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Old 7 December 2018, 05:58 AM   #1
brooklynfanatic
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Is Rolex a Nonprofit?

Ive been reading the Wikipedia and Quora pages on Rolex and I have not been able to fully understand how Rolex is structured as a company. It seems to be a nonprofit trust with many employees. So where do its (obviously) massive profits go? Does it have a CEO? What makes it a nonprofit? Does it do any charity work? Can anybody here give me insight?
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Old 7 December 2018, 06:03 AM   #2
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Yes, and its only cause is to grow wealth for Rolex.
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Old 7 December 2018, 06:07 AM   #3
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Swiss laws are not the same as American laws, so what we may call one thing, they'll call something else.

Rolex is not a non-profit (like a charity) but is a private family trust. All that means to us is that it's treated differently for tax purposes - which is why it's now in Switzerland instead of England.
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Old 7 December 2018, 06:18 AM   #4
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:16 AM   #5
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Is Rolex a Nonprofit?

Rolex sales are now in the $6 billion range. Since they don’t pay corporate taxes and dividends like their competitors, Rolex has a cost advantage, but to what extent is unknown. Omega is owned, for example, by the Swatch Group. Swatch is public company that pays approximately 25% in taxes.

Here’s a cut/paste article from 2015 about Rolex.

Is Rolex a non-profit company? And if so, why?
The founder was Hans Wilsdorf and Rolex was the work of his life. He owned all the shares.

He wanted it to survive and thrive after his death, but did not have any children to take over, so he found an ingenious solution: he set up a trust, called the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, and gave the shares to the trust. The main objective of the trust is to perpetuate the company, although it does also have a mandate for some minor charity work in Geneva (helping the blind, watchmaking school, etc).

Its important to note that the Foundation's trustees are not owners or shareholders, they are only custodians, like the board of a nonproft. They decide how to reinvest the profit, hire or fire the Rolex director, and so on. As trustees, they may get a free watch from time to time, but they are not owners and don't benefit financially.

So in a way, Rolex, a globally successful company which generates 4 billion in sales annually, belongs to nobody! Nobody uses this money. How many billions has it hoarded over the years is a mystery as neither the Rolex comapny's or the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation's accounts are public. I guess a good part of the profit is re invested in the company, as there is no shareholder pressure to take profit, and thats why Rolex can invest so much into making perfect watches and building the most amazing factories. The staff are well paid too, and have lots of holidays, there is a 1 percent turnover so they must be pretty happy.

You can find the foundation's statutes on rc.ge.ch, but not the financials, which again, are secret. Overall its an amazing story!!!

So to answer the question, no, Rolex is not a for-profit company, wholly owned by a nonprofit foundation, the mission of which is to perpetuate Rolex.
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:25 AM   #6
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So much misinformation already in this thread.

Rolex SA is a private, profit making company, the same as millions of others.

It is, however, owned by a charitable trust (the HWF) that pays a proportion of those profits to various charities.

The trust itself is controlled by various trustees.
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:35 AM   #7
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:41 AM   #8
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I believe I am correct in saying that the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation is the is the largest philanthropic donor in Europe.
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:48 AM   #9
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sounds like too much time on their hands, lol .
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:55 AM   #10
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Rolex S. A. is a Private Foundation.

In order to maintain this designation it must file an annual plan for how it re-invests, and how it donates/gives it's designated income as grants, gifts, and donations.

It must give out the percentages as defined in their governing documents in order to maintain this status.

Because it is private, it does not need to disclose to anybody but the government, which approves this designation, where and how it operates.
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Old 7 December 2018, 08:00 AM   #11
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Howard Hughes had a similar set-up, although not quite as, well, let's just say admirable. (And was nowhere near as profitable.)

The U.S. has since changed many of these laws but the oldest and largest Foundations were Grandfathered in and likely receive their original tax benefits.

To a regular person, it almost seems criminal but who really cares? Like another poster wrote: I just enjoy the watches.

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Old 7 December 2018, 08:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Rolex is not a non-profit (like a charity)
A nonprofit isn't necessarily a charitable organization. For example, the NFL was a tax-exempt nonprofit until very recently. Its organizational goal was to facilitate profit for other organizations, the individual teams.
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Old 7 December 2018, 08:42 AM   #13
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What ever Rolex is, it is certainly not non profit with all the money flowing into the company. A better designation would be a "highly profitable" foundation or charity.
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Old 7 December 2018, 08:50 AM   #14
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Is Rolex a Nonprofit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Likestheshiny View Post
A nonprofit isn't necessarily a charitable organization. For example, the NFL was a tax-exempt nonprofit until very recently. Its organizational goal was to facilitate profit for other organizations, the individual teams.


I believe you are correct. The only text have found states is that the HWF has a limited mandate for charitable purposes. Since Rolex doesn’t release any financial data we’re guessing.

These are the known Rolex charities:

The Rolex Institute (which furthers the company’s charitable activities), The Rolex Awards for Enterprise (which recognizes pioneering men and women around the world who work to improve live on Earth), and The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (which supports a number of extremely talented young artists).
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Old 7 December 2018, 01:09 PM   #15
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Hans was "Thee Godfather"

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Old 7 December 2018, 01:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HogwldFLTR View Post
Yes, and its only cause is to grow wealth for Rolex.
OK, I was a bit harsh. It gives money anonymously and supports various arts and other enterprises it feels are worthy. Here's an interesting link to Bob's. It also pays salaries and support the Wilsdorf family. I wonder how their out going cash flow matches to their incoming?

https://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-bl...on-profit.html
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Old 7 December 2018, 06:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Snow-Dweller View Post
I believe I am correct in saying that the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation is the is the largest philanthropic donor in Europe.
And exactly what good did they do apart from making watches and sponsoring the F1 ?
Exactly zilch
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Old 7 December 2018, 07:50 PM   #18
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Doesn't the use of gold offset the charity? I know Rolex makes their own but to my knowledge people have to work themselves to death in order to get a small amount of the stuff.
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Old 7 December 2018, 08:27 PM   #19
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If you think getting gold is working hard you should have a crack at refining it to 4 nines.
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Old 9 December 2018, 12:06 PM   #20
brooklynfanatic
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So basically it’s a regular company that was smart enough to not pay any corporate taxes. It sounds like the charity they give is more a PR and advertising thing than anything else. Which is ok many companies do that.
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Old 9 December 2018, 03:41 PM   #21
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does it mean i am doing charity by purchasing a rolex?
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Old 10 December 2018, 06:08 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildog View Post
So much misinformation already in this thread.

Rolex SA is a private, profit making company, the same as millions of others.

It is, however, owned by a charitable trust (the HWF) that pays a proportion of those profits to various charities.

The trust itself is controlled by various trustees.
True....
And also this is a reason they have this low supply strategy!!
Because it’s not only for Rolex to make money but is to keep the brand on a high demand!
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Old 10 December 2018, 08:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Calatrava r View Post
What ever Rolex is, it is certainly not non profit with all the money flowing into the company. A better designation would be a "highly profitable" foundation or charity.
Not to mention that Rolex is one of the biggest realestate owner in the world,
Which is even bigger than their watch sales. And also they have one of the biggest gold reserve that exist.
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Old 18 November 2020, 09:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by VanessaInc View Post
Doesn't the use of gold offset the charity?
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaInc View Post
La semana pasada quería comprarme un reloj nuevo porque me habían ascendido en el trabajo y me merecía un premio. Lo busqué en Google y escribí en el buscador . Lo primero que me apareció fue una basura y al final terminé comprándolo en una web que ofrecía muy buen precio y un envío rápido. Muy contento con la compra y la verdad que es un pepino de reloj.
This is a English language forum.

The name Rolex came from the phrase “Horologies D Excellence” meaning “watch making of excellence.” The name Rolex was easy to pronounce in any European language and was short enough to fit on the dial of the watches.

Rolex is a foundation and cannot be owned, bought or sold to anyone for any price. The company is set up in such a way that it continuously perpetuates its existence through properly allocated funds into research and development but they do still make a large profit just like any other business to survive.

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, was orphaned at age 12,he spent the rest of his teenager years in an orphanage. He later began to work for a watch exporter in Switzerland,then went on to found RWC now just Rolex as we know it today.

Hans Wilsdorf and his wife owned orphanages in Switzerland and donated profits of the company to various charities and orphanages. To this day a large share of the profits go to charities and the Rolex Awards for Enterprise but they still make a profit .
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Old 18 November 2020, 10:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaInc View Post
La semana pasada quería comprarme un reloj nuevo porque me habían ascendido en el trabajo y me merecía un premio. Lo busqué en Google y escribí en el buscador Lo primero que me apareció fue una basura y al final terminé comprándolo en una web que ofrecía muy buen precio y un envío rápido. Muy contento con la compra y la verdad que es un pepino de reloj.
?
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Old 19 November 2020, 02:46 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by brooklynfanatic View Post
So basically it’s a regular company that was smart enough to not pay any corporate taxes. It sounds like the charity they give is more a PR and advertising thing than anything else. Which is ok many companies do that.
Partially. It pays taxes in the UK for its UK business. I can’t speak to the others but the UK results are published for all to see.
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Old 19 November 2020, 03:16 AM   #27
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Rolex is such a magic story, in so many ways ...

Hans Wilsdorf was a genius in ideas,design and manufacture ,also in laying down instructions in the trust .

So no,Rolex cannot produce more ss sports models ,because the instructions are clear and binding .So,much of this and so much of that .No,they cant just produce more Daytonas to satisfy your lust ....

No,they do not produce more or less according to market conditions.
No,they dont hold watches back ..

I also appreciate the fact that they sponsor and support excellence .
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Old 19 November 2020, 04:45 AM   #28
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My cousin who audit's them told me firm no.
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Old 19 November 2020, 04:59 AM   #29
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Does Rolex show how a foundation trust is superior to conventional shareholder owned stock market listed company capitalist model?
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Old 19 November 2020, 06:21 AM   #30
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Maybe I could consider a new Rolex to be a Charitable Contribution on my tax return.

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