Rolex doubles down on its investment in the region by opening a stunning new HQ in the heart of Melbourne, as well as announcing a new watchmaking training program.
Australia, and Oceania more broadly, often get a bit overlooked by luxury watch brands… Which is perhaps not that surprising. As the world’s smallest and least populated continent (barring Antarctica, of course – but there ain’t many watches being sold there!) we’re a far-flung, rather small market.
That hasn’t stopped Rolex, however. The world’s biggest watch brand has just inaugurated its swanky new Oceania headquarters following an extensive redevelopment of the historic six-storey Centenary Hall building at 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne – a palatial new address that represents Rolex’s confidence and ongoing investment in the Oceanian watch landscape.
The refurbishment included the restoration of the building’s 1935 Art Deco façade and interior, such as its beautiful terrazzo foyer flooring and its decorative ballroom ceiling, all revived back to their original grandeur.
Inside, a state-of-the-art fit-out – designed by Rolex in collaboration with award-winning architecture firm Woods Bagot – features swathes of wood, golden touches and notes of Rolex green. At once both modern and traditional, it’s a tasteful way of maintaining Centenary Hall’s original aesthetic while adding some contemporary flair and vivacity.
What’s really cool is that the building houses two floors of custom watchmaking facilities and incorporates a new watchmaking training program, the first of its kind in Australia.
Centenary Hall’s inauguration comes off the back of Rolex opening their biggest boutique in the Southern Hemisphere in Sydney in 2021: a three-storey statement of a store on the corner of Pitt and Market Streets in the Harbour City’s CBD.
New boutiques are cool and all, but Rolex investing in a huge dedicated space for watchmaking as well as a new watchmaking training program is a win both for local Rolex customers as well as the local economy.
“The inauguration of Centenary Hall heralds a new era for the brand in Australia, which coincides with the strong expansion of Rolex in the region,” Rolex Australia Managing Director Benoit Falletti shares.
“It brings together, for the first time, administrative staff and watchmakers under one roof. The purpose-built environment reflects our commitment to the principles of architecture and design, and respects the history of this culturally important building, positioning our Oceania Headquarters alongside other architecturally significant Rolex buildings worldwide.”Benoit Falletti
Indeed, Centenary Hall is such a stunner that Rolex will be incorporating it into its exhibition at the 2023 La Biennale di Venezia’s International Architecture Exhibition – the first time an Australian Rolex location has been chosen for such an exhibition and a real milestone for the brand in Australia.
“Rolex has restored and reinvigorated this important historic building, preserving it for the future. It’s a wonderful gift back to the city of Melbourne and it demonstrates Rolex’s unceasing quest for excellence, and their focus on precision and quality,” Woods Bagot Architect Peter Miglis says.
Centenary Hall can be found at 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.