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Rolex breaks silence on alarming shortages and soaring waiting lists

In the five years WATCHPRO has been reporting on interminable waiting lists and soaring prices on the secondary market, Rolex has never broken its silence on what it thinks about the issues and whether it has a plan to tackle it.

That changed this week when the world’s biggest luxury watchmaker issued a statement in response to a Yahoo! Finance report on the shortages.

Before you get too excited, Rolex added little to the debate, bore little responsibility for the problem and offered no solutions.

“The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part,” Rolex insists.

“Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised,” the statement adds.

Rolex goes on to address the issue of waiting lists. These not really not waiting lists at all where one person is added at the bottom and moves up as other customers get their watches. Rather, Rolex watches are bestowed upon customers that have bought the most other stuff from an authorised dealer; preferably stuff that has been hard to shift like ladies watches or high margin jewellery.

Rolex does not use the term waiting lists, but refers to allocation of watches.

“Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers who independently manage the allocation of watches to customers,” the company notes.

The remainder of the Rolex statement is really just a promotional message about the quality of its manufacturing, but it does at least say it is increasing production as much as possible.

“All Rolex watches are developed and produced in-house at our four sites in Switzerland. They are assembled by hand, with extreme care, to meet the brand’s unique and high-quality standards of quality, performance and aesthetics. Understandably, this naturally restricts our production capacities – which we continue to increase as much as possible and always according to our quality criteria,” Rolex says.

“This level of excellence requires time, and as we have always done, we will continue to take the necessary time to ensure that all our watches not only comply with our standards of excellence, but also meet the expectations of our customers in terms of quality, reliability and robustness. Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches,” it concludes.

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