The 10% price increase introduced by Rolex in November last year has only partially addressed the differential enjoyed by the watchmaker’s authorised retailers in the UK.
A study of global prices compiled by Rolex Forums contributor ‘Alpino’ and analysed by WatchPro shows that UK prices remain over 9% cheaper in the UK than the rest of the European Union.
The price difference is even greater for people buying from outside the European Union, because they can reclaim the VAT on their purchases.
Rolex does not allow its authorised retailers to sell online. If it did, customers in France would immediately be able to save €692 when buying a Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 from a UK retailer at today’s exchange rate of 1.13 euros to the pound.
Rolex Watch Company Limited, the UK subsidiary of the Swiss watchmaker, reported sales of £268 million in 2016, a 41% rise over 2015, as the post-Brexit crash in the value of the pound created the massive differential in prices.
Sales rose for all luxury watches thanks to the price differential in the UK, but Rolex was the greatest beneficiary by some distance.
The top 10 watch companies in the UK amassed sales of £1.04 billion in 2016, up from £890 million in 2015.
Rolex Watch Company accounted for 26% of that £1bn, up from 21% in 2015.