How scalpers and Rolex store employees are making it nearly impossible to buy a Rolex at retail price

Originally published at: How scalpers and Rolex store employees are making it nearly impossible to buy a Rolex at retail price | Boing Boing


Ugh. I so detest this kind of “status symbol” product, it’s hard to find any sympathy for the poor rich folk who can’t find one.


Rolexes are pretty much the pocket currency for the wealthy looking to launder their money around. At one point wealthy chinese business people would book casino trips to Macau, using the what winnings from said casinos so they could to buy up watches and then sell them overseas to get around Beijing’s tight rules about funneling money out of the country.

More reliable than ugly monkey jpegs, much easier to transport than fine art and pricy cars, less likely to get pocketed off than jewelry sitting in luggage at a airport or in a hotel room.


I’ll stick to using my mobile as a multifunctional time piece.


Clearly you’re not rich enough, or else you wouldn’t have this problem.

Also it’s not like you need to go to a Rolex store to buy one, there’s plenty of national chain jewelers who sell them as well. There’s at least three stores at my local boujie shopping mall that stock Rolexes. They will let any schlub off the street try them on and play dress-up, and if you have the money that matches the price tag, they will happily sell them to you.

Maybe this poor rich person just isn’t trying hard enough to get that coveted status symbol.


What is this about? Are people wearing the multiple watches all the time? Because otherwise, I don’t understand how they’re any different than jewelry, in that they’d be sitting in luggage or hotel rooms…except that they serve one other function and have more moving parts.
Are the watches just harder to fence?

  1. You can bring around a ton of them within a crew/posse/entourage. The average person has two wrists yeah but when you up the number of people around you that can carry a lot of watches around without drawing a crap ton of attention. Let’s say a rapper wants to carry some extra cash on an overseas trip using this watch method. He, 4 to 7 of his buddies, his bagman, two personal assistants, his body guard, his wife, his wife’s bodyguard, his wife’s stylist and his wife’s stylist’s assistants wear one watch on this trip. That’s at least 14 people carrying around a single watch. If those watches are valued at around 100k usd if they find some extremely rare models (or by made by an much pricier, more exclusive watch maker who isn’t Rolex), that’s at least 1.4 million dollars being brought overseas without customs getting suspicious. “He’s not trying to get around customs, he’s just being a good friend sharing his wealth with his friends” lmao.

  2. Rolex are super secretive about their watch making process and how they are structured financially (they’re even listed as a non-profit just like FIFA and the NFL haha). So they have a product that’s difficult to counterfeit successfully made by a company so secretive it would even make the sicilian mafia envious. They 100% know the watches are being used this way but they have enough legal immunity thanks to swiss law to not worry too much about it.


Is anyone else shocked that they got Brian DeSantos, 41 year old creative director, to go on the record saying something like that?

The combination of pathetic and pompously self-important is just so perfect that I’d dismiss it as fabrication.

(edit: in thinking about it Brian’s sad little statement pales in the face of the sheer absurdity of the Financial Times writing what’s basically an article dedicated to rich people being shocked and baffled at the idea that commodities have market prices which can be affected by supply and demand and will attract arbitrage traders if arbitrage opportunities exist.)


My wife bought me a wonderful steam-punkish pocket watch a couple of years back at Balticon. It winds up, it’s beautiful, and it cost about $99,950 less than a $100,000 Rolex.

Boom. Winning.


There are plenty of other good brands of watches. It Rolex can’t get a handle on this, I don’t see why anyone would want to buy a Rolex. I don’t understand why anyone would pay more a couple thousand on a watch, but I wouldn’t want a non smart watch personally.


We finally see Cousin Greg wearing a watch in Season 3, Episode 3. In hilarious Greg fashion, he thinks Kendall is gifting him an expensive watch and spends much of the episode talking about it. However, he finally finds out that Kendall is just “hooking him up” with his grey market dealer.

While all Rolexes are selling at a premium, the Deepsea is only selling for between $15,000 and $20,000 USD. The watch dealer’s request for $40,000 is either an exaggeration for the show’s purposes, or Greg is getting taken for a ride. Either way, as Greg says, he will no longer have to be self-conscious about his wrists.


I mean, assholes have been scalping gaming consoles and graphics cards and pretty much anything they can hold for “ransom” for a while now. Rolex is only one product that has fallen prey to this behavior.


The article has an amusing touch of true crime fiction about it.

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“I’m supposed to be able to access this. I’m rich,” he tells me on the telephone. “I’m willing to give you an insane amount of money for this silly thing you offer. Why won’t you let me?”

I’d be willing to bet anything he got rich by doing exactly this same sort of scamming. But better scammers and richer people are still ahead of his pompous entitled ass, and that irks him. Let me go find a subatomic violin to play.


I quit wearing a watch about 3 years ago, a lot less stress when I’m not checking my watch all the time.

I have the luxury of not punching a clock though so time of day isn’t all that important.

But, the last two watches I owned were Skagen’s, awesome affordable watches. I had a titanium and black one of these, ultra thin and could really take a beating.



In case anyone thought I was being hyperbolic about luxury watches and money laundering earlier in the thread.


Is Ticketmaster involved in this anywhere? I wouldn’t be surprised…


I ask Alexa and she tells me. She’s also really good at setting multiple timers.



NTP synchronised to an atomic clock even!