and the NYYC endures to this day. But few characterize the daring spirit that has marked the history of yachting better than Sir Francis Chichester, whose single-handed round-the-world voyage in 1966–1967 charted the course for subsequent generations of
yachtsmen and yachtswomen. His navigational instruments included a sextant and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual chronometer.