As I gazed down at my now 4 year old Rolex Air-King on my wrist I knew it was about time for my next Rolex purchase. Various business milestones have been achieved and with my upcoming birthday on the horizon there was no better time to commemorate it than now. What better way to celebrate the occasion than with a Rolex watch? After all, the classic Rolex slogan is “a crown for every achievement”.
Little did I know this would lead me into a rabbit hole that would waste nearly 6 months of my time, filled with happy and depressing experiences all at the same time. It sounds almost ridiculous as I type this, but it’s true, and seems to be the ongoing theme for almost anyone searching to purchase a Rolex Stainless Steel Sports model.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy obtaining the Rolex sports model of my desires. I’ve frequented many watch forums and spoke with other collectors who said it’s very difficult, but I really didn’t think it would be as hard as it’s been.
I bought my current Air-King from a grey dealer in Milano when I was visiting, but this time I wanted to buy from a Rolex Authorized Dealer so that I could have the authentic experience, along with getting my name on the warranty card.
I really wanted the new Daytona C 116500, its a beautiful iconic watch, and the slender case actually fit my 6.5 inch wrist perfectly, the watch also fit into my budget at the retail price. While the bulkier GMT II Pepsi and Submariner models would be fall back choices.
So began my journey of visiting my local Rolex Authorized dealers located in Montreal to seek this model. The dive into the dark rabbit hole had commenced. What should have been an exhilarating uplifting experience turned into an experience of regret and disappointment. An awakening into the reality of Rolex stainless steel sports model craze, and the games played by both the Rolex AD as well as the Rolex brand directly.
The slogan “a crown for every achievement” is simply not true, because you cannot walk into a Rolex authorized dealer anywhere in the world and buy the watch that you want. Instead you are coerced into buying other luxury watches or even unwanted jewelry in order to build a superfluous “relationship” with the Rolex authorized dealer. They don’t gently hint towards this either, It’s a direct request, “buy something from our shop to build a history with us and then maybe we will consider you for a Rolex sports model”. Essentially when you walk into a Rolex AD with cash in hand, your are not allowed to buy a Sports model from them because you’re not worthy enough to them. The Rolex authorized dealers are using the highly desired sports models as leverage to sell the less in-demand watches from Rolex and even other brands.
Buying extra merchandise to be considered was just not on my agenda, not only did it feel wrong but I just don’t have the funds to waste. I have been filtered out as a “small-time” buyer.
Remaining as polite and upbeat as possible I did however insist with various sales reps to place me on their waiting lists either way, in which they agreed, albeit with slight chuckles and mutterings of 2-3 years.
While my first few attempts were fruitless I still thought that maybe I’d have a chance at something. I began to frequent the shops on a bi-weekly basis in hopes of getting lucky and maybe stumbling upon a SS sports model in a display window, or perhaps catching one of the sales reps on a good day and being whispered into the back vault, but no such thing happened. I did encounter very odd conspicuous policies, such as some sales reps stating they dont keep a waiting list at the shop, while other sales reps from the same shop stating they do keep a waiting list. This made me realize that the waiting lists are most likely just a myth, a polite way to show you out the door and make room for a bigger fish.
During this whole process I had time to think, who is at fault here? It seems like a coordinated process from both the Rolex AD’s as well as the Rolex brand directly. Surely Rolex loves the current state of demand for their sports models or they would simply expand production, they’re certainly aware of the current situation.
Then in early 2020 the corona virus hit, what a terrible thing. My heart went out to all those affected especially hard hit Switzerland. As a watch enthusiast and current Rolex sports model hunter I couldn’t help but wonder how this will affect supply and demand for the king of watches, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I hoped for more availability of the sought after models.
It was only logical that a decrease in demand with an equal supply would bring more availability, but that didn’t happen. The Rolex headquarters in Switzerland had an emergency closure, and rightfully so, the coronavirus is a very serious situation and so they took the best decision to close. By doing this Rolex now had the excuse that production has decreased which was suspiciously convenient, especially once you understand that most inventory is already manufactured and ready to ship to AD’s many months in advance. A blatant coy coming from Rolex, which then trickled down to the sales reps at the AD’s uttering the same nonsense. Meanwhile all of the less sought after pieces like the Datejusts and Oyster Perpetuals and basically every other watch brand in the same price range from Switzerland was fully stocked and ready for purchase.
Fast forward a couple months of back and forth visiting Rolex AD’s it’s been a total elapsed time of about 6 months waiting. I did manage to receive some offers of an Air-King and Milgauss right before the AD’s closed for the corona virus, which I politely declined. Partly because of the uncertainty of the virus but mainly because I was not seeking these models.
I did get very close to obtaining an Explorer 1 that was offered to me by one of the Rolex AD’s when they re-opened, but sadly I did not like the proportions on my wrist, so I declined again sticking to my original choices of Submariner, GMT II Pepsi, and Daytona 116500. Some people will say that these offerings are actually pretty good considering I have no buying history with these shops, but I’m not about to buy a watch I don’t want just because it’s desired by others. In my opinion the way things are being handled by Rolex are unacceptable and classless, coming from a brand that is suppose to be the definition of class and nobility. On the other hand Rolex is a business that will do what it wants to maximize profit rightfully so within the law.
Moral of the story: If you’re willing to play the game, go ahead and dive in head first. Walk into your local AD and ask them what it will take to obtain the steel sports model of your choice, buy the expensive precious metal pieces to achieve it. Or you can go the other route, see how long you can last trying your luck with the “waiting list”, and once you’re fed up just pay the premium and buy your watch brand new on the grey market.
Update July 15, 2020: After this story I went out of province to purchase my girlfriend a Tudor 1926 from a Rolex AD. I registered my interest in the Submariner 114060 when I was there. One week later I received the call! It’s not impossible guys, but you need to be persistent and spend a little money, or maybe a lot of money depending on the model you’d like to acquire.
To view the entire sports line up that is currently unavailable for immediate purchase from Authorized Dealers visit the official Rolex website here.
Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and opinion, nothing has been stated or confirmed by Rolex or their subsidiaries.
Tony howe says
I too have been looking for a stainless steel sport Rolex – the last AD for Rolex that i went to i ended up buying a Grand Seiko elegance (which they tell me is better than a Rolex anyway)
Don’t get me wrong I do like the Grand Seiko but it is not what I went into the store to buy.
I also own a Patek Philippe Calatrava (the one with the hobnail bezel) this is my very favorite watch. Anyway I’ve been looking for a number of years and i guess now it’s a hobby.
Matthew Catellier says
Thanks for stopping by with your experience Tony. It seems to be a common story amongst us Rolex collectors now unfortunately. That Calatrava is definitely a beauty!
DOUGLAS HAMNER says
Fly to Hong Kong or Thailand, you will find tons of them at their AD’s. Rolex has oversaturated the far east markets. Dubai had a crap load of Daytona’s when I went there a year ago.
James Calhoun says
I’ve been a watch collector for 4 years. I read a lot about the long waiting lists for Rolex stainless sport models. Over this time I’ve acquired 2 Rolex sports from the secondary market. A 1989 Submariner ref 16610 and a DeepSea ref 116660. I also went to a local AD about 6 months ago when I decided to buy a new Submariner. They didn’t have any and I got on a waiting list. In early March my wife told me that a good friend of her’s bought her husband a new Rolex from a local jewelry store that I didn’t even know was an AD. A few days later I was in the same area of this AD and decided to stop in. I was greeted by a very nice woman who introduced herself as the Store Director. I told her that I just learned that they were an AD and asked if they had any sport models. She shocked me by saying that they had literally just received a shipment! She took me to the Rolex display area and I was shocked by the inventory. I ended up buying a new Submariner ref 116610LN at the Rolex list price of $8500. I was wearing my Omega Seamaster but left wearing the new Sub!
This AD, as it turns out, is the largest Rolex AD in the area of NW LA also know as the Arklatex. There was no hard sell for any other of their large selection of jewelry stock. I had the total opposite experience as you!
Matthew Catellier says
That’s quite the unreal experience! A Rolex buyers dream. Things like this do definitely happen out of pure luck it just seems like its becoming more rare. Thanks for stopping by and adding your story – cheers!
I’m in Northern Europe and have been on the hunt for the same watches as you for about 3 years now.
Luckily on the journey another grail came into focus as I couldn’t get a Daytona from my long time AD so I thought I’d try another AD and build a relationship by ordering a 116519LN. However that was a no go either but they (unlike my long term AD) were also a Patek AD. So I asked for an Aquanaut and to my surprise the lovely SA said sure. Put a deposit down and 11 months later had an aquanaut.
I would still love to have a Daytona but can’t complain with having another watch on my list ticked off in the meantime.
However, I am tired of this game. I have been a watch enthusiast for about 12 years and not being able to genuinely acquire that which I have loved for over a decade just hurts a bit.
Matthew Catellier says
Hey Tom, you’re really lucky you were able to get an Aquanaut at retail. Those are extremely difficult now as well, but they have a valid reason for being difficult to obtain rather than the controlled shortage from Rolex.
I’m sure one day that Daytona will finally come through for you.
You’ll NEVER convince me that EVERY Rolex AD isn’t working with a ‘flipper’.
I have literally called EVERY Rolex AD in North America and I’ve visited 11 AD’s in 9 States over the last 18-24 months.
They all say the same EXACT same thing . . . we don’t have ANY, we haven’t had any, couldn’t tell you the last time we did have any in stock and we don’t know if/when we will ever get any more . . .
and yet on a DAILY basis you see these same models (100’s of them) being listed for sale as new/unworn on the gray market.
Where are these coming from if not the Dealers? Unless there’s a Rolex tree growing in someone’s backyard these watches HAVE to come through the AD’s yet you get the same line of BS from these AD’s.
Chris, you are right on the point!
Two years ago when I was in market for SS GMT or Daytona, I called/emailed minimum 50-60 ADs in north-east USA. I even spoke to few ADs in Canada. Same exact answer as you have it – we don’t have/we don’t know/we don’t get many/etc.
One particular AD in New Jersey was continuously being polite and promised to call me as soon as they get one. We kept in touch for over a year with no luck. Coincidently a board member posted a picture of new SS GMT and said he got it from this AD (including sales persons name). People were congratulating him and there were 2 different members praising him in same thread bc they picked up their SS GMT from him in past few months. Naturally I was pissed bc he’s playing games here.
I called him next and told him that I know there were 3 different people that got SS GMT watch directly from him, and I demanded explanation. He didn’t deny this and confirmed he sold GMT watches but not many. He shifted a tone from being super polite over email and promising to call me once they get one, to explain to me where I am what they call ‘blind caller’ — he does not know me personally, no purchase history and he has many loyal customer looking for same watch. Those loyal customers (or call them high/frequent spenders) have priority. He said he always offer these hard to get watches to them first, and if no one wants them, he starts reaching out to ‘blind caller’ list, which is where my number is somewhere. Likelihood of me getting a call is zero to none.
This is the dishonest game most ADs play bc SS Rolex pieces keep them afloat and give them leverage to ‘force’ customers to buy watches/jewelry they don’t need in order to get a SS Rolex they want. They wont tell you this and will always be ‘polite’ about the shortage bc “its not them, its the Rolex not giving them enough pieces” while at the same time, they have few SS Rolex pieces in safe waiting for right customer to come in and sell to.
Matthew Catellier says
Unfortunately this is a very common story, you need to build a purchase history with the Rolex AD before they consider you someone serious. If you don’t build a purchase history with them you’re relegated to the bottom of the “list”. There is no AD that is going to sell you a watch for 11,000 that is worth 20,000 on the grey market without actually making 9,000 profit from you with other purchases unless you have a unique relationship with them. This is what I’ve discovered through my personal journey of trying to acquire these sought after watches. Of course some AD’s are worse than others and that’s up to you to figure out.
Why would you call this dishonest? Yes, these AD are receiving SS Rolex sports watches, however, their demand is such that they are not displaying them, instead, selling them to their customers. As you said yourself, you called/emailed 50-60 ADs which means the vast majority of them are not even in your home market. You are cold calling, not even stopping in, of course you are going to be behind their regulars. Why are they supposed to sell their watches to you and not the guys they see on a somewhat regular basis or at least live in their community? This isn’t dishonest, it’s just the way it is. Go IN PERSON to whatever somewhat local ADs you have and get your name on a list in person and check back every so often with the same sales person. After a few weeks/months, you will also be able to buy a Rolex SS sports model.
“a brand that is suppose to be the definition of class and nobility.”
Surely this is an exaggeration, perhaps a phrase more deserving of Patek. I always think of Rolex as the “working man’s fine watch.”
Now that I am on the hunt I have seen similar shenanigans. I’ve actually seen YouTube videos where watch enthusiasts taking matters into their own hands have uncovered collusion between grays and ADs whereby the AD will sell a bundle of SS models if they take a few PMs off their hand too. These of course wind up on sale immediately for a $3,000+ premium.
In a sense, I sort of get it. With the pandemic and frequent closings and instability, an AD is hard pressed to meet their numbers without stooping a bit. The grays can replace the fall-off in volume. This is no doubt going to be a bigger issue in major metro areas where nouveau riche Chiese tourists have been conspicuously absent.
I also respect ADs’ desires to cater to repeat customers. That is their bread and butter.
What I cannot abide is sinking a lot of time into trying to locate and buy a mass-produced timepiece with average finishing. If I’m looking for a Rolex, I’ll work the AD stops into my routine for a while and maybe I get lucky. Just did with a blue dial DJ36. Even paying full price is annoying, as I bought a 16710 for less than $5k just five years ago. I could flip it for $12k now if I needed the money. But retail price is the absolute limit of what I will ever pay for a Rolex.
I hope those reading this will not get so fixated on the object of desire that they enable these gray market dealers to continue their price inflation game. Do not pay above retail.
::sigh:: I can’t wait for this bubble to pop.
Buying a Rolex sports model (or the most popular Pateks and APs) is like buying an Hermès Birkin, Kelly or Constance bag. You kinda have to get a purchase history, or just get super lucky (which almost never happens).
Also, depends on which city you’re shopping in. In Baku I could potentially get whatever sports model Rolex i like from an AD, because the demand is pretty low. People who can afford this kind of watch will usually purchase it in the EU for tax refund purposes, so the only time these watches get purchased in Baku is when one urgently needs an expensive gift.
Good for you for being able to score the watch that you wanted and not caving in to their games!
Although I wouldn’t be able to say no to a simple Oyster Perpetual, there’s something about it’s simplicity that makes it a perfect exit watch.
William Xu says
Good luck to you. I’ve been looking for a explorer I or a gmt master II batgirl. Ive had 2 ADs litterally tell me that it would be better for me to just go buy on the secondary market.
Matthew Catellier says
Hey William, yes the situation right now is quite dire. I managed to snag a Submariner 114060 about 1 month ago from AD which was very “lucky”.
Same experience here in Nebraska. The nearest AD to where I live is Gunderson’s in Omaha. Want a steel professional? Five to seven year wait, but while you wait would you be interested in this two tone Rolesor model? A year later I find out the only AD within 150 miles of where I live has little to no control over her inventory. Bait and switch, pay-to-play, and games. I shouldn’t have to beg to spend the kind of money I was willing to spend. Instead I’m looking at a Lange and Sohne instead with the intent of purchasing a SS Odysseus model within a year. Maybe I’ll walk into the AD sometime in the next year or two to show them off?
Matthew Catellier says
Unfortunately this seems to be the situation everywhere. Rolex is very aware of it, and they won’t change the situation because they’re of course benefitting from this craze. What they might not realize is that it’s actually tainting their brand name in the long run, because for the first time ever some people are starting to hate the brand.
I have always dreamt of buying a Rolex. I worked hard and at this point in life I made myself capable enough to buy one. Walked into 3 Rolex dealers happily and dreaming that today I will celebrate my dream to buy a datejust 41 fluted bezel. Ended up putting my name in the waiting list and one saying they have stock but all are being allocated.I was pretty sure they had it in the locker. Its disappointing that today I have the money but i cannot celebrate my achievement with a Rolex which I always dreamt off. But their existing so called customers can walk in and buy as many they want to whom Rolex is just a thing. Its a shame and disgrace for Rolex that they don’t want to be a part of someones celebration of achievement. I am pretty sure there are lot people like me who want to celebrate the same.
Omar J Luna says
Why didn’t you just place an order for one? I currently have on order from my AD a Datejust 41 fluted bezel Wimbledon Slate dial Stainless Steel. AD tells me I should receive it in about 3-4 weeks. Cannot wait. Purchased at retail. All based on the relationship you have built with your AD. This will be my first Rolex by the way.
Ben McEvers says
People need to get it through their heads that they do not need a Rolex to celebrate. Rolex took lessons on how to brainwash people from De Beers.
As poor as your experience was, North America has far more supply that almost everywhere else in the world.
Down here in Australia and NZ, the shelves are completely empty of anything but Pearlmasters and the occassional 36mm TT diamond DJ. Even getting a 36mm DJ within a few months is an accomplishment and 41mm DJ’s are selling at premiums in the secondary market.
Professionals are truly unobtainable, I have been requesting a Sub Date for 3 years from my AD (only one within 800km), in the interim I have purchased a Pelagos, a BB chrono S&G, a BB58, another Pelagos. I also requested a 41mm DJ with smooth bezel and oyster many months ago and have yet to hear back.
Rich Chinese tourists have been coming over and buying entire inventories to take back to China to resell due to our proximity and lower prices. Even after COVID stopped this tourism, local stocks have remained non-existent.
My AD claims hes only had a small handful of Pepsi GMT and Daytona, 2 per year since release which I think is a stretch, but the reality is that for your average customer these models are not and will likely never again be available as a one off purchase.
Matthew Catellier says
I have heard that the situation is pretty dismal in Australia and NZ. After playing the game for a while I’ve discovered that most Rolex AD’s are just not truthful. They will tell you they might only receive a few but in reality they do receive more than they state, also most of the time they actually have these models sitting in the back safe while they tell you this. The reason for this is the grey market value, when they sell these watches at retail price they’re essentially “giving away” cash, so what they do is attempt to profit from this by only selling the sought after models to the highest bidder aka to their clients that bring them the most profit. Depending on location and AD you can sometimes get lucky, but this requires a lot of time visiting multiple AD’s and registering your interest by visiting frequently. At this point some people may prefer to just buy grey.
I believe this is spot on. I, like you, am unwilling to buy something just to get something else. I have wanted an Explorer 1 for a year and have saved since last January for it. Wish I would have realized back then what a tiring game I would have to play to get it.
After being told by my local AD that I needed a relationship to buy from them I started looking elsewhere. I have contacted 25 AD’s in the last 2 days and have found that most give you the lame “relationship” talk. I have had several talk down to me as if I am an idiot and offered me “advice” of buying other pieces first before I have the opportunity to get a professional model.
However I have had a couple positive conversations and have spent 10-15 minutes talking with a sales person that seemed to be very genuine. One AD told me yesterday they get 2 shipments per month and on average there are 25-30 watches in each. Then he said that it is anywhere from 25%-50% professional models. That means they are getting in at minimum 12-13 a month. Now that may have not been true but I’m not sure why he would have cause to misinform me about this. I am sure this varies based on the dealer of course.
The watches ARE being sold but my assumption is there is a high volume relationship with flippers at many if not most AD’s.
I am still hopeful that I can find someone who will sell me the elusive Explorer 1. Looks like I will be among those calling every AD in the US. At least I will be able to identify the ones that I have zero chance with and can focus future calls on the others.
Matthew Catellier says
Hi Andrew, sorry to hear you’re also experiencing some issues chasing your dream watch. I have a couple tips that might help you out. Forget about calling the AD’s, they deal with way too many emails and calls for SS sports models to take any of them seriously. Phone calls and emails will be politely ignored unfortunately. What I would recommend you do instead is to visit the AD’s in person, frequent the AD’s closest to you on a regular basis so that they get to know your face. Make sure they’re aware of the model you’re after. Another thing to note, the Explorer 1 is not really that difficult to get, at least here in North America and most places in the UK/EU. I was offered one with no buying history after one month and passed on it, the large dial felt empty on my small 6.5 inch wrist. Good luck on your journey, and once you finally find your watch you’ll love it.
To show how bad the supply is (or evidence of ADs not wanting to deal with me as a first time buyer from them), I’m on the ‘interest list’ at several ADs here in Singapore for one of the new 41mm Oyster Perpetuals and an Air King, and I’ve been for several months now – apparently there are none on the island (save of course for the greys). Sad state of affairs when it comes to being on the ‘interest list’ for entry level watches. I don’t want to compromise on my choice of watch but I’m starting to open up to alternatives if Rolex can’t deliver.
Perpetual Oyster says
I have to agree with Matthew; it’s about building a relationship with the AD. I work with a great local AD. I started the relationship by buying a two-tone DateJust which I love and wear often. I then started to visit the shop a least once a month and have extended conversations with the salesman. We talk about watches, current events and life. When the new Sub and yellow Oyster came in he showed them to me even though they were already spoken for. I just enjoyed the experience of seeing them and trying them on. He even invited me down to see the entire Patek collection that was on display with nothing for sale. Once again, it’s about the experience, learning, and being present. He knows I am not able to throw down $50K at this time and respects that. He recently offered me a new Sub which I bought and there may be GMT coming my way in the near future. I think it’s important to be patient, not grabby, and nice. Both he and I are playing the long game. He understands what I can afford, and knows that when I am able to, I will buy a Patek or Lange from him. By the way, he said I was the only client who sent him a Christmas card. 🙂
I have wanted a Rolex ever since reading as a kid about my fellow countrymen Sir Edmund Hillary allegedly wearing one when he summited Mt Everest. when I first starting looking early in 2019 I was disillusioned very quickly with the mystic of the Rolex selling process and every AD across Australia, Japan & NZ I visited having a different angle to get me out of the showroom if I was not interested in buying the one watch on display of the least popular model. However I made a point of visiting the same AD in my home city of Auckland monthly and politely kept expressing my interest in obtaining a Submariner Date and over time I built a relationship with the staff. This persistence did pay off and I was offered a 2021 SUB 126613LN in October last year. For me it was about finding the right AD who did not pressure me to buy other jewelry off them with a half promise to get my name up the mysterious waiting list and for them I was a genuine buyer who was not lazy by phoning and emailing or complaining about the wait but just made a effort to go in store chat for 5 mins monthly and go. Yes there are some great watches on the market by other brands that you get straight out of the display cabinet but for me the Sub is the real deal and I will not be flipping it anytime soon, will keep it for life and then my son can have it 🙂
ANDREW ENGELMAN says
I sold my Rolex Explorer 36mm yesterday befoe knowing how hard it is to buy a new one. It was 46 years old and I was advised not to wear it in water anymore. I wore it for 46 years and never took it off and that is why I wanted it in the first place. My simple mind was–sell it, take the proceeds and buy a new one that will last in the water for at least ten years before being ”old”. I sold it for 8500 and a new one exactly the same retails for 6450. Silly me. I didnt realize I cant find a new one. Now I am stuck. I am 77 years old, have say ten years to live and may have to wait 2 years to get a new one. this is craziness.
Matthew Catellier says
Sorry to hear this Andrew, the state of affairs is ridiculous unfortunately. The Explorer 39mm doesn’t have too much of a premium on the grey market, so that could be an option for you. If you go that route please make sure to buy from someone reputable as there’s a significant amount of fakes floating around. The other option is buying a black dial Oyster Perpetual which is very similar to the Explorer I. Make sure to put your name on a “waiting list” at an AD either way as the Explorer I is usually not too difficult to obtain but you might wait a few months.
I actually got a batgirl within 3/4 months, my husband had brought me a Rolex datejust watch 6 months earlier so we had a purchase history, I rung the guy and said I wanted a batgirl for his 30th he said he would see what he could do as I had a relationship with the store, I emailed him a couple times and to be honest I didn’t think anything would come of it, as he had said in a conversation with my husband when he brought my watch that they keep the special ones for special clients, well he emailed me 3/4 months later saying he had it and it had been allocated to me, I picked it up straight away of course, sent him a nice thank you card, 6 months down the line he rang my husband and said he has a submariner 2 tone blue face in if he was interested, he has gone to pick it up today, he didn’t really really want this watch but had still purchased it so he may be in with a chance to get a Pepsi or Daytona, we’ve now spent 35k in the store it may take a bit more but your not gonna get one without a purchase history, like a poster said it’s really rare, but good luck be persistent you want them to think of you when they get that delivery in
Hi all I had my first Rolex sub date when I was 15, saved up 135 pounds new in 1965 by the way I had 3 paper rounds and it took 2 years to save up, and I’ve been a fan of Rolex sports watches since I was 12 now late 60s, and you’re all right that the enjoyment of trying to buy in my case GMT pepsi is slowly waining, sadly. And god knows how many Rolex watches and thousands I’ve spent at WOS, I think times have changed and not for the best.
I wonder when this BS started? “Building a relationship” with a Rolex dealer? It’s obvious to anyone who has the means to consider purchasing the brands products that one would be entering into a very inauthentic and disingenuous commercial transaction, a win-lose relationship. From the customers perspective, a customer is thought of, talked about and treated as weak and insecure individual by the retailer, the brands leadership and employees. Personal validation from Rolex or its retailers is unhealthy and for those with even an once of self respect worthy of contemplation. Consider the merits of avoiding the brand from consuming your money or occupy ones wrist when others brands think, speak and treat you with respect and are eager to have you as a client.
For 126710blnr I was waiting exactly 2 years and 2 months. Unfortunately couldn’t pick it up because of covid travel restrictions.
Ordered (116710blnr) on March 2019, paid 10% deposit.
Shortly after I was transferred to new ref number 126710blnr on jubilee.
May 2021 was ready for pickup. I had 7 days to pick it up. Im living in Canada, but order was made in Europe. Couldn’t go because of covid restrictions. They refund 10% deposit, and put my name on “waiting list” for new 126710blnr-0003. Who knows when I will have chance to buy it again.
We’re now in 2022 and it seems things are even worse! I travel all around the Uk for work and throughout the last 6 months of 2021 I visited every single authorised dealer in the United Kingdom (sad but yes every single one) and not one had a single Mens watch for sale to the general public. I was greeting by the ever demoralising ‘exhibition piece only’ sign on every single watch in every single store.
I understand the purchase history argument of course, but what if you’re wanting to purchase your first Rolex. You can’t build a history if they won’t sell you one!
I think one of the most frustrating things is actually all the secrecy, I don’t know why AD’s can’t just tell you how it is- “you’re number 30 on the list, we get 10 a year it’s going to be at least 3 years”
I agree with others on the post regarding the grey market, every AD you visit that doesn’t have a single watch for sale has a flipper on the same street that has X5 brand new of every model. It’s naive to believe they aren’t coming from the AD.
I can’t believe it’s gotten to the point where it’s a 12 month wait for a basic steel Datejust!
We live in hope!
Matthew Catellier says
Hi Derek, you’re correct it is sadly a much worse situation now than it was last year. After watching this space now I have a suspicion this can all be attributed to global monetary inflation, just take a look at the prices of used cars, check the prices of real-estate. The more our governments print money the more assets grow in value (artificially). This has created a rush of people who are looking for an inflation hedge, and unfortunately Rolex is a great candidate which has created a product demand that Rolex can’t cope with right now.
Mike Schumer says
I guess I’m confounded how you have a watch blog and not understanding you’re not getting a Daytona by simply walking in and maybe have a little wait. I really don’t mean to insult you but an AD acquisition of a Daytona is unfortunately considered an honor or say reward provided by a Rolex AD. You actually walked in thinking otherwise? Regardless, it would be nice to simply put a down payment and get the Daytona of your choice within a year. To me that would seem fair enough.
Matthew Catellier says
Thanks for stopping by Mike, but where did I say I asked for a Daytona? I had my top three choices that I was willing to settle for, but I certainly was not asking for a Daytona on first walk in.
Question is who is actually willing to buy at those prices? I like classic designs and was interested in buying a “simple” Rolex Oyster perpetual 41. I am based in Europe and I see more than 200 new watches being offered (EU offers only) on Chrono 24 starting at 11k EUR. This is crazy. It’s not like paying a brokerage premium of 10 or 20%. I just don’t get it and I am wondering if it’s even worth that I visit Rolex ADs.
Matthew Catellier says
You’re absolutely right, it’s ridiculous. Rolex has become an inflation hedge for people looking to store purchasing power, so I think some people are buying at market price just as a store of value.
There’s no harm in going into an AD for a look, just don’t have high expectations.
Well I recently was in an AD and seen some display models. My interests and info were noted. It was a pleasant experience meeting and talking with the sales rep. I was given a catalog a bottle of water and a big green rolex bag.
Now I hope I get a call for a rolex I want to have on my wrist and enjoy.
What does “AD” mean??
Matthew Catellier says