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The history of Rolex

Rolex was founded in 1902 by Hans Wilsdorf together with his brother-in-law Alfred Davis under the name Wilsdorf and Davis. The company was set in London and started by importing Hermann Aegler's watch innards, to then put them into high quality casings and distribute these to various companies who put their name on them and resold them. Some of the earlyest watches still have a W&D stamp on the inside of the case referring to Wilsdorf and Davis.

In 1908 the name Wilsdorf and Davis was officially changed to Rolex. Around this time they also opened their first office in Switzerland. The idea behind the name Rolex was that it was easy to pronounce so everyone around the word could say the name. He also felt that the name Rolex sounded very much like winding a watch.

Award winning

In 1910, one Rolex watch became the first watch to have won an award for  Independently ratified certificate of chronometric performance. This meant that the watch was inspected with a unanimous opinion from the company and that it was only about the watch and not about the company. This test was held in the town of Bienne in Switzerland near maison Aegler.

In 1914 Rolex received another award issued only for watches that have marine chronometers. This was the very first watch in England to achieve this award. With winning this award the company Rolex became one of the most respected brands in the world.

Although Hans had already achieved so much he was not satisfied yet. Since starting the company in 1905, he had a clear goal to get the watch owner through their adventures without the watch giving up on them. Although the watch was capable of going under water, Wilsdorf wanted the watches to be able to go through all conditions without sustaining damage.

Moving to Geneva

In 1919 taxes became so high that the decision to relocate was easily made. And so he left England and moved to Geneva. Not only did he evade taxes he also moved closer to his supplier. This meant that he could buy the supplies way cheaper because he did not have to count for shipping costs. 

Wilsdorf has been making watches for 21 years before making the Rolex Oyster in 1926. This release put the company on an upwards flow because of the complete waterproof design. This had never been done before and was truly a breakthrough moment for the watch industry. Not only was it waterproof it also had a great aesthetic. The combination of good function and beautiful aesthetic made this one of the most important watches for Rolex to date.

Five years later, Wilsdorf created another watch that completely blew away the market. This watch was able to wind itself without any help. Combined with its water and dust resistance, this made it one of the most unique watches on the market at the time. In 50 years Rolex has made numerous watches all with different models and stories behind them.

Hans Wilsdorf Foundation & Innovations

In 1944, Hans Wilsdorf created the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation after the death of his wife. All the company's shares were given to this foundation with the idea that a little of this income would go to a good cause.

Rolex has been in the watch industry for many years and has created several unique timepieces. Some of which have made a truly unique breach such as: 

- 1910 the very first watch to achieve a Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision.

- 1926 The very first waterproof watch.

- 1945 the first watch that had automatic date inside of the watch

- 1954 the first watch that could show 2 different time zones at once

- 1956 the first watch that not only showed the time but also the date

- 2012 the first watch to have a command bezel so you could use it in different ways.