Rolex has had a long, mutually rewarding relationship with the EPFL, the world-leading Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.
If there is a symbol of the deep links between Rolex and EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Lausanne, Switzerland, it is the Rolex Learning Center. With its architectural eloquence defined by flowing curves, this iconic building, which opened in 2010, aptly expresses the essence of a library and forum for intellectual exchange.
Designed for EPFL by the Pritzker Prize-winning duo Kazuyo Sejima and Nyue Nishizawa, co-founders of the Japanese architectural firm SANAA, it is a model for the truly open environment essential to advancing science and education.
Half of the Rolex Learning Center was financed by private funding. Not hesitating to respond to EPFL’s invitation to contribute, Rolex became the principal patron. Several factors underlay this decision.
In the 1970s, Rolex fundamentally changed its approach to research and development and began to engage scientists in addition to traditional watchmakers, mechanics and engineers. The company turned naturally to EPFL for its recruitment, due to the institute’s international reputation for the high standards of its science and technology education and research at the forefront of science and engineering. It also had values based on quality, excellence and technical expertise, principles shared by Rolex in the development and manufacture of its watches.
Many engineers who work at Rolex are graduates of EPFL in physics, mechanical engineering, materials science, microtechnology and information technology. In view of the quality of EPFL’s analytical equipment, Rolex has also entrusted a number of projects to its research departments; in addition the company supports doctoral students in applied science research.
The links between Rolex and EPFL continue to strengthen. In November 2016, the university opened ArtLab, which is dedicated to an examination of the intersection between science and the arts. Rolex has sponsored an exhibition space in the building that was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
EPFL collaborates with a large network of partners including those engaged with industry and the economy, with the aim of having a positive impact on the future. It is a vision of advancing human knowledge that Rolex and EPFL share.