As I gazed down at my now 4 year old Rolex Air-King on my wrist I knew it was about time for my next Rolex purchase. Various business milestones have been achieved and with my upcoming birthday on the horizon there was no better time to commemorate it than now. What better way to celebrate the occasion than with a Rolex watch? After all, the classic Rolex slogan is “a crown for every achievement”.
Little did I know this would lead me into a rabbit hole that would waste nearly 6 months of my time, filled with happy and depressing experiences all at the same time. It sounds almost ridiculous as I type this, but it’s true, and seems to be the ongoing theme for almost anyone searching to purchase a Rolex Stainless Steel Sports model.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy obtaining the Rolex sports model of my desires. I’ve frequented many watch forums and spoke with other collectors who said it’s very difficult, but I really didn’t think it would be as hard as it’s been.
I bought my current Air-King from a grey dealer in Milano when I was visiting, but this time I wanted to buy from a Rolex Authorized Dealer so that I could have the authentic experience, along with getting my name on the warranty card.
I really wanted the new Daytona C 116500, its a beautiful iconic watch, and the slender case actually fit my 6.5 inch wrist perfectly, the watch also fit into my budget at the retail price. While the bulkier GMT II Pepsi and Submariner models would be fall back choices.
So began my journey of visiting my local Rolex Authorized dealers located in Montreal to seek this model. The dive into the dark rabbit hole had commenced. What should have been an exhilarating uplifting experience turned into an experience of regret and disappointment. An awakening into the reality of Rolex stainless steel sports model craze, and the games played by both the Rolex AD as well as the Rolex brand directly.
The slogan “a crown for every achievement” is simply not true, because you cannot walk into a Rolex authorized dealer anywhere in the world and buy the watch that you want. Instead you are coerced into buying other luxury watches or even unwanted jewelry in order to build a superfluous “relationship” with the Rolex authorized dealer. They don’t gently hint towards this either, It’s a direct request, “buy something from our shop to build a history with us and then maybe we will consider you for a Rolex sports model”. Essentially when you walk into a Rolex AD with cash in hand, your are not allowed to buy a Sports model from them because you’re not worthy enough to them. The Rolex authorized dealers are using the highly desired sports models as leverage to sell the less in-demand watches from Rolex and even other brands.