Hans Wilsdorf was born on 22 March 1881 in the Frankish Kulmbach (Northern Bavaria), where he spent his childhood and youth. With 12 years he became orphan. After a commercial training he left Germany in 1900 to go to La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. There he worked as an employee in an import/export business. Three years later, he went to London and there, together with the case maker Davis, founded the watch wholesale Wilsdorf & Davis.
Davis takes over the production cases and Wilsdorf the procurement of high-quality watch movements. He obtains the movements from Switzerland from the company Aegler, based in Biel. 1920 the company is moved to Geneva and is given the name Rolex Montres SA. Already in 1908 Hans Wilsdorf had registered the now world-famous brand name “Rolex” for his watches.