Notable for founding the world-famous Tudor and Rolex watch brands, this German entrepreneur later established an eponymous foundation that guaranteed that a portion of Rolex's profits would be donated to charity in the decades and centuries after his death.
Early in his life, he was employed by a Swiss watchmaking company in the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
When he learned that members of the Royal Air Force who owned Rolex watches were being forced to turn over their timepieces to their captors at World war II-era POW camps, Wilsdorf offered to replace the soldiers' watches for free (until the end of the war, when the former POWs would be expected to pay for their Rolexes).
A native of Kulmbach, Bavaria, he later operated his famous watchmaking businesses out of his adopted home city of Geneva, Switzerland. Before settling in Geneva, he co-owned a London-based watch imports company with his wife's brother, Alfred Davis.
He and Frenchman Dominique Loiseau were both successful twentieth-century watchmakers.