How Singapore Authorised Dealers work

How Rolex authorized dealers in Singapore order watches

by Natalie Wong  November 20, 2021

“Rolex basically ships us whatever they want, whenever they want”

In Singapore, buying popular Rolex models direct from the store is almost unheard of, unless you have an existing relationship with them.

But how do authorized dealers actually get their stock from Rolex, and is it really as simple as putting items you want into a shopping cart and clicking send?

How Singapore Authorised Dealers work

Rolex decides, not the dealers

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For dealers, you’ll never know what you’re going to get behind the green box

Authorized dealers cannot predict which watches will be sent to them exactly. Whatever Rolex sends, the AD has to buy and it is then their business to try and sell the stock. This process repeats itself at regular intervals throughout the year.

Dealers have to pay before they even know which watches they will receive.

This can lead to problems when trying to clear their inventory of unsold, unpopular, or obsolete timepieces. For instance, a Datejust 36mm with a pink diamond dial could be hard to shift, as it is too big for most women’s tastes but too feminine for most men.

And this “take it or leave it” style that authorized dealers have to live by is kind of tough especially when you’re caught in the middle having to explain to customers why there’s no stock for the models they’re looking for while trying to sell them other models that might not be as popular.

Rolex rewards their top performers

So you might be wondering, why is it that some authorized dealers seem to have more stock as compared to others? Is it just pure luck that the “mystery” green boxes they open always tend to have more Daytonas compared to others?

Word on the street is, the more unpopular models you sell, the more popular models you’ll get.

And that’s how Rolex rewards their authorized dealers.

This is why it’s unsurprising that some authorized dealers (not in Singapore) would typically only offer you a Sport model only if you purchase another unpopular model alongside. (I’ve personally experienced this myself overseas. The offer was, buy 2 pieces of Datejust and we’ll sell you a Batman)

How Singapore Authorised Dealers work

But what if you just can’t sell anything?

The solution? In many cases, authorized dealers would try to sell these less desirable watches together with more desirable models to a grey market dealer, who buys in bulk.

Of course, the authorized dealers are unlikely going to profit as much this way, but sometimes cash flow issues and reducing the inventory are more important considerations than trying to sell watches in strict accordance with Rolex’s demands, which can be completely unrealistic.

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Rolex Authorised Dealer at Resort World Sentosa (Swiss Watch Gallery)

In a nutshell, life isn’t as glamourous as it seems for the 6 Rolex authorized dealers that we have in Singapore, which is why many aspiring watch dealers turn to set up a foothold in the grey market to sell watches on marketplaces such as Time Market. That also explains why many customers prefer purchasing it from them since they know that there’s no waitlist to join, even if it means a slight premium we have to pay.