I have heard that some feel that Aegler and Rolex are still two seperate companies (however I always thought Rolex swallowed them up some time ago) and a few anti Rolex feel that since this might be the case they shouldn't be considered truly "in house" ...however most sane people feel that Rolex movements are produced by Rolex.. Valijoux and Zenith were used in the past and Aegler was also used but as I said Aegler only supplied to Rolex and Gruen, Gruen went the way of the Dodo (now they are a revitalized brand making cheap quartz crap) and Aegler went into a deal with Rolex..eventually to be merged into Rolex making the two one...I would post more on it but I am lazy today
And too lazy for punctuations, sentences and paragraphs, hey Mathew?
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather did......not screaming & shouting like his passengers.
As always....my sentance structure was always a weakpoint in my writing
Learn something new every day.....
"Rolex Switzerland is made up of 2 completely different companies, Bienne (owned by the Aegler/Borer family trusts) who makes the movements and Geneva (owned by the Wilsdorf family trusts), which makes the cases & markets the watches. There is no common ownership relationship between the two companies, just a handshake.
As such Geneva owns the trademark; and all the worldwide distributors are either owned by Geneva or licensed by them."
So I guess that they are two "seperate" companies, yet they are both "Rolex"....
got that info from here:
Mathew, you're correct--Aegler was swallowed up by Rolex decades ago and the original Aegler factory is a Rolex building today. When Aegler was supplying movements to Rolex (for their Prince model) and to Gruen that was when Gruen was near the top of the heap (I'm lucky enough to own a Gruen "Doctor's Watch" which has the same movement as the illustrious Rolex Prince; the dial is also of the same construction and style of a Rolex Prince dial which leads me to believe the dials for Rolex Princes and Gruen Doctor's Watches were made side by side.)
"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."--William Blake
I beg to differ regarding the screw issue.
At the begining of the last century, the American watch companies used to make extremely large quantities of watches.
Of course they had truely developed the concept of mass production, and it flowed on to watch manufacturing.
The Swiss watch industry was fast losing market share because their watches were too expensive, and they eventually discovered that even the humble screws used in their movements were virtually hand built, and by extension, they were too expensive in comparison to how the Americans were going about it.
Apparently this was revealed during a fact finding mission to the Elgin works in America, by a representative of a Swiss manufacturer.
I think the story goes, that he was totally amazed at the sight of steel wire being fed off a roll, into one end of a single large machine, with multitudes of completed screws emerging out the other end, to fall into a bin.
Obviously after the penny dropped, they modified their manufacturing techniques in order to compete.
The rest is history.
Perhapse this was the first period in the history of the watch making industry, that the Swiss were doing it tough, and survived the onslaught of a technological revolution.
The next well known period was the Quartz revolution, and as we know Rolex survived at the end, to emerge at the top of the heap on the list of "inhouse" mass producers:)
I don't believe that anything would've changed regarding their screws since those times, because it would most likely be impractical for a specialist screw manufacturer, to tool up with smaller machinery in order to make super small screws which are used in relatively low volumes in watch movements.
One possible exception where they (Rolex) could outsource screws from, "may" be a well known Japanese company, which Rolex are aleged to be outsourcing Brass gear wheels from.
As far as the S/S Rolex uses is concerned, my understanding is that they virtually commission entire mill runs of 904L plate in different thicknesses, which Rolex fashions to their own requirements inhouse.
It's possible that 904L is only made by one company in the world, due to the fact that there is limited use in industry for such material. Rolex can order by the mill run, because they may be one of the biggest consumers of that particular grade of S/S in the world.
When you think about it, it's would be a clever way to buy, because they could get it at the right price due to sheer volume. Then market on the basis of it being a virtue of their product, whilst allowing potentially informed consumers, to believe that the S/S they use, is somehow vastly more expensive than it really is. (Beautiful)
Of course, if we were to approach a supplier in order to purchase some of the stuff ourselves. It would cost a small fortune.
There is another company which supplies components the watchmaking industry, that specializes in making Rubies, and apparently they also make Saphire Crystals. (I understand, Rubies and Saphire crystals are chemically the same.)
Whether they are raw materials, semi-finished or completed items, is at the time of writting, undetermined.
All food for thought:)