Rolex in the Media - Mercedes Gleitze

Updated: Feb 28

On October 7, 1927, English typist Mercedes Gleitze swam across the ice cold waters of the English Channel. However, the disbelief of cynics and naysayers drove her to prove them wrong as she attempted to swim across the English Channel a second time on October 21 in the same year. Wilsdorf, fascinated by her determination, made the masses aware of his new waterproof Rolex, a gold Oyster, by tying it around Mercedes’ neck the very night before she undertook the grueling challenge.


Unfortunately, Mercedes Gleitze did not reach the other side of the English Channel on her second attempt and had to be pulled out of the water due to a loss of consciousness, the Rolex gold Oyster still in full functionality despite being nearly completely submerged in frigid waters for ten long, demanding hours. Mercedes’ unfinished feat did not negatively affect Rolex’s well-earned popularity, however. In fact, on the front page of the London Daily Mail a little over a month after her courageous and outstanding attempt, an advertisement was published showing Mercedes Gleitze with the headline, “Rolex Introduces for the First Time the Greatest Triumph in Watch-making.” Other prominent articles at the time declared supplemental phrases to this great headline, including phrases such as Water Proof, Moisture Proof, Heat Proof, Vibration Proof, Cold Proof, and Dust Proof. Since the publicity received from Wilsdorf’s bold advertisement of the gold Oyster during Mercedes’ daring endeavor, the days of looking back for Rolex were over—instead, they had to look forward even further than ever before. Because the population adored the Rolex Oyster and its waterproof capabilities so much, they expected Rolex to continue its proud tradition of excellent performance and absolute precision with subsequent timepiece models.


The expectations of Rolex’s various customers did not go unnoticed or ignored. As years passed by and new Rolex models entered the markets of the world, the famous and prestige watchmaking company kept improving their timepieces until Rolex watches designed specifically for avid divers could withstand water depths exceeding 330 feet, a notable feat in the long history of timepieces everywhere. With each unique and esteemed model that makes its way to the markets of the world, Rolex continues to meet a high demand for high quality, precise, and dependable watches. Rolex has also continued to set and break records and meet challenges, always succeeding in meeting consumers’ expectations.




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in this content should be construed as an endorsement by Rolex. We

are not an Official Rolex Dealer, and if you are searching for a new

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dealer. We buy and sell pre-owned Rolexes only.