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I don't understand the recent Rolex SS craze/shortage. What am I missing?

  1. Martin_J_N

    Martin_J_N Aug 19, 2019

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    Taking to a Rolex AD at the weekend about availability of Rolex watches, they gave what to me appeared to be honest answers to my questions.

    In summary; the store gets all types and styles of watches coming through on a regular basis, however they have very lengthy waiting lists for all popular SS models, one list has over 100 names on it and based on current supply levels it would take between 9 and 10 years to clear if everyone who asked to be added to the list took up the option when each watch arrived in store and no-one else added their name to the list.

    If I wanted a SS watch at Rolex entry prices I would be looking at a minimum of 6 months before they could get me an OP, an Explorer would be 6-9 months everything else would be over 12 months as a minimum, the exception would be a SS Datejust, that would be under 3 months but I am not sure why this would be quicker.

    The store doesn't take a deposit when you add your name to a list, they e-mail the next person on the list around 3-4 weeks before a watch they are waiting for comes in to verify if the person is still interested, if they receive a negative response or no reply then your name is removed from the list and the next person is contacted, they said that they are pretty brutal about it as selling each watch is not difficult.

    The store was well stocked but all of the watches had the addition of gold in some form, so nothing in plain SS in the store, the staff I spoke to had no issues with Rolex, they made sure that they explained the waiting list process to all prospective customers but people were happy to be added to waiting lists.

    I don't know how this applies to other areas but this was a UK store, they definitely appeared to know in advance the watches that have been allocated to them so that they have time to make contact with people on the waiting list and check if the watch was still wanted. Form my conversation there didn't appear to be a shortage of watches, just a shortage of watches that could be displayed in cabinets.
     
  2. Eve

    Eve Aug 19, 2019

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    I visited two different Rolex boutiques (in Austria) recently, not looking for anything particular, just wondering around to see if what i read on the forum is also the reality :)
    Both had plenty of SS OPs and DJ in all kind of variations (colors, sizes) readily available. Both didnt have any Sport SS models on displays (but i didnt ask, since i am not really interested in those). Since i somehow only like the Explorer 1, i politely asked them if they had any to try on. To my surprise both had one piece in store available. Maybe just a coinsidence, but reading about a waiting list of 6-9 months sounds kind of crazy.
     
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  3. Martin_J_N

    Martin_J_N Aug 19, 2019

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    Interesting, maybe its the store that is the issue, maybe if you go to a busy store you wait longer, maybe if you went to a quieter store you would be able to get your watch sooner, I don't know but it is strange how one area of the world states 6-9 months for OP's or E1's whilst other area has them in stock. Very odd.
     
    Eve likes this.
  4. Eve

    Eve Aug 19, 2019

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    Yeah, or maybe its sommer holidays, when people are on vacation and dont have time for watches.. :)
    But you are most likely right, i guess if i went to a boutiqe in Vienna, they would probably also look at me like a live on a moon. Actually would be interesting to find out.
     
  5. Lenny Pepperidge

    Lenny Pepperidge Aug 19, 2019

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    Something to consider is the story of the, at the time, Chairman of Rolex being invited to Wimbledon in an attempt to woo Rolex as a sponsor. I'm sure most have heard the story, but here it goes anyways for anyone who hasn't. The Wimbledon head guy asks him, "how the watch business is." Rolex guy says, "I don't know. I'm not in the watch business" Wimbledon guy then asks, "well, then how's the jewelry business?" Rolex guy says, "I don't know. I'm not in the jewelry business." Wimbledon guy says, "then what business are you in?" Rolex guy says, "the luxury business."

    Now, I don't know if the story is true or apocryphal, but my point in bringing it up is that Rolex perceives itself as, first and foremost, a luxury product, not jewelry...not a watchmaker. As such, I don't think it's out of the question that they are trying to position themselves higher up the luxury food chain....more PP and less Omega/IWC. They want it both ways. A million watches a year with pricing and cache closer to the former than the latter.
     
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  6. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Aug 19, 2019

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    This is in line with when Hermès was buying shares in Leica, not becuase they wanted to get into the camera business, but because it is a luxury product.
     
  7. gbesq

    gbesq Aug 19, 2019

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    It’s hard to argue with success but I, for one, would not be the least bit interested in being on a waitlist for a Rolex. They make fine watches, but there are numerous models from other Swiss brands, including Omega, that I would like to own and which are readily available.
     
  8. Lenny Pepperidge

    Lenny Pepperidge Aug 19, 2019

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    My feelings on Rolex are complicated. I think they make an exceptional watch but not substantially anything better than Omega or IWC, and the notion that they are anywhere near the league of PP from a finishing or handcrafting standpoint is nonsense. And then there's the whole thing over who buys a Rolex. For every one who buys it because it is an exceptional watch, there's ten who buy it because it's a status symbol that everyone from the valet to the doorman to the guy in the office down the hall will recognize.

    All that being said, I am on a waitlist for "batman." After wearing a Tag 4000 automatic from the 90s for twenty years, I decided to get a few nicer Swiss watches and decided on three watches that I both liked the style of and thought were iconic: a JLC Reverso Duo (needed a dress watch), a Speedmaster and a GMT-II. I bought the JLC a few years ago and am getting the speedy from the OB on Michigan Avenue this Fall. We'll see what happens on the waitlist. If I get it in a year, great. If not, no hard feelings, and I'll probably get the Planet Ocean GMT and put myself in a better position with the OB for the upcoming Apollo special editions.
     
  9. Martin_J_N

    Martin_J_N Aug 19, 2019

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    We are all different, if the watch I want isn't immediately available and I have to wait then so be it, it will be my decision whether to wait, if I am not prepared to wait then I can go elsewhere and choose something else. Omega have waiting lists, my new Seamaster isn't due until November, I ordered it in June so a 5 month wait, people are still waiting for their Apollo 11 50th limited editions, many ordered these months ago, waiting lists are not just Rolex they feature in other brands as well.
     
  10. harrymai86

    harrymai86 Aug 19, 2019

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    Yep especially the Nautilus, just imagine how long is the list
     
  11. Fatcat

    Fatcat Aug 25, 2019

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    I made today 5 Rolex boutique in Las Vegas, a little bit better than I saw in EU the last weeks, even a full gold Daytona available in the Tourneau boutique in the Caesar Palace and the Bellagio , but plenty of day, day date etc... makes the shops attractive than others full of empty.
     
  12. squarelug

    squarelug Aug 25, 2019

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    Remember, in 2015 swiss watch sales were declining and the markets weren't looking much better. No one would have predicted the run up from 2016-2019, and Rolex certainly didn't. Hence, I think, the current shortage. Things will normalize, eventually.
     
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  13. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Aug 26, 2019

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    Nothing like a little recession to take all that new money away and the bling crowd to flood the market with their now used Rolex’s...oh the elasticity of economy.
     
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  14. KeithS

    KeithS Aug 26, 2019

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    Then let it recess! I need one of those blingy new Sea Dwellers :)
     
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  15. chows99

    chows99 Aug 26, 2019

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    I would love to have the chance to buy a SS or PM sports model from AD eventually. It's still near to impossible in my region.
     
  16. larryganz

    larryganz The cable guy Aug 27, 2019

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    Here's a good video to address the issue :coffee:

     
  17. larryganz

    larryganz The cable guy Aug 27, 2019

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    Which is more Blingy?

    Mine
    IMG_1552.jpeg

    Mine
    IMG_0998.jpeg

    Not mine - on the list...
    Rolex Deep Blue Screenshot 2019-07-17 23.10.25.png
     
  18. KeithS

    KeithS Aug 27, 2019

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    larryganz and MTROIS like this.
  19. larryganz

    larryganz The cable guy Aug 27, 2019

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    I've decided that I am indeed blessed to have a 1 yr old Hulk, and a 6 month old SS Pepsi GMT II and Sea Dweller 43mm (both with the new movement).

    I do miss the BLNR, Polar Explorer II, and SubC No Date that I had to trade to help me each of the new ones in the past 12 months. I can live without TT blue Sub 16613 and the Yachmaster 40mm, and several of the 40mm Explorer II that I've sold and traded over the years, but I also kinda miss my 16710 Coke Bezel GMT II.
     
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  20. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Aug 27, 2019

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    Can we assume you are a fan of Rolex?:rolleyes: