Today, Rolex watches are popularly considered status symbols. Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand, producing about 2,000 watches per day. It is a universe of its own: respected; admired; valued; and known across the globe. You simply can’t deny the absolute sense of confidence, reliability, and dignity the brand name communicates. When asked to think of a high quality watch there are few people who wouldn’t instantly say Rolex, but have you ever wondered why Rolex watches are so expensive and what it exactly is that makes them so prestigious. Let’s take a look what makes it expensive/costly.
All of Rolex’s watches are made from only the highest quality precious materials which cost very high. Rolex has preposterous standards for the materials it buys from its suppliers. Watches are made of extraordinary metals as well as precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. It has a massive gemological department whose goal it is to buy, test, arrange, and set diamonds and other precious stones in a range of Rolex models. One of the things they do is check incoming stones to ensure that they are real. Each and every diamond or precious stone (no matter how large or small) on a Rolex watch is hand-selected and hand-set. Rolex employs traditional jewelers to create custom settings for stones in their most exclusive watches, done using the same processes employed in creating the world’s finest jewelry which makes them expensive.
It probably doesn’t come as a big surprise that Rolex makes virtually everything in-house as a totally vertically integrated manufacturer. As of right now the only major parts that Rolex doesn’t make for all of their watches are the synthetic sapphire crystals and many of the dial hands Rolex produces their own gold, cases, bracelets, dials, bezels, and movements in-house with incredible efficiency and quality.
It isn’t just that Rolex can afford all the most useful machines, but also that Rolex invests into processes and techniques that are tightly-held trade secrets. The real value inside the Rolex factory is their tools and know-how, which no one could replicate even if they had a copy of their facilities. Making everything in-house leads to high pricing of Rolex watches.
The philosophy at Rolex seems to be very pragmatic, if a human does it better, then let a human do it, if a machine does it better, then let a machine do it. Rolex is fortunate to have the ability to equip its facilities with robotic help where needed. Robotic arms populate the Rolex manufacture locations when it mostly comes to repetitive or highly detailed tasks that require consistency. Many Rolex parts are given an initial machine polish by a robot, but amazingly they are hand-finishing and polished as well. The fact is that modern technology is a huge part of the Rolex manufacturing machine, which is another reason that makes its watches costly.