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Swiss Watch Shortage Spreads From Rolex To Cartier And Tudor

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Saturday, May 21, 2022 - 12:45 PM

A top retailer of Swiss luxury watches warns robust demand and the lack of supply have sparked a perfect storm of global Rolex shortages that has spread to other leading brands, including Cartier and Tudor. 

CEO Hugh Brian Duffy of Watches of Switzerland Group Plc, with a network of 171 retail stores between the UK and the US, told Bloomberg on Thursday morning that sales of Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet had only "modest" increases in the retailer's 2022 fiscal year, primarily because of limited supply. He said this drove demand for other high-end brands. 

"We more than doubled our increases with them," Duffy said, citing Rolex sister brand Tudor, independent Breitling, LVMH's Tag Heuer, Swatch Group's Omega, and Richemont's Cartier. 

He said the Rolex shortage had increased so much demand for certain Cartier and Tudor models, that now those are experiencing supply issues. 

"We can't get enough Santos," he said, referring to the Cartier aviator watch, adding Tudor's chronograph models are in short supply.

Sales of Swiss watches went through the roof during the pandemic as classic high-end timepieces were in high demand as central banks worldwide pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system. Hot money had to end up somewhere, and some wound up in Rolexes and other luxury Swiss brands. 

Duffy concluded the interview by saying retail demand for Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet watches outweighs supply: "Demand is just off the scale for those brands. We would love to have more of them." 

And when does this Swiss watch bubble end? Will it be when central banks spark the next global recession from aggressive monetary tightening? 

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