Rolex Delays Get Worse in the Coronavirus Age

With the closure of 3 of Rolex main manufacturing facilities on March 17, 2020, production of new Rolex timepieces has come to a screeching halt.  Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour sent a letter to his employees saying:
“Dear Sirs and Madams. We are facing a very serious situation. In order to protect you, your families, and your loved ones, but also to limit the risks of spreading the Coronavirus as much as possible, we have decided to close our production sites in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier from March 17 at 5:00 PM through Friday, March 27, 2020. That date may of course be pushed back according to the evolution of the epidemic.”
However, the pandemic has not halted its march across Europe and into America in its ever-Westward expansion.  The coronavirus is putting extreme pressure on a market that was already feeling strained due to massive waiting lists on some of Rolex's most coveted steel timepieces. 

The waiting lists for prized Rolex's started to really hit since 2016 when the Daytonal 116500LN was released at Baselworld.  However, even today, the waiting lists have spread to the GMT-Master II, the Submariner, the Explorer and the Sea-Dweller. 

Many believed that Rolex was cutting supply or creating shortage artificially, but that just simply isn't the case.  Demand for steel sports timepieces from Rolex just surged past what Rolex was able to produce.  Each Rolex timepiece must undergo meticulous handcrafted design and testing.  There are only so many Rolex employees entrusted to craft these works of art. 

It is true that many people have lost their jobs during this pandemic, and that a quarter of all Rolex timepieces are purchased by one of the hardest hit areas of the world - Asia.  You might think that the demand for Rolex would tumble. 

However, the opposite is true.  There really isn't an end in sight to the shutdown of production, of not only Rolex, but of many Swiss retailers.  Individual investors are still shopping online.  And with the stock market tumbling, one of the most sought after treasures is Gold Rolex and other Rolex timepieces that can hold its value and potentially grow it over time.  Quite possibly the reason for the wait list on the stainless steel Rolex lineups is because these timepieces are the lowest priced Rolexes that an investor could make. 

Add to this that the Rolex factories could be  shut down for a quarter of the year - reducing supply by a quarter million units.

Another reason demand has not dipped is the fact that many people are forced to stay home.  Rather than focusing on working, partying, or life in general, they are taking account the things they actually want - Rolex being one of these coveted items that fit almost anyone's bucket list. 

People fully expect that the markets will surge once the virus has passed us by.  In fact the market has surged, on huge government bailout-type monies.  2 Trillion dollars by the US government.  Could some of that money be used to buy a Rolex?  Why not?  Investing in something timeless, and stronger than humanity itself, could have great appeal to investors - even first time investors. 

Will Rolex Announce New Versions in 2020

When Baselworld and nearly every other event worldwide cancelled due to real scares due to the coronavirus pandemic, a question that was on every Rolex collector's mind became, "When is Rolex going to announce its newest models?"

With Rolex itself closing its doors due to fears for the safety of its workers and the outbreak of the pandemic in Switzerland and the surrounding countries such as Italy, Spain and France, it is clearly possible that any and all announcements due to new Rolex timepieces will be delayed.

Normally Baselworld is where all of these announcements are made - in April.  However, it is more than likely the new models will be announced later on - after the pandemic has run its course. 

Rolex removed the references to last year's "New Rolex Timepieces".  This section of the website, exhibited 6 or so of the newest models Rolex announced and released at last year's Baselworld in 2019.  Only recently has this part of the site been removed - probably in preparation for the new 2020 Baselworld event and the newest "New" Rolexes that would be announced. 

There are several options for Rolex.  Clearly Rolex does not need Baselworld to announce and release its latest versions of its timepieces.  It is likely that Rolex would wait for the pandemic to end and then schedule a press conference event of its very own and announce its newest models with tremendous fanfare you would expect.

However, Rolex might also be selective and only announce 1 or 2 models, rather than the entire lineup that they would normally release.  Perhaps they might pick a model like the Submariner or one of its less popular models - the Milgauss or the Air King.  Similarly, Rolex might find these announcements distasteful and just choose to slip these new models into the marketplace without much fanfare at all. 

It is even possible, although many of us anticipating the "new" Rolex lineup would fear this option the most, Rolex could announce that no new Rolex watches would be released in 2020.  Baselworld is scheduled for 2021, and Rolex could whet the appetites of Rolex followers by announcing an amazing array of changes to the Rolex line-up next year.

I'd say that 2020 is probably a wash in terms of a year.  It is over, just as it has just begun.  Although the earth has not stopped spinning, commerce has reduced to a trickle.  It is like a faucet with an incessant drip, drip, drip.  However, the rusty old handle can release a torrent of commerce when the time is right.  Slightly at first, then with the strength of full force.  I'd say that Rolex would continue to manufacture the same 2019 models and schedule the 2020 models to come out in 2021 along with the 2021 models as well - making the 2021 Rolex event to be the epic Rolex announcement year in our lifetimes.

The Rolex Timepieces with the Fastest Rising Prices in 2020

Rolex announced their price hikes for 2020, and it might be surprising to know which Rolex timepieces have received the highest increase since 2019.  As a collector or a potential owner of a Rolex, one of the most important questions you might ask is "What Rolex will be the best investment in the near future?"  We know which Rolexes are flying off the shelves and are difficult to obtain in the market.  Certainly some Daytonas, GMT's and Submariners might fit that description.  If that were all that we needed to consider when looking at buying a new Rolex, this would be a very short article. 

One thing we need to consider is what will Rolex charge for a new Rolex coming out of the retail store.  So, what Rolex is selling Rolexes for is very very important.  This creates a baseline for Rolex prices.  If it were a stock market, this is the trend line that stock prices will often bounce off of.  Prices could go higher and lower, but that trend line has magical magnetism that attracts and moves the price in that direction. 

The Oystersteel DateJust

Unbelievably, the Oystersteel Datejust takes the prize for the biggest price hike of all Rolex timepieces.  Rolex raised the price an unbelievable 10.5 percent.  That is amazing.  Any stock broker would be ecstatic with a 10.5 percent gain.  Certainly waiting from December to January could take a real toll on any Rolex investor. 

Rolex has put a great deal of emphasis on the Datejust in recent years.  It is probably the most iconic of all Rolex timepieces.  Even though the Rolex Submariner, GMT and Daytona get much of the press, the Datejust is widely sold and worn.  The pricepoint comes at a reasonable $6,300.  That is a huge discount from the Gold Daytona coming in at 23,800.  This means new investors looking to own their first Rolex need not look further than the DateJust lineup. 

The Datejust not only has a huge array of dial colors, bezel options, bands, hour markers, and more.  The newest DateJust models even have the new caliber 3235 with the enhanced 70 hour power reserve.  You truly can't go wrong with a classic Datejust.  Even though you could go with Rolesor, or Gold DateJust models, it is the Oystersteel Datejust that takes the ring for the biggest value jump in the past year.

The Oystersteel Submariner

If I had to plunk some money down on a bet for which Rolex has the most value, the Sub would easily be one at the top of my list.  And that is without knowing what Rolex might think.  Clearly James Bond's favorite timepiece (in the Classic era) has quickly become one of the most sought after Rolex timepieces in the world.

However, Rolex is certainly giving the Submariner the love it deserves this year, by raising prices an outstanding 9.6%. 

The Submariner has had quite a bit of tweaks over the years, but hasn't received the new caliber with the higher power reserve yet.  I do expect a new Submariner release in the very near future - perhaps this year. 

However, the Oystersteel Submariner comes in the All Black version, the Green (hulk), and the Blue version.  It is a beautiful timepiece, no matter which color fits your personality most.  Waterproofness to 1000 feet, you can safely dive, swim, and do most water based activities without any fear of damaging this incredible professional timepiece. 

Besides choosing the coloring option, really it comes down to choosing the DATE aperture window with cyclops lens version or the NO-DATE version.  Certainly both options are excellent, but collectors tend to lean towards the no-date version. 

The Day-Date in White Gold

Rolex's third most hiked price goes to the Day-Date in White Gold.  This timepiece rose a cool 9% this year.  Although it looks like a highly coveted Oystersteel model, owners know that they will be wearing greater luxury with the white gold version of this classic Rolex model.  The band is Oystersteel, but the case is Rolesor (both Oystersteel and White Gold).  So, you get the luxury of gold and the durability of steel, while the same silver color gives it a uniform look. 

At 40 mm the Day-Date in White Gold is slightly smaller than the Oystersteel version, giving it a slightly lighter feel. 

Rolex upped the prices on there whole lineup with an average hike of about 7.5%.  However, it helps to know that Rolex is backing up their value with price hikes that help owners grow their investment's value over time. 

Super Bowl MVP Quarterback Patrick Mahomes Wears A Rolex Yacht-Master

Patrick Mahomes is quickly becoming the face of the new NFL.  His recent Super Bowl victory as the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, over the San Francisco 49ers was epic.  He came from behind after the 49ers defense held him to one of his worst showings of the season in the first half.  However, his 4th quarter performance was outstanding.  It earned him not only the victory, but also the MVP. 

Mahomes was drafted in 2017 from Texas Tech, but was named the starter in 2018 and threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns - setting multiple records along the way.  He is only one of 7 quarterbacks to pass for over 5,000 yards in a single season. He didn't make many mistakes either with only 12 interceptions.  In 2019, he had a stellar performance in the playoffs with victories over the Houstan Texans and the Tennessee Titans.  In the Super Bowl, he lead the Chiefs on a 21-0 run, with two passing touchdowns and one running TD, to help topple the 49ers who seemed unstoppable.

Not only is Mahomes an excellent passer, with some of the highest passer ratings in the league, but he is also a talented runner.  He has excellent speed and early on in his career, experts suggested he transition into a wide receiver rather than quarterback.  Mahomes is multi-talented.  His father and godfather are both former major league pitchers. In college Mahomes played both football and baseball, but eventually announced he was leaving baseball behind to focus 100% on football.  He left college with 1 year left of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, where he was selected 10th overall.

The Rolex that Patrick Mahomes was wearing at the post Super Bowl celebrations was none other than a  Rolex Yacht Master.  This 40 mm masterpiece has a diamond paved dial and is created with 18 ct Everose gold.  The comfortable Oysterflex bracelet not only adds some continuity of the black colorings from the black colored bezel, but it has a stunning tuxedo look about it.  It contains an 18 ct Everose gold Oysterlock safety clasp. 

The movement of the Rolex Yacht Master reference 126655 is a calibre 3235 which is precise, resistant to shocks and magnetic fields, and has a power reserve of 70 hours.  The bezel has a bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated ceramic with polished raised numerals.  The screw-down winding crown has a triplock triple waterproofness system which protects the timepiece at a diving depth of 330 feet.

This timepiece is a stunner.  The diamond bezel adds just enough bling to add to the beauty, but it is certainly a beast of a timepiece.  Sturdy, resistant, and resilient, Mahomes has selected a timepiece that nearly matches his own talents.  Mahomes could easily do a pickup football game and fully expect his timepiece would survive some rough play.  The waterproofness means he can play in any weather and even wash it clean when he is done without causing damage to the timeless components of the Rolex timepiece.

Let Lamar Jackson Buy Rolex For Whomever He Wants

Quite possibly the most talented NFL quarterback in 2019, Lamar Jackson, is getting reamed by al letter to the Baltimore Sun.  The author, a writer named Karen, offers criticism that Lamar Jackson is buying his Offensive Line Rolex watches this year. 

The Sun contributor bases her criticism on the luxury of Rolex and finds the gift obscenely ostentatious.  She argues that the O-line are all rich fellows and can afford their own Rolex timepieces.  She continues by saying that Jackson should instead donate that money to charity. 

Jackson Has Earned His Right To Spend His Money However He Wants

Lamar Jackson has worked his entire life to become one of the greatest QB's in the game today.  He won the Heisman trophy in 2016 and nearly won it again the year after.  He declared for the draft in 2018 - a young man.  He was told he might not make it as a QB and many thought he should try out as a running back or wide receiver. 

This year he will break Michael Vick's single-season rushing record, and he did well as a pure passer too.  He is a shoe in for MVP this year - bringing his Raven football team deep into the playoffs - falling last week to the red hot Tennessee Titans. 

The bottom line is that it is his money.  He has more than earned the right to spend it the way he wants.  He knows that his O-Line is part of his success.  When they succeed, he succeeds.  He is not the highest paid QB in the NFL.  For him to spend a fortune to give back to the big boys that protect him from being blind-sided by giant men that want to take him down - that is a gift worth giving.  And, to her point that O-Linemen can afford their own Rolex - let's just say that they are the blue-collar workers of the NFL and will never make the kind of coin that a QB makes. 

Other QB's Give Extravagant Gifts

Famed quarterback Dan Marino gave extravagant gifts to his offensive linemen each year.  This was commemorated in the funny film Ace Ventura Pet Detective - in which Dan Marino played a cameo part.  It comes with the territory.  A QB is the leader of the team.   However, the line is where the game is won and lost.  The QB gets the fame and the criticism of wins and losses. 

Jackson Is Already Charitable and Young

Lamar Jackson is not only one of the youngest NFL players - and playing outrageously well.  He is also charitable.  He helped raise 30k for charity - dressing himself up as Harry Potter for an anti-bullying campaign.  He also holds an event each year giving kids the opportunity to play ball with him.  Give him some time and he will likely prove to be even more charitable in the future. 

I would be curious if Karen was so charitable herself.  Or anyone else at such a young age.  Seriously, how many charitable things did we do in our early 20's?  Charity is something that people think about later in life.  And we put so much pressure on young athletes.  They have to speak like a pro, play like a pro, and now be charitable like a Bill and Melinda Gates too?

Let's Not Overlook Lamar Jackson's Excellent Taste in Rolex

Of course my blog is about Rolex.  However, the fact that Lamar Jackson chose to give his O-Line Rolex timepieces rather than AP, or Panerai, a Tesla car, or a trip to Tahiti, shows his great sense of style and taste. 

Consider all of the options a 1 million dollar expenditure would buy.  He could have done anything with that money.  He could have hoarded it.  He could have spent it on something personally himself.  Instead, he shared it with his co-workers. 

Imagine if your boss or office mate came into a boatload of cash and shared it with you by buying a $40,000+ piece of jewelry for you.  Wouldn't that be amazing?  We should be honoring LJ's generosity, and his brilliant choice of settling on buying his teammates Rolex timepieces.  Lamar Jackson, I have to tell you I am a bigger fan of yours today than I was before.  You just gained one more fan.  I look forward to watching your career develop and wish you luck on next year's season. 

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