Money and Markets

Rolex breaks its silence on shortages: 'The scarcity of our products is not a strategy’

Business Insider US
  • Rolex said the shortage of its watches is "not a strategy" in response to a story by Yahoo Finance.
  • The Swiss company is notoriously secretive about its production and distribution.
  • Even with the constrained supply, Rolex commands 25% of the global luxury watch market.
  • See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.

Back when Rolex collector and expert Jeffrey Hess first published his unauthorised history of the company in 1996, some of the most eager buyers were from the ad agency representing the Swiss luxury watch brand.

"I asked one of the guys and he said, 'Do you know how hard it is to write ad copy for a company like Rolex that is so secretive and so careful?'" Hess told Insider.

In the decades since, Rolex hasn't exactly gotten more transparent, even as the company continues to dominate the category it effectively invented over a century ago, and especially as demand for its watches has reached a fever pitch during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In short, during a time of widespread supply disruptions and shortages, getting your hands on a Rolex has arguably never been more difficult or expensive.

Insider has tried repeatedly to seek comment on past stories, but the company has been non-responsive. It does not offer any publicly available press contact information, and attempts to reach out using traditionally formatted media and press email addresses at have been returned with a notice that the messages have been "blocked."

But shortly after Yahoo Finance published its own report on the Rolex shortage, the company uncharacteristically broke its silence and responded with a written statement.

"The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part," the company said. "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."

"Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches," the statement continued.

The statement also pointed out that all Rolex watches are assembled by hand at one of its four locations in Switzerland, a process that "naturally restricts our production capacities."

Lastly, the company said it did not bear responsibility for which customers get what watches, since its network of authorised distributors independently manage their own wait-lists for new product.

To read the statement in full, check out the original story on Yahoo Finance.

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