Rolex ramps up production in Switzerland to meet growing demand




Rolex SA will build three temporary manufacturing plants that will begin producing luxury watches in 2025, as the world’s largest maker of high-end watches seeks to ramp up production amid unprecedented demand for its products.
Construction of the facility in canton Friborg will start later this year, Rolex said in an email. It follows plans to spend CHF 1 billion ($1.1 billion) on a new major manufacturing plant in Bulle, canton Friborg, which is expected to come online in 2029.
Currently, new watches are often not available for immediate purchase through the company’s authorized network, prompting retailers such as Watches of Switzerland Group Plc to resort to buyer waiting lists. It’s also caused aftermarket prices to skyrocket, with popular models like the Daytona Cosmograph trading well above retail prices.
A 9,000-square-foot factory in Romont, Switzerland, will be under construction in the second half of 2023, with production expected to begin in 2025, Rolex officials said. There will also be a temporary facility at the Vivier SA industrial park in Villaz-Saint-Pierre, Switzerland, due to be operational in 2024, and a recruitment center in Bulle.
The plans to speed up production and temporary facilities were first reported by Friborg newspapers La Gruyère and La Liberté.
Rolex said that the production line will be installed gradually, and the number of employees will reach 250-300, most of whom will be new employees. Workers will be trained at Romont before moving to Bulle when the site is complete.
“As with the three temporary facilities, Buhler’s new manufacturing facility will enable Rolex to expand its production capacity, support growth and meet growing demand,” the company said.
Rolex, which is controlled by a foundation named after its founder Hans Wilsdorf, produces about 1 million watches a year and generates sales of about 8 billion Swiss francs, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.