Rolex’s New Billion-Dollar Swiss Factory Is Set To Surge Luxury Watch Production

Your chances of actually owning a new Rolex just got a little more feasible.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea (Rolex)

Rolex is far and away the sales leader in the luxury watch sector, having sold and estimated 1.24 million units to capture an estimated 30 percent of the market share in 2023, according to a Morgan Stanley report cited by Revolution Watch. For additional context, Cartier, Omega and Audemars Piguet—the top three luxury watch sellers behind Rolex—captured an estimated 21 percent of the market share combined in 2023.

The already sizable sales gap between Rolex and its competitors is poised to swell to a void after the opening of a new billion-dollar manufacturing facility in Bulle. Maxim previously reported on Rolex’s new plant, which is located in a small municipality in the district of Gruyère, Switzerland, and now, the watch experts at Hodinkee have uncovered new information from a report published by Swiss outlet Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

The latest update could come as welcome news to watch collectors who have been relegated to getting on waiting lists to buy a new Rolex, due to sky-high demand for the coveted timepieces.

The 100,000-square-foot Bulle facility will feature four production buildings connected by a central building and employ 2,000 workers, amounting to over 20 percent of Rolex’s Swiss labor force. The brand is also pining to attain Switzerland’s first BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification, which would help Rolex in its quest to reduce energy consumption of its buildings by 10 percent.

Currently, the Rolex Group employs 14,000 people worldwide, 9,000 of whom are in Switzerland, where nearly every Rolex component is produced in one of four locations. The watches themselves are developed and assembled in Geneva; the movements are made in Bienne; the cases, bracelets and some bezels are manufactured in Plan-les-Ouates; and gem-setting occurs in Chene-Bourg.

While the new Bulle facility is under construction, Rolex has built temporary factories in Romont and Villaz-Saint-Pierre to meet unprecedented demand. All 250 to 300 workers at these locations will transfer to the Bulle facility when it opens in 2029, which should coincide with a massive influx of new Rollies on the market, and hopefully make it easier than ever to actually get your hands on one.

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