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by Aleta Saeger June 12, 2020 2 min read

Have you ever been on a waiting list for a Rolex steel sports model? We sure have. Why is it that two-tone and other precious metal Rolexes seem readily available but not steel? Walking through Rolex authorized dealers, you will find plenty of Datejust or dress Rolex models, but no sports models line the shelves. 

More and more, if you want to buy a Rolex steel sports model, you will find yourself on a waiting list. Unless you have friends in high places or choose to paying quite a premium to gray market dealers, you may find yourself empty handed leaving a Rolex AD. 

why are there rolex shortages for steel sports models 

Fratello Watches discussed this same topic with Rolex at Baselworld in 2018, when this problem became more apparent. Rolex’s response was: “these watches are in high demand.” The sports models that are particularly hard to find are the Submariners, Daytonas, and GMTs. We can understand why Submariners may be difficult to find as we discuss its popularity here. But, for three different sports models to be difficult to acquire. There has to be more behind the story. 

There are some who theorize Rolex is purposely behind these shortages by holding new models to create an even higher demand. This conspiracy theory is that there are hidden Rolex sports models in vaults somewhere around the world. What are you thoughts on this? (Comment below!) 

why are there rolex shortages for steel sports models

While it is possible Rolex did recognize that a limited supply leads to a greater demand. Particularly in 2016, when Rolex released the ceramic Daytona116500LN, there was a shortage of this model. We had customers reach out to us who had been on waiting lists for years - not just months. This lack of supply enhances the exclusivity and the perception of the brand. 

The lack of supply of Rolex steel sports models leads to the sales of other models including precious metal Rolexes and non-sports models as some individuals will be willing to compromise wIth only the end goal of getting the name Rolex on your wrist. We are very much a right-now consumer as many may be unwilling to wait.

why are there rolex shortages for steel sports models 

Whether on purpose or not, the lack of Rolex steel sports models lining the windows of authorized Rolex dealers is helping the brand. While most watches are sold at discounted prices on the secondhand market, Rolex steel sports models are actually sold at premium. The iconic brand, rich in history, is known now more than ever to make highly sought after timepieces which in turn makes the brand even more more desirable - like a never ending circle.  

While rumors fly and business strategies are suggested, there still remains a bit of a mystery as to why these models are not readily available. We can tell you though that these treasured Rolex sports models will be even more difficult to acquire after Rolex shut down for COVID. If you want to find out the effect this will have on the number of Rolex watches we will see this year, click here to read more. But, a word to the wise, if you are an owner of one of these precious, highly sought-after Rolex sports models, protect your investment by swapping out your Rolex bracelet for an Everest Band.

Aleta Saeger
Aleta Saeger



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