Rolex and Inspiring Women
Every woman who wears a Rolex has an inspiring story. Leading the way are Rolex Testimonees, pioneering spirits whose achievements have often created history, setting new standards of performance. The Rolex they proudly wear is an emblem of those who meet challenges head-on with courage, passion and an unwavering quest for excellence.
THE FIRST ROLEX STANDARD-BEARER
Women have been at the heart of Rolex’s success since the company first opened its doors. When Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf created the accurate, reliable and robust wristwatch to suit the active lifestyles of the 20th century, he set out to design the modern timepiece for both genders. The swimmer Mercedes Gleitze typified his recognition of pioneering women. She effectively became the first Rolex Testimonee in 1927 when she swam the English Channel wearing the new Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch and a foundation stone for Rolex’s success.
In honour of her courageous sporting achievement, she was chosen as the public standard-bearer for the Oyster watch and became the first in a long line of talented Testimonees in the arts, exploration and sports. They uphold the brand’s values, combining excellence and elegance in their endeavour.
Golfers Annika Sörenstam and Lydia Ko are exceptional individuals who have each become a reference for outstanding skill. Each in her own way exemplifies the remarkable qualities that define Rolex Testimonees.
When Lydia Ko turned 20 in April 2017, her achievements were already groundbreaking. In 2015 she became the youngest World No. 1 in men’s or women’s golf, taking the top ranking aged 17 years and nine months. She then became the youngest winner of a Major, at The Evian Championship, and was the youngest Rolex Player of the Year. Ko claimed back-to-back Majors in winning the 2016 ANA Inspiration, a victory that paved the way for her to finish the year as the recipient of the prestigious Rolex ANNIKA Major Award.
“People say I have too much fun. Golf is known to be quite serious. It’s a big goal of mine to keep having fun and be positive,” an attitude that has most certainly helped keep this accomplished Rolex Testimonee at the top of her game. “I stay focused on the shot when I’m about to hit it, but outside of that I’m trying to enjoy it the most I can.”
Acclaimed as the best female golfer of all-time, legendary Swedish sportswoman Annika Sörenstam has rewritten the record books, winning countless awards and changing the way women’s golf was played. Her 16-year, Hall-of-Fame career took root in her childhood love of sports and her talent for golf, nurtured by her parents when she was 12. Among her many achievements were 89 career victories, 72 LPGA Tour titles and 10 Major championships. Painfully shy as a child, Sörenstam confidence grew in tandem with her success on the course.
“In 1995 I was Rookie of the Year. First of all, I didn’t know if I was ever going to win a single golf tournament, so I didn’t really picture myself with any quality sponsors. And all of a sudden, Rolex and I built up a friendship and a partnership. Obviously, to be picked up by somebody of that calibre gave me a confidence boost, and I am still to this day very proud to be an ambassador. For me personally, it was like, ‘Wow, this is validation.’”
Sörenstam stepped away from professional, competitive golf at the end of 2008 and since then has pursued a variety of businesses as well as philanthropic interests. Created in 2007, the ANNIKA Foundation teaches children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offers aspiring junior golfer opportunities to pursue their dreams. Hailed in 2015 as the Top Swedish Female Athlete of All-Time, Annika has made a habit of excellence, inspiring and helping others.
These Rolex Testimonees are changing the world, and the way the world sees women. They share a pioneering spirit, achieving greatness through dedication and a commitment to excel. Their courage and perseverance are an example to all, inspiring both men and women of all generations to greatness.
In honour of Mercedes Gleitz’s courageous sporting achievement, she was chosen as the public standardbearer for the Oyster watch and became the first in a long line of talented Testimonees