Rolex strategy

 By: 111forza : September 12th, 2021-08:57
Can someone please try and explain the Rolex strategy to me. I was in town yesterday and walking past one of the Rolex AD’s the usually mostly empty Rolex window displays looked to be well stocked and on closer looking I could clearly see they were exhibition only pieces. Anyway further on into town I could see the same situation in another AD’s window and so I decided to pop inside and take a look and to my surprise the display cabinets inside had what looked like the complete professional line up all stickered up and with working movements again not for sale for exhibition only so decided to try the sky dweller (stunning) asked the obvious question is it for sale and was told no exhibition only. Just curious what the Rolex strategy is having everything on display but not available to purchase I took a few pics but didn’t capture everything on display inside subs/gmt Daytona’s etc. This is in the UK and was wondering if this is worldwide policy at the moment if so that’s a lot of highly sought after watches sat in display cabinets.

If anyone knows what they are doing nowadays, and controlling the strings, it’s Rolex.

 By: Lankysudanese : September 12th, 2021-09:09

Still very frustrating.

Meanwhile, Breguet complication watches are on offer for deep discounts and [relatively] no one is buying them 


I’m fortunate enough to have gotten my Rolex fix a long time ago, but I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for someone trying to get a Rolex timepiece these day.

My question is: why are ADs still carrying Rolex when they don’t move enough product to justify the wasted real estate space?


 By: PalmSprings : September 12th, 2021-09:31
How much is Breguet offering?

I got 20% + VAT at a big AD in geneva.

 By: Lankysudanese : September 12th, 2021-09:41
But I was in town for a non-horological activity. So I had it re-focus 😂

A friend sent me photos of a display in Switzerland with the same exhibition plaque.

 By: gadalex : September 12th, 2021-09:19

I don’t follow Rolex too closely, but given the absence of actual watches for sale, I’m not surprised they would eventually at least display exhibition pieces…Here’s even the airport in Munich when I passed by a few weeks ago:

 By: FabR : September 12th, 2021-09:49

Apologies, probably irrelevant but it was definitely Frankfurt, not Munich👍

 By: FabR : September 12th, 2021-09:58

That Obscure Object of Desire.

 By: Uncle Chico : September 12th, 2021-10:05
It's a way to keep the Lust Meter at 11.

I call this the Instagram effect, and not only watches are involved

 By: VinnieD : September 12th, 2021-10:09
It looks like there is a consumption frenzy about items that are visible and known:
- bags: whatever brand is hot
- watches: we know the specific models
- even specific dog breeds like pugs

There is quite a lot of money floating around and as many people willing to flaunt it; therefore they need to find the most recognised items possible and are ready to pay a significant premium to get them.
As for specific Rolex dynamics, an entire market has been created with a series of intermediaries to supply aforementioned consumers.
Personally, yes, I like a good Rolex but I am more than patient to get hold of one.

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I assume that

 By: Jari from Finland : September 12th, 2021-10:11
maybe those watches are
for customers who have been
on waiting list and they will be
called to get the arrived watch?
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It is up to us to understand that Rolex watches are not for sale. So I don't bother paying a visit. I count on Fate.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-10:20
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Same, I stopped visiting

 By: Cookies : September 12th, 2021-12:50
I don’t wanna feed the hype. I’d rather walk into a store to buy a Blancpain.
Nowadays buying a Rolex bruises the ego, insults the sincerity, and feels like begging. I can’t stoop so low.
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Your last sentence, how true.

 By: Flanker : September 12th, 2021-18:22
This weekend I left one of their Boutiques with the exact feelings you have described. Last year happened the same for another one of their model, I promised myself not to interfere with them again but I could not resist the new SD and I am trying again yet I am concerned if I will get another disappointment.

There is a Rolex game I could not fully get but I believe that you need to buy several of their less popular models to get to the one you desire and if you dare to ask for a steel Daytona, they plainly say that “ don’t even think about it “ (two different ADs told me the same).
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Crazy, for sure.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15
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Same, very same for me.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15
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How true, don't need them. Happier buying a Tissot PRX!

 By: kesharoo : September 13th, 2021-02:49
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 By: Cookies : September 13th, 2021-04:58
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I see your point very well. Or a tudor, as they are making some very cool ones, which are not " on the hype ".

 By: amanico : September 13th, 2021-06:52
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Well put brother, especially the last sentence 👏

 By: holdemchamp1225 : September 13th, 2021-12:16
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It's amazing!

 By: halkcb : September 12th, 2021-13:01
I'm of the same mindset as you....not willing to be dictated to by the forces that be.... after all,it's only an 'obsession' ,and they're feeding off it.
If it's due,it's due,and never above the retail price.
Let's see some sanity in our hobby
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Well said!

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:14
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I don't even think about Rolex when i visit my AD.

 By: hoseachandra : September 12th, 2021-13:37
I always looking for interesting watches from IWC, Zenith, Cartier, or Omega.
If anyone agree that a basic oyster perpetual 3-hander with purple , red or yellow dial worth USD 14K (as seen in grey market), dare i say he is not a WIS. Don't know what to say anymore. It just does not make sense anymore.
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In total agreement.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15
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I‘d love to visit a big Rolex AD with this kind of display for a few hours and observe their discussions with potential customers :-D

 By: nafetS : September 12th, 2021-10:40
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What's the point?

 By: Poky : September 12th, 2021-10:40
So they are making a lot of watches but are not prepared to let them go at the retail price THEY have set themselves. Loads of stickered Rolex for sale in the grey market, some for more than double the retail price. They are all made by Rolex but somehow magically they find their way into the grey market "bypassing" the ADs.
I wouldn't want to waste my life away lusting after something for years, I'd want to enjoy it now when I can. And no, I am not prepared to pay more than the retail price. Not for me but lucky those people that want one and either don't mind waiting for years or pay way above the retail.
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Been in the list for years a never got the call

 By: chinguel : September 13th, 2021-16:37
By the time I buy one rolex I have bought several other very nice pieces each year. And starting to love exquisite taste for many others that I previously let pass through begins to emerge ; )
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I have ordered a bunch of Rolex within the last months

 By: penfriend : September 12th, 2021-11:06
and they all will be delivered til 2022 (or even have been delivered): 5 steel (2 SD, 2 Sub, SkyD), 1 two-tone GMT, 1 plat DD, 1 everose YM

The AD even offered me other wg daytonas that I did not pick cause I have them already.

Even when the windows are only stacked for display / not for sale, I at least have made the experience that they get deliveries and sell them to customers like me who don't sell them again. In my understanding they want to control the flow to the grey market thus not selling to anyone they don't know or whom they have not heard about. "We want to keep the watches here locally".
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A few months ago in Palm Beach...

 By: mdg : September 12th, 2021-15:34
...when I visited, they didn't even have exhibition pieces. An AD had a quite large Rolex room that was empty except for 2 (yes 2) jeweled pieces. It was pathetic.
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I believe Rolex had a business strategy, but outside forces took them elsewhere.

 By: John-E-Mac : September 12th, 2021-16:36
Back in 1985, the CEO of Coca-Cola, Donald Keough responded to the "New Coke" situation.  "Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake.  Some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing.  The truth is we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart."  I believe Rolex is in that same boat, but painted green, not red.

Here is my theory...

Rolex is a huge corporation with a vertically integrated supply chain.  They have historically made changes in a controlled fashion.  With the Chronergy technology released in the 3255 movement of the Day-Date 40, how would a company incorporate this across the product line?  What do you do with all the on-hand inventory of current parts?  How do you swap out the old manufacturing equipment with the new equipment?  How do you move out old stock at authorized dealers, before the new stock arrives?  What would be the impact of the supply chain? Plus a multitude of other questions.

I believe Rolex had a plan to flush out the old before delivering the new.  I also believe that Rolex had unexpected problems ramping up the volume of the Chronergy technology.  I believe that Rolex squashed COSC reporting, so the industry couldn't accurately gauge their production output (or problems).

The recent consumer market demand, attention from social media, stimulus money, low interest rates (and other factors) has created an insatiable environment that Rolex can neither control or supply (or want to supply).

I believe the mock-up watches are a stop-gap measure by Rolex not to aggravate too many customers.  This will give authorized dealers a chance to engage their clients and keep them on the hook a bit longer, until this settles out.

How long will this last?  Who knows.

Wishing Rolex, their authorized dealers and customers the best!


P.S.  Remember the Panerai feeding frenzy days? High velocity of inventory movement. Empty spots in the display cabinet.  Individuals buying at the store level and selling on chat boards.  Successful individual sellers becoming "dealers". Hype. Energy. Excitement. Anticipation.  What happened?  Where did it go?
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“It’s none of your business”, that would be the response from Rolex

 By: DouglasM : September 12th, 2021-16:47
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