Rolex began as a brand named WIlsdorf and Davis. So named after founders Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England in 1905. The Oyster case design became a major marketing tool and led to what is still touted as the watch to swim across the English Channel on the wrist of Mercedes Gleitze . Rolex watches moved its base of operations to Geneva, Switzerland in 1919, reportedly to avoid British import taxes.
During the 1940’s and 50’s they produced some of the most sought after collectible vintage Rolex watches. The famed Chronographs and Military Oysters of the 1940’s and the iconic models from the 1950’s such at the Rolex Explorer, Rolex Submariner and the ultra rare Rolex Milgauss with the lightning bolt sweep seconds hand
Rolex S.A. is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a charitable trust.