On July 2, 1958, Hans Wilsdorf divulged the origins of his well-known watch model throughout a speech given to mark 50 years of the identify: “A genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.” Whether or not or not that enchanting story is reality or fiction, the identify Rolex and its accompanying crown insignia did forge a magical path to turn out to be probably the most iconic logos in fashionable historical past.
Hans Wilsdorf’’scompany didn’t begin as Rolex; it was initially named Wilsdorf & Davis when it was established in 1905. Nonetheless, the identify Rolex was trademarked in 1908 and the five-point Rolex crown (often known as the Rolex coronet) was registered in 1931. The all-caps Rolex identify sitting below the gold crown finally turned the corporate’s emblem, and apart from some variations in font and coronet form, it has remained largely the identical during the last 9 many years. At present, Rolex watches function the brand on numerous parts – but it surely wasn’t at all times this fashion. Be part of us as we dig into the main points to uncover the historical past of the Rolex emblem.
The Historical past of the Rolex Brand: Desk of Contents
– From Wilsdorf & Davis to Rolex
– The Origins of the Rolex Identify
– The Rolex Coronet
– The Enduring Rolex Brand
From Wilsdorf & Davis to Rolex
1905 – The founding of Wilsdorf & Davis in London.
1908 – The identify “Rolex” is filed and trademarked in Switzerland.
1913 – The Rolex identify is trademarked internationally.
1919 – Rolex strikes its headquarters to Switzerland.
1920 – Montres Rolex S.A. is registered in Geneva.
1926 – The waterproof Oyster watch debuts and the Rolex identify is now inscribed on the entire firm’s watches.
In 1905, a younger Hans Wilsdorf partnered together with his brother-in-law, Alfred James Davis (who was married to Ana Wilsdorf) to start out a watch firm in London, England. This firm, named Wilsdorf & Davis, specialised in distributing wristwatches not solely in Nice Britain but additionally all through the British Empire. Wilsdorf & Davis sourced watch elements from numerous Swiss companions, together with exact actions from Aegler in Bienne, Switzerland. Three years later, on July 2, 1908, Wilsdorf & Davis trademarked the identify “Rolex” in Switzerland and the “Rolex” trademark was then registered internationally in 1913.
Wilsdorf penned “The Story of Rolex” in 1948, the place he wrote, “As much as 1915, London was our headquarters for distribution to all elements of the world. However when the British Authorities of the day imposed a 33 1/three per cent customs obligation on watches, we needed to transfer our headquarters to Switzerland. There, in 1919, I based the current Firm.” Montres Rolex S.A. was registered in Geneva, Switzerland in 1920.
Whereas the Rolex trademark was registered in 1908, the identify didn’t instantly seem on the watches since retailers sometimes needed to position their very own names on the watches that they provided on the market. Wilsdorf started cautiously, “At first I ventured to inscribe “Rolex” on one watch in each six, hoping that this watch would get by means of and be offered.” He finally branded increasingly more watches with the Rolex identify and by the point the legendary waterproof Oyster debuted in 1926, Wilsdorf determined that each one his watches ought to proudly bear Rolex on the dial, case, and motion.
The Origins of the Rolex Identify
Some speculate that the identify Rolex was impressed by the French phrase, “Horlogerie Exquise,” which roughly interprets to “beautiful watchmaking” in English. Others hypothesize that the identify was chosen as a result of it’s harking back to the sound that a watch makes when being wound.
Nonetheless, based on firm lore, Hans Wilsdorf clearly expressed the origins of the identify precisely 50 years after he coined it. “I attempted combining the letters of the alphabet in each doable method. This gave me tons of of names, however none of them felt fairly proper. One morning, whereas driving on the higher deck of a horse-drawn omnibus alongside Cheapside within the Metropolis of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.”
Wilsdorf & Davis picked the identify Rolex as a result of it was “straightforward to pronounce in a number of languages” and “was arduous to misspell” because of its phonetic nature. For the reason that identify was brief, it seemed clear and uncluttered when printed on watch dials; and over time, it has turn out to be inseparable from the modified Garamond typeface through which it’s steadily printed.
Though Rolex watches had an important firm identify, Wilsdorf nonetheless wanted an important firm emblem. The five-pointed coronet insignia adopted within the 1930s.
The Rolex Coronet
The Rolex crown, the now-famous emblem of the model, was registered in 1931 and Rolex started utilizing the crown emblem on watch dials within the 1930s. For those who take a look at the earliest Rolex Oyster watches from the 1920s and the primary Oyster Perpetual watch, you’ll see that the five-pronged coronet isn’t on the dial – solely the Rolex identify. Nonetheless, by the point the Datejust was launched in 1945, the crown was definitely current on the dial, proper above the Rolex identify.
Within the 1950s, Rolex started marking the watch winding crowns with the coronet emblem too. Across the identical time, Rolex started changing the 12 o’clock hour marker with an utilized crown emblem on some fashions just like the Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, Air-King, and others.
Just like the identify, many theories exist concerning the origins and secret meanings behind the Rolex crown. Some consider the 5 factors symbolize the 5 fingers of the human hand; others consider that the crown is meant to symbolize 5 tree branches topped in pearls. Nonetheless, Rolex makes no point out in any way of those theories, and they’re going to doubtless all stay simply speculations. Maybe Hans Wilsdorf merely needed to proceed utilizing a royal theme following the 1926 registration of the Tudor model (named after the English royal home) by Veuve de Philippe Hüther for Hans Wilsdorf.
All theories apart, the crown completely encapsulates Rolex’s core values of excellence and exclusivity, whereas its 5 factors mirror the 5 letters of the corporate identify that steadily seems beneath it. Moreover, the coronet form inherently carries with it connotations of honor and status, whereas additionally complementing one of many firm’s slogans, “A Crown for Each Achievement.”
The Enduring Rolex Brand
Through the years, the design of Rolex’s crown has modified barely on the dial. Collectors have even coined some nicknames, just like the Bart Simpson and the Frog Foot to differentiate these coronet variances.
Nonetheless, the crown with the 5 factors topped with spherical ends has at all times retained the core components that make it immediately recognizable because the Rolex emblem. By way of worldwide, widespread recognition, the Rolex crown ranks among the many most iconic logos of all time, together with these of Apple, Common Electrical, and Mercedes Benz.
Right here at Bob’s Watches, we agree that the Rolex crown is completely becoming for an organization specializing in Horlogerie Exquise. Every Rolex watch is made to exacting requirements, utilizing solely the best supplies. Along with serving as their iconic signature, the coronet emblem that adorns each Rolex timepiece additionally serves as a refined reminder that every Rolex is certainly, a “crown of feat” for all who personal one.