Rolex is still opening monobrand stores in the UK, despite existing authorised dealers and their customers enduring interminable waiting lists for the most desirable watches, particularly stainless steel versions of the Daytona, Submariner, SkyDweller and GMT Master II.
This week The Watches of Switzerland Group (WoSG) will open a Rolex boutique in Glasgow on the site of its multibrand Watches of Switzerland at the top end of Buchanan Street.
Earlier this month, the group dedicated around half of its Mappin & Webb showroom in Cambridge to a single brand Rolex store (pictured top and below).
In an interview with The Herald in Scotland, WoSG chief executive Brian Duffy reveals that half of the Rolexes the company sells are to people on a waiting list.
“We always have that big long list. We are the [UK’s] biggest retailer of Rolex, which is a huge strength. It is half of our business, and there is more demand than supply. We are in a very fortunate position to be representing these brands,” he adds.
Rolex mothballed manufacturing for more than two months during the Coronavirus pandemic, and is expecting to have lost at least one quarter of production capacity for this year.
Delivery to retailers resumed around one month ago, but most of the supplies were already sold to customers that were on waiting lists going into the lock down.
“We had some availability of product and we worked that list over the past few weeks. That is what people are now coming in to collect,” Mr Duffy explains.
Rolex has not commented on its strategy to roll out monobrand stores, but an increasing number of authorised dealers have been opening or refurbishing stores to create Rolex boutiques.
Prestons opened in Leeds last year and David M Robinson made space for a Rolex room in Manchester.
Mr Duffy has previously told WatchPro that building more dedicated space for Rolex has proven to be the only way to persuade the watchmaker to allocate it more product.
Rolex accounts for 53% of turnover for WoSG worldwide.