Authorized dealers say demand for Rolex watches is hotter today than at any time in history. Some are blaming flippers and hysterical forums for the current shortage of professional sports models, but nobody can get a full picture of the market because of Rolex’s vow of silence over its financial results that is protected by its status as a charity controlled by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
The United Kingdom has laws about the transparency of accounts that are the envy of the world, and give a rare glimpse into the accounts of the secretive Swiss giant.
British-based businesses over a certain size have to publish their annual financial accounts at the publicly-accessible Companies House, and the results for Rolex make fascinating reading.
Sales for The Rolex Watch Company Ltd., the UK business responsible for distribution, service and support for Rolex and Tudor in the UK and Ireland, topped £329m ($427m) in 2017; up from £268m ($348m) in 2016.
The turnover — which represents growth of 23% year-on-year — is based on the wholesale prices Rolex and Tudor’s authorized dealers pay the company.
Sales at retail are certain to have exceeded half a billion pounds for the first time.
Operating profit soared by 86%, from £22m ($28.5m) in 2016 to £42m ($54.5m) in the year ending December 31, 2017, as the brand reported its strongest ever set of financial results in the UK.
Such solid growth in sales and operating profit will be particular pleasing for the directors, as both are regarded as “key” KPIs for the company.
They attributed the growth to “a combination of factors including in improvements in mix, price, volume and a control on the growth of operating costs”.
Rolex employed 191 employees in the UK as of the end of December, up from 171 the year before.
Rolex’s UK business is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rolex Holding SA, incorporated in Switzerland, and functions as part of the group’s distribution and and watch servicing operations.