Aspirations to own a Rolex are driving rival brands to the verge of disaster

Anyone in the industry knows that when asked which watch brand they would most like to wear on their wrist, the overwhelming majority of people responded with Rolex.

It should worry every other watch brand and the entire industry, because if 55% of people want a Rollie, then hundreds of other watch brands will be fighting for the remaining 45% of the market share.

No other industry has a single brand wielding such power.

In addition, sales are being fueled by a rising tide of demand. As of this writing, the Watches of Switzerland Group claims that 10 different brands account for 80% of its total sales. That obscures a fact the company used to openly discuss until last year: Rolex accounts for more than half of sales.

Richemont’s Watchfinder & Co. surveyed over 20,000 watch enthusiasts from 140 countries and asked them to name their ideal watch.

More than half (55 percent) of respondents named Rolex as their dream watch brand, and its Daytona chronograph model ref. 116506, the platinum 50th anniversary Daytona model made in honor of Rolex’s founding year, was the most popular timepiece (pictured top).

Although it originally retailed for £59,600, it’s now selling for as much as three times that amount in the secondary market.

With 12.5% of the votes, Patek Philippe was the second most popular watch brand, followed by Omega with 6.7%.

Fourth place went to Audemars Piguet.

Richemont was disappointed to learn that only one of its brands, A. Lange & Söhne, made the top five, despite funding the study.

There were six other brands in the top ten, including Breitling and Jaeger-LeCoultre from Richemont.

Six of the top ten most sought-after watch models were made by Rolex.

Rolex Daytona was the top choice for more than 16% of survey respondents.

With 12.4% of the vote, the Rolex Submariner came in second.

Third place went to Patek Philippe’s Nautilus with 6.2%, followed by Rolex’s GMT-Master and Rolex Datejust, each with 5.1% and 4.9% of the market share.

Audemars Piguet’s didn’t manage the top 5 with its Royal Oak watch, which finished in 6th place on 3.9%

The following ten models made the list:

Watchfinder & Co. CEO Arjen Van de Vall says: “Steel sports watches continue to stand the test of time, so it was little surprise to see a Daytona at the top of this years’most wanted’ list. When the platinum Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph was released in 2013, it immediately became a sought-after collector’s item. Since then, demand for this watch has outstripped supply, making it nearly impossible to find a new one.

For watch buyers, purchasing pre-owned means having access to previously unavailable pieces, such as vintage or limited edition watches, cult classics that have been discontinued, and current best sellers that are inaccessible brand new because of lengthy and insurmountable waiting lists. Pre-owned luxury watch specialists are increasingly being recognized by watch enthusiasts as the best route to accessing more of this stock as the range of options in this sector has never been greater.

Watchfinder’s survey inquired about watch research and shopping behavior issues as well.

Unexpectedly, influencers and social media had less of an impact than expected.

In comparison to seeing it on the wrist of a celebrity or influencer, twice as many people first came across their dream watch on the wrist of someone they know 25% of people found their dream watch for the first time in a physical boutique, 20% in editorial and 16% while doing their online shopping.

Wearing a dream watch had a significant emotional impact on respondents, with 93.8% stating that it would boost their self-esteem.

One-third of those polled said they would feel more successful, wealthy, and accomplished if they wore their dream watch, and nearly a third said they would feel more suave, sophisticated, or elegant if they wore their dream watch.

Only a quarter of those polled said they chose their dream watch because it was a wise financial decision.

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