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Rolex monobrand stores still opening despite shortages getting worse

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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).

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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.

16 Comments

  1. Well I wait already 3 years for a new Pepsi Rolex here in Germany. Also on a waiting list.
    If you can give me an advice to get one quicker in Scotland or Uk please contact me.

  2. Don’t buy one. I have a Rolex Oysterquartz bought by me new. It’s still running and appears in what I believe is a good condition. A few months ago I sent it to Rolex for a service even though it was running. They quoted me $4800 dollars which was almost three times what it cost to buy new. I asked them to return it unserviced.

  3. In any other line of business any where in the world if the CEO cant run the shop to make sure supply keeps up with demand they are simply removed from their position, its a basic tenant of business large or small one if the first rules that is a given in business, Rolex are running price fixing in the market I believe this to be illegal,
    What does it tell us about Rolex when they hand pick who they sell to ? They are fixing the market to control prices and artificially add a man made product starvation.
    This is cartel price fixing in a unique and elaborate scam they and they alone have inflated the grey market prices as a consequence.

    1. What do you think Rolex is a public traded company? They can do what they please and have been for a hundred plus years. Also their product isn’t just the watch itself, it’s the brand you also pay for. Look at other luxury brands with hot products like Chanel and Hermes. They encourage the hunt of exclusive certain models. Like it or not, their current approach is working wonders. Is it sustainable? Time will tell.

    2. The quote in the article clearly refers to half of the overall business being Rolex, NOT half of Rolex sales being waiting list pieces.. Need to work on the reading comprehension I think.

      While sports models are always in short supply there are plenty of Rolexs you can walk into any AD and purchase there and then.

      “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.”

  4. Of course Rolex are fixing the market. Their watches are good (I have a datejust), but their prices are out of all relation to what they offer. A Rolex bracelet costs well over £500, spot the difference between that and a generic costing $25, there is none. But this is nothing compared to the diamond market; basically any diamond you buy is worthless as soon as you’ve bought it because they’re impossible to sell, the world is drowning in diamonds. But they are advertised as a “good investment”.

    The only reason a “diamond is forever” is because, like herpes, you can never get rid of it.

  5. Unfortunately, they’ve really lost me as a customer, and I no longer look at them as a future watch brands to purchase. My family have bought rolexs since the late 70s. These have been all datejusts, and these are all still within the family and been handed down through the family. Myself and the wife have been looking at getting another two, but enquiring at an AD they made it quite clear that we were not VIP customers of theirs as we don’t buy enough watches from them. They said the rolexs we are after are highly sought after watches in the world and that they are saved for their VIP customers only. We were in after a Daytona and another stainless sports watch. I will not pay a premium over what is a retail price and also be told that basically we aren’t worthy of owning one for to our purchase history. Rolex together with their AD are turning loyal customers away from them. Disgusting marketing and the way they do business.

  6. I have had 5 Rolex watches,they are very basic ,nothing special,but it is a scam the price fixing,the terrible waiting times,the service costs.There are far better watches out there

  7. Precisely. Under no circumstance whatsoever will I buy a Rolex. Ever. I think we understand at this point that watch enthusiasts and collectors are not their target market, And that’s their prerogative. But the supply shenanigans are both transparent and absurd and we need not support them. Curiously what they’ve done is carve out breathing room for brands like Omega and Grand Seiko to take advantage of.

  8. A solus Rolex boutique seems a uniquely pointless exercise. A shop of empty cabinets. Rolex is by far and away the biggest mass-producer of high end watches, yet it has lost control/manipulated the market to the point where you can only get one from a grey market dealer, at varying levels of service and price. Paying twice list for mail order doesn’t scream ‘quality buying experience’ does it? Neither does being put on a token ‘waiting list’ by dismissive staff with no guarantee. I’ll be in Glasgow soon, so will see if things are improving…

  9. Verry interesting comments responding to an informative article, Rolex beware your customers ain’t pleased, so to my original point is the CEO of watches of Switzerland doing his job if I take my 30k and spend it at my local Harley Davidson dealership instead of spending it with him because he cant or more likely wont sell me the watch I want ? Is the CEO doing a good job for the company if I do this ?
    It defys logic to claim that he is running a successful business strategy if this happens and if I was a shareholder I would surely be asking and digging deep for an answer as to how if a hundred thousand customers addopt the buying some other luxury toy with there expendable cash attatude that’s millions of pounds walking out the shop.

  10. If i had a £1 million, i wouldn’t be able to get certain Ferrari models, Porsche Models and would probably have to wait 8 years plus for a Morgan. They don’t and won’t increase their production no matter how many people waive their cheque books at them. THAT is their strategy. They don’t care if you go and buy a high end BMW or Audi. Rolex are the same. If you are not prepared to wait…go and buy your Omega. I have every SS model i want, at retail BUT have waited on average 3-4 years per model. I was at Baselworld and requested a new Pepsi within 5 mins of its reveal to my AD, who i have a terrific relationship….I am still waiting for it! BUT i don’t mind….that’s the nature of the brand and i am excited at the prospect….so will people stop bleating and stamping their feet like children who want everything NOW. Just go and buy an Omega….you really ARE not worthy of owning one.

    1. Yikes, not worthy? LOL, as if. What’s actually childish is being taken-in by the foolishness of playing the described game. Expecting MSRP to be a meaningful figure and authorized dealers to be in possession of inventory they are willing to sell is maturity presuming there are marketplace participants dignified enough to at least match it. What they’re doing only even works because people with no more authentic feelings of self-worth than what they get from notions of retail exclusivity tend to be incapable of discerning artificially manufactured facsimiles of exclusivity—contrived precisely for the purpose of exploiting your blindspots from the outset. They’re playing you because they can, but you think your judgment is sound enough to pronounce others unworthy? LMFAO fuck off

  11. My AD called me on July 9,2020 and told me they had the Rolex I was waiting for for about 1 year. It is the Explorer II white dial. I Paid over the phone, and picked it up two hours later. I was shocked to say the least.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder