Harry Borer, the director of Rolex for more than 30 years, has been awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Biel, Switzerland, in an event held in the Swiss watch brand’s former manufactory building.
A special ceremony was hosted last month for Borer, who asked: “What have I done to receive such compliments and such an honour? I ask myself the question. For my part, I’ve simply done my job.”
He is said to have originally refused the honour to make him a freeman of Biel, but at the recent ceremony about 60 guests were in attendance, where Borer spoke about the Rolex brand and his time working for the company.
He was director of Rolex from 1967 to 2001 and is said to have made the firm what it is today, as a standard bearer of watchmaking.
Borer’s great grandfather was one of two founders of Rolex back in 1920. He was born in 1927 and after studying at the University of Bern and following the death of his father in 1967 Borer took over the running of Rolex with the aim of making the manufactory a fully-integrated producer of movements.
He also invested large sums of money in foundations and institutions. Following the death of his daughter from leukaemia he set up the Béatrice Borer Foundation and the Vinetum Research Fund.
In 2001, he turned the operational management of the firm over to his daughter Franziska and made his son Daniel the chairman of the board of directors.