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The History of Rolex (Part 1)

21st May 2020

Rolex is probably the most renowned luxury watch brand in the world. When most people think of high-end, they think of Rolex. It is with good reason that the name is undoubtedly linked to the visionary spirit of a young 24 year old man named Hans Wilsdorf. In 1905, he founded a company in London that specialized in the distribution of timepieces. He had dreams of watches that would be worn on the wrist. At that time, wristwatches were not very popular nor accurate, but Hans Wilsdorf envisioned that not only could they become elegant, but also reliable.

To win over the opinion of the general public, he equipped them with a very precise movement that were manufactured by a Swiss watchmaking company in Bienne.

ROLEX the name, came to Hans Wilsdorf after almost combining every letter in the alphabet in all possible ways. After hundreds of ideas, it came to him one morning while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus in the city of London.

Rolex moved to a city called Geneva, which was internationally renowned for watchmaking. Montres Rolex S.A. was registered there in 1920.

Within just a few decades, his new brand, a new name, had become one of the world's most respected brands in the space of timepieces. The beginnings of his endeavors faced insurmountable opposition at first, but his invaluable qualities such as his vision, hope for the future, perseverance and an extraordinary work ethic brought him and his brand to immeasurable heights. Hans Wilsdorf went on to invent the first waterproof self-winding wrist watch in the world that had a perpetual rotor, which is not the benchmark for quality and prestige in the luxury watch world.

The Oyster
The wristwatch was met with skepticism at first such as "too complicated, too fragile, too ill-adapted". With determination, he managed to achieve a bold statement in establishing Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual watch, which was the archetype of the waterproof timepiece, precise in its movement, robust and withstanding all conditions.

Rolex now is a host to a variety of professions that dictate the skills and knowledge required to make a timepiece worth its weight for specialists and connoisseurs alike. Watchmakers, engineers, designers and many other specialists work closely to design and manufacture each watch. The culture of the company is derived from hard work and human values, which place importance on expertise and skills at the heart of the brand's different activities required to make a perfect product.

Hans Wilsdorf believed firmly in the pursuit of excellence and a person's ability to innovate. More than 100 years after his creation of Rolex, the founder's philosophy is ever present to this day.

This is just a tidbit of the greatness of Rolex and its beginnings to a glimpse of its present day. In the next article, we will detail just how much Rolex has been improving over the decades in order to stay on top of the game and continue to dole out the quality they have always been known for.