Rolex Founder Hans Wilsdorf (1881-1960)
The Rolex odyssey began in 1905 as Wilsdorf & Davis, a company that started out making pocket watches and folding watches called travel clocks.
German watchmaker, Hans Wilsdorf founded Wilsdorf & Davis at 24 with his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis. His objective was to make quality timepieces at affordable prices.
Three years after Wilsdorf & Davis was formed, Wilsdorf trademarked the name Rolex, which later became the company's official name.
When Hans Wilsdorf came up with the brand name Rolex, he wanted a name that was not only memorable, but easy to pronounce and spell.
Hans Wilsdorf ran and owned Rolex until he died in Geneva on July 6, 1960. His will left Rolex as a not-for-profit foundation.
Wilsdorf wanted Rolex to be a symbol or achievement, not a status symbol.
ROLEX Historical Milestones.
1905 - Hans Wilsdorf established London firm that specialized in watch distribution named Wilsdorf & Davis.
1908 - Wilsdorf created new brand name: Rolex.
1910 - Rolex started to give official chronometer certification in Switzerland.
1914 - The Kew Observatory in Great Britain awarded to Rolex wristwatch a CLASS A precision certificate.
1920 – Montres Rolex S.A. is established in Bienne, Switzerland.
1926 - Rolex developed and patented the Oyster: as the first air, dust and waterproof watch.
1927 - Rolex Oyster crossed English Channel unscathed.
1931 – Year of Birth for Perpetual Rotor: Self-winding mechanism that could be found in every modern automatic watch.
1944 – Upon the death of Hans Wilsdorf's wife, Hans establishes the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in which he left all of his shares in Rolex.
1945 - Oyster Date model was invented. This was a first watch that automatically displayed the date.
1946 – Tudor subsidiary is established.
1947 – Chuck Yeager is the first man to break the sound barrier and he is wearing his Rolex.
1953 - Rolex created the Submariner which was a watch for specifically dedicated to divers.
1953 – Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first men to stand on the summit on Mt. Everest wearing Rolex Explorers on May, 29 at 11:30 a.m.
1954 - Oyster Perpetual Lady-date Created.
1955 - Oyster GMT Master was developed for Pan American International Airlines to make it possible to easily keep time in two different time zones.
1956 – Rolex introduces first Anti-Magnetic Watch in History [Reference 6543]
1956 - Oyster Day-Date Introduced at Basel.
1960 – Hans Wilsdorf dies in Geneva on July 6, 1960.
1960 - Rolex Bathyscaphe Deep Sea Special was created and plunged 35,787 feet down in the Mariana Trench in Pacific Ocean.
1962 – First James Bond movie "Dr.No" comes to the big screen with Sean Connery wearing a Rolex Submariner.
1967 - Oyster Sea-Dweller was invented which was waterproof to a depth of 610 Meters or 2001 Feet.
1971 - Oyster Explorer II was designed and presented at Basel.
1978 - Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller was tested for waterproof in depth of 1220 Meters or 4003 Feet.
1988 - First Cosmograph Daytona was fitted with a perpetual rotor.
1992 - Yacht-Master was designed and shown at Basel.
2004 - Submariner model celebrated its 50th Anniversary with special commemorative model wich has green bezel and unique black dial.
2008 – Rolex Sea Dweller Shown off at Basel.