Is Rolex a publicly traded company? Unfortunately, one of the most recognized brands in the world is not public and it doesn’t seem it will be anytime soon. In other words, there’s no Rolex stock to buy. Fortunately, there are other ways for investors to dip their toes (or hands) in Rolex, as well as in stocks in the same sector.
The Early Days of Rolex
Switzerland is known for many things, one of those being watches. Although Rolex began in London in 1905 by a German businessman, Hans Wildorf, the company used Swiss manufacturing to build watches.
Rolex moved to Geneva in 1919 and has kept its headquarters there ever since. Throughout the next decades, the company made significant breakthroughs.
Their famous Oyster and Oyster Perpetual were the world’s first dustproof, waterproof watches with a motor relying on gravity to work.
But can you buy Rolex stock? Unfortunately, no. They haven’t gone public. And it’s probable that they never will. However, buying a Rolex watch is like an investment.
Masters of Marketing
Rolex showcased their watches as much as they could, which helped their popularity and strengthened their brand. They published all of their successes in journals. Their first ambassador was Mercedes Gleitze. She swam 10 hours across the British canal in 1927 wearing an Oyster. It was an exceptional feet and the company’s credibility went through the roof worldwide.
In 1933, a plane expedition over Everest was successfully furnished with Oysters. Two years later, Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the land speed record (300mph or 485km/h) wearing a Rolex. In 1953, climbers on an Everest expedition were equipped with Rolex watches.
Throughout the course of the century, Rolex watches were used for technical and extreme sports worldwide as well as for scientific usage. Rolex became the brand of excellence for leaders and visionaries of the world.
Today, Rolex is the official timekeeper for major tennis and golf tournaments. They sponsor many racing competitions as well as countless athletes and celebrities. Their pioneering is unmatched in the world of watches. However, there’s no Rolex stock to trade.
How to Invest in Rolex Stock
Rolex watches have shown throughout the last two centuries that they can remain functional no matter what conditions they are facing. A multitude of limited edition watches has been created for numerous extreme situations ranging from 30,000 feet below ground to 29,000 feet above the ground.
Their watches are hand-made with above-average stainless steel and offer unmatched quality. Although they are not a public company so no Rolex stock. Therefore, regular investors can’t invest in them, there are other ways to hope for a return on the brand.
Buying a Rolex Watch
Discontinued and limited edition Rolex watches have been steadily appreciating in value since the ’50s. The most recognized name in the world for watches comes with a price. The exclusivity of any brand makes it more desirable. When Tesla or Supreme release an exclusive item, it is generally sold out within minutes.
The same applies to some Rolex watches. Some are worth more than others and keeping them in good condition is a must. Below are the three most expensive sales of a Rolex watch to date.
In 2017, Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Cosmography Daytona sold for $17.8M. It was one of a kind.
In 2018, a white gold Daytona Unicorn sold for $5.9M and it was also one of a kind.
In 2017, the 1954 Bao Dai, Rolex of the last Vietnamese emperor was sold for $5M. It was one of a kind in yellow gold and diamond.
Not every one of us has a few million stashed waiting to buy a unique Rolex and resell it a few years down the line. Fortunately, some cheaper models have unique features that make them more valuable. So buy their watches instead of Rolex stock.
Features to Look For in a Rolex
The demand for vintage Rolex watches has skyrocketed in the last decade. Finding a watch from the 1930s may not be easy but visiting your local thrift or antique shop may be worthwhile. Rolex created a ‘’scientist watch’’ named Rolex Milgauss with a unique characteristic: resistance to magnetic fields.
Aesthetically, it has an orange electricity bolt on the second hand with a green sapphire crystal. Demand has been steadily increasing for this model. Discontinued editions of Rolex sports watches have also been gaining interest from buyers.
Here is a clear example of the value of a Rolex. The Rolex Submariner sold for an average price of $150 in 1957. The same 2014 model sold for $7,500 (adjusted for inflation). That is a 50 fold increase in the price of a watch, which has steadily been increasing over the years. Imagine what these prices could do to Rolex stock.
Alternatives to Rolex Stock
Rolex may not be a publically traded company. Therefore you can’t buy Rolex stock. However, there are competitors in the same market who have gone public and are doing quite well.
Average price for a watch: $7,000 – $12,000
Rolex turnover for 2021: $4.7B
Smartwatches (Apple, Samsung, Garmin, Huawei)
Smartwatches have been gaining momentum since Apple’s attempt at it in 2015. There existed a few models notably by Sony beforehand, but the demand has skyrocketed since 2015. Today’s major players include Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Garmin.
Apple is leading the way with just under 30% of the market share and it has been slowly declining over the years. Huawei has been steadily growing and their watches are often bundled with other products.
Most smartwatch manufacturers focus on everyday wear, while others like Garmin focus on outdoor wear. That segment has been growing steadily. The number of smartwatches sold globally has been steadily increasing and is showing no sign of slowing down.
In 2020, it is estimated that almost 70 million smartwatches have been sold. The expected annual growth rate over the next 5 years is almost 22%. While you can’t buy Rolex stock, you can trade Apple.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)
Smartwatch sales less than 10% of total revenue
The average price of a smartwatch: $400
Garmin Ltd. (NYSE: GRMN)
Revenue for 2021: $4.95B
The average price of a smartwatch: variable depending on activity targeted, starts at $200
Huawei is not a public company and Samsung trades exclusively in South Korea under the ticker KRX:005930.
Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ: FOSL)
Fossil has been around since the ‘80s. They are a global fashion brand operating in North America, Europe, and Asia. They are partners with many other global brands such as Armani Exchange, BMW, DKNY, Michael Kors, Puma, and others.
Over 80% of their sales come from watches, which totals over 30 million annual watches sold. Their brand may not be Swiss or luxurious, but sales numbers don’t lie. They are not as profitable as they were a few years ago, but their sales are still solid and they can turn it around.
The rise of smartwatches has eaten into their share of the market, but they have released their brand of smartwatches and can recapture market share. Their stock price was over $100 between 2011 and 2014 and it is only $10 currently.
The average price of a watch: $200-250
Fossil Group Inc revenue for 2020: $1,794B
Swatch Group ADR (OTCMKTS: SWGAY or SWX: UHR)
The return of the Swiss watchmakers! Swatch was created in 1983 in Switzerland. Their stock can be purchased in the US OTC markets or on the Swiss stock exchange. They are the makers of luxury brands Tissot, Longines and Omega who sell for much more than Swatches. Swatches are known to come in a variety of funky designs. Many of them became collectibles and one collection of 5,800 watches sold for $6M. Vintage Swatch watches have the potential to be resold at a higher price. Unlike some counterparts, they are battery-powered and very inexpensive. Swatch has been losing market share as well due to the rise of smartwatches, but they are still profitable and popular worldwide. They are currently expecting double-digit growth for the near future.
Average price of a Swatch: $30-40
The average price of a Tissot: $550-600
Average price of a Longines: $1,300
The average price of an Omega: $5,200-7,150
Swatch Group ADR net sales for 2021: $7.86B
Rolex Stock Summary
To conclude, Rolex has been a leader for over 100 years. Although they have not transitioned to smartwatches, their sales keep growing. Many people nowadays own a few watches as they are interchangeable depending on the activity performed. Most companies are adding smartwatches to their portfolio as the demand keeps rising and the technology keeps getting better. It is a good time as ever to get into the market of watches. But you can’t buy Rolex stock.
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