Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Rolex to Build New Factory in Bulle







...BREAKING NEWS...


ROLEX TO BUILD 5TH FACTORY,
 
GROW BY 25%



LOCATION OF FUTURE ROLEX FACTORY


By DANNY CRIVELLO


If you were wondering whether demand for Rolex watches will continue to outstrip supply, Rolex is giving you one billion reasons. 

Rolex will invest 1 billion Swiss Francs into a new manufacture it plans to build in Bulle, Switzerland, the watchmaker's biggest move yet to thwart product shortage. Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), a Swiss public broadcaster in French, was first to break the news. 



ROLEX WORLD HEADQUARTERS, GENEVA



One of the biggest challenges Rolex had been facing when considering tackling record demand is to find land to build a new manufacture in Switzerland, one Rolex employee told me. Rolex is a vertically integrated company, and Switzerland is a small country, one-tenth the size of California. 

But the news broke Monday Rolex had found land in the business-friendly canton of Fribourg to build a new manufacture, its fifth. According to one of the county commissioners interviewed by RTS, it is a project of rare ampleur for the county. The word "jackpot" has even been mentioned. The Bulle City Council will likely approve the sale, a decision expected by Dec. 12. The land, which is comprised of two parcels, covers a total area of 24 acres.
 

LOCATION OF FUTURE ROLEX FACTORY

The City of Bulle is centrally located between Lausanne and Bern, the capital, and this will help with staffing. One of the challenges when building a new manufacture is to find qualified labor. 



As you can see on the map above, the other Rolex manufactures are near the French border. Many Rolex employees are frontaliers; meaning, they live in France, where costs are cheaper, but cross the border to work in Switzerland. Bulle, however, is deeper in Swiss country, far from the border. Still, its location between Lausanne and Bern should provide an adequate pool of qualified workers, a factor in the decision by Rolex to choose Bulle. 


ROLEX PLAN-LES-OUATES SITE


CURRENT ROLEX MANUFACTURING SITES


GENEVA: The Rolex world headquarters is home to all the management, administrative and communications activities of the company, as well as those related to the final assembly, final control and sales of the watches, and to Rolex World Service, which is responsible for after-sales service activities. The site is also home to Rolex design and research and development teams in addition to the laboratories that test all the assembled watches before they are distributed worldwide.

PLAN-LES-OUATES: This site groups all the activities related to the development and production of Rolex watch cases and bracelets, from processing and machining of the raw materials to polishing and finishing the final components.

CHÊNE-BOURG: This site brings together all the activities related to the development and manufacture of the dials and gem-setting. Cerachrom bezels and bezel inserts in ceramic are produced at Chêne-Bourg, and the site is also home to the brand’s gemmology laboratory and gem-setting workshops.

BIENNE (BIEL): This site is devoted to the manufacture of Rolex movements. Here, the components of the movements, from 200 to almost 400 for the most complex calibres, are manufactured. 




BULLE MUNICIPALITY

Rolex says it plans to hire 2,000 employees for the new manufacture, a sizable growth when considering Rolex currently has 9,000 Switzerland-based employees.




 
The new manufacture will be operational no sooner than 2029. The acquisition of 24 acres of land to build a new Rolex factory is the latest sign Rolex doesn't feel the demand will relent anytime soon even amid economic uncertainties. This is good news for those who already own Rolex timepieces, as their value on the secondary market still exceed retail prices. 

Starting in 2029, though, this might be a different story.