Rolex is a relatively young watch manufacturer that was founded in 1905 by two Germans, Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis. In the beginning, the company was called Wilsdorf & Davis, not Rolex. Hans and Alfred were not watchmakers, so they imported Swiss movements to England and mount... read more.
Rolex is a relatively young watch manufacturer that was founded in 1905 by two Germans, Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis. In the beginning, the company was called Wilsdorf & Davis, not Rolex. Hans and Alfred were not watchmakers, so they imported Swiss movements to England and mounted them in quality cases. These wristwatches were then sold to jewellers, who put their own names on the dials.
In 1900, Hans Wilsdorf registered the name Rolex in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. The word Rolex was made up and its origin is unknown. One story says that the name Rolex was derived from the French phrase horlogerie exquise, which means exquisite clockwork. Another story says that the name Rolex was chosen because it communicates a strong sense of business acumen in English.
Wilsdorf & Davis moved from England in 1912 because of high export taxes on raw material. Since 1912, the company has had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The name Rolex was registered in 1915. It is believed that the registering of a new company name was an attempt to increase interest in wristwatches, which at that time were seen as womens jewellery. At that time, men still preferred pocket watches.
The company started by Wilsdorf and Davis officially changed its name to the Rolex Watch Company in 1919. Later, the name was changed to Montres Rolex SA and then changed to its current name Rolex SA. Rolex SA is owned by a private trust and shares are not traded on any stock market.
Rolex has had a great influence on the watch market and was the first manufacturer to make waterproof watches, to place the date on the watchs dial and to produce a watch that showed the time in two different time zones. Rolex was also the first manufacturer to earn chronometer certification for a wristwatch. To this day, Rolex holds the record for the most certified chronometer movements in the category of wristwatches. Rolex participated in the development of the original quartz watch movements. Despite this, Rolex has very few quartz models in its collections.
Rolex produced its first self-winding watch in 1931, which was powered by an internal mechanism that used the movement of the wearer's arm. Rolex is known for its waterproof watches and Hans Wilsdorf even had a specially made Rolex watch attached to the side of the Trieste bathyscaphe, which went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an 11 000-meter dive. The watch performed perfectly during and after the descent. Rolex watches are very popular and are used by people who enjoy extreme sports such as deep sea diving, skydiving and mountain climbing. In 2003, Rolex celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Submariner series by producing a special anniversary model (16610 LV) with a green bezel and a Maxi dial.