Rolex: It’s a desert out there

Rob Corder, managing editor, WatchPro and managing director of Promedia. (Photo by Ausra Osipaviciute/ITP Images)

I’ve been on a bit of a tour this week, writes Rob Corder, taking in Ireland, Miami, Virginia, Connecticut and New York, visiting five retailers in as many days.

It will probably be my last trip for a while, with elbow-bumps replacing handshakes at every stop; a reminder of the fast moving Coronavirus story.

The world may be approaching meltdown over the virus but one company blissfully unaffected is Rolex.


On one of my retailer visits I sat in on a weekly allocation meeting.

This is where sales work out who is in line to be given the chance to buy their coveted steel sports model at retail price.

I’m sworn to secrecy on the details, but suffice to say there are still dozens of customers desperate to score each of these unicorn watches.

On the shop floor, the cabinets are virtually bare.

And the latest solution from Rolex is to replace the slotted pads into which watches were once inserted with pads that have no slots at all.

They have made them in the same sandy colour and texture as the fixtures that can display watches, but removed the ability to do so.

The result, and I am not making this up, are Rolex displays designed to look like a desert.

These are not easy times, but Rolex managed to make me laugh out loud.


  1. If Rolex keeps this up long enough….They just might start pushing some customers looking to celebrate milestones to other brands. This won’t affect watch collectors though.

  2. Amazing. I’ve visited a few ADs around the globe over the last year, and the story’s always the same:

    two years for a stainless Sub, unknown number of years for a stainless Daytona.

    Fortunate to have bought a Sub in 89 for $1,500. Not a great investment, but a solid one.


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