The Rolex Boom

Rolex Boom

Between supply, demand and a little bit of FOMO, it’s hard to get your hands on one

Rolex watches

A Rolex Datejust 16200 stainless steel watch ($6,175).

A Rolex Datejust 16200 stainless steel watch ($6,175).

Despite concerns about the global economy, the luxury watch business is booming like never before. But unfortunately, it's made it hard to find a Rolex. There's just nowhere near enough supply to keep up with demand in today's market, and Rolex hasn't been able to ramp up production to meet it.

Stores are regularly out of stock and there are long waitlists for popular models. The pandemic, paradoxically, saw interest in Rolex soar, as people had more disposable income in lockdown and flocked to trusted, time-honored brands. You could say that Rolex has become a victim of its own success.

But there's another reason Rolex has become so unattainable—the proliferation of grey market dealers who dominate the market, buy up stock and sell it on at a substantial premium. According to Gear Patrol, a collector mentality, combined with the brand's cult following all conspire and ping off one another to inflate prices.

That thriving and rich secondary market means you need to know what you're buying. Leo spoke with Fabrice Guéroux, a horological expert and author of two books on counterfeit watches, who said you need to find a reliable watch dealer, but still says they're reliable investments. “You put your money in the bank and get 5%, if you're lucky. But you can buy a watch and in that same time, make 400% on it, and that's not getting lucky, that's getting rich.”

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