Hans Wilsdorf: The man who created the perfect time-teller

Rolex, a name synonymous with luxury, is a historical watchmaker that has conquered both land and sea. It’s a name familiar to everyone and is associated with precision, excellence and innovation. So what’s the history of Rolex, a 108 year old watch brand that conquered the world.

Rolex, name synonymous with luxury is a historical watchmaker that has conquered both land and sea. It’s a name familiar to everyone and is associated with precision, excellence and innovation. So what’s the history of Rolex, a 108 year old watch brand that conquered the world.

Mr. Hans Wilsdorf, founder of the Rolex Watch Company was born in Switzerland on 22nd March, 1881. At the age of 19, Hans started working as an English correspondent with Messrs. The firm was an exporter of watches and this is how Hans was introduced to the watchmaking business. By 1903 he had settled in London working for another watch making firm. After gaining experience from this and his previous employment and growing his self confidence he set about to established his own firm. With financial help from his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, the “Wilsdorf and Davis” company was founded.

Initially the company restricted itself from crafting pocket watches as it was a common notion that wrist watches were not masculine enough and fitting the different watch mechanisms into a case that small is near to impossible. The second issue was that the case needed to be impenetrable. Dust moisture, sweat all of which are well exposed on the wrist caused a bit problem for the users.

Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis were adamant on finding a solution for the same. Over the years the brand dedicated all their resources and knowledge into crafting the perfect time teller.

As the legend goes, Hans Wilsdorf wanted his watch company to bear a name that was short, easy to say and remember in any language, and which looked good on watch movements and dials. He combined the letters in many ways to make a good sounding brand name but nothing clicked.

On being asked what finally led to the name he said ” at the end one morning, while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.”

Through the years Rolex has become iconic with my prestigious names endorsing it. It was the world's first waterproof watch in 1926.

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were wearing Rolex watches when they conquered the Everest thus proving the strength and precision of each Rolex time teller. In fact, the creator of the famous James Bond series, Ian Fleming was a die-hard Rolex fan.