While Hans Wilsdorf delivered a speech to make 50years of the “Rolex” name on July 2, 1958, he disclosed the origin of his renowned watch brand. According to Wilsdorf, a genie came and whispered the word “Rolex” in his ears.
Well, no one knows whether this captivating story is fiction or factual. However, Rolex and its crown logo have become the symbol of utter luxury and class in watchmaking history. This watch company started initially as “Wilsdorf & Davis” in 1905. Later Wilsdorf registered the name Rolex in 1931.
The gold crown and the name Rolex in all caps became the brand’s logo. Rolex made some variations in coronet shape and font. However, over the past nine decades, the iconic Rolex insignia remained almost the same. All Rolex watches and their various components feature the logo.
However, it was not this way before. Let’s uncover the captivating story of the name Rolex and its coronet logo.
Origin of the Rolex Crown Logo
Hans Wilsdorf collaborated with Alfred James Davis, his brother-in-law, in 1905 to open a watch company in London. They initially named the company “Wilsdorf & Davis”, which solely distributed wristwatches in Great Britain and throughout the British Empire. However, the company sourced watch parts from several Swiss partners. For example, movements were sourced from Aegler in Bienne, Switzerland.
After three years, Hans Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” on July 2, 1908, in Switzerland and internationally in 1913. The company’s headquarters was in London up to 1915. Later, Wilsdorf had to move it to Switzerland because the British Government levied customs duty on timepieces. There, he registered the brand as Montres Rolex S.A. in 1920 in Geneva, Switzerland.
However, the company did not print its Rolex trademark name immediately on the watches. This is because retailers wanted to inscribe their names on the timepieces.
Hans Wilsdorf started to engrave “Rolex” on one in every six watches and hoped that the watch would get sold immediately. Eventually, the Rolex branding list included more and more timepieces, and in 1926, the ingenious waterproof Oyster made its debut.
Following this creation, Wilsdorf decided to inscribe the Rolex crown symbol on all his watches, including its dial, movement and case.
The Rolex Nomenclature
There are several hypotheses behind the naming of Rolex. Some speculate that Wilsdorf chose the Rolex name based on the French phrase “Horlogerie Exquise”, which means “exquisite watchmaking” in English. On the contrary, others hypothesised that Hans Wilsdorf chose the name as it resembles the sound that a timepiece makes while winding.
However, that brand’s lore states that Hans Wilsdorf revealed the origination story right after 50 years of coining the name. He said that he combined all alphabets in every way possible and came up with hundreds of words. But none of them touched his heart perfectly. Then, one morning he was riding along the Cheapside in the City of London on a horse-drawn omnibus. That time a genie whispered the name Rolex in his ear.
The fact is that Wilsdorf selected the Rolex name because its pronunciation was easy and difficult to misspell. While Rolex was a short name, it appeared uncluttered and clean on the watch dials.
The Iconic Crown Logo
Wilsdorf & David got an excellent company name. Now they craved for a great brand logo, and the signature five-pointed coronet turned up in the 1930s.
In 1931, Rolex registered its now-iconic logo and started using the coronet insignia on the watches’ dial. The earliest 1920s Rolex Oyster timepieces and the first Oyster Perpetual had only the Rolex name on the dial. However, when Rolex introduced the Datejust in 1945, it featured the crown logo just above the brand’s name.
Moreover, the brand began inscribing the crown emblem on the watch’s winding crowns too in the 1950s. In addition, the watchmaker replaced the 12-hour marker with the coronet logo on a few models like the Oyster Perpetual, the Datejust and more.
The Ever-Lasting Rolex Logo
Rolex has changed the coronet design on the dial slightly over the years. Moreover, it also acquired several nicknames such as the Frog Foot and the Bart Simpson based on the crown variations.
However, the watchmaker has always retained the basic elements in the instantly recognisable five-pointed coronet crown. One of the most legendary emblems of all time is the Rolex crown, besides Mercedes Benz and Apple.
Rolex makes every timepiece to the most exemplary standards utilising only the highest quality materials and complications. The crown logo is the legendary signature of Rolex that embellishes every watch. Moreover, it also serves as a good reminder that all Rolex watches represent an achievement crown for every owner.