The company that eventually would become Rolex was founded by Hans Wilhelm Wilsdorf and Alfred James Davis. Between them they created a company called Wilsdorf and Davis Ltd in 1905.
Born on March 22,1881. Wilsdorf’s job as a correspondence writer with the watch exporter Cuno Korten of Geneva, Switzerland gave him direct exposure to the international watch industry.
He became focused intensely on Horology-the study of creating timepieces.
His initial work was so successful he was able to make three watches that passed rigorous accuracy testing.
After such initial success, he decided to start his own watch company.
His English partner Alfred Davis would later marry his younger sister, turning the business into a family affair.
Wilsdorf and Davis Ltd was registered as “Rolex” in Switzerland in 1908 and later in London in 1912.
The name “Rolex” was chosen because it was clear, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce in multiple languages.
On Nov 15, 1915 Wilsdorf and Davis Ltd officially was renamed “The Rolex Watch Company Ltd.”
The company’s name was later modified to Montres Rolex, SA and finally became the company we know today as Rolex, SA.
Today, Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand, producing about 2,000 watches per day, with estimated revenues of around US$3 billion.
In December 2008 the abrupt departure of Chief Executive Patrick Heiniger, for “personal reasons”, was followed by a denial by the company that it had lost SwFr1 billion (approx £574 million, $900 million) invested with Bernard Madoff, the American asset manager who pleaded guilty to an approximately £30 billion worldwide Ponzi scheme fraud.