I believe Rolex had a business strategy, but outside forces took them elsewhere.

Sep 12, 2021,16:36 PM

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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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 exhibi...  

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 b... 


 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 😂

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 ... 

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?

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.

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 y... 

Crazy, for sure.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15

Same, very same for me.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15


 By: Cookies : September 13th, 2021-04:58

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 imho

Well said!

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:14

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 sa... 

In total agreement.

 By: amanico : September 12th, 2021-20:15

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 ... 

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 ; )

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 o... 

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.

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 tha... 

rolex ADs in jeddah...

 By: Peter : September 12th, 2021-19:47
things are getting very strange....in Europe (and in dubai) it is currently (for me) almost impossible to buy a nice day date 40. two days ago we visited three locations of the same AD in jeddah and they were literally full of dd40. white gold with meteor... 

Regarding the exhibition pieces, it's quite simple, really. Having a set of exhibition watches at least gives people who walk in a chance to try on the actual watches.

 By: countzero : September 13th, 2021-00:02
Being able to then buy the watches is another story. But selling those exhibition pieces to customers on the waiting list would no nothing for the supply situation either. We are talking about a single set of watches per AD, here.

I agree. People have been complaining that they...

 By: SRG : September 13th, 2021-04:11
haven't even been able to see the various watches to see if they would actually want to buy one. Now it sounds like you can see them, and make an informed decision. From what I understand, Rolex is still making the same number of watches, but demand has s... 

Looks like the Hermes strategy has hit Europe well.

 By: iceheller : September 13th, 2021-17:23
Unpopular datejust model should be available with no discount at all! I missed the days where you get discount from ADs fr almost all Rolex watches… be it 5%…

Simple Strategy

 By: JBB : September 14th, 2021-04:23
Increase demand by throttling supply. Dealers can "package" other pieces that aren't as easy to sell whether it be jewelry or other watch brands to people who are dying to get that Rolex (or Patek). Hermes does the same thing, and I think it's despicable....