CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet

Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are likely to have lost up to one quarter of their 2020 production capacity before factories are fully up to speed again, but the three giant privately-owned watchmakers will sail serenely through this crisis thanks to the soar-away demand for their blockbuster watches.

Authorised dealers have said their waiting lists are as long as ever for the most desirable models.

And they continue to sell at well above retail prices on the secondary market, although they are off their 2019 peaks in most cases.


Generous government support in Switzerland for all businesses helped watchmakers shift the cost of furloughed workers onto the State. It was also easy to borrow from State-backed institutions, although it is unlikely any of the big three will have needed the help.

Between the three brands, we have been shown one new watch so far this year, the rather attractive Audemars Piguet [Re]master01, an automatic chronograph that borrows its design aesthetic from a wartime era.

Who cares?

There are two customers for every AP, Patek or Rolex, and 20 customers for each of their most desirable models, which will continue to be as elusive as unicorns when we get back to our lives this summer.

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