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Famous watchmakers

Hans Wilsdorf

1881 - 1960

Hans Wilsdorf ©Rolex

German businessman.

Established in England then Switzerland.

Key dates

1905

Founded Wilsdorf and Davis in London.

Agreement with the AEGLER company in Bienne (Switzerland) to mass produce wristwatches.

1907

Founded Rolex at La Chaux-de-Fonds, trade name in 1908.

1920

Creation of the Company Rolex Watches S.A. in Geneva.

1926

Patent for a water resistant case and screw winding crown.

1927

Test of the Rolex Oyster, the first water resistant watch worn by English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze when she swam across the Channel.

1931

Launch of the Rolex Perpetual, the first automatic wristwatch with a rotor turning 360° but only winds the spring in one direction.

1945

Launch of the Rolex Datejust, the first automatic wristwatch with date aperture.

1953

Launch of the Rolex Submariner, the first diving watch water resistant to 100 metres .

1956

Launch of the Rolex Day Date, the first automatic wristwatch indicating the date and day of the week in letters and in 25 different languages.

1960

A special Rolex Oyster watch fixed outside the Trieste bathiscaph went down 10916 m in the Mariannes trench in the Pacific Ocean without damage.