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Hi folks,

I have never been that impressed by dodgy business strategies that reduce choice and increase costs for the consumer, so this article in the Business Insider from 2011 caught my attention.

Does anyone know if this policy was actually implemented, with the outcomes suggested in this article?

Across the world, watchmakers and jewellers, who have held licences to repair and service Rolexes for many years, report that their contracts are being terminated, and they are being cut off from the supply of certified Rolex spare parts and components on which the quality of the watch and its guarantee depend.

In their place, Rolex is promoting a reduced number of its own service centres. Trade sources say that Rolex has issued a global policy, requiring these centres to lift the price for servicing watches brought in by current owners, so that the cost of repair is at least half or closer to three-quarters of the price of a new watch. In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the estimate for routine servicing for a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King (circa 1970) is almost $1,200. In London, the price is the equivalent in pounds. By contrast, in a mid-size town in France, the licensed watchmaker still in business with a Rolex licence charges just €200 for the same job, including parts. The licensed watchmakers of Geneva were charging an equivalent price two years ago.

But no more. The French watchmaker isn’t going to last long in the Rolex business, he says.
Privatizing Rolex -- The Fake Tells A Truer Tale

Another similar story which also implies that the Swatch group has started playing a similar game.

ROLEX has defended its ban on selling spare parts to independent watchmakers, who have alerted Australia's consumer watchdog to an alleged Swiss "monopoly" over luxury watch repairs.
Rolex insists parts ban is about quality, not monopoly
 

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Another reason to stay away from Rolex...
I had no choice! The Rolex 1501 Stainless model, that I bought in 1968 for $160.00, "disappeared" from USPS over two years ago in route after servicing. By accident I found a Russian Vostok tank model in an antique mall for $25.00. The rest is history. Some 225 plus Russian watches later, I sold 125 of them, have 90 plus in my collection, and have over 10 always for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
:-! Rolex knows how to run a watch business, unlike many others and many are no longer around.
But there is a difference between 'running a business' and totally disrespecting the customer. To give an analogy, I would certainly never even consider buying car for which the original parts were not freely available to anyone who wanted to buy them, including the individual owner, and I don't see why any other product should be any different.

It is not as if Rolex needs to do this to stay in business, and that first report suggests they are doing this as part of a strategy to get people to scrap their old Rolex watches and buy new ones, so increasing their sales.

I have a feeling that Rolex are not the only ones looking at such a strategy and to my mind it is pretty typical of the sort of dodgy practices that seem to be viewed as being acceptable 'good business' in the 'luxury' watch trade as a whole, especially when the Swiss are involved somewhere. ;-)
 

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Is this the part where ETA-based Panerai owner should rejoice because they can still find spare parts and service rather easily

On the other hand,this strategy may backfire on Rolex,people used to buy Rolex for "investment" but if the servicing cost is so high,the resale value of their older models may plummet (with the exceptions of the special models) thus reducing demand for the new ones
 

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I thought this has been going on for some time.
 

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On the other hand,this strategy may backfire on Rolex,people used to buy Rolex for "investment" but if the servicing cost is so high,the resale value of their older models may plummet (with the exceptions of the special models) thus reducing demand for the new ones
Precisely my thought...I just dropped my Omega off with an independent watchmaker who's well known in my area among the Rolex crowd. I don't think he's been affected but I'll check when I pick up my watch. If he (& others) no longer have access to parts I'll certainly think twice about buying a Rolex (I've been thinking about adding one in the 'near future'; I really like the Explorer & have also taken a liking to the new blue/black GMTII)
 

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I have a watchmaker freind.He told me this.A ladies husband died she kept his watch and used it to remind her of him it was a ROLEX. Occasionally it would need a part so she would take it to the dealer and they would have a craftsman make the part to repair the watch because it was old and that part was not in stock.So one year she went in and they told her we're sorry we cannot repair this watch you have to buy a new one.She explained her situation and the answer was the same .They explained to her that the part had to be made and the man who did it had died. She took it to my freinds shop and he knew the craftsman he wasn't dead, not even close. He made the part and repaired the watch. My freind does not lie to me. This was at least a couple of years ago that this happened.
 

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Well, Swatch group has been cutting back on the availability of ETA movements to outside manufacturers. How long until they do the same with repair parts?

Unfortunately it seems to be the way the big Swiss houses seem to be going. Kinda sucks if you ask me.
 

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If this were true wouldn't the pricing already have changed?

Has it? I know nothing about.


This is Rolex squishing their resale value IMHO. Most guys won't pay that just to have a Rolex on their wrist.

this can easily be done by rolex. but this will just "if true" create a market for aftermarket Rolex parts and maybe now raise a flag on which parts might be in in older watches. This will also hurt resale.

Anything for a buck. Why not.
 

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Rolex better go more upscale because the lower models won't be worth buying if it costs that much for routine repair. Unless the rich just buy them like Bic lighters and just throw them away when they need service.


Is this the part where ETA-based Panerai owner should rejoice because they can still find spare parts and service rather easily

On the other hand,this strategy may backfire on Rolex,people used to buy Rolex for "investment" but if the servicing cost is so high,the resale value of their older models may plummet (with the exceptions of the special models) thus reducing demand for the new ones
 

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Rolex couldn't agree more. This was their stated reason starting a couple of years ago for limiting parts to non-Rolex service centers who hadn't recently attended training and had their certificates updated. If watchmakers who don't know what they're doing are servicing Rolexes improperly and they fail, then Rolex' reputation is damaged. They can control who services their watches by limiting access to parts.

Omega does the same thing.

This restriction seems to be more troublesome for non-Rolex owners than it is for Rolex owners.
 

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This would almost be believable if they weren't at the same time jacking up what they charge for servicing. Almost. ;)


Rolex couldn't agree more. This was their stated reason starting a couple of years ago for limiting parts to non-Rolex service centers who hadn't recently attended training and had their certificates updated. If watchmakers who don't know what they're doing are servicing Rolexes improperly and they fail, then Rolex' reputation is damaged. They can control who services their watches by limiting access to parts.

Omega does the same thing.

This restriction seems to be more troublesome for non-Rolex owners than it is for Rolex owners.
 

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Have been for years.

Only "authorized" repair centers get authentic factory parts....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
people used to buy Rolex for "investment" but if the servicing cost is so high,the resale value of their older models may plummet
I have seen numerous comments around the various forums from the owners of vintage Rolex watches saying that it is a waste of time sending these to Rolex themselves for servicing or repair as they just aren't interested. If this is true the situation with vintage Rolex watches might be much like that which exists with classic cars, where the original manufacturers no longer support them and instead people have to go to a few specialists who also collect 'new old stock' parts and arrange with engineering companies to have parts re-manufactured or specially made.
 
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