A shortage that only affects the rich: why can't you buy a Rolex anywhere?

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The acute shortage of Rolex watches over the past two years is a very popular topic in the world of the rich...

The mystery of the empty shelves prompted the Swiss manufacturer to make an official statement earlier this year, attributing the shortage to very high and unprecedented market demand. Usually, in these scenarios, the rich and famous use their money and influence to get over the line and get what they want before everyone else. However, as it turns out, even the richest and most influential people in the world are not immune to this situation, and they have to wait their turn to wear a new Rolex model on their wrist. According to reports from Bloomberg, it is not enough to be a member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates or a sheikh to make it to the top of the waiting list in this unusual and rich country.

Emirati nobles can get the desired watches only if they want them for personal use, while famous brands are much more selective if the watches are bought as gifts, says Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, head of the commercial department of Seddiqi Holding, owner of the authorized dealer of Swiss watches in the United Arab Emirates. "Some people take it personally. We have to be fair to our clients and make sure that our watches end up in the right hands." Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is the only official distributor of Rolex watches in Dubai. They started their business during the fifties of the last century by buying models from other Persian Gulf distributors, while they currently own more than 50 sales points in the country, including four Rolex boutiques. The company now runs the largest Rolex store, which was opened in May 2018 in the Dubai Mall shopping centre, which, as you know, is one of the largest in the world.

Image by SNCR GROUP from Pixabay

This unprecedented demand in the world of luxury watches is not a bad problem for Seddiqi & Sons. The United Arab Emirates is the ninth largest market for Swiss watches in the world and this year saw an incredible increase in profits. "We have reached the point that when we have a watch available, we call the client and inform him, and he comes right away. He doesn't even ask what model it is. Whatever we get, we sell right away", says Seddiqi.

Most of the timepieces in other boutiques are only for display, while those available for purchase sell out like wildfire. Rolex maintains a list of clients to whom they offer certain desirable models before everyone else, while this list is limited to 4,000 people. However, if you resell your Rolex and make money, know that you will be removed from the list and probably blocked when you want to buy a new model.

Image by Anne Kroiß from Pixabay

This extremely skewed supply-demand relationship remains after the company reportedly fixed its supply chain issues, along with ramping up production. Moreover, the cryptocurrency crash has also dampened the frenzy surrounding Rolex and similar luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. However, most desirable models still have an elusive status, especially stainless-steel sports watches. The only way to get them is to buy them from resellers at much higher prices than their original ones. It will be interesting to see if the trend will change soon.

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