When we think of high-performance accurate watches, Rolex comes to our mind. I mean this is the brand that made the first watch with a date window, a decade later watch with a date & day window, & these are just the tip of the iceberg.
With accolades like that, a question arises in everyone’s mind, “who owns Rolex?”. Considering that some watch enthusiasts consider the Rolex, “the Apple of watches” it becomes even more important to know the answer.
Also, because of the lack of clarity on the topic, there is always room for misinformation & rumors. That’s why I have seen some budding watch enthusiasts asking is Rolex owned by Seiko, Omega, Swatch Group, & even the Vatican.
So keeping all the questions in my mind I decided to write this article. I have also answered whether or not Rolex is really owned by a non-profit. Let’s start!
- Who Doesn’t Own The Rolex Brand?
- Who Owns The Rolex Brand?
- Is Rolex A Non Profit?
- Rolex Subsidiaries
Who Doesn’t Own The Rolex Brand?
Let’s debunk some of the most common misconceptions some people have about the Rolex brand.
Is Rolex Owned By The Swiss Swatch Group?
Without a doubt, Swiss Swatch Group is a behemoth owning brands like Omega, Tissot, Rado, Longines, top German brand Glashutte Original & many others. However, they don’t own the Rolex brand or have any kind of stake in it.
Is Rolex Owned By The LVMH?
Louis Vuitton is one of the most popular french watch brands. However, it too doesn’t own the Rolex brand.
Is Rolex Owned By The Vatican?
No, Rolex is not owned by the Catholic Church. It is just a rumor with no logic or credibility behind it.
Who Owns The Rolex Brand?
Rolex is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation which is a non-profit organization formed by the founder of the Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf. To know how this non-profit organization came to own Rolex we need to discuss the Rolex owner Story.
Rolex Owner Story
Hans Wilsdorf was born in Germany, initially, he started his career in the jewel industry. In 1900, he moved to La Chaux De Fonds City in Switzerland which is also known as the watch valley. He gained a lot of insight & expertise in watchmaking during his time there before eventually moving to London.
When Hans Wilsdorf moved to London he started a watch-making company with Alfred Davis in 1905. The company was named Wilsdorf & Davis which as the name suggests was named after both of their names.
Rolex brand was registered by Hans Wilsdorf & his partner Alfred Davis in 1908. However, the company was renamed Rolex Watch Co. Ltd much later in 1915.
While a lot of people think that Rolex is a Swiss brand but it is a British-founded Swiss brand. In fact, Rolex didn’t move its operation to Geneva until 1919. It was also the same year when Hans Wildorf purchased the Alferd Davis part of the ownership.
In 1920, Rolex got registered in Geneva and became a Swiss watch manufacturer. After that, Rolex kept churning out one innovative timepiece after another. Rolex kept pushing the boundary of the watches with waterproof & dustproof build, watches with a date window, watches with day & date window, & more.
While this story is common knowledge but how a non-profit came to own Rolex isn’t, let’s discuss that now.
Years prior, Hans Wilsdorf got married to Florence Frances May Cotty in 1911. Upon her death in 1944, Hans Wilsdorf started a Hans Wilsdorf Foundation that did charity work. The couple didn’t have any children & years later Hans Wilsdorf gave 100% ownership to the foundation in 1960.
What Does Hans Wilsdorf Foundation Do?
Hans Wilsdorf Foundation is a non-profit organization that does a lot of charity work. It grants scholarships, funds institutions, supports art & a lot more.
Is Rolex Owner An Orphan?
Yes, Hans Wilsdorf’s parents died at an early age when he was just a boy. However, today owner of the Rolex brand is the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
Is Rolex A Non Profit?
Yes, Rolex is owned by a non-profit organization that spends its earnings on doing charity. However, it is to be noted that money used is the amount left after deducting R&D, operating costs, & salaries.
Just like the ownership rumors, there is plenty of other misinformation about the Rolex subsidiaries as well.
Is Invicta Owned By Rolex?
No, Invicta makes cheap automatic watches that take a lot of design inspiration from Rolex watches. And, they are in no way affiliated with the Rolex brand.
Is Omega Owned By Rolex?
Omega is owned by the Swiss Swatch group conglomerate.
Is Seiko Owned By The Rolex?
Seiko makes some of the best watches at a bang for bucks prices. That’s why some users may consider that they are owned by the Rolex brand. However, it is a Japanese brand with no relation to Rolex whatsoever.
Is Tudor Owned By The Rolex?
Rolex actually owns a single brand which is Tudor. This brand was started by Hans Wilsdorf as he found Rolex watches to be highly expensive. Tudor provides quality watches at a reasonable price. Apart from Tudor, no other watch brand is owned by the Rolex.
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Who Is The Owner Of The Rolex Brand?
Hans Wilsdorf Foundation is the owner of the Rolex brand.
Which Country Owns The Rolex Brand?
Rolex was started in London but it moved to Geneva in 1919 & registered itself as a Swiss brand in 1920.
Is Rolex Non-Profit?
Yes, the foundation owning the Rolex is a non-profit organization & uses the proceeds from Rolex for charity work.
Does Rolex Pay Taxes?
No, Rolex is owned by the foundation which is registered as a non-profit. Hence, they aren’t required by law to pay taxes.