Hans Wilsdorf

Born in Germany on March 22, 1881, to Protestant parents Anna and Johan Daniel Ferdinand Wilsdorf, he was the second son of a family of three children. Orphan at the age of 12. He had nothing but determination to overcome the challenges he was facing.


  1. At the age of 24, he started to work with a Swiss manufacturer that produces unusually compact watch movements while dreaming of wearing a watch on the wrist. That time, wristwatches were not popular yet, but he had a vision for elegant and reliable wristwatches.

This led to the start of his own company, Wilsdorf & Davis.


  1. The name "Rolex" was born after considering some hundred names.
  1. He was given the first wristwatch chronometric precision certification ever by the official watch rating facility in Bienne, Switzerland.
  1. Rolex received an honor for having a Class A precision certificate, which is typically reserved for marine chronometers.
  1. Rolex established permanent operations in Geneva, Switzerland.
  1. Hans Wilsdorf presented the Rolex Oyster to the world—the very first waterproof wristwatch.


  1. Hans Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation after his wife died of an illness in 1944. They had no children.

In 1960, he donated his entire share of Rolex to the foundation. Even today, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, still owns and runs Rolex and contributes a large portion of its earnings to charitable and social causes.

Hans Wilsdorf died in Geneva, Switzerland on July 6, 1960.


Hans Wilsdorf created the first waterproof self-winding wristwatch with a perpetual rotor in history, a timepiece that has established standards for excellence and prestige.

Today, the collection comprises about fourteen varieties, including classic watches like the Datejust, Day-Date, and Sky-Dweller, as well as professional watches made for specialized tasks like the Explorer, Submariner, and GMT-Master II.


Even though Hans Wilsdorf had a difficult beginning, he did have several priceless traits, including vision, optimism for the future, tenacity, and a remarkable capacity for work. And the result - ROLEX IS THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY RECOGNIZED LUXURY WATCH BRAND.

Rolex is synonymous with masterpieces, luxury, and success and has worked hard to establish a reputation of prestige.



”A crown for every achievement” 

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