What is Rolex Annual Revenue? Complete Review
Rolex is the largest Swiss watch brand by revenue. Rolex makes approximately 1 million watches per year, and whilst other manufacturers like Longines and Tissot make more, it’s particularly impressive for a brand like Rolex considering the price of their products.
Switzerland is home to an array of well-known watchmakers, including ultra-luxury such. This includes brands like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and many more. But Rolex is truly the king of Swiss watchmaking, accounting for one-quarter of the Swiss watchmaking industry’s turnover in 2020.
Over the years, Rolex’s position and strength in the Swiss watch industry have continued to grow further as well. In 2021, Rolex’s revenue accounted to an estimated CHF 8.05 billion excluding VAT. This is according to the respected annual report on the Swiss watch industry presented by Morgan Stanley in collaboration with LuxeConsult which is a Geneva-based firm specializing in the watchmaking industry. Rolex’s continued growth in 2021 meant that Rolex had a 29% of the global market for luxury Swiss watches at retail, meaning when they are sold after markup at official Rolex retailers for their recommended retail price.
Rolex’s position in the Swiss watch industry is clear. And the numbers show that Rolex’s position and strength in the market are growing further. In 2019, Rolex had approximately 22 percent of the global market for Swiss watches. This amounted to a turnover of CHF 5.2 billion.
It’s important to keep in mind that 2021 was a tough year for Rolex and the retail industry as a whole. The global pandemic with Covid-19 meant lockdowns all around the world and a lot of challenges in almost all steps in the production and sales chain. The global pandemic also meant that a lot of official Rolex retailers were closed for parts of the year. It also naturally had an effect on the economy and limited people’s traveling substantially. So with these great challenges in mind, Rolex’s revenue numbers are even more impressive this year than ever before.
At the same time, Rolex met the biggest challenges in 2020 when the outbreak of Covid-19 took place and the uncertainty was big. In 2020, Rolex substantially dropped its production by a whopping 19 percent. In numbers, this translated to 140,000 and a total production of 810,000 timepieces for the whole year. It also meant a total drop in the annual turnover by 14 percent year over year, to a total of CHF 4.4 billion. The reason for the discrepancy between the production volume and revenue was because of an average increase of 5 percent in price per watch.
One of the reasons for this was of course the fact that Rolex closed its factory for a period of time. And even if they would have remained open, many of the Rolex retailers around the world were closed, making it impossible for them to sell watches – or receive more stock from Rolex. But still, in the year of the Covid Outbreak, Rolex was still the biggest ”winner” as it was able to gain more market share than the major competitors like Swatch Group and LVMH.
But the fact that Rolex took the numbers grew substantially from 2020 to 2021 also goes to show how quickly Rolex has been able to ramp up its production – and that the demand for Rolex watches was always there.
Rolex turnover and competitors
In 2021, Rolex retained its position as the number one watch brand by revenue. A position that the company has held for many years. The revenue of the top 3 brands in 2021 are the following:
- Rolex: CHF 8.05 billion excluding VAT.
- Cartier: CHF 2.4 billion excluding VAT (40% growth year over year)
- Omega: CHF 2.2 billion excluding VAT.
In 2021 as a whole, the global market for Swiss watches grew by 31.2% over 2020, which is partially explained by the fact that 2020 was a tough year for the Swiss watch industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A growing trend in the last couple of years for the Swiss watch industry is a rise in wholesale value. This does not only have to do with growing production numbers but mainly by price increases. In the lower-end segment of more affordable watches, the Swiss watch industry is losing market share to smartwatch makers, Japanese, Korean, and American watch brands. But in the higher end segments, the Swiss watch industry is stronger than ever. This also shows a trend in the market as a whole that people are willing to spend more money on a luxury watch.
In 2021, Rolex produced a total of 1,050,000 watches, slightly up from 1,000,000 in 2019. But it was substantially higher than the numbers in the lockdown year of 2020 810,000 units which goes to show that Rolex is back to normal after the struggles that Covid-19 involved. 2020 was not just a tough year for Rolex, but the Swiss watch industry in large. In 2020, the entire Swiss watch industry is estimated to have shrunk by one-third. Furthermore, exports dropped by 21.8%.
In 2021, prices rose by an average of 7% and this equated to making 5% more on its watches. The discrepancy is explained by the fact that the price increase is an average and not the same across all models. The increase in revenue for 2021 is also explained by an increased focus and production of more expensive watches. This is something that also the market has noticed, that Rolex is pushing gold watches more than before.