Born in 1905
Origin UK
Prices from £3,250
Famous for  The most famous watch brand in the world

Arguably the most popular watch brand in the world, Rolex is a classic Swiss brand that has been producing watches for men and women for nearly a century. Established in London under the name Wilsdorf and Davis, the brand soon moved to the Swiss watchmaking hub of La Chaux-de-Fonds where the name Rolex was born.

There are various theories sloshing around as to how Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex’s founder, came up with the name. Wilsdorf claims that he was looking for something that was short, easy to say in any language and that looked good on dials and movements. After playing around with various letter combinations, he says “Rolex” was whispered to him by a genie while travelling in a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London. Other theories are that it comes from the French expression horlogerie excise meaning “hoROLogical EXcellence” or that to Wilsdorf “rolex” sounds like a watch being wound, which would make it an onomatopoeia.

Unlike the theories surrounding its name, when it comes to its watches Rolex keeps it simple. Rather than produce endless new lines, it has created classic formal and sports pieces and chooses to refine these with regular updates. These watch ranges have proven to hold their value and Rolex can pride itself on being a true collector’s brand with international waiting lists.

Rolex has led the way on many industry innovations such as the world’s first waterproof wristwatch and the first watch to change date automatically. The creation of its Perpetual Rotor in 1937 is a mechanism now seen as the basis for self-winding movements.

Registered as a private charity (Rolex SA is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation) and with its very own foundry, Rolex continues to innovate and create the most coveted of all timepieces.

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