Rolex will create three temporary production facilities that will begin churning out luxury watches in 2025, as the world’s largest maker of high-end timepieces seeks to boost output amid unprecedented demand for its products.
Construction on the facilities in the canton of Fribourg starts later this year, Rolex said in an e-mail.
The capacity follows plans to spend 1 billion Swiss francs (S$1.5 billion) on a major new production site in Bulle, also in the canton of Fribourg, that is expected to commence operations in 2029.
At present, new watches are generally unavailable for immediate purchase through the company’s authorised network, prompting dealers, such as Watches of Switzerland Group, to resort to buyer wait-lists.
It’s also caused a surge in secondary market prices that has seen popular models, such as the Daytona Cosmograph, trade at values well above retail.
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Rolex officials said work on a 9,000 sq m facility in Romont, Switzerland will commence in the second half of 2023 with production expected to start in 2025.
There will also be a temporary facility at the Vivier industrial park in Villaz-Saint-Pierre, Switzerland that will begin operating in 2024 as well as a recruitment centre in Bulle.
The plan for the production-increase acceleration and temporary facilities was first reported by Fribourg newspapers La Gruyère and La Liberté.
Rolex said production lines will be installed gradually and recruitment will be staggered and could reach 250 to 300 workers, the majority of whom will be new employees.
The workers will be trained in Romont before being transferred to Bulle, once the site is ready.
“The new production site in Bulle, just like these three temporary installations, will allow Rolex to expand its production capacity, support growth and meet ever-increasing demand,” the company said.
Rolex is controlled by a foundation named after its founder Hans Wilsdorf and produces about 1 million watches a year, generating sales of around 8 billion Swiss francs, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.