The cooperation with Rolex resulted in the Panerai Radiomir, which was a waterproof watch with a diameter of 47-millimeters that was considered to be of immense proportions in the 1930s. In order to ensure that the time would be legible in all environments, a patented phosphor based on radium was used in the manufacture of the Radiomir dial. At the time of Radiomir production, nobody was aware that the timepieces were being produced with the most radioactive substance in the world. However, the production of this Radiomir edition was very low since the timepieces were not being sold on the consumer market. Today, the Panerai timepieces constructed for the Italian Navy are some of the most wanted vintage rarities that yield a price range that exceeds the 100,000-euro mark.Rolex SA is the leading luxury watch manufacturer in the world producing over 2,000 watches per day that generate sales of over $7 billion dollars each year. The Swiss based Company manufactures, services and distributes wristwatches under the Rolex and Tudor brand through authorized dealers. It was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England and was recently ranked 57 on the worlds most powerful brands. The original name of the company was Wilsdorf and Davis. In 1919, operations were relocated to Geneva, Switzerland. The brand today competes with other leading luxury watch companies like Patek Philippe, Omega, and Panerai and sponsors many major sports events in tennis, golf, yachting, and racing.
Industry Manufacturing Watch Produced 2,000 daily
Founded 1905 Services offered Repair and Maintenance
Founders Alfred Davis, Hans Wilsdorf Owned By Wilsdorf Foundation
Corporate Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland Employee Count 2,800
CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour Website www.Rolex.com
Rolex SA Headquarters
THE FOUNDING OF ROLEX
Hans Wisldorf Founder of Rolex
Rolex was founded in 1902 by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf and Davis. He founded the watch making company in London where they specialized in importing Hermann Aegler’s quality movements and then placing them in quality watch cases made by companies such as Dennison. The duo distributed the timepieces to jewelers that added their names to the wristwatches. Some of the earliest watches produced were often stamped with “W&D” on the inside of the caseback.
ROLEX BRAND IS CREATED
1908 was a big year for the company. Wilsdorf registered “Rolex” as a trademark and opened their first Switzerland office in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It has been said that Wilsdorf wanted his brand to be easy to pronounced in any language. The word “Rolex” was also said to sound like a watch being wound according to Wilsdorf.
A Rolex watch was awarded a Class A precision certificate by the Kew Obervatory in 1914. This was an exciting distinction considering that normally the award was given exclusively to marine chronometers.
Wartime taxes imposed on luxury items caused Wilsdorf to leave England in 1919. The levies on silver and gold, which were metals that were used in the production of Rolex watches, became too costly. The Rolex brand moved with Wilsdorf settling down in Geneva, Switzerland as Rolex Watch Company. Later the brand would become Montres Rolex, SA and finally Rolex, SA.
Along with creating Rolex, Wilsdorf also founded the high-quality yet lower priced Tudor brand of watches. This subsidiary company was founded in 1946. Wilsdorf continued to grow both companies and produce quality and innovative timepieces until his death in 1960.
THE HANS WILSDORF FOUNDATION
In 1944, Hans Wilsdorf created the Hans Wilsdorf foundation after the death of his wife. Mr. Wilsdorf left all of his shares to the foundation insuring that some of the companies income would go to good works. To this day the Rolex company is still owned by a trust and is not publicly traded.
The Rolex Company has been in business since 1902 and has a long history of innovative and successful watch designs. Rolex had many firsts including being the first company to offer a wristwatch that would automatically change the date and day on the dial, the first watch case that was waterproof up to 100 m, the first wristwatch to display two time zones at once and the first wristwatch to earn chronometer certification. Some of the numerous innovations include:
1910 – The first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision
1926 – Rolex had another breakthrough by inventing and producing the first waterproof wrist watch. From this watch was born the famous Oyster collection which is still being produced today.
1945 – First watch to have an automatic date on the watch dial.
1954 – First timepiece to display two timezones
1956 – The Day-Date is born as first watch to display both day and date on dial
2012 – The first wristwatch to have a command bezel designed for multiple uses
Previous to 1931 Rolex produced watches that required manual winding. In 1931, however, a self-winding model was offered called the “bubbleback.” The watch used movement from the wearer’s arm to drive the self-winding component. The new self-winding technology not only made it more convenient but also made time keeping more reliable.
During the late 1960’s as well as 1970’s the engineers at Rolex were critical to the quartz movement technology. Rolex collaborated with 16 manufacturers where they were eventually able to produce the Beta 21 quartz movement, found in the Rolex Quartz Date reference 5100. Continuing their efforts,within five years the clean-slate 5035/5055 movement was produced and used in the Rolex Oysterquartz.
HOW MANY WATCHES DOES ROLEX PRODUCE ANNUALLY?
Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) statistics revea