We have all seen on Rolex Facebook groups that guys are getting Rolex watches when they travel. So, I decided to randomly test this while traveling abroad. Let me be clear what the criteria is related to traveling abroad, so we can make sure this test is accurate to what we have been seeing online.
First, I am an American citizen and I have traveled to Germany, Denmark and Switzerland in this example over a very short period. In total I was out of the country for eight days and to be clear it was during the month of September of 2022. Whenever I travel, I walk into literally every single watch store I pass by. I am 100% sure my wife and co-workers are pretty tired of it, but you never know if you're going to get lucky! So let us start on this journey, the first stop was a two hour layover at the Frankfurt airport.
You are not going to believe me, but I got lucky…but not with a Rolex but with a Tudor. I was able to walk into the watch store at the Airport and was able to get the brand new, Tudor Pelagos 39! I know what you are thinking, “first shot this guy gets the impossible watch to get!?! What the %$#@!!!” Yes sir, I was. I straight up asked the person at the airport “Why am I able to get this unique watch?”, and her reply was “you came in and asked nicely.” She was a delightful sales person and frankly I appreciated her candor. I also asked for the DeepSea in the window, but was told that it is just for exhibition. You cannot win them all.
Next stop, Copenhagen, Denmark. The airport did not have a store that sold watches. So, I wasn't able to see if I would be able to get lucky at the airport. The city of Copenhagen has three Rolex ADs that I was able to visit. None of them were able to offer any sort of Rolex watch. I did however get offered a few Omega pieces that are hard to come by. The tax back was really good in Denmark (like 20%) and due to the Euro being so good compared to the dollar it was quite hard to say no. I did end up passing on them, but in retrospect that may have been an error.
Lastly, I visited Switzerland before coming home. At the airport, I did get quite lucky and was able to purchase a MoonSwatch! The Uranus version, which is super cool. I frankly love these little treasures from the Omega and Swatch collaboration. When I went to the Rolex and Tudor boutique I did see a lot of great Tudor watches that were available to purchase. Sadly, no Rolexes. While traveling through Switzerland, I did get offered a Rolex Skydweller in full gold on the rubber strap from a Rolex Boutique. It was just slightly out of my price range, but I had never been able to get anything in men’s size for literally two years at anything but an airport store. I see this actually as a positive. However, nothing more than that to report.
In conclusion, I think what we are seeing on Facebook and social media could happen, but let us be realistic. It may only be happening in airport ADs. From what I was told by countless ADs while traveling is that the local population is being given precedence at this time. This is also true in the US, local US citizens are able to get first pick before foriegn buyers. What I see is that the demand is starting to either be filled or starting to decline. We see it on the second hand market by prices coming swiftly down over the last ninety days. To me I see this as a good thing, because frankly constantly being told NO, really takes the fun out of collecting watches.