Hans Wilsdorf (March 22, 1881 - July 6, 1960) was a German watchmaker, and the founder of Rolex and Tudor.
Born in Kulmbach, Bavaria and orphaned as a child, Wilsdorf worked for a Swiss watch manufacturer in La Chaux-de-Fonds. In 1905, he moved to London and set up his own business, wanting to provide quality timepieces at affordable prices. With his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, he founded a watch importing firm called Wilsdorf & Davis, and he partnered with Hermann Aegler, a watch manufacturer in Bienne to import wristwatches.
In 1908, he created the Rolex brand to sell his watches under, and during World War I, he left England due to wartime tax increases levied on businesses for Switzerland. In 1920, he established Montres Rolex S.A. in Bienne. The name ROLEX was invented by Hans Wilsdorf. It is easily pronounceable in many languages and, as all letters have the same size, allows to be written symmetrically. He also established the high quality, less-budget watch brand, Tudor, subsidiary company of Rolex in 1946. Upon the death of his wife in 1944, he established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation in which he left all of his shares in Rolex, making sure that an amount of the company's income would go to charity. The company remains a foundation to the present day. Wilsdorf died in Geneva on July 6, 1960.