In 1905, Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law Hans Wilsdorf, founded a company in London that would later come to be known as Rolex S.A. At the time, their primary business was importing Swiss movements created by Hermann Aegler to England and fitting them into watch cases produced by Dennison and other manufacturers. This allowed them to offer high-quality, precision timepieces to the English market and laid the foundation for the success of their future endeavours.
Many jewellers sold these early wristwatches, often rebranding them. The first watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were marked “W&D” on the case back.
In 1908, Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex”, which eventually became the brand name for watches produced by Wilsdorf and Davis. He established an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Wilsdorf aimed to choose a brand name that could be easily pronounced in any language and that was short enough to fit on the watch face. He also though the name Rolex was onomatopoeic, resembling the sound of a winding watch.
In 1908, when Hans Wilsdorf coined the term Rolex, he not only created a new brand but also presented his distinct vision of watchmaking. Since then, Rolex has relentlessly pursued excellence in their craft, staying true to Wilsdorf’s original vision.
From the beginning, the brand incorporated all expertise into manufacturing to maintain autonomy and integrity.
Hans Wilsdorf’s visionary breakthrough in watchmaking resulted in the iconic creation of the Rolex watches brand. With his innovation, he introduced a new kind of timepiece that was always in motion, capable of meeting the challenges of a fast-changing world. The brand’s commitment to constant innovation is evident in its signature features such as the “Oyster”, “Perpetual”, and “Superlative Chronometer”, which are synonymous with unmatched quality and precision that have come to define the Rolex brand.