Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law Hans Wilsdorf founded Wilsdorf and Davis, the company that would eventually become Rolex S.A., in London, England in 1905. Wilsdorf and Davis' main commercial activity at the time involved importing Hermann Aegler's Swiss movements to England and placing them in watch cases made by Dennison and others. These early wristwatches were sold to many jewellers, who then put their own names on the dial. The earliest watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were usually hallmarked "W&D" inside the caseback.
In 1908, Wilsdorf registered the trademark "Rolex", which became the brand name of watches from Wilsdorf and Davis, and opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Wilsdorf wanted his watch brand's name to be easily pronounceable in any language. He also thought that the name "Rolex" was onomatopoeic, sounding like a watch being wound. It is easily pronounceable in many languages and, as all its upper-case letters have the same size and can be written symmetrically. It was also short enough to fit on the face of a watch.
In 1914, Kew Observatory awarded a Rolex watch a Class A precision certificate, a distinction normally granted exclusively to marine chronometers. In November 1915, the company changed its name to Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. After World War I, Hans Wilsdorf left England in 1919 due to heavy post-war taxes levied on luxury imports, as well as to the high cost driven by exporting duties on the silver and gold used for the watch cases. As a result, Wilsdorf moved the company to Geneva, Switzerland, where the company's name was officially changed to Montres Rolex S.A. in 1920, and eventually to Rolex S.A in later years.
With administrative worries tended to, Wilsdorf turned the company's attention to a technical concern : the infiltration of dust and moisture under the dial and crown, which in turn damaged the movement. To address this problem, in 1926 Rolex developed and produced the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, giving it the name "Oyster". The watch features a hermetically sealed case which provided optimal protection for the movement. 
Consumers at the time remained sceptical, however, of a fully waterproof watch. As a demonstration, Rolex submerged Oyster models in aquariums, which it displayed in the windows of its main points of sale. Then, in 1927, a young British swimmer named Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel with an Oyster on her wrist, becoming the first Rolex ambassador. To celebrate the feat, Rolex published a full-page advertisement on the front page of the Daily Mail proclaiming the watch's success during the over-ten-hour swim. 
In 1931, Rolex invented and patented the world's first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor, a semi-circular plate that relies on gravity to move freely. Its system would become the basis of all future automatic watches throughout the industry. In turn, the Oyster watch became known as the Oyster Perpetual. 
Upon the death of his wife in 1944, Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private trust, in which he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that some of the company's income would go to charity. Wilsdorf died in 1960, and since then the trust has owned and run Rolex SA.
In December 2008, following the abrupt departure of Chief Executive Patrick Heiniger for "personal reasons", Rolex SA denied that it had lost 1 billion Swiss francs (approx £574 million, $900 million) invested with Bernard Madoff, the American asset manager who pleaded guilty to an approximately £30 billion worldwide Ponzi scheme fraud. The company announced Heiniger's death on March 5, 2013.
Rolex SA is owned by the private Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which is registered as a charity and does not pay corporate income taxes. In 2011, a spokesman for Rolex declined to provide evidence regarding the amount of charitable donations made by the Wilsdorf Foundation. In Geneva where the company is based, it is said to have gifted, among many things, two housing buildings to social institutions of Geneva.
According to the 2017 Brand Z report, the brand value is estimated $8.053 billion. Rolex watches continue to have a reputation as status symbols. It produces more than 800,000 timepieces each year.
Wristwatch Tudor Prince Date Day, Ref.: 76200
Rolex SA offers products under the Rolex and Tudor brands. Montres Tudor (SA) has designed, manufactured and marketed Tudor watches since 6 March 1946. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf conceived of the Tudor Watch Company to create a product for authorized Rolex dealers to sell that offered the reliability and dependability of a Rolex, but at a lower price. The number of Rolex watches was limited by the rate that they could produce in-house Rolex movements, thus Tudor watches were originally equipped with off-the-shelf movements while using similar quality cases and bracelets.
Historically, Tudor watches have been manufactured by Montres Tudor SA using movements supplied by ETA SA. Since 2015, however, Tudor has begun to manufacture watches with in-house movements. The first model introduced with a in-house movement was the Tudor North Flag. Following this, updated versions of the Tudor Pelagos and Tudor Heritage Black Bay have also been fitted with an in-house caliber.
Tudor watches are marketed and sold in most countries around the world including the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, South Africa, some countries in Europe including the UK, South Asia, the Middle East and countries in South America, particularly Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Montres Tudor SA discontinued sales of Tudor-branded watches in the United States in 2004, but Tudor returned to the United States market in the summer of 2013 and to the UK in 2014.
Motto and slogan
One of Rolex's company slogans is "A Crown for Every Achievement".
Rolex GMT Master II gold and stainless steel (ref. 116713LN)
Rolex mostly produced mechanical watches, but it has also participated in the development of the original quartz watch movements. Although Rolex has made very few quartz models for its Oyster line, the company's engineers were instrumental in design and implementation of the technology during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, Rolex collaborated with a consortium of 16 Swiss watch manufacturers to develop the Beta 21 quartz movement used in their Rolex Quartz Date 5100 alongside other manufactures including the Omega Electroquartz watches. Within about five years of research, design, and development, Rolex created the "clean-slate" 5035/5055 movement that would eventually power the Rolex Oysterquartz.
Material-wise, Rolex first used its "Cerachrom" ceramic bezel on the GMT-Master II in 2005, and has since then implemented ceramic bezel inserts across the range of professional sports watches. They are available on the Submariner, Sea Dweller, Deepsea, GMT Master II and Daytona models. In contrast to the aluminum bezel which it replaced, the ceramic bezel color does not wear out from explosure to UV-light and is very scratch resistant.
Notable inventions and patents
Among the company's innovations are:
In 1910, the first watchmaker to earn chronometer certification for a wristwatch (1910) Rolex is the largest manufacturer of Swiss made certified chronometers. In 2005, more than half the annual production of COSC certified watches were Rolexes. To date, Rolex still holds the record for the most certified chronometer movements in the category of wristwatches.
In 1926, produced a waterproof wristwatch, Rolex Oyster. But it was far from the first company to do (see, for example, the "Submarine Watch" from the First World War, which was made by Tavannes and retailed by Brook & Son in Edinburgh). Wilsdorf even had a specially made Rolex watch (the watch was called the "DeepSea") attached to the side of Trieste, which went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The watch survived and tested as having kept perfect time during its descent and ascent. This was confirmed by a telegram sent to Rolex the following day saying "Am happy to confirm that even at 11,000 metres your watch is as precise as on the surface. Best regards, Jacques Piccard".
In 1931, a self-winding Rolex wristwatch was offered to the public (the so-called the "bubbleback" due to the large caseback). However, as with so many alleged Rolex "firsts" it was, in fact not the first, and was preceded to the market by Harwood which patented the design in 1923 and produced the first self-winding watch in 1928. This was powered by an internal mechanism that used the movement of the wearer's arm. As well as making watch-winding unnecessary, it also kept the power from the mainspring more consistent resulting in more reliable timekeeping.
In 1945, introduced a wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial (Rolex Datejust Ref. 4467). Again, it was not the first company to do so: Mimo made made them in the 1930's -- some twenty years earlier.
In 1953, The first wristwatch case waterproof to 100 m (330 ft) (Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Ref.6204, 1953)
In 1954 Rolex produced a wristwatch which showed two time zones at once (Rolex GMT Master ref.6542, 1954) Yet again, it was not the first company to do so, as the Longines DualTime preceded the GMT by a full quarter of a century.
In 1956 Rolex made a wristwatch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial (Rolex Day-Date, 1956)[43