FRIDAY WIND DOWN: This is how to handle the scarcity of in-demand watches FRIDAY WIND DOWN: This is how to handle the scarcity of in-demand watches

FRIDAY WIND DOWN: This is how to handle the scarcity of in-demand watches

Zach Blass

Recently we covered the Rolex watch shortage phenomena, and the rare official statement provided by Rolex to Yahoo Finance in relation to their story. Rolex’s statement effectively claimed that scarcity was not a part of their strategy and that production cannot increase without compromising quality (which was something that Rolex would never do). But this prompted a question: what would be the best solution for all parties when demand outstrips supply?

Some believe that if Rolex can’t improve production then the best next step would be for Authorized Dealers to overhaul how they conduct inquiries with buyers. Perhaps, for example, Authorized Dealers could have greater transparency about availability. We could have genuine waitlists based on expressions of interest, rather than the term “waitlist” being used to shroud the enigmatic process of having priority allocated on the basis of status, influence or purchasing power.

Mulling this over made me circle back to news from a few weeks ago, where Grönefeld – the independent brand that’s beloved by collectors – announced they have stopped taking pre-orders for their watches. Below is a portion of their statement.


“When we established Grönefeld in 2008, our objective was clear, we wanted to make fine watches, free of compromise, made for connoisseurs. Whilst we have always been ambitious, we could have never envisaged the success we have since gone on to enjoy. Over the years, we have received significant praise from the press along with numerous awards. However, we now find ourselves in the regrettable situation where we can no longer accept new orders until further notice. The confidence shown by our customers and retailers has been wonderful, albeit a tad overwhelming. Aware of the increasing demand for our products, we recently moved to new, larger premises and recruited five new watchmakers. However, the necessary skills we require are not simply available off-the shelf, hence we cannot easily recruit additional personnel. Indeed, we need time to train new staff and instil in them our company’s values. At no stage will we ever countenance compromising our standards.” – Bart & Tim


To an extent, it is a similar sentiment to what was expressed by Rolex. Overwhelming demand. A refusal to compromise quality. But where they distinguish themselves is by letting the marketplace know that they will not take any new orders for the time being. They have a long list of purchases to fulfill, which will take years to produce and ship out. These are highly artisanal hand-finished watches with haute horology in-house calibers after all. So instead of leading consumers on, they decided to be transparent and at least let newcomers to the brand know where they stand.

Ideally existing customers with pre-orders would know exactly what the ETA is for their watch, and perhaps Grönefeld already do disclose this. But I like the fact they, at the very least, are not encouraging the eight or 10 year waitlist scenario we find with watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus.

I have put my name down at countless retailers for watches, under the guise of fulfillment within a year or so, only to never receive a reply or status update of any note. I would much rather a response that says we have a full queue, and until the orders are fulfilled we will not take further inquiries. This way I know that I should look elsewhere for the next watch, or stash the cash away until inquiries open again. It provides a greater agency of choice, rather than a murky environment where it could be months, years, or never – and all without knowing for sure.

Hope you all have a great weekend,


Watch meme of the week: @brodinkee captures the moment after selling a watch


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brodinkee (@brodinkee)

As someone who has traded watches multiple times in the past, I can really relate to this feeling. Sometimes to add a watch to your collection you need to part with others, and hopefully the watches you give up are pieces that don’t get a lot of time on the wrist. But once they leave, there is always a moment where you miss them. Where you wonder if you would have worn them more. When I traded my Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse ref. 3548, I definitely had a fleeting doubt that I had made the right move. Sometimes it takes losing something to realise how much you love it, but, if it is any consolation, usually the emotions that flood in after trading or selling a watch are you remembering why you bought them in the first place. That being said, if you didn’t wear the watch then, you probably wouldn’t give them a lot of wrist time now.

Wrist shot of the week: @enjoythewatches puts on a masterclass for self-portrait wrist shots


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lydia Winters (@enjoythewatches)

Too often when we see a wrist shot we only get a snapshot of the watch – usually held right up to the lens of an iPhone. But what about the person wearing the watch? Assuming you are ok with revealing your face on your watch Instagram, you might want to take a page out of Lydia Winters (@enjoythewatches). Winters, who is the Chief Storyteller for Mojang Studios (Minecraft), has really leapt into the watch community of late – having been featured on multiple watch-related podcasts. Combining her passion for storytelling, nature, photography, and of course watches, she has really raised the bar for watch photography. Fortunately, she often gives behind the scenes tips of how to recreate her shots for yourself. Based on this stunning self-portrait, with a stunning turquoise dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual, we should all take notes. Great shot Lydia!

Recommended Viewing: The Ideal Watch Size – A Curious Case of Misperception and Missed Opportunity, by Mark Cho x HSNY

As a member of the #tinywrist club, I greatly appreciated Mark Cho’s survey regarding ideal wrist size. Cho further elaborated on this data for a lecture with the Horological Society of New York. The HSNY explains: “In his career as a clothier having watch-related conversations with his customers, Mark Cho, Co-founder of The Armoury and Co-owner of Drake’s, noticed more than half of his clients uttered the same phrase: ‘I have small wrists’.” It was a curious phenomenon, which prompted Cho to conduct a survey from 2018 to 2021 called “The Ideal Watch Size Survey” to try and understand what was going on. For the Horological Society of New York’s April 2021 lecture, Cho will present his findings to these questions and more. Watch the video above to learn more about the phenomenon.

Our favorite Time+Tide coverage of the week:

Prototype Yachtmaster spotted in the wild, but do I really want to see Rolex make titanium watches?

Rolex make titanium

Rolex Magazine broke the story that legendary sailor Sir Ben Ainslie was spotted field testing a titanium Yachtmaster prototype in the wild. In the wake of this revelation, Zach asked himself: “do I really want to see Rolex make titanium watches?” Head here to read his full thoughts.

From Patek to Omega, the artist creating the tiniest watches in the world

In recent years, there’s been a noticeable trend for watch cases returning to the smaller and more classical sizes of old. Robbie Jones (@robbiethepainter) takes it to a whole other level. The artist creates impeccably detailed models of miniature watches. How tiny? They have diameters under 5mm wide. Head here for the full story.

MICRO MONDAYS: The new Feynman Fjord Collection delivers blazing colours and radical designs

Dial Close Up

One of Ricardo’s main reasons for loving microbrands is the lack of limitations they place on themselves when it comes to their designs, which is why he dug into the new Feynman Fjord collection. Learn more about the watches here.