The Uppers

Worn by luminaries, visionaries and champions… ROLEX

“Worn by luminaries, visionaries and champions. By artists, statesmen, explorers and leaders in their field. Only Rolex can claim such a distinguished group of wearers from the past and present. Rolex pays homage to these remarkable individuals whose lives changed the face of the world.”

Rolex is a universe of its own: respected; admired; valued; and known across the globe. These days Rolex is one of the most prestigious brands on Earth, but it wasn’t always that way…

The story of the company and its founder Hans Wilsdorf is quite intertwined. Rolex revolves around a single man’s passion that drove the company to such success. Even after the death of its founder, the company continues to work on his path and is the number one watch company in the world.

The start of the company goes back to the birth of its founder, Hans Eberhard Wilhelm Wilsdorf who was born in Germany in the year 1881. Wilsdorf was destined to work in a family business of hardware store. His parents died one after other when he was just 12 years of age. He and his siblings were left to be taken care by with his relatives. The relatives sold the family hardware business and put the entire selling amount into the Wilsdorf Trust. Wilsdorf Trust was the actual basis of Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.

After the death of his parents, Hans went to a boarding school in Coburg. After his school, he developed an interest for Geneva, Switzerland. He started working at a pearls distribution company and learnt world trade along with the industry tactics. He left the company and joined watch exporters, Cuno, Korten.

With no experience in the watch industry, Hans started working as a translator. It was this place where he thought of running a watch industry someday. Cuno Korten used to purchase components from Germay, France and Switzerland.

Wilsdorf commissioned three watchmakers to fabricate 3 pocket watches for him. The watches were soon certified with chronometers at the Neuchatel Observatory. The watches quickly sold and this made his bosses happy.

Hans then decided to move to London in 1903. He started working in English watch industry and planned to open his own business. He met Alfred James Davis and partnered with him to make his own watch company. Wilsdorf had the experience in making watches and James had the money. Wilsdorf acquired British citizenship. Both the partners complemented the skills of each other.

Wristwatches became popular in the year 1912. Wilsdorf and James decided the name of the company to be Rolex. They thought of an easiest name that was easy to pronounce and that can be used in multiple languages.

Rolex was awarded the first watch chronometer rating in the world. From the 70s to the present day, Rolex is evolutionary and not revolutionary. Rolex continues to produce new and creative watches using new technology. Though secretive, Rolex is believed to produce 2000 watches in a day.

The story Rolex is a perfect example of success born from passion…