Rolex has been fined a massive $100 million in France for prohibiting its distributors from selling watches online...
As you probably already know, owning a Rolex watch is not just a testament to your appreciation for timekeeping and how you spend your time, but also a marker of your status, style, and personal choices. However, the famous brand apparently does not want to maintain its prestige, as it has been fined $100 million in France for limiting the sale of its models online.
The French competition authority decided to pursue the Swiss luxury watch brand for illegal ten-year pressure on distributors selling the famous house's luxury watches online. This agency penalized Rolex France, along with Rolex Holding SA, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, and Rolex SA.
This, of course, is not ideal for the sought-after brand, as it could mean closing a marketing channel, much to the disappointment of loyal fans who already face great difficulties in getting hold of any Rolex model, as well as for retail traders.
The enormous fine also requires the French division of the Rolex brand to inform its dealers of the decision and to post a summary of the same on its website within two months and for a whole week. This decision was made following complaints and an investigation by the authorities. The French competition authority pointed out an interesting contrast: while Rolex wants to keep its prestigious watches away from online stores, their equally (or more) elite competitors embrace the digital era by allowing the sale of their luxury watches online, under appropriate conditions. This agency suggests that achieving brand goals does not necessarily mean limiting competition, which translates to Rolex having to find a new way to play this market game.