CORDER’S COLUMN: Rolex drought will ease within two years

Display cabinets in this Rolex room at a major retail partner based in Switzerland have slots for 60 watches. There are only 13 on display.
Rob Corder, managing editor, WatchPro.

Rolex will not speak on the record about future production plans, but moves are afoot to resolve the current crisis in steel professional watches.

One of my key jobs as editor of WatchPro in both the United Kingdom and United States is to keep my ear to the ground for hints about what is coming down the track from the major Swiss brands.

Careful scrutiny of financial reports mixed with constantly trading stories with retailers, brand managers, collectors and journalists helps me gradually adjust a random fuzzy screen into a just-about-discernible picture. I do not claim to have a perfect picture, but I hope it isn’t entirely false either.


It takes a particularly well-tuned ear to decipher what the future holds for Rolex because, as any journalist or authorized dealer will tell you, there are no official announcements other than when Rolex Testimonee Roger Federer wins another Rolex-sponsored Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Remarkably, this lack of communication only makes the world trust Rolex even more. It has topped the Forbes list of the world’s most reputable companies for the past two years, beating Lego and Disney into second and third in 2019.

If, as the saying goes, an empty vessel makes the most noise, then I suppose the fullest (or most fulsome) vessel makes the least noise.

The question every Rolex customer and authorized dealer wants answering today is whether or when the current drought for steel tool watches will ease?

And the answer is: in two years’ time, according to a consensus of opinions in the market that includes the views of Swiss watchmaking competitors, journalists that have the trust of Rolex and several authorized dealers.

Of course, this could prove wildly wide of the mark, but there is good reason to believe it is true, not least because people who might have been given reliable information believe it to be the case.

Even those without access to industry insiders can come to a logical view based on the undeniable fact that Rolex is one of the smartest companies on the planet and that it will not allow a situation that is damaging to its brand to continue indefinitely.

Rolex is operating a multi-tiered strategy to address the current shortages. First, it is shifting demand using its sophisticated marketing. For example, the cooperative advertising Rolex does with its authorized dealers is all going into promoting watches that are available like its precious metal classics like Day-Dates and DateJusts, particularly women’s models. I cannot remember the last time I saw an official Rolex advert for a Submariner or Daytona.

This not just happening in traditional print advertising. Scroll back through Rolex’s official Instagram account and the last time a steel professional watch was mentioned was in June when it pushed its Sea-Dweller (not one of the top four watches with the longest waiting lists). You have to go back to the March launch of the new GMT Master II Batman at Baselworld to find mention of one of the true unicorn watches.

This social media promotion is not just limited to Rolex, itself. The company manages the feeds of its authorized dealers as well so that they are also promoting the precious metal Oyster Perpetual Classic models.

The way Rolex is presented online at every authorized dealer world-wide is also managed centrally by the Swiss watchmaker and you will not be seeing any professional watches anywhere near high traffic home pages.

This has been happening for some time, and there is no sign that it is blowing the froth off demand yet. But I expect it will eventually because I trust Rolex will get it right.

On the supply side, the secrecy on production is almost entirely impenetrable. However, most authorized dealers I speak to believe Rolex is making around one million watches per year and that it is increasing production by around 6% annually — an additional 60,000 watches.

Assuming Rolex wants to narrow the delta between demand and supply, it has to make more professional steel watches. On top of its current production, all of the additional 60,000 watches could be made in Oystersteel and this would help a little (assuming demand does not continue to increase).

There could also be some realignment of production so that a higher proportion of watches are made in steel. I would not over-estimate this shift because Rolex does want to retain its image as a manufacturer of both functional and luxury watches. And it wants to maintain its image for making exceptional watches for women as well as men.

Cynics will probably say that Rolex is delighted with the current distance between demand and supply because it is dramatically increasing prices on the secondary market, which makes Rolex watches one of the greatest investment assets anybody can (or cannot) buy.

But the shortage is hurting because it is harming Rolex’s authorized dealers, and up with that Rolex will not put.

I walk into half a dozen Rolex ADs every month to see what is available. This month I have been to New York, London, Glasgow, Basel and Dubai. Everywhere I go there are half-empty cabinets and unhappy sales consultants.

The Rolex business model is built on happy ADs that willingly give Rolex prime positions in their best-placed stores. They buy Rolex’s fixtures, furnishings and stock. They open shop-in-shops and boutiques. The likes of Bucherer in Switzerland and London, Ahmed Seddiqui & Sons in Dubai and The Hour Glass in Singapore pour millions into real estate to promote Rolex.

They have not got the wobbles about continuing with this investment, yet, but money will only continue to gush in the direction of Rolex if the watches these retailers need are sent by return post.

I talk around and around these topics almost every day with industry leaders and, as I say, a picture starts to emerge.

Supply and demand for Rolex Oystersteel Professional watches will start to move towards balance in two years’ time because it must.

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  1. Damage done , I’m finished with Rolex at this point , I was never a major collector but, I do have 5 Rolex and have moved on to other brands that don’t play games with their consumers .

  2. ADs are not hurting. They are selling all their SS stock to punters who spend $100k + or the Grey market (where do you think the Greys get their watches from)?

    • The animosity in this comment section is exhibit A of why Rolex ADs are frustrated. The inability to even remotely approach demand means they spend all day saying ‘no’ and making perspective clients angry.

      Let’s review why ADs might be genuinely frustrated with the current situation:

      – luxury is cyclical – You want to maximize profit in the booms to cover the busts. The inability to make more money today is frustrating to ADs – especially as risk of a recession mounts.

      – the brand is being damaged – Rolex stands for celebrating achievement. The fact that no one can even come close to walking into an AD to celebrate a personal milestone separates the brand from its central marketing message. Not a good look.

      – AD brands are being damaged – many ADs are small and family owned. Their reputation is being damaged from poor client experiences.

      – ADs are now in the detective business – They are responsible for avoiding resellers, with risk of losing their AD status. Not fun for them. Risky and scary.

      – AD cases are empty – ADs spend big money on large Rolex spaces and these are now empty. It looks embarrassing and is wasted retail space – which isn’t cheap.

      So there you have it.

    • I have 3 Rolex Watches and went into the AD where I purchased them from asking about a Rootbeer; he laughed in my face and walked of! I am finished with Rolex and from now on will purchase other brands. Rolex this is not a good business model!

      • This is also my experience from an AD where I also purchased 3 Rolex watches. Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Of course the ‘good times’ won’t last forever and people will remember how they were treated by their AD’s and the brand.

  3. Prediction: It won’t – this is the new normal. You will never see a steel sports model on display in an AD ever again. Unless there’s perhaps a global recession or something.

    • Been in a few ADs in Northern England. Practically treated with contempt. What? Not a previous customer?
      Haha clear off! Sadly disillusioned.

  4. But the shortage is hurting because it is harming Rolex’s authorized dealers, and up with that Rolex will not put.

    I walk into half a dozen Rolex ADs every month to see what is available. This month I have been to New York, London, Glasgow, Basel and Dubai. Everywhere I go there are half-empty cabinets and unhappy sales consultants.

    The Rolex business model is built on happy ADs that willingly give Rolex prime positions in their best-placed stores. They buy Rolex’s fixtures, furnishings and stock. They open shop-in-shops and boutiques. The likes of Bucherer in Switzerland and London, Ahmed Seddiqui & Sons in Dubai and The Hour Glass in Singapore pour millions into real estate to promote Rolex.

    With all my respect to your vast experience why do you think such like situation really makes ADs unhappy? On one side, dealer I spoke to was unhappy as he could have done triple the turnover provided he had the stock, but on another side he was frankly more than enthusiastic and happy as everything he received was pre-sold, made a good profit, almost business was running by itself. He compared to what situation was 10 years ago, when again he was unhappy but for a different reason – sales were not fine, not too many customers, a apart for Daytona and consequently operating profit was minute at that time.
    So, as of my understanding Rolex will balance it up to a certain extent, I mean demand and supply, but from now onwards in such a way that demand will always prevail!

    • ADs are like farmers, they will always find something to be unhappy about rain or shine, so I do take their complaints about the current drought with a healthy dose of cynicism. And, yes, they are happy that they now sell professional watches at full MSRP, which means full margin. I would also agree there is no shortage of potential partners banging on Rolex’s door wanting to work with them. However, there is genuine frustration as well. Just examine the picture at the top of this article. I will not name the retailer, but it is a store run by one of the biggest Rolex partners in the world in their home country of Switzerland. A massively expensive chunk of real estate is being paid for by this retailer, and it has no Rolex watches to sell. That is not a great look for customers that have often traveled from the other side of the world to shop with them.

  5. If Rolex truly wanted to do something they could try to snuff out grey market resellers. These guys are vultures. When I see these companies asking double retail with 10 blue face sky dwellers and 10 white dial Daytona’s it really puts things into perspective. Let’s be real these AD’s have to be getting kick backs. They are only allowed to sell at retail. They certainly know what the secondary market is doing. They partner with a grey market dealer who kicks back a few thousand per watch. Rolex/AD’s should try to make sure these watches are going to end users not people looking to double up. Walking into an AD with a request is a waste of time. You want a watch? Better buy some lube because you’re gonna get screwed at a grey dealer.

    • Rolex closely monitors this exact issue. The temptation to take a cut of inflated prices on the grey market must be enormous, but the risk of them selling to a Rolex-sent secret shopper is very real. Losing Rolex would be catastrophic for their business so I do not believe they would take the risk.

      • Rob – let’s be real. As many have stated, it is abundantly clear that you can go to any of the resellers in London (and elsewhere) and find brand new s/s models at exorbitant prices. Rolex controls its sales and marketing tightly. If this continued source of stock is not from ADs, where do these watches come from, and why do the resold new stock not seem to get any less?

      • they do it through extended family members.. in particular Asian own AD’s. I even saw them as baldy advertising on FB marketplace, yet in the friends list of the seller you will find the AD’s owner and family photos lol

    • I have a close friend who is a major player in the secondary Rolex watch market in Hong Kong and Singapore. A very small portion of his purchases/inventory comes from watch flippers. Up to 90% of his inventory comes from Rolex ADs across the globe (that he has relationships with) that sell to him at prices above MSRP or at MSRP if my friend purchases a significant number of unpopular watches that the AD has in stock. When an AD says things like, “Some references have a 12-year waiting list … customers buying one, two, three, four, five watches might get a Pepsi as a Christmas present…” and ‘Serial numbers can be traced back to an AD that sold a watch that was then flipped. The customer can be identified and, “They will never get a watch from us again,” ‘ I find it rich because they are usually the ones that are causing the shortage of desirable Rolex pieces at ADs. The whole market is a dirty game played by ADs and secondary dealers. Putting the blame on retail customers or flippers is only a way to divert the attention away from themselves.

    • B uying a Rolex is an experience. An experience is built over time. No one needs to spend 10k+ on a watch. It’s a buy driven by your heart not your brain, for me anyway.
      Rolex dealers treating customers like a pair of secondhand clothes will have a reckoning.
      The brand will have a reckoning. The current Rolex experience is, well, there is not one. Maybe frustration and belittling. That is the worst marketing on the planet. I have thought about buying a GMT Pepsi for years. That’s of course is a pipe dream. So I bought Nomos, Blancpain, Breitling, Panerai instead. If Rolex thinks this is good business for them, they are crazy. Actually I found that some of these other brands are superior to Rolex (Blancpain). That’s a sale Rolex will never recover. Nor do I bother anymore going into a retailer. I’m not interested in being told no. That’s very serious damage to a brand. A customer should never feel undeserving. That’s how most Rolex would be customers feel.
      The last Rolex I bough came from the back storage of the dealer, after I “qualified”. Again, not the experience they should hope for. I’m frustrated with them and I will give my business to other brands. Anyone buying a GMT II at 200% retail is just plain crazy. I will refuse to do that on principal. I have heard and read all Rolex’s excuses for this problem, so far all sounds to me like excuses. They don’t care.
      Vote with your money, spend it elsewhere…..

    • I and my Son have Rolex watches. My Son called watches of Switzerland and asked about a watch, first thing the AD asked is “are you an existing customers” if so when did you last purchase so I can check your details. He then said you have about a 40% chance of getting this watch.
      He is a high net worth individual and a possible customer for Rolex for 25-30 years or more. The dealer I’m sure would like to sell him a watch but doesn’t have the stock. Now my son will look at alternative brands which damages customer loyalty.

  6. Rolex will lose on this. The sole Rolex stores are going into the Christmas season with no inventory. The regular customers (myself included) don’t bother to drop in anymore. Two years – wishful thinking. A company that considers itself to a charity organization, rather a watch company first – not a franchise I would want these days.

  7. How is it that Patek survives so well while not producing steel models yet the market somehow demands that from Rolex? I just don’t understand why steel is expected from Rolex and not Patek or why any certain watch is expected to be available? Could you imagine if people started talking about how angry they are about not being able to buy a steel Nautilus? “I’m so sick of Patek and the games their AD play. They’re going to lose so much business…”

  8. If you have no stock you are not selling. If you are not selling you are not making money. The damage done is irreparable as consumers select other Brands. AD are renting space to show empty displays. Grey Market has destroyed the brand image. Much better watches now appearing in Omega Brietling, Tag Oris etc

  9. There is only 1 explanation for the shortage…ADs are selling their stock to grey market dealers and splitting the profit recei ed from inflated prices.. its worth the risk they take frim getting caugnt

    • Maybe Rolex is in on it. They condone the practice while pretending it’s the most serious crime that can be committed by both AD’s and speculative buyers. Something is definitely up. There’s obviously a coordinated effort by Rolex and their AD’s to restrict supply. And all the AD’s act the same exact way no matter which country they’re in, like they’ve been brainwashed.

  10. I live in singapore and while see the ADs with almost empty trays… i see flipper webpages with multiples of all the pro models.. what can we about them? Can’t we report them to Rolex and do a crackdown on these parasites who are sucking blood of the genuine end user who just wants a rolex for himself.. i am pained.. i want these guys to be punished.

  11. I tend to agree with Mike Caruso & Shelley Weisholtz 100%. .Also, if Rolex were really worried they would, like Rob Corder suggested, employ Mystery ( Secret ) Shoppers and get to the bottom of it. Few weeks ago I played the mystery shopper with a “Grey” and was quoted double the RRP for a Rolex watch!!. The whole situation is sickening and Rolex are loosing their loyal customers by the day.

  12. The only appeal Rolex seems to have these days to most buyers who know about their sports/steel watches are flipping them. 8/10 customers in my country put their names down to flip them. Also, I know a couple used watch dealers who say the AD’s sell their sports models for higher prices via the back door which is believable. Why not?

    When you spending the sort of money a Rolex cost the prospect of waiting is a joke, none of the other premium brandS do that to the same extent of Rolex, also their AD’s are cocky believing that turning away customers and laughing them off is a clever strategy long term.

    End of the day Rolex is the no.1 Brand is watches, and their value retention is better than any other brand on average..however if their AD’s and supply of stock doesn’t correct itself they stand to lose long term brand loyalty, as consumers who purchase at the top of a market lose patience and interest quickly.

    I know a lot of people turning to AP/Omega/PP in search of quality/value., turning their back on Rolex sadly.

  13. I agree with most here that these tactics are annoying genuine Rolex buyers. I am not a collector but have 3 in my collection. It was in late 2017 that I walked into a AD and got a SS black GMT after a wait of 6 weeks. That was my last Rolex purchase.

    Recently, in Feb 20, I went into two WoS branded outlets at Bluewater and Bond street to check on my ‘chances’ of getting a steel Sky Dweller as. I’ve been on the waiting list with them for two years. The reply from both of them was to push me towards buying a two tone DJ or a two tone YM 40. And this is when I have already bought few pieces from them previously. Was quite incensed by the experience. Right opposite, Omega looked very attractive by their great customer experience and the far superior ‘master chronometer’ movement. I bought a SS SM 300M Chrono that looked very attractive and that too with a reasonable discount. I also expect my next watch to be a Patek than a Rolex.

    We are now in the deepest recession of modern times. I’d only go back to Rolex if they change their business model and treat the custom of their customers with respect.

  14. Seems like the author of this article does not really know what is cooking at all in the Rolex kitchen..

    PS: Rolex AD’s are selling the Daytona’s, Hulks, Batgirls etc at around retail + between 10% and up to 50% .

    Hence, they will tell you there is no stock.

    Now apart from this , if u purchase a two tone date just or equivalent and on condition of purchase they must also sell a sports model at retail then you might have a chance.

    And, this won’t change.

  15. Why i must buy from grey market flipper to fulfill just Rolex. Every i go to AD no sport model to sell. So better looking for another brand. No such a fool having money to buy but must pay for a Rolex at grey market. The spirit of the brand is oppossite with the way they put the seling at grey market than their AD.

  16. The fact that Rolex lists their products on their website, but doesn’t explicitly indicate that there is no hope in hell of actually getting one anytime soon is something I cannot understand. Case in point, last January my wife started hinting that she wanted to treat me to a Rolex for my 50th birthday that was 6 months away. She knew I had always been “too cheap” to buy a Rolex. Eventually I agreed that the Batman was my watch of choice. We had seen it on the Rolex website a number of times as we researched the purchase; and on the website of the AD a few blocks away from our home with pricing information etc. and there was no mention of it not being available. So my wife waited a few months and walked into the AD fully expecting to walk out with the Batman and instead was laughed at. And that was how we received our first introduction to the infamous waiting list.

    The story had a happy ending because while sharing her negative experience with her hair stylist a few days later, a gentleman overheard and took pity upon her and her story. Coincidentally he had recently purchased a $200K+ watch from the AD and insisted that the manager consider her order to be part of his relationship with the store, so it got fast tracked and just after my birthday (we had given up hope of getting a Rolex anytime soon) we got the call! BTW I couldn’t get the Batman, so I “settled” for a 43mm Sea Dweller which I now adore and it’s turned me into a Rolex addict.

    That’s an unusual story with a happy ending. But how many other people who have only admired the brand from afar have walked into an AD only to be very disappointed, and sometimes humiliated. For that reason I don’t understand why there isn’t better transparency about waiting times/lists for the most popular models. I now understand that Rolex fans and regular buyers are informed, but I feel that group could be even larger with transparency.

  17. I can’t understand why there isn’t a proper order process. You fill out the form, pay a deposit and your name is in the list. You should be able to see your order creep up the list as orders are filled. In due course you get to the top and your watch is ready. This is how you order most luxury goods, i.e. a Morgan.
    With Rolex it’s all about having a brown nose and bribing an AD by buying stuff you don’t want.. Well I guess it’s an Omega….

    • This is 100% right. There is no such thing as a waiting list where you move up one rung once somebody who has been waiting longer than you gets their watch. It is entirely at the discretion of ADs who gets which watches and you are also right that being a big spending customer on other items is one of the only sure-fire ways to get the object of your desire. I have sat in on meetings where this allocation of watches to customers takes place, and this is exactly how it works.

  18. Now that AD’s are back open, I watched with interest just how many of the hot models would appear on the web and eBay with “”new unworn “ and “bought June 2020” on the listing.
    Quite frustrating after a year of waiting for a 116610LN to see so many flipped watches at huge over list prices.
    People who got the call during lockdown or AD’s selling directly to the grey market… not sure.
    However, as I will not pay over list for a watch that’s still in current production, my wait continues. I get the feeling that I will never own that Submariner.
    My AD has always been very courteous and polite, but going in and getting the same courteous and polite answer is getting a bit frustrating.
    I get the feeling a lot of true watch enthusiasts feel the same and the Rolex brand has changed from what it once proudly stood for. Something to get to mark an achievement and wear with pride and enjoyment of the quality and craftsmanship to something now to make a quick profit from or stick in a safe never to see the light of day.

    • I hope your patience is rewarded. I know the Rolex situation is frustrating, but the inflated demand that is keeping prices so high on the secondary market is one of the few signs of genuine health in the industry right now.

  19. I’ve been on a waiting list for a SS sub for 6 months with no luck. But my friend at a authorized Rolex dealer called me and told me he had just got a SS deep sea sea dweller. And I ran there and bought it … I love it couldn’t believe I found a SS Rolex. I thought i would wait years . I went to over 10 AD’s and most of them tryed to make me buy a 2tone dj .just to put me on a list for a SS. I was pissed .

    • Thats too bad on the sub! I must be really lucky, got married to my wife (whose way better looking then I am) and I decided to get us both watches, I got her the oyster perpetual which she wanted (no problem with stock from the AD) and I wanted a SS Sub which they didn’t have. I took a chance and drove to a nearby AD who I never purchased from before, they happened to have one and I bought it on the spot, no waitlist or anything. I guess I got lucky with that one and both watches are now in all our wedding photos :).

      Good luck to everyone out there!

  20. July 9, 2020 I received a call from my local AD!! The one year wait was over!!! They had my dream watch, which is the Explorer II, white dial. I had to pay the full amount, MSRP, over the phone with a credit card, which was no problem. Also, I am not a big spender in this Rolex AD store at all. I picked up the watch that evening. It was brand new, still in the “plastic coffin” with all the original stickers from Rolex. There was a small catch from the Rolex AD…and that was that all the original stickers from Rolex be removed and tossed into the trash before I left the store. I had no problems with that request…but thought it to be very odd. Anyways, I GOT ONE!!!
    As I left the Rolex AD, I told them that I would like to buy a SS Pepsi. They replied ” we will keep you in mind”

  21. Sadly I share the same story and disillusionment as many of you. I’ve given upon getting the SS skydweller blue face. Been trying for 2 yrs now. I count at least 20 for resale on Chrono24 and several more on eBay. Went to every AD in my city and was offered the opportunity to get on the skydweller waitlist only if I purchased a gold Rolex from them. I almost pulled the trigger on a rose gold skydweller yesterday just so I could be on the waitlist for the SS skydweller. The AD asked me for 30% non-refundable deposit and could not confirm when I would get the rose gold watch. I would be #7 on their list for the SS skydweller blue After this purchase.

    I told them I would think about it overnight and confirm my order with them today. After reading everyone’s comments and their struggles with Rolex, I’ve decided against buying the RG skydweller and playing this shell game where the customer is the ultimate loser. The fact that the AD is asking me for 30% non-refundable deposit seems outrageous to begin with. It’s not like I’m asking them to inscribe my initials on the watch at Rolex or customize it in such a way that makes it unsalable to anyone but me. I’ve bought 3 Rolexes in the past and the AD asked me for a $500 deposit at that time (just 4yrs ago). Sadly that AD has retired.

    I’ve come to my senses and have decided that no watch is worth being treated in this manner; and, I don’t appreciate being ‘handled’ in this way by an AD. If you order a Ferrari or a Porsche, the deposit is refundable up until you confirm the options on the car. And the dealer will give you an ETA on the car. The fact that a perfect stranger is asking me to give them 30% non-refundable deposit already sounds suspect. Add to that no ETA… if they weren’t an AD I would be calling the consumer protection hotline!

    Anyway, just my two bits.

  22. I wanted a deep sea to mark my retirement, guess i have to learn to love another brand cause I can’t seem to get a rolex.
    When I went to my local rolex dealer he laughed and showed me empty cases.
    You cannot love something you will never have.

    • Here’s an experience at the Jersey, UK Rolex AD. I decided to celebrate a personal achievement by rewarding myself with a Skydweller SS was told I could not be put on the infamous ‘waiting list’. I decided to get a DJ41 in blue instead. They put me on the ‘waiting list’ and I agreed. While talking to them about future options I’d like to consider the sales rep made a comment about the Skydweller(not paraphrasing): “We don’t sell the SD to any random person that walks in”. I was so pissed off with that comment that I decided to cancel even the DateJust. There’s no way this AD is getting my money. Unfortunately there’s only one AD in Jersey so there goes a long cherished dream of buying a Rolex. If I was spending £10k+ for another product I’d be rolled out a red carpet. And here the AD was treating me like a ‘random guy’.. That’s Rolex for you.

  23. Rolex will absolutely never be able to meet a voracious worldwide demand for sports steel models, especially from a growing Asian market, but not only. Due to the investment factor, even people whom are not particularly into watches want a Rolex to keep and see its value grow, now more than ever. A 6% anual increase in production is unsustainable in the long run and cannot exhaust the long waiting lists everywhere. Only a sharp fall in demand will bring things back to normal. What would it take for that to happen? Probably a cataclysmic event we’d better not wish for.

  24. Hey Rob,

    It’s been a year since this column was written. Anything new to report? My experience dealing with my nearest Authorized Rolex Dealer continues to be one of empty cases, five to seven year waitlists, and endless excuses for why she is unable to supply what I wish to purchase despite owning four stores across four Midwestern states. High demand steel professional models can still be found in abundance with gray market dealers and the watch forums selling at high premiums while the ADs don’t have them. The situation sure doesn’t seem to show any sign of changing at this point.

    • Hi Adam,
      That prediction is looking increasingly optimistic, not least because Rolex lost around 30% of its production this year and retailers tell me they still want to keep a balance of supply between precious metal and steel. I notice the new 41mm subs are being offered at a 100% mark up on the secondary market, although I do not know how many customers are biting at those prices. There was a dip in prices for unicorn watches in the early weeks of the covid quarter, but if anything they are above where they started the year.

  25. I’d been thinking about buying a rolex for my father for his retirement for most of this year. I’m not a watch person and I don’t frequent AD’s. Last time I strolled through a rolex dealer (2017-18), I remember seeing SS subs and explorers in the display case. So after 6 months of thinking about it (spending that amount of money is tough for me to wrap my mind around), I decided my father’s career was worthy of a rolex as a gift. I browsed the rolex website and landed on the Explorer 1 39mm to be the watch I would get him. I drove to the only AD in my town and was met with empty display cases and a cocky little salesman saying that if i buy some diamond jewelry or other watches at their store then maybe i would be considered when they get watches in stock. But, that will never happen, because as I mentioned, I’m not a big spender, this was going to be a lifetime achievment/retirement gift for my father. So my hopes of buying my father a rolex for finally retiring at 66 seems like a pipe dream. Seriously, f**k you rolex. Get your sh*t together.

  26. Rolex can’t be that smart to start with.
    Because if they were, they wouldn’t be what their doing treating their ADs (their bread and buutter)
    The way they do. How long can ADs continue throwing money at Rolex and not see anything in return. Eventually this will come back and haunt Rolex.

  27. dec 14 2020 its a damn shame it ever got to this point . I’m 68 had my first rolex sub when i was 14 year old saved for 2 years and see all this folding out id love to know really where the problem came from I’m baffled to say the least and like a lot of you I’ve spent thousands over the years at AD and i can’t get a pepsi at the Ad , i mean how really do the grey market shops get all the stock they and sell at over double the retail price begs belief. hopefully rob knows better than us

  28. Interesting comments, I can certainly relate. New to Rolex and last year I decided to treat myself to a luxury watch and it had to be Rolex. I wanted something that is pure luxury but most importantly fly under the radar so I decided on the Explorer 1. Visited all local AD’s within the Manchester UK area and got the same old story, waiting list blah blah blah. Extremely rude, arrogant staff. In frustration one evening I decided to message several international AD’s within a reasonable flight time and only one AD had it in stock for immediate purchase. I made immediate payment and against Covid travel difficulties I managed to get a flight to Reykjavik Iceland to pick up. It’s not an Issue Explorer for no reason!

  29. I found Rob’s article to be a breath of fresh air, a light perhaps at the end of the tunnel. I just hope he is right.
    I have been on an AD’s list for two years and am told that I might have one to two years to go.
    My AD is aware that hell would freeze before I sold my long awaited Rolex and that the same place would remain frozen over before I went to the grey market gangsters. I really don’t mind if my Rolex loses value. Everything else that I have as a luxury depreciates and I expect that. It is the price I am happy to pay. As a bonus it would see the death of the greys as well.

  30. Seems the article was completely wrong, as the supply has not gotten better. It’s 2 years later and it’s even worse. Batman GMT watches are going for 20k now. Nearly everything is twice the price of retail. I won’t pay more than retail. So Rolex is loving the fact their watches are hot on the grey market. This would end if people stopped buying them on the grey market, but that’s not happening. So 10k watches are now 20k or higher on the grey market. Fakes are starting to look more and more attractive, if you like the look but can’t buy one in a AD. Rolex has to know it’s hurting their brand, but do they care? I think they really don’t care or they would do something.


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