In 1905 Hans Wilsdorf a 24-year-old manufacturer from Germany, and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis founded “Wilsdorf and Davis” in London.
The lack of capital was not a limit for them to start the business. At the beginning they imported Swiss movements, dials and cases to England so they can ship them later to their costumers.
Rolex was registered in 1915 in Switzerland by Hans Wilsdorf, who had an excellent business vision. Rolex Watch Company Ltd. was established in 1919. His business goal was to give the world the most precise wristwatch they could ever imagine so it could compete with the pocket watch.
The origin of the name is unknown. Wilsdorf just wanted a name easy to be pronounced in any language. He never confirmed the rumors that the name of Rolex came from the French phrase horlogerie exquise, meaning “exquisite clockwork” or that the name was an imitation of the sound of a watch being wound or that the name was just made up. Some people say that the name was given by his business partner Alfred Davis who was a Rolls Royce lover, so he mixed the beginning of this brand Rol and the end of TIMEX, a popular watch brand at that time, to have as a result the word ROLEX.
After Wilsdorf death in 1944, his wife established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation which would have all his Rolex shares go directly to charity.