Rolex for the rich and tudor for the man in the street

In 1908 Hans Wilsdorf Founded Rolex, The world’s largest luxury watch brand and also the brand that has been exposed to counterfeit copies with the greatest intensity. – Everyone who has been on holiday and wandered around in “less regulated” marketplaces has been offered a Rolex with the argument “same, same but different” special price just for you.

Rolex is the world’s largest luxury watch brand. Hans Wildsdorf wanted to appeal to everyone and therefore produced Rolex for the rich and Tudor for the man in the street. Rolex invented, among other things, the world’s first waterproof watch in 1926 (Rolex Oyster) and the first watch that could automatically change day and date in 1956 (Rolex Day-Date)

Rolex makes 2,000 watches every day, with earnings of around US $ 3.5 billion
Bloomberg Business Week magazine ranks Rolex No. 71 on its annual list of the world’s most valuable brands, at the top of all watchmakers.

In 1905, Hans Wildorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis started the company “Wilsdorf and Davis” in London.

They started by importing timepieces from Swiss Hermann Aegler, and assembling these into English-made watch cases. The watches were sold to watchmakers and jewelers who put their own name on the dial. The earliest watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were most often marked “W&D” under the back cover of the watch.

In 1908, Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” and opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The name Rolex is a contrived word, and the background is unclear. Wilsdorf wanted a name that was easy to pronounce in all languages, and a story says that the name comes from the French term horlogerie exquise (exclusive movement).

Wilsdorf never confirmed this theory. Another theory is that the word was meant to mimic the sound of a bell being rung. The book The Best of Time: Rolex Wrist Watches (J.Hess / J. Dowling) claims that the name was just invented without any further background, while the book A Movement in Time with Breitling & Rolex (Mark A Cooper) states that the name did not come from Wilsdof, but from partner Alfred Davis.

In 1919, Wilsdorf moved the company to Geneva, where it was established as the Rolex Watch Company. The name was later changed to Montres Rolex, SA, and eventually Rolex, SA. The company moved from the UK, due to taxes and export duties on precious metals used for the watch cases (gold and silver) driving up costs.

Wilsdorf’s wife died in 1944, and he then established The Hans Wildorf Foundation, and transferred all his shares to it. He then decided that the income from these shares would go to charity. The rest of the company’s shares are privately owned, and are not traded on any stock exchange.


Diving watch Rolex Submariner Date
Among the company’s innovations is the first waterproof case; the first wristwatch with a date on the dial; the first wristwatch with two time zones; as well as the first wristwatch certified as a chronometer. Rolex currently holds the record for most chronometer-certified wristwatches.

Rolex participated in the development of the first quartz movements. Although Rolex made very few quartz models (for example, Rolex Oysterquartz), the company’s engineers were involved in the design and implementation of the technology in the 60s and 70s. In 1968, Rolex participated in a consortium of 16 Swiss watchmakers, who designed the Beta 21 movement, which Rolex used in the Quartz Date 5100.

Rolex is the wristwatch that has been deepest below sea level. It happened when a special model of Rolex Deepsea was attached to the outside of the baty cupboard Trieste and joined Jacques Piccard down into the Marianen pit, where the maximum depth is 11,034 meters.

Rolex Submariner is the watch in the world that is most copied in cheap imitations.

All Rolex watches are certified as chronometers. Rolex comes mostly with mechanical timepieces, but has had some quartz watches. The most popular models are the Oyster series, which has the most models with mechanical self-winding movements.

Among the most famous models are:

  • Rolex Datejust
  • Rolex Daytona
  • Rolex Day-Date
  • Rolex Explorer II
  • Rolex GMT-Master II
  • Rolex Milgauss
  • Rolex Oysterquartz
  • Rolex Sea Dweller
  • Rolex Submariner
  • Rolex Yacht-Master
  • Rolex Yacht-Master II