The History of Rolex Watches – The Start of Something Great

When anyone hears the word “rich”, what images come to mind? Do images of huge houses, fancy cars, and pockets full of green money begin dancing in your head? What about fancy jewelry and, of course, the obligatory Rolex watch?

Many movies have been made where they show a person striking it rich. Among the first purchases that person makes with his new found fortune is to buy a Rolex watch!

When it comes to watch fashion, Rolex watches are considered to be among the most beautiful watches in the world. Those who have money will buy a Rolex because they are a status symbol of wealth and power. Ever wondered how this company began? The following article will give you more information on the history of Rolex watches.

Wilsdorf and Davis:

Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis had a company in London. The year was 1905 when these two partners made the inner workings of watches that they imported to Switzerland. The two men were making guts of watches for watchmakers’ businesses, who were simply taking credit for the incredible work of this team.

The Introduction of Rolex:

Three years later, in 1908, Wilsdorf went to an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland and registered the trademark “Rolex.” However, the actual name was not used for another seven years. There is no actual record of exactly how the name Rolex was created, though there were many sources who claim that the name Rolex was simply a unique one that the brothers came up with together.

Rumor has it that Wilsdorf wanted the name of the watches to be something that would sound good in any language. This does make it a logical decision, especially if they aimed at selling the watches on a global level from the very start.

Another reason why the partners chose this particular name might have been the sound it makes. Wisdorf is reported to have said that the round of the world was similar to the winding of a watch. Furthermore, the choice may also have been influenced by sheer practicality. It’s an easily-pronounced, easily-spelled name that’s also short enough for most watch dials and symmetrical enough to print easily.

The First World War

By 1919, due to the outbreak of World War I, there were a lot of huge taxes put on both the importing and exporting of goods out of England. This dramatic increase in price led Wilsdorf and Davis to take their watchmaking skills out of England and out to Geneva, Switzerland. The Rolex Watch Company was thus established in Switzerland.

The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation

Twenty-five years later, in 1944, when Hans Wilsdorf became a widower, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation was created. He hence entrusted his shares of the company to this foundation. The purpose of the Wilsdorf Foundation is to make sure that a good portion of the revenue Rolex generates goes to charity.

Other than this, the Rolex company is still owned privately.  Its stock shares are unavailable for either trade or purchase. The owners probably deem this necessary in order to keep a close eye on the quality and features of their output.

Contributions During the War

The establishment of the Wilsdorf Foundation wasn’t the first charitable endeavor by the Rolex company. Wilsdorf was known as being a very charitable man. He was a serious contributor during the Second World War, providing replacements for the watches worn by British soldiers who were POWs. When they had been captured, the Nazis confiscated their Rolex watches. These were very popular among soldiers, especially the pilots, as they were of higher quality than generic military options.

There are several documented uses of Rolex watches during the war. However, one of the most well-known ones is when a Rolex was used for timing the Great Escape, a highly publicized event.

The Most Expensive Rolex’s:

Rolex Watches

We all know that Rolex is known for its high price tag. Here are some of the more expensive Rolex’s:

  • 1942 Rolex Chronograph – $1+ million
  • Eric Clapton’s 1971 Rolex Daytona – $500K+
  • Rolex GMT 116769TBR – $475K +
  • James Bond 1973 Rolex 5513 – $450K+
  • Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s Gold Rolex Oyster – $425K+
  • Rolex Platinum Pearlmaster 18956 – $275K+
  • Paul Newman Ferrari Red Rolex Daytona 6565 – $50K+
  • Steve McQueen 1967 Rolex Submariner – $225K+
  • Paul Newman Rolex Daytona – $100K+
  • Rolex Submariner for Cartier – $100K+

Rolex makes about 2000 pieces in a single day. However, loyal Rolex customers will be pleased to know that the time-honored quality and reliability have never been compromised. Furthermore, it has introduced new technologies like the Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. These things are a strong testament to the Rolex evolution.

Time and technology are both factors that are constantly changing at a rapid pace. Clearly, Rolex watches are not just pretty, but also revolutionary. The company strives to keep up with the times and hence retains a loyal consumer base no matter how expensive their products get.

Price Ranges of Rolex Watches

It’s not surprising that many Rolex watch owners look upon their purchase with a certain amount of pride. the price ranges of these watches could range anywhere from under $10,000 to flamboyant diamond-encrusted dials that go for more than $50,000. The cheapest kinds are made of basic stainless steel. They still provide an impressive appearance, though.

The range of price means that Rolex watches have a diverse client base as well. In fact, it might have one of the most widespread customer outreach for watch brands all over the world. Hence, it’s also listed among the top global brands and has a lot of influence in several countries.


The Rolex company has been making watches for a very long time, making the name Rolex synonymous with high quality, high class, and wealth. If anyone wants a watch that will keep excellent time and last a lifetime, then a Rolex is the only watch for them.