Timing's perfect for Rolex

DAVE DORMER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

The timing couldn't be better for the newest addition to the International Ring. After bringing its high-quality clocks to The Masters for nearly 20 years, Rolex decided this year to make Spruce Meadows a permanent home for three of its time pieces.

"That's a big commitment and investment because of the way they also support them," said Ian Allison, vice-president of the facility's media services.

"From a Spruce Meadows perspective, I think if you watch the British Open in golf or the U.S. Open in tennis, major sporting events in the world have the Rolex clocks as permanent fixtures.

"There's a certain cachet to it."

Rolex Canada CEO Victor Royce says the fact the Masters is the highest-profile event in the sport of show-jumping every year made the decision an easy one, as it will give his company huge exposure.

"It's a big deal in a sense for us," Royce said.

"The deal in the past was that we brought the clocks in from the U.S. because they would either be at one of the PGA golf tournaments or an event that was taking place, and we'd do a little detour to Calgary and spend 10 days or two weeks.

"But as our relationship with Spruce Meadows has grown closer over the years, we have become -- shall we say -- very much a part of the Spruce Meadows family.

"So we decided having clocks permanently on-site here would enable us to actually have our clock in place not only for the Masters but also for two other significant tournaments, the Canadian National Championship and the North American in July."

Rolex is associated with quality, and Royce says he sees Spruce Meadows in the same light.

"Certainly, Spruce Meadows for me is one of the highlights of our sponsorship programs on the year," Royce said.

"Spruce Meadows for us is what I would call one of the key elements.

"It has everything," Royce continued. "The event itself is at the highest level, the riders are the cream of the crop from all over the world and the television coverage -- and I'm not only talking in Canada but the worldwide television coverage is wonderful branding for our product -- and, as long as there is a Spruce Meadows I think Rolex would want to maintain its association."

Getting permanent clocks is the second coup of sorts for Spruce Meadows, as the timepiece sitting on top of the International Ring's clock tower is actually the second biggest Rolex in the world.

"It's certainly the biggest in North America, and putting that up was quite an undertaking," Royce said.

A team of three specially trained Rolex personnel have been at Spruce Meadows throughout the week, moving the in-ring clocks each time the course is changed, which Royce says has allowed them to gauge what will be needed in the future.

"We're trying to ascertain exactly what our manpower is going to be to continue this at two additional events," Royce said.

"We've got to have our people here to monitor them to make sure everything is functioning properly.

"We don't want clocks not on the right time, so we want to make sure that everything is exactly the way it should be."

DAVE.DORMER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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