Rolex is one of the best-known brands for luxurious wristwatches in the world. It is also the largest one producing about 2,000 luxury watches per day (approximately 700,000 a year). But what does Rolex actually mean? Truth is – nothing. There is no word rolex in the English language, Japanese, Chinese or Latin, or any other language!
Back in 1905 Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis founded a company called Wilsdorf and Davis. These two guys were located in London, England, but were doing business by importing movements from Switzerland and placing them in quality watch cases made by Dennison etc. The watches were initially inscribed with W&D inside the caseback.
In 1908 Hans Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex”. In 1915 the Rolex Watch Company Ltd. was founded. The question here is how did Wilsdorf come up with the brand name Rolex? According to the book The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches: An Unauthorized History by Jeffrey P. Hess and James Dowling the brand name is randomly made up.
Hans Wilsdorf wanted his brand name be " ... short, yet significant, not cumbersome on the dial; thus leaving space enough for the inscription of the English traders name. and above all a word easy enough to be memorized, with a pleasant sound and have its pronunciation unchanged whatever European language it is spoken" According to Redwatches.com.
According to it the naming comes from the French phrase horlogerie exquise, meaning “hoROLogical EXcellence”. What is known, however, is that Wilsdorf wanted a name that would be easily pronounced in various languages (and probably not meaning anything so that it can be original). Furthermore, it is said that according to him the word rolex sounds like the sound of a watch being wound, i.e. is an onomatopoeia? True? Never mind, the Name Rolex has been name of the luxury watch all over the world now.