Over more than a century of renowned craftsmanship, Rolex has truly earned its place among the finest luxury manufacturers in any industry in the world. Like historic automakers such as Rolls Royce and premium jewelers like Tiffany & Co., the Rolex name is synonymous with the finest and most recognizable products on Earth.
So it is no surprise that, more than 115 years later, the remarkable Rolex story still captivates the imagination. If you’d like to learn more about the origins of Rolex watches, you’ve come to the right place. From everyone on the BQ Watches team, we’re happy to welcome you!
It was 1905 when Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf started his first business as a distributor of clocks, pocket watches, and other timepieces. At this time, wristwatches were quite uncommon, usually custom-made for members of royalty and captains of industry. The wristwatches available to the public were often inaccurate and unreliable (and still quite costly).
Wilsdorf had the entrepreneurial spirit and the technical acumen to understand that fantastic success awaited anyone who could build a better wristwatch and market it to the world. So that’s what he set out to do. He partnered with a small Swiss watchmaking company in Bienne, Switzerland. He commissioned them to build small, precise movements for a new type of wristwatch, the Rolex.
As Hans Walsdorf’s success grew, his partnership with Swiss manufacturers grew as well. The majority of Rolex manufacturing took place in Switzerland, and the quality of the product was undeniable.
By 1910, the exceptional quality of Rolex watches had earned international acclaim. Rolex was the first watch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, and the Kew Observatory in Great Britain granted Rolex the class “A” precision certificate.
By 1919, Hans Wilsdorf had relocated the Rolex business to Geneva, Switzerland, officially registering the company as Montres Rolex S.A. in 1920. From here on out, Rolex was synonymous with Swiss craftsmanship, and the company headquarters would always remain in Switzerland.
As the years passed and Rolex watches became a worldwide phenomenon, the company expanded its research, development, and manufacturing capabilities. Four major factories were built in and around Geneva. The largest of these was located in Les Acacias, just across the scenic Arve River from the city of Geneva.
The Les Acacias location, inaugurated in 1965, would become the Rolex headquarters, where the company furthered the quality of its products and its international success. From 1965 until today, this has been the worldwide headquarters of Rolex watches.
Today, the Rolex name is known around the world, and many competitors (and imitators) have emerged. Unfortunately, there are also those who attempt to sell fake Rolexes. These watches are of poor quality and dubious origin.
So, it should be known that every real Rolex in the world is crafted in Switzerland.
Just as the Rolex company grew from a small, London-based business into a worldwide name, BQ Watches is pleased to welcome customers from around the world.