Hans Wilsdorf

On Rolex's 50th anniversary, in 1958, Wilsdorf shared the story of how he originally conceived the 'Rolex' name in 1908:
"I tried combining the letters of the alphabet in every possible way. This gave some hundred names, but none of them felt quite right. It was one morning when I was sitting on the upper level of a double-decker powered at that time by horses, driving along Cheapside in London, that a good genie whispered in my ear: "Rolex." A few days after this fruitful journey, the Rolex brand was filed, and then officially registered in Switzerland by Wilsdorf & Davis."

Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex founder pictured above in 1908 in London England riding Omnibus
During the first decade of the 1900s pocket watches were ubiquitous, and wrist watches, referred to at the time as a "wristlet" were frowned upon. Hans Wilsdorf was an early believer in the potential of the wrist watch, and made it his mission in life to popularize them.
In 1902, during his stay at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Hans Wilsdorf heard of one Hermann Aegler, based in Bienne, Switzerland, who had begun producing 'ebauches', which are the rough movements for high-quality, small lever escapement watch movements.
In 1905, Wilsdorf traveled to Bienne, Switzerland and placed an order with Hermann Aegler, resulting in the largest order ever made for wristlet watches. This was the beginning of a long-standing partnership between Aegler and Rolex, until a century later when Rolex bought Aegler.
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