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2024 Rolex Waitlist: Is This The Year We See Watches In The Stores

Learn about the 2024 Rolex waitlist by discovering the factors influencing them, potential shifts in availability, difficulty acquiring by collection, and expert tips on how to buy your new Rolex.

What is the Rolex waitlist

If you have tried to purchase a Rolex new at an authorized dealer over the last couple years, you have undoubtably been introduced to the Rolex waitlist. In simple terms, the Rolex waitlist is a arbitrary method, that is handled differently at individual authorized dealers, that controls the order in which buyers are allowed to purchased new Rolex watches. Buyers with a more established purchase history or relationship tend to wait less than new customers. Watches that are in high demand tend to have longer waitlists while other models that are less desirable have a shorter waitlist or none at all.

Why does the Rolex waitlist exist

With a bit over 30% market share, Rolex is the largest luxury watch manufacture in the industry with an estimated 1-1.3 million watches sold per year. That may sound like a lot of watches, and trust me it is, but that isn’t enough to keep up with demand. The Rolex waitlist is relatively new and simply exists because demand for their luxury watches has now exceeded the brands manufacturing capabilities.

Factors that influence the incredible demand for Rolex watches are that they are technically perfect and they have always done well at retaining their value. Rolex is well known for engineering durable and accurate watches that have all gone through a rigorous testing process to pass quality control standards. Each watch approved for sale is of the highest quality and worthy of wearing the crown. With that being said, Rolex watches will work well for many decades, therefore retaining their value for many years to come. Both of these factors make buying a Rolex a quality purchase.

How long is the waitlist for Rolex

The length of the Rolex waitlist varies for the desired watch, the authorized dealer business practices, and how strong of a relationship the buyer has with the dealer. It is not uncommon for buyers to wait multiple years for high in-demand models like the Daytona or GMT Master II or as short as a couple months for Datejust or Oyster Perpetual models. Below, we have ranked the level of difficulty the average buyer should expect acquiring a watch on the Rolex waitlist will be per collection from hardest to easiest.

  1. Rolex Daytona
  2. Rolex GMT Master II
  3. Rolex Submariner
  4. Rolex Day Date
  5. Rolex Sky Dweller
  6. Rolex Explorer
  7. Rolex Sea Dweller
  8. Rolex Yacht Master
  9. Rolex Datejust
  10. Rolex Deep Sea
  11. Rolex Oyster Perpetual
  12. Rolex Air King

2024 Rolex waitlist analysis based on economical and operational signals

In 2024 the Rolex waitlist still exists and is an obstacle to buying a new Rolex at retail but there are economic and operational forces this year that will likely reduce wait times.

As early as last year, Rolex authorized dealers were starting to receive more watches to sell to their customers. This is because Rolex opened up a new manufacturing facility that was rumored to improve their manufacturing capability from 1 million watches per year to 1.3 million watches per year. Rolex already was the largest luxury watch producer in the world and they just increased production because they still can’t meet global demand. Over time, with 300k more annual new Rolex watches in circulation, finding these watches at retail locations should be easier.

Next we need to analyze the luxury watch market. In the past year, and it has continued into 2024, the secondary prices for used Rolex watches has steadily declined. It is likely that increased production and global economic factors played a large role in the decline. Why this matters to the 2024 Rolex waitlist is because it is now much harder for watch flippers to make a profit on buying a Rolex at retail. If the opportunity to flip a Rolex for a couple thousand dollars is becoming more scarce, so will the people willing to do it. With the absence of flippers trying to acquire new Rolex watches, it will alleviate the number of buyers on waitlists, therefore making it easier to buy a new Rolex at retail in 2024.

So now we have to ask ourselves, “Will the Rolex waitlist still exist by the end of 2024”. The answer to this question is complicated because the answer could be both yes or no and it all has to do with illusions. Before we forecast the future lets take a look at the past.

Pre 2018, Rolex authorized dealers had plenty of inventory and they all were available for sale in the case. Rolex was popular but there was still enough to go around. Then things started to heat up for certain models and retail sellers started to keep those watches in the back room for preferred clients rather than putting them in the case for anyone to buy. After that, in 2020, things really started heating up and retail sellers could no longer hide certain models because they needed to sell everything due to high demand.

The way I view the Rolex 2024 waitlist is like the pendulum of a clock. The pendulum started at one end with plenty of watches being available and ended at the other end with extremely long waitlists. I believe that pendulum is swinging back but before we start to see an abundance of Rolex watches in the case, retail sellers will revert to withholding certain models if not all watches in the back rooms to maintain the illusion of scarcity. Our expectations are that it wont be until the end of 2025 that we see plenty, if not all Rolex inventory, available for sale in the retail cases.

So what are realistic expectations for the Rolex waitlist this year?

  • The waitlists will shrink for most models
  • By years end, there will be more watches available in the retail case
  • It will be easier for new clients to buy from authorized dealers
  • Some dealers, not all, will withhold certain models creating the illusion of a waitlist

How to beat the Rolex waitlist in 2024

Navigating the 2024 waitlist will be difficult but it should be easier than it has been in the past. Our first suggestion is be sincere when talking with your sales associate. They are motivated to sell watches to passionate brand enthusiasts. Second, be honest about your standing with the authorized dealer. Not everyone will get the stainless steel Daytona, the most in-demand Rolex. Figure out through honest conversation what is obtainable and realistic, which will lead to the best results. Third, be understanding and patient about the process. Trust me, dealers want to sell as many watches as possible and they face a tremendous amount of pressure from clients to deliver. They want to sell you the watch! Be patient with them and avoid being an annoying customer.

Those 3 simple tips should help you beat the Rolex waitlist in 2024. For more information on buying a Rolex, check out our Rolex buyers guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Rolex has the longest waitlist?

The Rolex watch with the longest waitlist is the stainless steel Rolex Daytona. This reference 126500LN, with either a black or white dial, are made in very limited quantities and often trade 2x on the pre-owned market.

Which Rolex has the largest waitlist?

The Rolex Submariner has the largest waitlist in 2024. This is because the Submariner collection is the most popular and there very few references to choose from, which makes the waitlist for a given model even longer. Expect to wait at least a year ordering any of the Submariner variations.

Is the Rolex waitlist real?

Yes, the Rolex waitlist is real. Some claim that it doesn’t exist because preferred clients get preferential treatment but those clients still have to wait too. The Rolex waitlist is handled differently by each dealer, even though they aren’t supposed to acknowledge it. At the end of the day, dealers have limited inventory to sell and when shipments come in, the buyers walking in the store to pick up their new Rolex had to wait to get it.

How do you get on the Rolex waitlist?

All you have to do to get on the Rolex waitlist in 2024 is appear in-person at an authorized dealer and make an order. That doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ever get the call to purchase one but you’ll have your name on the waitlist. There are ways to improve your odds of getting a Rolex that we have mentioned earlier in this article that will help in your journey.

Do all Rolex authorized dealers handle the waitlist the same?

It is at the discretion of the Rolex authorized dealer to determine how they handle the Rolex waitlist. Some are more ethical and fair while others cater only to the ultra elite. The best way to figure out which Rolex authorized dealers are ethical is to visit the store to feel them out and to read 1st party customer reviews.

How do I skip the Rolex waitlist?

It never hurts to have a great relationship with your sales associate or purchase history at store. Both of those go a long way to becoming a preferred client but that isn’t always exclusive to monetary relationships. Walking in a store with a compelling reason to buy a Rolex like buying your wedding watch, retirement watch, or graduation watch are all special occasions that people want to help people with. Be a genuine person who is enthusiastic about the product and most people will want to help you. If all else fails, you could always fall into the trap of buying extra jewelry or unwanted watches to gain favor but that just isn’t good for a consumers buying habits and should be avoided at all costs.

Are Rolex waitlists getting shorter?

In 2024, the Rolex waitlists are getting shorter because of the increase in the supply of watches from Rolex and the exit of flippers profiting from the luxury watch industry.

Can I walk in and buy a Rolex?

Yes you can! There have been plenty of sighting of Rolex watches available for sale in the case in 2024. The available models are not the most desirable ones, often either being ladies or solid gold watches.

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