Rolex: Keeping Time

Among the first timepieces created to be worn on the wrist, Rolex watches have been a status symbol--and a collector's item--for more than a century

From the red carpet to the wrists of rap stars, Rolex is recognized as the ultimate symbol of luxury and one of the finest Swiss watches—even though its origins are not Swiss. The brand dates back to 1905, when Hans Wilsdorf of Kulmbach, Germany, opened Wilsdorf & Davis watchmakers in London. At the time, men's fashion favored large-face pocket watches, but Wilsdorf became obsessed with creating movements small enough to be worn on the wrist. So in 1908, inspired by the sound a watch makes when wound, Wilsdorf trademarked the name Rolex, which was both easy to pronounce in many languages...

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