Why Are Rolex So Expensive?

Have you ever thought why Rolex watches are so expensive? You must have wondered why their watches come with huge price tags. You must have also asked why their watches are expensive since it is only needed for checking time. Well, you have found the best article to answer your curiosity.

Rolex, which is now a household name, is known for producing watches which are one of the finest and popular brands, respected around the world. The company has been producing impeccable watches for decades and has maintained it reputation throughout.

The combination of top-notch technology and exquisite craftsmanship makes it alluring to the eyes. Perhaps their reason for the high price tags.

Regardless of the price tag, Rolex boasts of good sales around the world. Its products are believed to be of high quality, capable of withstanding diverse and extreme weather conditions, temperatures and depths of water.

Why Are Rolex So Expensive

What Is Rolex?

Rolex is also known as Rolex SA is a luxury watchmaker with most of its base operations carried out in its Geneva factory, Switzerland. Its initial name, “Wilsdorf and Davis” was derived from the name of its two founders, Alfred Davis, and Hans Wilsdorf.

It was initially founded in London, in 1905. Currently, it is owned by a private trust, Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. In 1910, the company received the Swiss certificate of precision in Bienne, becoming the first watchmaker to receive the certification.

In 2018, the watchmaker was ranked among the world’s most valuable brand, sitting at the 71st place. It also ranked among the most expensive luxuries in the watches category, ever sold at an auction.

Rolex watches are among the most patronized luxury watches and it is used by most popular persons and celebrities.

The word “Rolex” was created by Wilsdorf, in an attempt to find an “easy to pronounce” name. The name was also adopted so that it can fit properly into the timepiece.

In 1926, the company made its first waterproof model, the oyster model. Enough of the introduction! Let’s move on. We will be understanding why Rolex watches have such high price tags.

Moving parts are assembled and tested by hand

1. Moving parts are assembled and tested by hand

Most people believe Rolex uses machines to assemble their watches. Although most companies utilize the machine in their manufacturing process,

The order is different from Rolex. Perhaps, this belief is widespread because Rolex does not try on disproving it. Rolex rarely shares many details on its production processes.

The truth is that moving parts, and bracelets, or Rolex watches, are assembled without machines, so we should stop having those beliefs. Rolex produces about 800,000 to 1 million units per year ⌚, perhaps the reason for such belief.

Small parts, though small, requires the most attention to check for imbalances and cases of possible or potential wear, therefore their products are giving so much attention and this has been the basis of their reputation via the standard qualities been exhibited by their watches.

However, some other production processes such as filing, aligning and pressing, still require the use of machines but then, they are manually operated by a well-trained technician.

Watches are given the best attention, therefore, flaws and err are almost absent. Watches are tested and re-tested to ensure quality and accuracy. Hardly will you see a faulty Rolex watch leave the factory.

2. Rolex uses expensive and superior steel

Steels are never the same. Steels differ from each other in terms of strength, aesthetic value, and resistance. Stainless steel is available in various types, quality, and grades.  

It is a well-known fact that Rolex utilizes the best steels that are covetable to the eyes. No company uses the type of steel used by Rolex.

Most steel watches, made by other companies, are made from a 316L type of stainless steel while Rolex uses the 904L type.

Until 2003, most Rolex watches were made from the 316L type. The 904L type is more resistant to corrosion and rust. It can also adsorb polish better than other the 316L type.

The 904L type is more expensive and difficult to handle by most machines, also requiring special tools and skills to handle it. Since the switch to the new type of steel, Rolex has invested heavily in machines that can handle the tough, superior 904L steel.

Now, the company has one of the most complex machines, partly due to the type of steel it handles. In fact, the dials are made of white gold, the bezels are made of ceramic and the numbers from sandblasted platinum.

Definitely, you will be able to identify a Rolex watch from its color and weight, and even from a distance.

Rolex uses expensive and superior steel

3. Rolex makes their own metals

While other companies rely on suppliers for their gold parts, it is well worth knowing that Rolex makes their own gold. They are almost independent since they do not rely on any supplier for parts. Also, Rolex makes their steel and platinum parts in-house i.e. by themselves.

They have a foundry and kilns that are used to process metals, at high temperatures, into their required end-products. This stage forms an important portion of its production process, and since it is handled in-house, they can effectively ensure good quality and aesthetics of the end-products. Therefore, their reputation and product quality are preserved.

Rolex science laboratory

4. Rolex has a science laboratory

Watchmaking requires the best attention. It is very demanding and Rolex seems to be giving it all it takes. Surprisingly, Rolex has a research and development science laboratory.

Asides their exquisite craftsmanship, Rolex is also investing in research and development. Obviously, this is not to only research new features that can be added to their watches, but to ensure quality and continued satisfaction of consumers.

Not only is it expensive to design and assemble parts, but their reputation is also very expensive and it requires giving more.

Their research and development facilities, which are well staffed with highly trained scientists, are well equipped with devices such as electron microscopes and gas spectrometers.

They spend much time investigating techniques, machines and manufacturing methods and also devising an effective manufacturing process which puts them ahead of other watch manufacturers.

They also have a stress room to keep testing and stressing various watch parts, movements, casing, and bracelets, etc., to ensure that they are up to the task.

5. Rolex employs a huge number for its quality control

Owing to its huge reputation which is being preserved from decades to decades, the company employs a large number of gemmologists. This set of employs help to verify the quality of various watch attachments.

These watch attachments are metals and precious gems such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. They help to procure, test and group these gems to different categories in order of supposed price range for various Rolex watches.

Detective systems such as x-rays are used to test precious gems, such as diamond, to ascertain its quality. These precious gems are also used to produce custom watches depending on the choice and budget of the customer.

The company also employs devices which help to test produces at different temperatures, pressure, depth, height, and environment. Every watch that leaves the factory must have been tested by an independent Swiss chronometer institute.

6. Production of mechanical watches are quite expensive

Due to the size of its components, there is a huge possibility of failure during assembly and production. Handling of watch movements of mechanical parts is also difficult. In fact, most polishing and finishing are made manually, this is to ensure aesthetical correctness.

7. Test mechanisms for its dive watches

Rolex Oyster watch model, made for diving, are tested for water resistance. What is the essence of a dive watch if it is not water resistant? Basically, testing is done in an air pressure tank. A watch is put in a chamber, filled up with air.

A change in pressure indicates that air leaked into the watch’s casing, indicating that the watch is not tight enough. The casing is tested before and after the movement is added, to detect any fault in the casing.

Submariner watches are tested at a distance of 300 meters inside large tubes. After removal, the watch is then tested for the slightest condensation and traces of water. Any watch that fails this test is simply removed.

7. Security mechanism

Rolex employs a huge amount of security phases. Poor security can affect a factory like Rolex, as it makes them vulnerable to theft. The brand alone is so expensive; its finished products are also expensive.

Raw materials, such as gold and diamond used during production, are also expensive therefore to avoid losses, security is very important.

Its factory employs a number of security measures and cameras and uses a safe located underground. To access the vault, an iris scanner is also utilized.

Every employee is equipped with ID badges and further identified by fingerprint scanning. A brand of such popularity and class would not want to toy with its security.

It is very expedient that they invest in security. In fact, transporting Rolex watches poses a lot of concern, however, this is done discreetly.

Rolex watch

8. It takes almost a year to create a Rolex watch

Surprisingly, Rolex takes a year to produce its watches. Rolex produces 800,000 to 1 million watches a year, that’s about 2,500 watches in a day. :😳😳😳

Although the company is capable of producing more, their obsession to produce quality rather than produce in large qualities denies them the ability to produce more watches.

Actually, mechanical watches take a longer time to produce but the various batches of production, testing, and quality control are enough to limit its production rate.

Every part of their watches is tested individually and even assembled by hand to ascertain quality. Humans, though slow, are quite effective and efficient in spotting problems better than machines.

More time is spent during testing, re-testing and certification of watches. The various production processes are expensive, as the company is giving it what it takes to ensure quality. This indicates that the watchmaker is more interested in quality than quantity.

Conclusion

Rolex has built a reputation all over the globe, making it a leader in watch production. The watchmaker was established when watches were inaccurate and imprecise but now, Rolex, grown to be a popular and expensive brand, produces one of the best quality watches around the world.

Their vintage designs alone are top-notch. Asides the alluring craftsmanship, the accuracy of their watches is said to be plus or minus two seconds while standard watches have an accuracy of minus four seconds to plus six seconds.

Watches are difficult to design but Rolex watches are more expensive to design.  They seem to value quality and they do not care about the pricing.

In fact, it said that the company does not overprice their products relative to their cost of production. Every business has one aim in common and that is to make profits.

They will have to pay for labor and also provide a conducive environment for their labor, invest on security, maintain their machines etc., in short, the overall cost of production alone is quite expensive and they have to recuperate for every expense made.

Some raw materials such as gold and diamond can also be expensive to procure. They surely have to make their own profits to keep their company running.

Another thing is that Rolex watches do not really depreciate, you can sell it after a year of use without losing much money.

Some models may also appreciate significantly, perhaps this is because Rolex does not load out excessive amounts of products of the same model.

The most expensive Rolex watch ever sold till today was for over $15 million,🤔🤔 which was during an auction.  The oyster ladies model is sold for about 3500 pounds, the James Bond Submariner for about 5000 pounds, the Daytona for around 8250 pounds and the platinum ice blue diamond Daytona sold for about 50,00 pounds.

Although, the company also produces budget friendly watches. Owning a Rolex watch can be a valuable asset, and in fact, you can insert into your will.

Therefore, when considering all the stages of production, planning, labor, cost of raw materials and even brand value, one will conclude that those prices are really worth it.

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Luzy Sofer
 

All I know about wristwatches isn't by chance. It takes persistence and diligence to become a horologist. I'm so passionate about watches which is the reason I choose to share my experience with like-minded people.

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