Rolex TrainingA Culture of Training and Mentorship
Published in June 2020Time to read: 2min 14s
Highly qualified employees are essential to create and manufacture quality watches. That is why at Rolex, learning and passing on knowledge are a priority. In 2018, the company opened its Training Centre in Geneva – the culmination of more than 30 years’ commitment to training.
Mastering skills, acquiring and sharing knowledge, along with the continuous quest for perfection are key aspects of training at Rolex. For several decades, the company has been creating training programmes and methods to suit its various professions and support its employees’ career development. From initial training to continuing on-the-job tuition and specialist courses, a considerable range of resources are available. They enable the brand to pass on its carefully curated heritage of skills, practices and Rolex-specific knowledge.
Rolex’s investment in training – which goes beyond the scope of watchmaking and benefits all sectors – has three objectives: to ensure progress, allow skills to be developed within the company, and pass on the company’s unique culture. Rolex offers the same training opportunities to all its employees, whether they are based in Geneva, home to the brand’s world headquarters and three production sites, or in Bienne, where the movements are made.
In 1984, Rolex was the first company in Geneva to take on watchmaking apprentices. Since then, it has trained hundreds of people of different ages and backgrounds. Apprentices are selected following a rigorous recruitment process that evaluates their intellectual and manual abilities, as well as their soft skills. Today, more than 170 teenagers and young adults are part of an apprenticeship programme at Rolex, learning one of 15 possible trades, in either Geneva or Bienne.
In 1984, Rolex was the first company in Geneva to take on watchmaking apprentices.
The training of these future professionals combines periods of practical training within the company and theoretical classes in a vocational college each week – in line with the legal framework governing apprenticeships, which are very popular in Switzerland. The importance Rolex places on this “dual” education system and its evolution has led the brand to become actively involved with relevant official governing bodies.
A Facility Set for the Future
In order to provide apprentices and employees with the best training conditions, the brand opened the Rolex Training Centre in September 2018. Located in Geneva, the facility centralizes Rolex’s key training expertise. Designed as a place of interaction and exchange with an open and versatile layout, the Training Centre encourages different generations to come together to optimize the transmission of knowledge and development of skills. The centre is resolutely focused on the future; thanks to its monitoring activities, it is able to constantly incorporate evolutions in the teaching, technological, sociological, organizational and legislative sectors. With a contemporary design reflected in the interior furnishings, the centre is composed of some 20 spaces spread over 4,300 square metres and is equipped with cutting-edge educational tools.
The Rolex Training Centre provides, on an ongoing basis, courses dedicated to apprentices and continuing training modules that teach employees about the company’s history, culture and values, as well as its watches. The centre also dispenses all other Rolex training programmes available to employees over the course of their careers, from the acquisition and development of technical expertise to management skills. Internships are also offered to students in higher education. Each year, around 100 apprentices, 100 interns and almost 3,000 employees from the three sites in Geneva benefit from the services offered by the Training Centre.
The human at the heart of the company
Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, recognized the importance of surrounding oneself with highly qualified employees. He was also convinced that their well-being would directly contribute to the success of the company. This open-mindedness and ability to place the person at the heart of the business still play an intrinsic role in Rolex’s company culture to this day. The brand’s tangible, significant commitment to training and the integration of the next generation into the professional world are testimony to this concept.