Rolex rise and fall in sales 2021 to 22
Source: LuxeConsult, Morgan Stanley Research estimates.

Rolex extends its lead over the entire Swiss watch industry

Sales at Rolex rise to CHF 9.3 billion, over CHF 2 billion more than the combined turnover of all watchmakers at Swatch Group and Richemont.

The rising market share for independent watchmakers, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille, is the major takeaway from the annual Morgan Stanley report on the Swiss watch industry, produced in consultation with LuxeConsult.

The figures also highlight the way the Swiss are achieving rising average transaction values for each watch sold, with some of the biggest producers suffering falling sales despite rising volumes.

In a record year for the Swiss, only Longines and Tissot, which sold 1.7 million and 2.8 million units, respectively, also saw sliding revenues. Longines was down 22% from 2021 to CHF 1.2 billion, Morgan Stanley estimates. Tissot sales fell by 12% to CHF 750 million.

Rolex annual turnover by brand
Source: LuxeConsult, Morgan Stanley Research estimates.

Rolex’s inexorable rise has continued into 2022, with sales up 21% to CHF 9.3 billion, more than treble second place Cartier with estimated turnover of CHF 2.75 billion, up 15%.

Omega remains in third place, with sales up 12% to CHF 2.5 billion, but Audemars Piguet, which overtook Patek Philippe last year, is closing in on Swatch Group’s flagship brand with sales of CHF 2 billion.

It remains to be seen whether AP, which benefited from the 50th anniversary of its Royal Oak last year, can keep growing its top line when it continues to limit production to around 50,000 (up from 45,000 units in 2021). But it grew 27% last year through a combination of 5,000 extra units, higher prices and more direct sales, so maintaining that trajectory might run Omega close in 2023.

If AP production continues to rise towards 65-70,000 pieces in the next five years, it will challenge Cartier for second place.

CEOs contest the findings of the Morgan Stanley report every year, normally dividing between those that are happy with the estimates, and those that would prefer them not to be published.

MoonSwatch bounce

There was some good news for Swatch Group, with MoonSwatch creator Swatch enjoying a 90% rise in sales to CHF 406 million, and leading the league for most watches produced by a Swiss manufacturer with 4.9 million units; around one fifth of those units were MoonSwatches.

Rolex pie chart of groups
Source: LuxeConsult, Morgan Stanley Research estimates.

Further down the rankings, Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin will be pleased with the report in their first year since being bought from Kering.

GP was outside the top 50 last year, but entered at number 40 in 2022 with sales of CHF 78 million.

Ulysse Nardin is ranked just behind with sales of CHF 75 million, up by 36% year on year.

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  1. I do wonder about the Omega slide though…. I think they have too many derivatives and need to try remain Theral and, reduce the production of ‘less attractive’ looking watches. Some of their non sport especially gold lady models look like Longines…. Remember what made you popular…. The moon is far away and won’t help with sales!

  2. I’m at a total loss as to how Rolex are at the top of the sales league when no-one can buy one regardless of the ability to do so financially!

  3. Because virtually every watch they make is sold. Most on back order. It’s a money making machine

    Just because us poor people can’t get the nice stuff doesn’t mean they aren’t making the nice stuff.

    Put your name down for a TT lady date just and chances are you’ll get one sooner than you think

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