The new Rolex website is live

Over a year ago, we started on a brave new project: bring a whole new experience to the Rolex brand.

It’s been a tough year. Countless designs. Several prototypes. A lot of lost sleep. (Not to mention some martial discord as a result of working too much.)

I offer you the brand new and improved Rolex.com website.

But today has come. It’s been a long ride, and I think it’s been worth it. It’s a new kind of website. It’s not Flash, not HTML. It’s a hybrid. It’s search-engine compatible. It’s modular. It’s content management-driven. It’s flexible and componentized. It’s engaging, enveloping. And it’s not done.

With luck, it’ll never be done. We’ll always be expanding content and improving its abilities and performance. (Additional languages will be launching in a couple of months.) This is the culmination of years of technique and technological development. It’s definitely the high point of my career, and I’m struggling to know what the heck I’m gonna do for an encore.

To say I’m proud of the work done really belies the respect I have for the team that’s worked on it. Everyone has put in so much effort, passion, thought, and concern that we’ve produced not so much a website than a true work of love. It’s something we hope you’ll love, too.

It wasn’t an easy launch, though. At least not as easy as I would have liked. The code? Fine. The servers? Configured and secured? The DNS? Ay, there’s the rub.

So picture this: 60+ people all wedged around my desk. On my screen, the UI to the DNS to update the Rolex.com domain. The client, Cyril, clicked the “Next” button … and nothing happened. The DNS updated, but nothing was coming through. Sixty people, all staring at me, wondering where the heck the site is.

I love pressure.

After a few moments, I began to realize that the UI to the DNS that reported a 5 second update wasn’t in fact updating and there were 60 people ready to party without an actual launch. I started to go through the motions of calling the DNS vendor to get an answer. I talked to a wonderful switchboard operator who told me that no-one’s in the office yet.

Ugh.

As I was about to try and call the 24 tech support line, a cry erupted from near my desk — actual traffic. The DNS was switching.

Over the course of mere moments, it was truth. It was live. The world had seen our work. And the rest of the world can see our work.

Hope you like it!

6 Replies to “The new Rolex website is live”

  1. (Thanks for adding comments back in, Geoff)

    I was just telling Allard that seeing the site go live gave me the same feeling as in 2002 (?) when the Canada Men’s hockey team beat the USA. There was a shared sense of pride/relief/joy in being a very remote part of it, even though I didn’t contribute anything.

    All those late nights, weekends spent in the office, Tim eating cat food… the site is fantastic! Congratulations, to you and everyone.

  2. My friends and I were just bitching about the new Rolex site – such a shame you did this. It may load quickly on an American T1, but when we’re overseas (Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok) it loads shit-slow. It’s not a very good site, it’s not what Rolex should have. I hope they throw you out for the next round.

  3. Needless to say, this is disappointing to hear. Mostly because we did take a lot of consideration to ensure that the website would perform well outside of North America.

    That said, I’m a little confused, since we regularly monitor connections in Asian cities, and don’t see slow reaction times. Looking at our monitoring right now, I’m seeing the following times:

    • Shanghai: 0.841
    • Tokyo: 0.245
    • Mumbai: 0.126
    • Sydney: 0.226
    • Hong Kong: 0.384

    I’m unable to monitor from Bangkok or Singapore, though. Hopefully we’ll have one there soon.

    Compare these with North American and European times:

    • Frankfurt: 0.289
    • London: 0.135
    • Los Angeles: 0.159
    • New York: 0.116
    • Geneva: 0.154

    So it’s a little slower, but not insanely so. China is bad for us right now, but we’re working on better performance within the Chinese national network.

    If you’re interested, we’d love to hear more from you about your performance. Perhaps you could help us uncover something we’d not previously considered that would improve your experience?

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