Rolex, initially known as Wilsdorf and Davis, was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis in England. By that time wrist watches didn’t have much recognition for various reasons, and people weren’t much interested in wristwatches. Pocket watches were much popular at that time. So initially, Wilsdorf and Davis imported parts for pocket watches from Switzerland and assembled them in England.
But as Hans was so fascinated by the idea of wristwatches, he was so eager to manufacture them, but the major challenge he faced at that time was that there wasn’t a good market for wristwatches. What Hans did was he manufactured a wristwatch for himself and began self-marketing it. He wore his wristwatch in public and started to impress people around him with how fast he could check the time; slowly, the community found Hans’s idea of wristwatches attractive.
As a result, in 1905, W&D released their first wristwatch to the market. It was very successful, and after that, W&D released their second model to the market in 1906. Soon their sales started proliferating, and the company’s name was changed to “Rolex”.
Rolex brand became even more popular during World War 1. As soldiers needed to know the time on the battlefield precisely and quickly, they found wrist watches more efficient than pocket watches. After the war, due to the dire economic situation in England, Hans moved their company to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1920.
In 1926 Rolex launched their first innovative model, known as “The Oyster” it was the world’s first waterproof and dustproof watch. Rolex proved the durability and efficiency of their watches to their customers by taking extraordinary measures such as making a swimmer swim across the English channel with the watch on her wrist, flying over mount Everest on a plane with the watch on and even having it on the wrist of a racing car driver who drove his car at a speed of 300mph.
After that, in 1945, they launched their first Auto-winding chronograph named “Datejust”. In the early 1950s, Rolex was more interested in creating professional watches for various professions such as diving, aviation, mountain climbing and scientific research. For instance, in 1953, they launched their legendary “The Submariner” watch for divers and also found a watch for airline pilots named “The GMT Master”, which was able to tell the time of two time zones. In 1960 Rolex tested a watch called “The Deep Sea Special”, which was taken to the Mariana Trench.
Rolex was the first company to manufacture watches using their own steel named 904L, which is considered strong and comparatively durable. After that, Rolex kept launching various kinds of watches, and they kept improving day by day using their own technology. At present, Rolex is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, and Rolex remains a legacy in today’s watch market.