A year vs. about a week
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  1. #1
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    A year vs. about a week

    I recently read that it takes about a year to make a Role and that Lang & Heyne make one watch in about a week. When I look at the results of those respective periods of time, consider their potential implications and try to reconcile those things, well, they just don't reconcile, and especially not normatively relative to the output differences.

    Take a look at LH's cases, dials and movements and then at Rolex's. It does not to me make sense that the latter, plus a bracelet, should take about a year, yet the former takes about a week. Trying to reconcile the two production periods vis-a-vis their outputs makes me ask questions like, but not limited to, the following?
    • Do Rolex have massive/frequent rejections at one or several stages in the production process?
    • Are LH cutting cutting corners all over the place?
    • Is there a bottleneck in Rolex's production process that doesn't exist at LH?
    • Is LH not nearly as in-house as it seems?
    • Is the basis for the respective production assertions vastly different?

    IDK what reconciles the two production-period statements, but I know there're facts and context that do.

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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Rolex makes hundreds of thousands of watches per year.
    Last edited by murokello; 4 Weeks Ago at 17:52.

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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by murokello View Post
    Rolex makes hundres of thousands of watches per year.
    Since Rolex has its movements certified by the official Swiss chronometer control center (COSC) their numbers are public and show ~800,000 annually plus another ~200,000 for sister company Tudor.
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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by MDNoobie View Post
    I recently read that it takes about a year to make a Role and that Lang & Heyne make one watch in about a week. When I look at the results of those respective periods of time, consider their potential implications and try to reconcile those things, well, they just don't reconcile, and especially not normatively relative to the output differences.

    Take a look at LH's cases, dials and movements and then at Rolex's. It does not to me make sense that the latter, plus a bracelet, should take about a year, yet the former takes about a week. Trying to reconcile the two production periods vis-a-vis their outputs makes me ask questions like, but not limited to, the following?
    • Do Rolex have massive/frequent rejections at one or several stages in the production process?
    • Are LH cutting cutting corners all over the place?
    • Is there a bottleneck in Rolex's production process that doesn't exist at LH?
    • Is LH not nearly as in-house as it seems?
    • Is the basis for the respective production assertions vastly different?

    IDK what reconciles the two production-period statements, but I know there're facts and context that do.
    Rolex is skewing their time-frame to make a marketing statement of sorts.

    Rolex has it's own foundry, and are including making (and even mining) the raw material, shelf time, and total processing of every single component.

    Conventional measurement would be from parts to complete watch.Since their components are mass produced, there would be a ton of overlap, and just pulling parts off the line to assemble. This process is probably like 1 week. Add another week for regulation maybe.
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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by MDNoobie View Post
    I recently read that it takes about a year to make a Rolex and that Lang & Heyne make one watch in about a week. When I look at the results of those respective periods of time, consider their potential implications and try to reconcile those things, well, they just don't reconcile, and especially not normatively relative to the output differences.

    Take a look at LH's cases, dials and movements and then at Rolex's. It does not to me make sense that the latter, plus a bracelet, should take about a year, yet the former takes about a week. Trying to reconcile the two production periods vis-a-vis their outputs makes me ask questions like, but not limited to, the following?
    • Do Rolex have massive/frequent rejections at one or several stages in the production process?
    • Are LH cutting cutting corners all over the place?
    • Is there a bottleneck in Rolex's production process that doesn't exist at LH?
    • Is LH not nearly as in-house as it seems?
    • Is the basis for the respective production assertions vastly different?

    IDK what reconciles the two production-period statements, but I know there're facts and context that do.
    You’ve a lot to still learn about this industry and not trusting everything you read online…
    Rolex produces around 850K pieces annually; that’s between 3863 and 2760 a day, averaged over a 5/7 day period, and assumes zero production during the 8 weeks of the year the factory is closed for Christmas and summer holidays.
    Most of a Rolex piece is fully automated, and whilst they employ a considerable number of people, there’s relatively little hands-on – certainly a hell of a lot less than at Lang & Heyne!
    Rolex has invested in, and created their own bespoke, machinery which enables them to mass produce components and assemble various parts without human hands, such that they can manufacture that many pieces, as well as spares inventory.
    They are to be admired for some things but, hand assembly, like a Grand Seiko or Lang & Heyne, they are not.
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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    As has already been noted, given the size of Rolex's production, the one year figure makes no sense. First, you need to define "make." How vertically integrated is the brand? For Rolex, the answer is "very much," for L&H, probably far, far less.

    "Making" a watch can take a year or more if it's a bespoke, custom design made by hand from scratch. If you're Dufour, it probably takes weeks to hand-finish a movement, where every piece is finished painstakingly by hand. The number of watches made annually by a manufacturer, while not necessarily a perfect indicator, is at least an indication. The Credor Eichi II's hand painted dial, for instance, is so challenging that the one person who does it can do no more than one dial in a day. And that's before you get to the hand finishing of the movement, where the final polishing is done with wooden sticks (just like Dufour). That's why there are only a handful (less than ten, I believe) made in a year.

    I just don't think that general statistics on "how long it takes to make watch" are terribly useful given the wide variety of manufacturing integration and degrees of finishing utilized by different companies.

    If Rolex takes longer than a couple of weeks to produce a finished product from scratch, something is terribly wrong with their processes (which are highly automated and efficient). And, BTW, that doesn't mean they don't make fine watches.
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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    As has already been noted, given the size of Rolex's production, the one year figure makes no sense. First, you need to define "make." How vertically integrated is the brand? For Rolex, the answer is "very much," for L&H, probably far, far less.

    "Making" a watch can take a year or more if it's a bespoke, custom design made by hand from scratch. If you're Dufour, it probably takes weeks to hand-finish a movement, where every piece is finished painstakingly by hand. The number of watches made annually by a manufacturer, while not necessarily a perfect indicator, is at least an indication. The Credor Eichi II's hand painted dial, for instance, is so challenging that the one person who does it can do no more than one dial in a day. And that's before you get to the hand finishing of the movement, where the final polishing is done with wooden sticks (just like Dufour). That's why there are only a handful (less than ten, I believe) made in a year.

    I just don't think that general statistics on "how long it takes to make watch" are terribly useful given the wide variety of manufacturing integration and degrees of finishing utilized by different companies.

    If Rolex takes longer than a couple of weeks to produce a finished product from scratch, something is terribly wrong with their processes (which are highly automated and efficient). And, BTW, that doesn't mean they don't make fine watches.
    That's exactly the nature of my thinking upon seeing those two statements.

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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ S View Post
    You’ve a lot to still learn about this industry and not trusting everything you read online…
    Rolex produces around 850K pieces annually; that’s between 3863 and 2760 a day, averaged over a 5/7 day period, and assumes zero production during the 8 weeks of the year the factory is closed for Christmas and summer holidays.
    Most of a Rolex piece is fully automated, and whilst they employ a considerable number of people, there’s relatively little hands-on – certainly a hell of a lot less than at Lang & Heyne!
    Rolex has invested in, and created their own bespoke, machinery which enables them to mass produce components and assemble various parts without human hands, such that they can manufacture that many pieces, as well as spares inventory.
    They are to be admired for some things but, hand assembly, like a Grand Seiko or Lang & Heyne, they are not.
    I'm skeptical of some of the objective elements in your post.
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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by SethThomas View Post
    Rolex is skewing their time-frame to make a marketing statement of sorts.

    Rolex has it's own foundry, and are including making (and even mining) the raw material, shelf time, and total processing of every single component.

    Conventional measurement would be from parts to complete watch.Since their components are mass produced, there would be a ton of overlap, and just pulling parts off the line to assemble. This process is probably like 1 week. Add another week for regulation maybe.
    Re:bold text:
    Perhaps. If so, that would go a long way to reconciling the two statements I mentioned.

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    Re: A year vs. about a week

    Quote Originally Posted by MDNoobie View Post
    Re:bold text:
    Perhaps. If so, that would go a long way to reconciling the two statements I mentioned.
    It only takes 4 man-hours to assemble a Rolex watch from the assortment of semi-finished components, but the ordering of those components can take up to a year for delivery. Virtually no hand-finishing on most of it.

    Also, some simple maths - ~900000 pieces a year, ~6000 employees. That implies 150 watches per employee (and this is extremely generous since it assumes all employees are watchmakers). That implies at most 16 man-hours (2 days of work) to create a watch.
    Last edited by KtWUS; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:55.
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