Is Rolex Availability On The Rise? The Success Stories Are Getting Our Hopes Up
We all know the stories about Rolex availability and the “For Exhibition Only” signs in the displays at ADs and boutiques. The signs are not there for safety reasons but simply because the watches are not available to buy. These are current models, yes, but they’re just there for you to stare at and maybe try before you do not buy.
At least, that used to be the guaranteed case until recently. One of my colleagues walked into the Rolex boutique at Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport and was offered two available sports models (he bought one, by the way). He isn’t a regular customer, either. He just walked in and asked. It was between an Explorer and the new Air-King. He walked out with the latter.
I haven’t been as lucky, but I also admit that I stopped bothering to ask the sales representatives if they had anything in stock a long time ago. I’ve been after the Everose/steel Rolex GMT-Master II ever since it came out, but it simply wasn’t available. I also have to say that I was slightly disappointed when Rolex brought this watch to a local event here, but the reps didn’t even want to take it out of the display for me to try on. They simply refused, which didn’t ignite my enthusiasm to put myself on a waitlist anyway.
Let’s be honest; they’re pretty good watches
Despite how some authorized dealers treat you, it’s hard to fault Rolex watches as watches. Regardless of whether you like the looks of them or not, the watches themselves are of fantastic quality. There are no horror stories about bad after-sales or dysfunctional movements/other parts (nothing structural, at least). There’s not much out there that can beat the Rolex bracelets, for example. They always fit nicely and do their job well.
I still believe that dealers should always treat customers properly, but in their defense, it must be incredibly annoying to say no so many times to people who come in asking about the popular Rolex models. Especially now, with such high demand, the number of times people ask about them must be skyrocketing. As I said, Rolex watches themselves are not to blame. They are great-quality watches that speak to the imaginations of many people. And contrary to what you might have read in some (non-watch) publications, the demand for them is still incredible. Even though secondary-market prices have come down slightly on the typical trophy models, they’re still very far away from the retail price.
Hopeful stories about buying Rolex watches
Recently, I’ve heard stories about people getting their long-awaited Rolex watches, from my colleague who was able to purchase a new Air-King on the spot to the stories in Facebook watch groups about people picking up an Explorer, GMT-Master II, Deepsea Sea-Dweller, or Submariner. I’ve even noticed that some of my IG friends are receiving the GMT-Master II “Destro”.
Due to steep inflation, the increased prices on Rolex in certain countries (7% for the UK as of last week), and a seemingly greater production capacity, the wait for a new Rolex might be(come) shorter than you think. Currently, it seems that the flippers/investors are decreasing, based on the numbers we saw at Chrono24 and via WatchPro last week.
In a perfect world
But, as always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. My colleague’s first-hand buying experience and the shared success stories on social media are still just a drop in the big Rolex bucket. It would be wonderful if the scalpers and flippers moved on to the next big thing (or just stopped altogether) and left the watches to us enthusiasts. And, in a perfect world, it would also mean that you could safely wear your Rolex watches again in major cities without risking theft, robbery, or worse. But as long as I still hear stories about authorized Rolex dealers who will only sell the watches at a premium, it’s still bad.
Let’s keep a close eye on the situation over the coming months and see if Rolex availability will increase. GMT-Master II in Everose gold and steel, here I come! Until then, I will keep enjoying my four- and five-digit Rolex models from the days when this problem didn’t exist.
What are your recent experiences when asking for a Rolex watch at the boutique or dealer? Additionally, would you be interested (again) in buying a Rolex watch if they were available? Please share with us in the comments below.