Hanz Wilsdorf and How Rolex Watch Came To Be

On March 22 in the year 1881, the man who created one of the most iconic watch brands was born in Kulmbach, Bavaria, Germany. His name was Hans Otto Wilhelm Wilsdorf, the founder of Montres Rolex S.A., the manufacturer of Rolex wrist watch.

Hanz Wilsdorf
Hanz Wilsdorf ()(Photo Credit: Wiki commons)

Hanz Wilsdorf was the son of a successful business couple who both passed away when he was only twelve years old. His uncles put him in boarding school where he excelled in English and math. When he left the school, he started working for a jewelry merchant. Later, he joined a Swiss watch manufacturer as a clerk assigned to answer correspondence from the English Empire and America. During his stint with the company, he became fascinated with the timepieces being produced.

In 1903, Hanz Wilsdorf settled in London and again, found work with a watch manufacturer. When the company went bankrupt in 1905, he founded his own company with the help of Alfred Davis. They named the firm Wilsdolf and Davis Ltd. As a visionary, Hanz insisted that their watches must be worn on wrist instead of just being pocketed. In 1908, the company registered the trademark Rolex which means nothing except that it is short, easy to remember and not prone to being misspelled. His relentless quest for reliability and accuracy earned the company a Swiss Certificate for chronometric precision in 1910.

In 1915, the company was renamed The Rolex Watch Company. Four years later, the company moved to Geneva, Switzerland in order to be near its suppliers and main distributors. In 1926, it made the Rolex watch water-proof and added the name Oyster. The following year, awareness of the brand soared after it was headlined around the world that Mercedes Glietz had worn the waterproof watch while she swam across the English Channel for the first time.

Hanz Wilsdorf died in 1960 at the age of 79. He was married to Florence Frances but the couple was childless.


By Unknown author – https://www.rolex.com/pl/about-rolex-watches.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85702506

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