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Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet waiting lists are just as long as before the pandemic say authorized dealers

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Hopes that the current Coronavirus crisis will make it easier for customers to get their hands on unicorn watches like the professional steel sports models from Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet look certain to be dashed.

Authorized dealers speaking to WatchPro have said that inquiries are still coming in for watches such as Rolex’s steel Submariner, GMT Master II, particularly the Batman and Pepsi; the Daytona 116500LN; Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Aquanaut; and Audemars Piguet’s steel Royal Oaks.

Deliveries for these watches have been suspended since March to authorized dealers, and what stock there was in the channel before lock down has been sold to the best customers.

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Distribution is expected to restart in June, now that manufacturers are back up and running in Switzerland, and in-country offices operating, albeit still working from home in most countries.

One authorized dealer, who spoke to WatchPro on condition of anonymity, said he did not expect Rolex or Patek Philippe to significantly ramp up production of unicorn watches, adding that he thought it was good for the market that they remain too rare to be sold to walk-up customers.

“I don’t want to see [Rolex Submariner] Hulks in windows. Demand should exceed supply for these special watches,” he suggests.

“I expect the balance between steel professional watches and DayDates, etc, to remain about the same,” he added while stressing that nobody outside the Rolex citadel really knows.

Waiting lists will not get any shorter, he predicts. “Nobody has asked to come off my waiting list, and there are plenty more would want to take their place, but we will only really know when we fully reopen and see how customers react.”

8 Comments

  1. I was one of the lucky few that received my Tudor GMT March 19, on one of 3 waiting lists. Rolex/Tudor shut down at that time. The other 2 ADs have not called me after 6 months on their lists. Seems like the GMT, the 58 and the Black Bay Chrono Dark are all on long wait times. Rolex is a non-profit organization, so they have no stock holders that pressure them to ramp up. What a unique company!

  2. ADs here are still asking for 60% commission on top of the recommended price – but give you a receipt for the recommended price. The waiting list is just a con here !

  3. I think the AD should be ashamed for saying it’s good to have a long waiting list for rolex sports watches look on the gray market there’s plenty selling for ridicules prices .Rolex need to produce more of their Sports watches but I think rolex wants the long waiting lists well I want be adding my name to one give me omega any time

  4. @ Mark H Wolfson – Rolex is a for profit company. Rolex SA is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private family trust, which does donate much of its income to charity, but not all.

  5. I have also witnessed this in Geneva, living there right now. After bringing my Patek Philippe 3700 for service at the Geneva flagship store in Rue du Rhône, the technician who briefly reviewed the watch with me confirmed to me, discreetly, that the waiting list for a steel 5711/1A is indeed 5 to 8 years and they are having problems turning down clients who want to pay even premiums over the official retail prices. This shows clearly the level of demand for those highly sought-after pieces.

  6. Rolex is a registered charity, so do not need to declare their profits. That’s quite different. I can assure you that they are ridiculously profitable.

  7. A very well respected branded AD in Sydney has secretly opened up a 2nd hand watch store and sells “unworn second hand grail watches” – they are literally new ofcourse just called 2nd hand for compliance purposes. I wonder where they source these watches lol

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Tags : audemars piguetpatek philippeRolex
Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder