Rolex Signs $1 Million Deal with OSU-Okmulgee

Officials from Rolex Watch U.S.A. have agreed to help educate a new generation of watchmakers at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology – Okmulgee.
With the $1 million, five-year commitment, signed at the OSU-Okmulgee campus this month, Rolex has become the exclusive underwriter of the university’s Watchmaking and Microtechnology program.
Rolex Watch U.S.A. Senior Vice President of Technical Operations Charles Berthiaume, and OSU Institute of Technology – Okmulgee President Dr. Bob Klabenes noted the ongoing relationship between the two organizations since the early 1990s.
“OSU Institute of Technology – Okmulgee has been educating watchmakers since the college opened in 1946,” said Berthiaume. “Rolex values the long-standing educational commitment they have made to the watchmaking profession in the U.S., and we look forward to developing a program here which provides the specialized technical skills needed to support the growing luxury watch market worldwide.”
Also signing the agreement were President of Oklahoma State University Burns Hargis, a representative from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Dr. Kermit McMurry, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute Executive Director Jim Lubic.
“It is a real pleasure for AWCI to work with a highly acclaimed watch company such as Rolex as well as a much respected watchmaking school such as OSU Institute of Technology – Okmulgee,” Lubic said. “AWCI is pleased that our industry-recognized certification will be the standard for the final exam. We look forward to working with Rolex to develop a state-of-the-art program.”
Klabenes said the decision by Rolex to become the exclusive industry financial underwriter of OSU Institute of Technology – Okmulgee’s Watchmaking program provides the university the opportunity to fulfill its long-standing goal of offering a true world-class program.
He said students, faculty and staff felt privileged and honored by Rolex’s decision to partner. “This is a significant step. Rolex Watch U.S.A. is the luxury watch brand most widely recognized and held in the highest esteem throughout the world.”
OSU-Okmulgee utilizes the AWCI CW21 course of study, designed specifically to develop the type of skilled craftsman needed to service high-grade watches. The culmination of the students’ studies will be AWCI’s industry-recognized Certified Watchmaker 21 exam.
Rolex has led the industry in providing funding for the training and education of skilled watchmakers since 2000 when it established a grant of $1 million over five years to North Seattle Community College in Washington, renewing the grant in 2005.
In 2001, Rolex established its own Lititz Watch Technicum, a not-for-profit foundation that has already graduated more than 50 watchmakers for the industry.
Additionally, in 2004, Rolex pledged a $1 million, five-year grant to support the Saint Paul College watchmaking program in Minnesota.
Rolex also operates the Tokyo Watch Technicum in Japan, as well as the Rolex Training Centre in Mumbai, India. ?

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