The luxury watch industry has been abuzz with talk of the acute shortage of Rolex watches over the past couple of years. This scarcity has prompted the Swiss manufacturer to issue an official statement, attributing the shortage to the high and unprecedented demand for their products.
Despite the wealth and influence of many Rolex customers, even they have been unable to secure the latest models ahead of others. According to Bloomberg, even members of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates or sheikhs have been unable to bypass the waiting lists in this affluent nation.
Mohamed Abdulmagid Sediki, head of the commercial department at Seddiqi Holding, the authorized dealer of Swiss watches in the UAE, explained that Emirati nobles can only obtain the desired watches for personal use, while brands are more selective when it comes to gifting watches.
"Some people take it personally. We have to be fair to our customers and make sure that our watches end up in the right hands," said Sediki. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is the official distributor of Rolex watches in Dubai, with over 50 outlets in the country, including four Rolex boutiques.
The company operates the largest Rolex store, which opened in the Dubai Mall in May 2018.
9th largest market for Swiss watches
The United Arab Emirates is the ninth-largest market for Swiss watches globally and has seen a significant increase in profits this year.
Most of the timepieces in other boutiques are for display only, with those available for purchase selling out quickly. Rolex maintains a list of clients who are offered certain desirable models first, but this list is limited to 4,000 people.
If a customer resells their Rolex for profit, they risk being removed from the list and potentially blocked from purchasing future models. Despite efforts to fix supply chain issues and ramp up production, the high demand for Rolex and other luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe has persisted.
The recent crash in cryptocurrency markets has dampened some of the frenzy surrounding these brands, but many desirable models still have an elusive status, particularly stainless steel sports watches, which can only be obtained through resellers at a higher price than their original cost. It remains to be seen if this trend will change in the near future.