Rolex issues rare statement to address its well-known supply-demand woes

This is almost unprecedented

Rolex is financially solid and independent. It is also a private company, which means it has no shareholders to answer to, and it doesn’t like, nor need, marketing.

Rolex SA is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which is considered a charity under Swiss law. The company doesn’t communicate with the media in the same way that most of its competitors do and it hardly ever issues statements. But it has, which is rare, and interesting.

Anybody who’s even remotely into watches knows that Rolex can’t keep up with demand, and that has caused the second-hand market to explode in recent years. If you’re in the position to go to a Rolex AD and buy a brand-new sports model at retail price, you can literally walk out of the store, list it for sale and make a profit. Yahoo! Finance has been looking into this and that’s why Rolex decided to issue a statement about it.

The statement reads: “The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part. Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised. This level of excellence requires time, and as we have always done, we will continue to take the necessary time to ensure that all our watches not only comply with our standards of excellence, but also meet the expectations of our customers in terms of quality, reliability and robustness. Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches.”

“All Rolex watches are developed and produced in-house at our four sites in Switzerland. They are assembled by hand, with extreme care, to meet the brand’s unique and high-quality standards of quality, performance and aesthetics. Understandably, this naturally restricts our production capacities – which we continue to increase as much as possible and always according to our quality criteria.”

“Finally, it should be noted that Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers, who independently manage the allocation of watches to customers.”

What’s your take on this? Rolex is arguably the most important brand in the watch world for a combination of reasons, including the fact that its pieces are, when all is said and done, attainable. Expensive, but attainable.

There are currently over 72,000 Rolex watches available from Chrono24, the world’s largest platform for pre-owned watches, and you can find Datejust models starting from €1,100, GMT-Master models from €9,000 and Explorers from €3,500. It’s a lot of cash but it‘s within human reach, not like those brands with 6- or 7-figure price tags.

I don’t own a Rolex, and I never have, but I‘d like to, at some point.

Do you own a Rolex/have you ever owned one?

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Comments (10)

  • Rolex is not on my watch-related bucket list. Even if someone were to gift me one, the only thing I'd consider is selling it to make a profit. The watches themselves are high quality, no doubt- but the brand carries a certain tackiness I'm not interested in, I'd rather have an Omega or an IWC to be honest. Rolex is just not something I'd wear.

      23 days ago
    • Same. I'm happy with my pedestrian Bulova. Not real expensive but not junk. Looks great and reads well. That is my criteria. I'm not looking to impress or be trendy.

        22 days ago
  • Rolex is akin to Porsche and I am a huge fan of each brand. I was able to purchase an Explorer II (226570) this May from a local (upper Midwest, United States) AD a week and a half after presenting to the this dealer. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to buy this watch, especially as I was a new customer. This is my only Rolex.

      22 days ago
  • No. My Dad had a $10 NYC knockoff for a joke. It was rather obvious if you know. Wasn't fooling anyone. Wasn't meant to. Just a gag for $10.

      22 days ago
  • To be honest I’ve never been a big fan of Rolex. Don’t get me wrong they are brilliant watches (my neighbour has a sub mariner and wears it every day and it’s never skipped a beat) they are just not for me. Can’t fault the brand for saying what they have though. People would rather wait for a top quality item

      23 days ago
  • I purchased my Submariner off eBay about 15 years ago, just keeps ticking and instantly recognizable. As for availability, who can argue with their statement? Anyone looking to purchase a Rolex can find what want if they are a little creative

      23 days ago