Musical culture and the art of excellence according to Rolex.
When Rolex is mentioned, one immediately thinks of the watch. The Swiss company is synonymous with high-quality timepieces that have become, especially in recent seasons, the almost forbidden dream of many enthusiasts, who have witnessed the gradual disappearance of many of the models from the windows of authorised retailers due to … excess demand.
So we will talk about Rolex, but about music. For decades, the Geneva-based maison has in fact created a wide range of non-watchmaking collaborations to support great artists, promote the most prestigious institutions and, with some special projects, foster the talent of promising young people. Always aiming for excellence, according to the inspiration and will expressed by the founder Hans Wilsdorf when he was working on gears and gears.
In a field where Rolex’s success and commitment have helped convey emotion and passion in art form, watchmaking takes a back seat. In the world of the seven notes, the first Rolex testimonial was New Zealand soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who, since the 1970s, has accompanied the Geneva-based company’s timepieces with vocal virtuosity. A leading figure in opera, she was awarded the title of Dame after singing at Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana in 1981.
Closest to being Italian, Spanish tenor, baritone and conductor Plácido Domingo is a long-standing Rolex endorser. For both Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Plácido Domingo, Rolex has pledged to support the initiatives they have set up to educate and encourage promising musicians, particularly singers, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and Operalia. Operalia is an international opera competition that has rewarded, among others, bass-baritone Rolando Villazón and soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who later became Rolex testimonials.
The list of artists who have forged close ties with the Swiss manufacturer also includes mezzo-soprano and artistic director Cecilia Bartoli, tenors Juan Diego Flórez, Jonas Kaufmann, Sir Bryn Terfel and Benjamin Bernheim. Among the conductors, Gustavo Dudamel joins Sir Antonio Pappano, London-born but of clear Italian origin. Reviewing musicians and singers, the sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar, the classical pianists Yuja Wang and Hélène Grimaud, are contrasted by Michael Bublé, the ‘king of modern swing’ and at the top of the international hit parades.
But Rolex’s role does not stop with established individuals. The company is dedicated to the development of young people with the initiative Maestro e Allievo, established in 2002, which establishes an intellectual bridge between new talents and enlightened world-class artists, such as the conductor Sir Colin Davis, the composer Philip Glass, but also contemporary musicians Brian Eno, Gilberto Gil and Youssou N’Dour, putting them in close contact for a period of collaboration under the banner of maximum creative freedom. This is not an activity exclusively related to music, as many other disciplines are involved, including architecture, dance, film, literature, theatre and visual arts.
Fundamental from an institutional point of view and for determining the time with precision and refinement, Rolex places its name alongside musical entities of considerable importance. Since 2006, it has been the Exclusive Watch of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, an opera temple founded in 1776 where Rossini, Verdi, Puccini and Maestro Toscanini were at home, and which has seen Plácido Domingo and Cecilia Bartoli starring on stage. Travelling between continents, Rolex is a partner of the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Opéra National de Paris and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Among the artistic performances in which Rolex participates as a sponsor are the Salzburg Festival and the New Year’s Concert, the latter performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, of which Rolex has been an exclusive partner since 2008.
Always attentive to new developments and trends, Rolex has also invested in activities linked to the Internet explosion, as a founding partner of Opera Online, a website loved by melomaniacs, as well as becoming a partner in 2010 of medici.tv, the first and largest collection of classical music, opera and ballets at your fingertips.