Waiting lists for Rolex watches are capped at 4,000 people for some models, according to one of the world’s largest authorised dealers, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in the United Arab Emirates, but at the same time, they have only 20-30 people on lists for Patek Philippe’s far rarer timepieces.
Mohammed Seddiqi, chief commercial officer of Seddiqi Holding, told Bloomberg that even members of the royal family are often told they cannot get the watches they want.
“If a royal wants a watch for personal use, they’ll get it,” Mr Seddiqi says. “But if they’re looking for watches to give as gifts — to dignitaries, perhaps royalty from other countries — the company may be more selective.”
The UAE is now in the top ten markets worldwide for Swiss watch exports — ahead of Italy and just behind France and Germany so far this year.
The country’s imports have risen by almost 14% and are on track to be worth over $1 billion to the Swiss for the whole of 2022.
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons opened Rolex’s largest store in the world in 2018 and reopened after a modernisation in 2020.
The business also operates global flagships for the likes of Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Patek Philippe and TAG Heuer.