Rolex Shortage Explained: When, Why, and Theories

One of the hottest topics in the watch industry right now is Rolex sports models’ shortage, Rolex stainless steel models’ shortage, and professionals’ shortage. In this post, we’ll try to answer all your questions regarding this and update you about the latest developments. Let’s start from the beginning!

When did the Rolex shortage begin?

No one can pinpoint the exact time when these shortages began, but the Rolex Daytona 116500LN release in 2016 is said to be the turning point when people started acknowledging the never-ending waiting lists.

The hype further increased when those people who succeeded in getting their hands on this model, started showing it on the internet and social media, leading to even more demand.

The cycle eventually moved from this iconic new Rolex edition and consumed almost all full stainless-steel sports watches ranging from the Submariner to the Explorer I and II.

Why is there a Rolex shortage?

Rolex has always been the star watch and the ultimate symbol of success. The brand knows how to market itself, and thus, everyone knows and dreams about it. Hence, even though it produces a million watches per year, the demand exceeds supply, leading to a shortage.

But this shortage is only hurting those who are looking for watches from Authorized Dealers (AD). Other marketplaces are brimming, for instance, grey dealers on their own website or Chrono24, with Rolex sports models.

Makes us think, is there really a shortage or something else is going on?

Rolex Submariner Chrono24

Different theories to the Rolex shortage?

There are many different theories as to why there’re such long waiting lists. A few popular ones are:

Rolex itself is cutting supply

One theory suggests that Rolex itself is cutting the supply to cash the concept of scarcity, which has always worked in the luxury industry.

So, now, when people can’t get their hands on one specific popular scarce model, they opt for the second-closest, leading to it going out of supply as well.

Question is, how does it help the ADs?

Well, people go in looking for a Submariner and end up buying a Datejust because they know that the waiting list is too long for the former, resulting in improving the selling prospects of the latter.

The supply is the same, but the demand is higher

Another popular and logical explanation is the supply is the same, but the demand has gone higher. Asian countries are looking for luxury goods more than ever, forcing Rolex to allocate more of its watches to that region, leading to a shortage in the European and the American market.

Rolex's tactic to prevent discounting

Another good reason for this shortage could be to prevent discounting. During previous decades, ADs were often forced to discount watches to attract customers that were opting for better prices from the second-hand market.

Rolex shortage has resulted in an increase in their prices in the second-hand market, and thus, people are willing to accept the full retail price offered at the ADs.

These are a few theories as to why there’s a Rolex steel watches shortage. Let us know which one you believe in and if you have any in mind. Also, while it isn't easy to purchase a new Rolex watch, it is more convenient and even recommended to purchase straps. Once you change your straps, your watch will look entirely different and brand new.

Find your varileer leather strap for rolex watches

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