Harry Borer. Image: Valérie Chételat, Tribune de Genève
In late sad news, humble billionaire and the last family owner of Rolex, Harry Borer, died at the age of 89. Those of you who are unfamiliar, Harry Borer was the director of the Rolex Bienne Facility from 1967-2001. The Rolex Bienne Facility was the movement manufacturing company for Rolex watches that was once owned by Mr Borer’s family. The Borer family were the official movement suppliers to Rolex Geneva since 1904 until 2004 when Rolex Bienne was sold to Rolex Geneva . This made Harry Borer a very wealthy man of 2 Billion Dollars. From what I have read and heard over the years from all sources that I have is that Mr Borer was extremely humble, down to earth and wasn’t a fan of public attention in the least. He lead Rolex in the diasterous quartz crisis of the eighties that nearly obliterated the Swiss Luxury watch industry for good and is quoted, as saying “We didn’t experience any crisis for automatic, mechanical watches and never had to make any cuts in our mechanical or watchmaking departments,”
Remarkably, he did not let go of a single employee during the quartz crisis because he strongly valued employees and believed in them. Also please note that without Harry Borer and the Borer family movement company a relationship which spanned over 100 years, Rolex could have never grown vertically and beome the mega power house that they are today!