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Why It’s So Hard to Find a Rolex Right Now

There are ‘millions of people fighting to buy those watches at retail.’

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(Editor’s note: Updated Sept. 30 with comments from Rolex.)

If you’re looking for a Rolex watch, good luck although officials with the company say they’re not intentionally keeping supplies low.

Most Rolex retailers have few of the watches for sale, Eric Wind, founder of Wind Vintage, told Yahoo Finance.

The temporary shutdown of manufacturing plants last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is one factor in the shortage. Wind said Rolex has ramped up production and is now likely making more than 1 million watches per year.

“But you have many many millions of people fighting to buy those watches at retail,” he said. “They’re doing what they can, it’s just that demand outstrips supply.”

Business Insider reported that prices for secondhand Rolexes have climbed to the point that “some timepieces now command far higher prices used than they do at the retail counter.”

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Adam Golden of Menta Watches told Business Insider the shortage is likely strategic on the part of Rolex.

“Rolex would like to perpetuate the image that there’s a shortage and that there’s such high demand that they can’t produce enough to satisfy the demand, but I think in reality it’s just very controlled release in order to keep that demand super high,” he told the news outlet.

But Rolex executives said that’s not true. In a statement to Yahoo Finance, they said in part: “The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part. Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised.”

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