Rolex waiting lists: First designs of the new factory give hope

Rolex waiting lists: First designs of the new factory give hope

By the end of the decade, Rolex plans to open a new factory in Bulle in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. For the first time, the brand showed what the new greenfield site will look like. There has already been a first, small obstacle.

Will there ever be a time like ten years ago again? This is the question that Rolex customers around the world are asking themselves. In 2015 (and before), depending on the model, it was often possible to buy a watch from the Swiss manufacturer directly from the jeweler without a waiting list and sometimes even with small discounts. That changed drastically at some point, and with the start of the pandemic at the latest, the popularity of watches with the crown reached a level that was almost annoying for collectors. Since then, virtually no model has been available from dealers and even for Rolex models over 40,000 euros, you have to expect a waiting time.

Rolex does not accept the accusation of artificial shortages. Even though the factories in Switzerland, where more than a million watches are supposedly built each year, are running at full speed, according to the company, it is simply not enough. Whether that is true, we will probably never know.

But a development suggests that Rolex actually seems to be interested in shortening the waiting times of potential buyers, which can sometimes last for years – to whatever extent. In March last year, Rolex announced a fifth factory in Bulle, in addition to temporary locations that are set to begin work this year.

First designs of the new Rolex giant factory

According to the trade magazine “” Rolex will soon start building the factory. Currently, the site, which the Genevans bought for 31 million Swiss francs, is a green field the size of about 15 football pitches. Later, a complex consisting of four production sites and an administration building will be located there. Rolex estimates the investment at one billion Swiss francs. The concrete planning application was submitted when the first drafts were published.

Rolex announced that it wanted to meet the requirements of the British Breeam quality seal for sustainable construction during construction – and thus build the first industrial building in Switzerland to be certified accordingly. Breeam is a strict rating system for buildings. Such a certificate attests to a particularly environmentally friendly construction method and a sustainable site concept.

Before the actual construction, however, there was a small surprise for the manufactory with the crown. Remains of a 200-meter-long ancient Roman road, complete with burial sites, were found on the site. Even before construction, there were indications that this was an archaeological site, but only now did the comparatively enormous size of the road become clear. It is said that it could have been an access road to a Roman villa.

“” reports that coins, arrowheads, shoes and broken wheels were found. The discovery did not delay the work for long, however: the archaeologists had until the end of April to clear the road and recover what could be recovered. After that, the work continued. An exhibition of the finds will be held at a later date.

Jacques Monnier from the Freiburg Office for Archaeology told the public news and information platform: “It is normal for archaeological finds to be destroyed in such construction projects.”

Temporary locations should start work soon

The temporary locations are intended to provide support until the factory in Bulle opens at the end of the decade. In nearby Romont, 250 to 300 employees are to start work next year on the site of a Tetra Pak factory that closed in 2015. Some of them will be trained there so that there will be enough skilled workers in the region when the factory in Bulle opens. According to “Watchpro”, a total of 2,000 employees and “hundreds of trainees” will be employed in Bulle.

How many additional watches will be available after the opening of the new and fifth factory will probably remain a secret, as will the total number of models currently being built. Since Rolex is controlled by a foundation, the company does not have to disclose its business figures – and does not do so.

At the latest when you are on a waiting list you may – or may not – notice it.

Source: Stern

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