The Unspoken Truth
So you have set your eyes on a shiny new Rolex and have decided to take the plunge to purchase the timepiece. However, if you think you can just walk in casually into your nearest Rolex AD and get your timepiece with a snap of a finger, I’m sorry to break it to you but that is just not how it works around here.
More often than not, you will find yourself being put on a wishlist for Rolex’s more popular models (think the likes of Rolex Daytona or Submariner) and end up waiting much longer than expected - no instant gratification here unfortunately. While we might lament the wait, the truth of the matter is this - even as demand increases exponentially for popular watch models over the years, Rolex is mostly likely not looking to increase the supply anytime soon (or ever). After all, the scarcity of Rolex watches is what makes their timepieces so sought after - a classic marketing technique not uncommonly seen in the luxury market. In fact, the supply of Rolex watches is so far behind the corresponding demand that retailers have even gone so far as to remove the term ‘waitlist’ from the vernacular to avoid giving the perception of commitment and promise to those fervently waiting for their turn to own their Rolexes.
While there are numerous articles online with tips on how to beat this queue/waitlist/wishlist for your timepiece, one thing is for sure - there are no guarantees when it comes to supposedly tried-and-tested ways to get your hands on a Rolex. All that being said, despite the seemingly insurmountable challenge of owning one of the most popular Rolex watch models, there will still be the fervent few - or should I say many - who are hell-bent and unwilling to walk away. After all, the ones we desperately want are often the ones that are the most out-of-reach. To these people, we say: not all is lost - there have even been times when AD allocates watches to new customers when supply permits through social media posts. Retailers often take into consideration certain criteria of incoming requests, and while there is by no means a sure-fire way to seal the deal upon checking all the boxes, it definitely can increase your chances.
The next time you find yourself being put on a wish list, here are some important things to remember:
Manage your expectations
Align your dreams with reality, starting with the fact that the average waiting time for a Rolex is around 2-5 years - sometimes even longer. Just because you’ve been saving up for an upcoming anniversary, birthday or some other significant celebration, it does not mean that there will be any priority placed on specific individuals. This is unfortunately the natural state of affairs and out of the control of most retailers, simply due to the ever-growing chasm between supply and demand. Unlike real estate property, it is a seller’s market for the luxury timepiece market - watch retailers have limited stock but customers by the thousands who are eagerly waiting their turn.
It is also important to remember that watch lists are not chronological by any means. This is because this list does not exist in the first place since too many factors are at play here, hence the new coined term ‘wish list’. Nevertheless, there are watches worth waiting many years on a waiting list for -
126710 GMT & 116500 Daytona
It’s all about the relationships made
So we have established that there is no chronological wait list where we can just put our name in and wait patiently for. Now what? What might improve your chances in bagging your timepiece, however minute, is the type of relationship you have with your retailer. Typically, once the stocks are confirmed, allocations would have already been determined even before the actual watches arrive in store. While every retailer has a different way to derive this conclusion, just like any other business, store owners favour their long-standing loyal clients, preferably with a buying history. Therefore, when a particular model becomes available, it is more than likely these loyal customers who are taken into consideration first.
As retailers, sincerity is a very crucial part of our decision-making process. These are evaluated by your current relationship with the dealer - how much are you already purchasing from them, how likely you will flip the watch, how many friends you have previously referred, and most importantly, how well they know you as a person and whether you have a genuine interest and love for watches.
Stay up to date
As everything is moving to digital, information is more accessible than ever. To have that extra edge over your ‘competitors’, it would not hurt to educate yourself by gaining more technical and contextual knowledge of the brand - not only does this help you build rapport with your dealer, it is also a positive signal that you are serious and sincere in your pursuit to purchase. On top of this, keeping yourself updated will also allow you to be doubly certain that the sports model you signed up for is really what you want - the last thing that should happen is for you to receive the highly-anticipated phone call but take too long to make a decision. Not only is this a waste of time and effort for both parties, it might also affect the existing relationship you have with your dealer whose ultimate goal is to do business right for the company - trust is a two-way street.
The methods one takes to purchase a highly coveted sport model is more an art than it is a science. A combination of all the above factors, while at the same time understanding the rules of the game, is required.
While all the above is said and done, miracles do happen once in a while for those with the least expectations but with the most appreciation of the brand. So keep the dream alive - wishing everyone all the best in scoring your own timepiece one day!
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