Rolex is often considered to be one of the most recognizable and influential brands in the luxury market. Founded in 1905, Rolex has built itself a brand name that is associated with prestige, superiority, accuracy, and luxury.
Hans Wildorf, the founder of Rolex, lead the company from its inception in 1908 until his death in 1963, and left the company in the hands of appointees stated in the Hans Wildsforf Foundation. Starting in 1963, Andre J. Heiniger became the CEO of the company. Under his leadership, Rolex released several new and updated models of Datejusts and Airkings. Rolex also unveiled the SeaDweller in 1967, which was the first watch created with a helium gas escape valve for saturation divers. In 1992, Heiniger’s son Patrick took over the reins, until his resignation in 2008. Bruno Meier then took over the company until 2011. Meier had a background in the financial aspect of the business and was brought in during the economic downturn.
Giam Riccardo Marini has been the Rolex CEO since May of 2011 and has done a great job continuing the company’s success. Marini was the CEO of Rolex Italia from 2000 until May of 2011, when he became the CEO of Rolex. Because Italy practically controls the Rolex vintage market, Marini is able to provide insight and expertise to that aspect of the business. Rolex creates over 800,000 watches a year and has around 1,000 horological patents. It was the first luxury watch brand to create a waterproof watch, first to display a date on the dial, and first to display two different time zones on the same dial. With such a successful past, Rolex no doubt has set high expectations for the future. As a result, Rolex must be lead by someone who is familiar with the brand, company culture, and target audience.