Rolex’s position is associated with Hans Wilsdorf, the founder and pioneer of water resistance, automatic winding … for wristwatches.
Rolex brand is associated with expensive and classy watches. This leading position has not been shaken in 100 years.
Forbes magazine ranked Rolex as one of the most valuable brands in 2016 and is the world’s leading luxury watch manufacturer. Despite not announcing sales, experts estimate Rolex sells one million watches a year.
Rolex’s success is thanks to Hans Wilsdorf, founder and also the brain that led to many improvements to the wristwatch, establishing the pioneering position for a brand that is more than a century old.
Born in Germany in 1881, Hans had an uneasy childhood. Losing his parents when he was only 12 years old, he and his siblings lived in the care of relatives.
After graduating from university, Hans worked for a pearl supplier and learned the first lessons of trade and development strategy.
Although inexplicable, Hans had a passion for Switzerland.
His dream of setting up a watch company rekindled with the young man when he moved to watch export company Cuno Korten, which often imported components from Germany, France and Switzerland.
Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex watches. Photo: Rolex Magazine.
Having no experience in watchmaking, Hans accepted to start as an interpreter in the company and learn for himself.
He soon showed his aptitude and taste in this area when researching and ordering three watchmakers to make three pocket watches for himself.
The watches are not only trendy but also receive a certificate of accuracy issued by the Neuchatel Observatory, a Swiss observatory that assesses the absolute timeliness of the watch.
This product quickly created a fever in the German market, and also brought the prestige and appreciation to the young translator.
At that time, wristwatches were still quite strange to many people, because the accuracy of the product was not high. But that makes the young man more interested and wants to create wrist watches that not only run on time but also have elegant designs.
In 1903, Hans decided to go to London, England to live and work for a watch manufacturing company, cultivating his dream of starting his own business someday.
The fate helped him meet Alfred James Davis, who had the financial means to make his dream come true. They founded the watch distribution company in 1905, when Hans was just 24 years old.
To convince consumers in the UK to use its products, Hans uses the smallest components imported from the company in Bienne, Switzerland, which is renowned for its creativity and precision. make your own watch.
Having the Rolex name is the days of Hans’ thinking, because he wanted the brand name to be concise, easy to say and remember in any language, and also to show the nature of a watch.
“I tried combining the letters in every possible way, with hundreds of names, but I wasn’t very satisfied. Until one morning, in the carriage, it was as if there was a whispering voice in my ear: Rolex, ”he recalls.
The most important thing for a watch is absolute accuracy in time. It was also the first factor that Hans especially focused on his product. Every movement, every small component is meticulously processed.
In 1910, Rolex was the first wristwatch company in the world to receive a certificate of accuracy from the Swiss Watch Assessment Center. From there, this brand is associated with accuracy in accuracy.
9 years later, Hans relocated the company headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, which is famous for watchmaking. This turning point opened a series of relentless innovations and innovations, bringing the first features to wristwatches.
“I want to create a watch that anyone can wear every day without having to remove it,” the founder shared his orientation.
Not wanting users to encounter inconveniences when living or swimming, he researched the waterproof feature of his product. In 1926, the first waterproof watch in the world called Oyster was born, equipped with a sealed case for optimal protection of small components inside.
Hans also used an effective marketing strategy for this new feature when female swimmer Mercedes Gleitze brought his watch to swim across the English Channel for 10 hours. And at the end of the swim, the watch maintains normal operation.
Inside a Rolex watch factory in Switzerland. Photo: Rolex Magazine.
The year 1931 continued to mark another revolution created by Rolex with the first watch with a self-winding movement, opening the trend of automatic watches later.
Hans takes every opportunity to promote, demonstrate the features of Rolex watches, and receive ideas to perfect it.
His smart strategy is to use watches, explorers, pilots, or sports car drivers to test and display attributes and functions in a variety of environmental conditions. , especially the harsh terrain.
It can be said that, not only rich in the idea of watch design, the famous businessman is also keen in advertising product plans.
At the time of the Second World War, knowing that pilots in the air force were using Rolex watches but were confiscated, he offered to give them new free of charge.
Not satisfied with what has been achieved, the ambitious founder continues to create new features.
In 1945, the watch model with the name Datejust continued to mark the pioneering position that created the trend of Rolex when there was a part on the dial indicating the date.
Although the object was originally for men, but with the genderless beauty and elegant, luxurious design, Rolex gradually became popular with women in the following decades.
Hans Wilsdorf died in 1960, but his motto and constant interest in innovation were inherited by the next generation executives.
The company still regularly researches, improves and introduces new product lines. And in the hearts of consumers, Rolex watches are always associated with beauty, elegance, sophistication and enduring vitality over time.
“We want to be a pioneer in this area. Rolex must be considered the first, only and best, ”the famous quote of Hans Wilsdorf has become the motto of the famous watch company to this day.