Worldwide Rolex Shortage – Good marketing ploy or image damaging move?


There has been a shortage of Rolex watches since the middle of 2020. Much has been talked about this ever since, some claiming that it was a bit of clever marketing while others are claiming that it was more circumstantial.

Is this a sign of Rolex slowing down?

Under the WOSG or The Watches of Switzerland Group, prices of Rolex watches have skyrocketed in the past 6 months due to the shortage of supply. Models like the Rolex GMT Master II Batman has been in high demand and the COVID-19 situation has not made things any better. With people being caught in extended lockdowns around the world, shopping has become scarce but demand has not diminished as much.

A clever piece of marketing by Rolex

Analysts have been quick to deduce this situation as a no-brainer act of clever marketing. By creating a huge demand for the products while not fulfilling them on time. For starters, Rolex is a luxurious brand. No doubt about that. Consumers find it hard to secure a new timepiece from Rolex in retail stores. They can put in their orders and would have to wait. This has created a lot of frustration and resentment from its customers.

COVID-19 and the current circumstances

In March 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rolex announced that it was shutting down its plants for 10 days. As the world slowly recovers from the setback, dealers have to operate with empty Rolex shelves as they have nothing to sell. On one hand, it means they sell the products quite quickly but on the other, it does not look very good for the shops.

Fueling the secondary market

The general sentiment is that Rolex does not really care about its customers. It has always been a ‘take it or leave it’ brand. Perhaps that is how Rolex could maintain its stature as a luxurious brand all this while. The secondary market where prices of Rolex watches skyrocketed since the shortage has not helped either where consumers are buying used or new (but second-hand) Rolex watches at prices that have not been seen before.

With this situation, some market segments have brought their demands elsewhere, turning to the likes of Omega and Tissot. However, the charm and allure of a Rolex watch is still persistent. Whether it is genuine marketing or pure circumstantial, one cannot discount the power of the golden Rolex crown.

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