Ball Watch Company
Baume et Mercier
Bell & Ross
The legendary Hans Wilsdorf began his watch company in 1905 with his brother-in-law Alfred Davis. The name of their company was "Wilsdorf and Davis" and originally located in London, England. Hans Wilsdorf wanted a name that was globally recognized and pronounceable so he came up with the onomatopoeic name "Rolex" sounding like a watch being wound. The war caused England to levy high taxes on luxury imports and exports duties on the silver and gold used for watch cases. These taxes drove cost too high, so they moved their company to Geneva, Switzerland in 1919.
Something many do not know is Wilsdorf left all of his Rolex shares to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, upon the death of his wife in 1944, guaranteeing that some of the company's income would go to charity. Rolex is still owned by a private trust and shares are not traded on any stock exchange.
Rolex has pioneered many watch innovations:
- First company to have a wristwatch COSC certified
- First wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial (Rolex Datejust, 1945)
- First automatically changing day and date on a the dial of a wristwatch
- First to show two time zones at once on a wristwatch (Rolex GMT Master, 1954)
Rolex was part of the quartz consortium consisting of 16 Swiss watch manufacturers in the late 1960's to early 1970's. Rolex created the Oysterquartz using the 5035/5055 movement.
The Oyster Perpetual, Professional and Cellini are the three watch lines of Rolex.