The Rolex waiting list may sound difficult, but it’s easier than that. It’s also as real as all you need to do is spend money.
Disclaimer: This is not the single truth of the waiting list as there will be plenty of factor that can affect it. I also have never spent money on a Rolex AD, nor will I attempt to. My interests are in independents and microbrands. However, if given a chance to purchase stainless steel sports, I will buy one.
I recently visited an AD since I wanted to put my name down for the new 41mm no date Submariner as my 30th gift. I know I won’t have any chances of getting one, but little did I know that I will get an explanation on how to be on the waiting list. Below are excerpts from explanations in order.
“You have to build a relationship with the AD of your choice.”
This is the sentence you will often hear, and the manager reiterated this. You will need to choose the AD you want to spend your money on. There’s no point swapping ADs as you will start from the beginning.
I’ve seen other luxury brands try this for a new model, but none are as successful as Rolex.
“With that said, this will not be your first watch with us.”
He’s correct. Building a relationship requires spending on the AD. It can be the n-th watch before they offer you one of a SS Submariner.
“The AD has to see that you value them as a company.”
This is purely the marketing term for “you need to give us money”.
“Rolex only creates a set number of watches per model per year.”
The answer varies depending on who you ask, however, I find this true. It’s not that Rolex can’t manufacturer more. it is just that Rolex will not increase production and they’re not the only brand doing this.
“The AD decides who gets the limited allocation. Rolex only manufactures the watch. It’s up to us who we think deserves it.”
This is true. Rolex is only the manufacturer. An AD only gets a certain number of allocation. Sometimes, you even get the ADs selling to grey market dealers making it more difficult to obtain one through the normal channels.
“You’re still young and still have plenty of time.”
This is mainly directed at me. However, this is also showing that this is the long game that most are willing to play.
Anything from here will depend on who you ask. Some said you have to spend on unwanted models such as a ladies’ Datejust or some two-tone Yachtmasters. If your AD only sells Rolex, then this is true. There have also been debates whether the person should only buy unmovable watches or can actually spend on actual watches he might like. At the end of the day, it has to be a single AD.
TL;DR? – You need to choose an AD and give them money in the hopes that they will allocate you a Rolex stainless steel sports.
Q: Is the expression of interests the same as the waiting list?
A: In my opinion, no. The EoI is an illusion to make it look like the ADs are taking your information and putting your name on a list. This list is more common for first-time buyers to an AD or casual buyers wanting a hot watch. Also, it isn’t polite if they send you away. This is what I also refer to as the rubbish bin. If the manager pretends to “take care of you” and puts your details in his pocket, it’s a high chance it’s all a lie.
Q: Does the waiting list apply for Tudor?
A: Yes, but most of the time, this only applies to hot models in stainless steel bracelets and can be a real waiting list. However, the demand for the BB58 has subsided that you can definitely get one in 6-12 months. The BB58 in the leather strap for example can easily be seen in-stock.
Q: Should I buy from the grey market instead?
A: If you only want one or two watches from Rolex, this is the route I would recommend. There’s no need to play the game and spend on watches you don’t want. However, if you also plan on getting future releases, playing the game might be your option.