Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2005 (Revised January 2013)

Hans Wilsdorf and Rolex

by Geoffrey Jones and Alexander Atzberger

Abstract

Explores the creation of the Rolex watch by Hans Wilsdorf. Provides a case study of how one of the world's leading luxury brands was created and, more generally, provides a vehicle for exploring the competitive advantage of Switzerland in watchmaking (and other industries). Although Switzerland was a traditional watchmaking center, Wilsdorf—who was neither a watchmaker nor Swiss—created this successful brand through his emphasis on quality and reliability, combined with celebrity marketing.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Geographic Location; Brands and Branding; Luxury; Competitive Advantage; Consumer Products Industry; Switzerland;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey, and Alexander Atzberger. "Hans Wilsdorf and Rolex." Harvard Business School Case 805-138, May 2005. (Revised January 2013.)