Switzerland’s highest revenue watchmaker, Rolex, is reportedly close to signing a deal to build a fourth production facility — to expand capacity beyond one million timepieces annually.
Based on a report from Swissinfo.ch on November 22, 2022, that used Swiss public television station RTS as its source, Rolex will potentially close on the two plots of land it needs to build a new production facility in Bulle, Switzerland, before the end of the year.
The proposed site size totals around 100,000 square meters, which equates to over 1,076,391 square feet (almost 25 acres). The potential size of the facility — which could be completed as soon as 2029 — could be massive. And preliminary speculation suggests that 2,000 new jobs will be created if everything goes as planned.
Rolex is owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation and is known to make long-term decisions irrespective of investors because it has none. In other related news this week, Rolex announced its official certified pre-owned program, which is notable because even though they’re not the first watch brand to create such a program, the decision is sure to cause a ripple effect across the industry — due to the company’s position as a thought leader.
Rolex is headquartered in Geneva and currently has three Swiss production sites, located in Biel/Bienne, Chêne-Bourgand, Plan-Les-Oates. Sometimes referred to as “the crown” for its actual crown-shaped emblem — or as a metaphor for its dominant market-leading position — Rolex is estimated to have generated almost 8 billion in wholesale (sell-in) sales revenue in 2021, according to the annual Morgan Stanley report. That translates to roughly 25% of the entire Swiss watch industry market share, according to the same report.
Professional Watches reached out to Rolex for comment on Thursday and has not received a reply. However, we’ll likely know the official status of the project later this month.
With Rolex demand at record highs — and supply still not fulfilling demand — Rolex clearly needs more production capacity and has the capital as well as the support of local government to make this project a reality, and it looks as though that’s all coming to fruition.
“A project of exceptional magnitude is on track in Bulle with the prestigious company Rolex,” declared Oliver Curty, president of the Fribourg government, adding that the authorities would “ensure that it succeeds.”
Photos by Rolex.