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.