History of the BMW Roundel Logo

The Story of the BMW Roundel Logo

Whenever we look at a BMW in the showroom at Prestige Imports, one of the first things we’ll notice is the iconic blue-and-white circular logo. Yet, while we quickly assign a certain level of social cachet to this emblem, we likely don’t take the time to figure out where it might have come from. As it turns out, the BMW Roundel logo has a story every bit as interesting as the story of BMW itself. So gather ‘round, kids; Prestige Imports is going to tell you a tale.

BMW for Sale Fort Lauderdale FLThe Story of the BMW Logo

The famous BMW logo is known as the “Roundel,” and the origin of this emblem has been subject of debate since all the way back in 1917. First, let’s analyze the rumors.

Myths of the BMW Logo

History is rife with myths that explain certain events, such as Ben Franklin being behind Daylight Savings Time (Nope.) or the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 being caused by a cow. (Again, nope.)

The myth with the logo of the BMW logo is that it was taken from a 1929 advertisement that featured an airplane propeller, signaling the first foray of BMW into aviation. (This can be viewed here.) This was a belief that was held for many years, and periodically has even been told in books telling BMW’s history.

The Truth of the BMW Roundel Logo

The Roundel itself was actually patented in 1917, a full twelve years before BMW threw its Tyrolean hat into the aeronautical ring. While the theory of the spinning propellor blades was certainly fun to entertain, it was simply inaccurate.

Instead, the Roundel is a nod to the brand’s German heritage, and specifically recall the colors found in the Bavarian Free State flag, which is shown at right. However, they are arranged in a different arrangement, as it was illegal at the time to incorporate a national symbol into a corporate logo. Thus, when BMW made its way into air travel, the graphic essentially made itself; the Roundel inspired the advertisement for propellers, and not vice versa.

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There you have it, folks, the illustrious history of the BMW Roundel logo. If you’d like to learn more about BMW — specifically, how amazing they are to drive — visit us today at Prestige Imports in North Miami Beach, FL!