Rolex was founded in London, England in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. Originally called Wilsdorf & Davis, the company specialized in importing Swiss movements and fitting them into watch cases made by other manufacturers.
In 1908, Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” and began producing watches under this name. The name itself is said to be a blend of the French words “horlogerie exquise”, meaning exquisite clockwork, and “luxury goods”.
In the early years, Rolex focused on accuracy and reliability, developing new technologies such as the screw-down crown and caseback, which made its watches more water-resistant. By the 1920s, Rolex had become known for its high-quality timepieces and had established itself as a leading brand in the watch industry.
During World War II, Rolex continued to innovate with new features such as the perpetual rotor, which allowed automatic winding of the watch movement through natural wrist movements. After the war, Rolex expanded its product line to include sports watches such as the Explorer, Submariner, and GMT-Master, which were designed for specific activities like diving or aviation.
Today, Rolex remains one of the most recognizable and respected luxury watch brands in the world. From its humble beginnings as an importer of Swiss movements to its current status as a global icon, Rolex’s history is a testament to its commitment to innovation, precision engineering, and timeless design.