We’re taking a hard look into whether or not we truly want Rolex to make more watches and end the current scarcity in the market... Follow along!
“Rolex should make more watches!”...it’s a statement that many of us have said a dozen times when discussing the current shortage of Rolex watches. We look at the empty showcases, hear about the long wait lists, and ask why won’t they just increase production. It seems easy enough right? And wouldn’t it be better for all of us if they just quit limiting production and made a watch for everyone?
Today I’m here to say the things that some of us want to say but won’t. Firstly, I will start by saying that this piece written for the Everest Journal is just one person’s opinion. Also, I am not affiliated with Rolex, so I'm just giving my opinion as a collector and watch lover. As I’ve been toying with this idea in my mind for a few days, I can already see the pitchforks coming out and those fingers ready to pounce on your keyboards. But take a moment and hear me out first before you pass judgement.
Why shouldn’t Rolex make more watches? Before I get into the greedy reason that you’ll all attack me for even though many of you will secretly agree (and that’s okay, I’ve got thick skin) let’s talk about what the Rolex shortage has done for the watch industry as a whole. As the popularity of Rolex has continued to increase over the years, so has the popularity for watches as a whole. There’s a phrase made popular by John F. Kennedy, Jr. that says “a rising tide lifts all boats”, essentially meaning that a strong economy benefits all participants in that economy. And isn’t that what we are seeing with the popularity of Rolex? While Rolex doesn’t openly publish their sales figures, we have to take empty showcases as a testament to the brand’s success over the years.
So what happens when you see an empty showcase? Of course you naturally look to see what else is out there. And these other watch brands are all reaping the benefits. 2020 aside (for obvious reasons), the watch industry has seen continuous growth in terms of Swiss Watch exports in recent years. I’ll concede that there’s no definitive proof that it’s specifically because of the Rolex shortage, but when was the last time you went to your A.D., asked about Rolex, and walked out without even looking at any of the other watches carried?...exactly!
It also gives many other brands a new playing field and more competition than ever before. I mean, who would have thought 5 years ago that Tudor and Grand Seiko would be direct competitors with a band like OMEGA? Watch brands are pushing the limits more and more when it comes to materials, finishes, and movements while competing for the attention of so many unsatisfied Rolex shoppers. Sounds like a rising tide to me.
Okay, here it is. Get the pitchforks ready because, in my opinion, here’s the real reason many of you don’t want Rolex to make more watches: money! Name any other product that you can buy at retail and immediately post online for twice the price...I’ll wait. Do I think you should buy watches as an investment, no! I’ve never bought a watch that way personally and you can’t predict what watches will do over time (some sources would even indicate a plateau coming, though personally I don’t see that any time soon).
But you have to admit, the Rolex shortage has changed that. The reality is, we are a little selfish and no one just completely loves the idea of immediately losing money on their purchase. There’s a bit of, dare I say, gratification in knowing you have something so desired that people are willing to pay more for it. As cut throat as it may seem, the economics of supply and demand make Rolex and the current shortage a unique investment opportunity. But based on those same economics, the reality is that an increase in supply, decreases demand and those secondary values will begin to drop. Yes, I know. This is the dirty side of watch collecting that we don’t want to talk about, but it is a reality.
So, knowing what the Rolex shortage has done for watch brands, the industry, and your wallet, do you really want them to increase watch production? I’m curious to hear your thoughts! And in the meantime, if there’s even a small part of you who secretly entertains the possible idea of selling your Rolex down the road (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone), you should check out our rubber and leather straps that integrate perfectly into many of the most popular Rolex sports watches. Check out the selection at the Everest Bands website to protect your watch bracelet from the unnecessary damage of everyday life and retain its value.
Wanna laugh about the topic? Check out our collection of Memes: Rolex Scarcity Edition.
Written by: K. Wells