Breaking news out of Geneva could spell trouble for Rolex customers waiting for hard-to-get models; Rolex will close production facilities in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier for 10 days effective today, March 17, at 5:00 Central European Time.
Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour sent the company’s plans in a letter to employees today. The closure comes as businesses in many sectors globally are temporarily encouraging employees to work from home in order to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dear Sirs and Madams. We are facing a very serious situation. In order to protect you, your families, and your loved ones, but also to limit the risks of spreading the Coronavirus as much as possible, we have decided to close our production sites in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier from March 17 at 5:00 PM through Friday, March 27, 2020. That date may of course be pushed back according to the evolution of the epidemic.”
The spread of the coronavirus has continued in many regions of the world, with Europe being among the most affected. As Swissinfo.ch reported yesterday, “The Swiss government on Monday declared an ‘extraordinary situation’ over the coronavirus, instituting a ban on all private and public events and closing gathering places such as restaurants in a bid to harmonise the situation across the country.”
“Switzerland is particularly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. More than 2,200 people have been infected in the country and nearly 20 people have died.”
Health and safety is, of course, the world’s priority. But a knock-on consequence of these new measures is those waiting for rare or hard-to-get Rolex watches will now have to wait even longer to buy their wrist candy.
For those that have been living under a rock, the craze for Rolex sports models has made it radically harder to get a Rolex watch from an authorized retailer, and prices for these popular sports models have skyrocketed on the secondhand market due to the limited supply not meeting the demand.
In many cases, you can’t even get a professional Rolex watch from an authorized dealer unless you wait for years. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment this became the case, but – according to Millenary Watches – a key turning point was in 2016 when Rolex released the Daytona 116500LN at Baselworld.
“At this time, the large mass started to talk about the year-long waiting lists for this model, speculations began, and the craze got greater as those who were early to have them caused the demand to increase even further as some people showed them on the internet and on social media.”
Fresh, new and iconic, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t where the fervour began. The situation has spiralled from there, and now there are multiple models in the same situation where people notice the waiting lists and the shortage of a specific model, and thus become even more inclined to get a hold of it, or to buy a similar one (or the next one down), creating a waitlist around that as well.
The result? Today, the Rolex shortage includes the Daytona 116500LN, the Submariner, Explorer, Sea-Dweller and the GMT-Master II. In other words: pretty much all their full stainless steel sports watches. There are many theories as to why this remains the case, ranging from “Rolex is deliberately cutting the supply” to “Rolex didn’t artificially create the shortage but they try to maintain it.”
In any case, if you’re on a waitlist, your time in purgatory just got longer. If you need something to tide you over until the Rolex of your dreams is hot off the press, check out this ‘Pepsi’ GMT Alternative.