Rolex’s news at the end of 2022 was marked by two events that do not seem to be linked to each other: on the one hand, the presentation of a new model, the Deep Sea Challenge, on the other the announcement of the official launch of the Certified Pre-Owned program which allows the acquisition, from official retailers who have joined the program, of second-hand watches that are at least 3 years old, certified, overhauled and guaranteed by the Manufacture.
In fact, the two topics are related because they respond to the same objective pursued by the brand: that of bringing value to its customers. The notion of value can be understood in different ways and nowadays, it can unfortunately be perceived as being essentially the expectation of the financial gain obtained during a potential resale. Fortunately, each client interprets the notion of value according to their own criteria and aspirations. For some, value will be defined as the reliability and precision of the watches produced by Rolex. For others, the value will be understood as the durability of the brand, thus ensuring its long-term presence and its ability to intervene on watches in the event of a problem even several decades from now. Finally, clients will be able to interpret value as being the coherent and continuous aesthetic guideline that ensures the absence of a risk of design obsolescence: a venerable Rolex that is 30 years old is still relevant and its aesthetic canons, based on a timeless approach retain the same power of seduction among today’s enthusiasts.
The strength of Rolex lies in this ability to sell an element that few brands are able to generate. This element is trust and this is what Rolex sells above all else. As a customer, I am seduced by Rolex because I have confidence in the product, I have confidence in the solidity and the strength of the brand and I have confidence in the persistence of its line of conduct and image. that it generates. This confidence comes from the fact that the brand brings value, in all dimensions of the term, to its customers.
Rolex knows perfectly well that the market context for several years has led to an excessive, even caricatural situation where watches were no longer perceived as anything more than financial assets and became inaccessible, including to regular customers, due to the explosion in demand. compared to the offer.
The presentation of the Deep Sea Challenge and the announcement of the CPO program aim to rebalance this perception. Take the case of the Deep Sea Challenge. The watch joins the catalog, it appears as an additional proposal in the Sea-Dweller range but it is much more than that. Through the Deep Sea Challenge, Rolex wanted to make available not only for purchase from a few collectors but also for demonstration to customers of major retailers a superlative watch that concentrates Rolex expertise in diving watches. high performance. The ambition is twofold: it is a question of communicating on the know-how and demonstrating its strength by allowing the greatest number of people to see and handle a watch which can be considered as a successful prototype. Rolex’s underlying message is clear: our watches, above all else, focus on technical solutions and are the culmination of a regular process of innovation. Thus, I had the opportunity to appreciate the Deep Sea Challenge on several occasions with retailers, which allowed them to place the discussion on technical themes and much more positive and watchmaking subjects than the endless discussions on the lists of waiting and availability.
For its part, the CPO program materializes Rolex’s ability to act over the long term and ensure its own. The brand is positioned on the second-hand market which, according to Deloitte, should weigh more than half of the new market by 2030, in other words: tomorrow. At the same time, Rolex supports its main distributors because they are obviously involved in the process and in the end, the program consists of providing an additional service to customers by responding to an issue: that of safety. The customer who acquires a Rolex watch via the program will thus be confident (we always come back to this) especially in the context of a market polluted by fake watches that are increasingly difficult to detect. Obviously, who says additional service, says additional cost. But customers will ultimately have a choice. It is up to them to prefer the standard market price without this security or to pay the additional cost to secure the transaction and give value (if only by the guarantee provided by the program) to the watch acquired.
The two events are therefore far from trivial. The impact of the CPO program is also considerable because it will deeply structure the market. But behind all these aspects, it is important to emphasize that Rolex remains totally consistent with its strategy of constantly bringing value to its customers. And it is this value that creates the trust customers have in the brand. At a time when many houses are reflecting on the strategic directions to take to address the challenges of the years to come, perhaps we should simply ask ourselves the question about this notion of value and above all how to allocate it in priority to customers. If customers feel they are not prioritized in this allocation, then they will turn their backs on the affected brands.