Rolex Acquires Bucherer: What Does This Mean?

Rolex Acquires Bucherer: What Does This Mean?

On August 24th, Rolex acquired Bucherer: the largest watch retailer in the world with over 100 locations. While the acquisition is official, Bucherer’s integration into the Rolex S.A. structure will be finalized “once the competition authorities have approved the takeover transaction”, according to Rolex’s press release. Their phrasing makes it sound like it’s all but a done deal. The press release also states that Bucherer will maintain its current management and “continue to independently run its business”. What does all of this mean?

Will Rolex Profit From the Sales of Other Watch Brands?

Inside Bucherer Store

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Whether or not Rolex profits at all is a different conversation entirely, but yes. Bucherer retails Cartier, Grand Seiko, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and 30+ other watch brands. Many of their locations don’t even sell Rolex products (53 retail Rolex and 48 retail Tudor, but there’s much overlap and those numbers will surely change). Barring an entirely new approach to Bucherer’s 100+ year old business model, the retailer will remain an authorized dealer of other brands, assuming those brands want to stay: a topic of much discussion online right now.

What Impact Will This Acquisition Have Going Forward?

Man taking picture of Rolex Bucherer display

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Sorry for the boring answer, but only time will tell. This is an unprecedented takeover in the watch world; there’s no way of knowing what will happen. A major factor to consider is Rolex’s current authorized dealer structure. As we’ve chronicled, Rolex retail experiences are notoriously difficult and inconsistent. Waitlists that may or may not be communicated between ADs, or even exist for that matter, leave customers turning to other brands: oftentimes quite literally in a retail setting like Bucherer. Is this acquisition an effort to standardize or otherwise improve customer experience, or is it a safety net to get a kickback from justifiably impatient would-be Rolex owners?

Final Thoughts

Bucherer storefront at night

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As Danny Milton mentioned in Hodinkee’s brief article on the acquisition, Rolex dropped this news in what’s usually the quietest month in the watch industry. By all accounts, no one saw this coming. While most questions remain unanswered, I’m just happy to be here. This is a categorically historical move in the watch industry, and here we are to watch it unfold.

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