Marketing Brilliance by Hans Wilsdorf

rolex history

Hans Wilsdorf was a brilliant businessman. He built his company on precision and reliability but also marketed his brand by providing remarkable timepieces to remarkable figures at the time. He interwove Rolex into historical figures' stories. He presented 20th century influencers and icons with Rolexes to wear to increase exposure and brand image. Amongst those famous people was Winston Churchill.

winston churchill

Winston Churchill was a legendary figure in Great Britain’s history who happened to love watches. He used the power of words to rally a nation during World War 2. Symbolizing both inner strength and resistance, Winston Churchill was a remarkable leader, a skilled public speaker and even won a nobel prize for his writing. Even today, Winston Churchill is remembered with reverence, and his written words have provided insight for many generations. Thus, it is only natural that Hans Wilsdorf presented Winston Churchill with a Rolex of significant importance - the 100,000th chronometer certified watch, a gold Datejust.

rolex marketing history

Side note: For those of you who do not know, a chronometer certificate gives the timepieces an elite status.The certificate means the watch movements have been tested by an official timing institute for the highest precision. As a company, Rolex made this certification an important cornerstone in their pursuit of excellence. By 1947, 80% of the chronometers produced by the entire Swiss watchmaking industry that were certified were Rolexes.

So, it was only fitting that a milestone of Rolex, the 100,000th certified chronometer, be presented to a man who was a prominent figure at the time. Churchill accepted the compliment from Hans Wilsdorf with a twist.

As you can see from the above letter, he requested a specific model, the Rolex datejust. Additionally, he requested for it to be specially engraved with his coat of arms. Naturally, once Churchill started wearing his Rolex, many more significant figures began to be spotted sporting a Rolex as well. Such a brilliant move by Hans Wilsdorf.

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