Rolex has the right to decide to whom they want to sell their merchandise. I have the right to decide from whom to purchase merchandise.
I intended to buy a new Cadillac in 2010 but, when GM got bailed out and then cancelled their contract with my dealer of choice, I bought something else.
I had intended to add a couple more Rolexes to my little collection of four but their recent actions may result in a purchases of a different brand or none at all.
Such freedom is the beauty of the system.
Of course it is free (Rolex Watchmaking education). Rolex needs factory workers to service their watches. But once the enthusiastic graduate starts to work he is very disappointed at what he finds. He has the choice of working in just a few big cities and often sits on a virtual production line cranking out the same movement day after day with not much room for any advancement. But how can they keep the enterprising individual who wants to strike out on his own? Simply refuse to sell him parts or make the required equipment costs outrageous and unaffordable.
The only nightmarish thing about the old system was from the watch and equipment company point of view in that they could not make it more profitable for themselves. The answers to most issues can be found by simply following the money. In the old days you simply bought the parts and did the work. If the consumer wasn’t happy, he found someone else and you wouldn’t last long. It was simple capitalism and it worked. But what if you could eliminate the competition? You could fix your price and get all the business.
Much of this can be understood by simply looking at the application for a Rolex parts account. Their prerequisites include education, workplace environment and equipment. Most of the equipment required is the expensive Swiss stuff sold by their IAB brothers. And at the bottom of the prerequisites is this statement:
“Note: We may reject any application even if these prerequisites are met.”
So if an aspiring young individual asks me if he should go to school for 2 years and spend $50,000 or more on equipment to be able to work on watches what should I tell him?
And the consumer should have the freedom to have their watch serviced by anyone they choose and not be at the mercy of the brands service departments . Could you imagine if you could only have your car serviced at the dealer! It's a deceptive practice not telling a perspective customer that they are forced into a service commitment with the companies service department .
Really, where else are they going to work but at one of the service agencies? A recent grad is barely able to work independently and usually needs another couple of years experience. Traditionally, he would work with another watchmaker- maybe in a jewelry store or for a trade shop. Where’s he going to work if these places are put out of business because they can’t get parts?
There are 2 parts to this issue. These companies not only want to put the independents out of business and sell Swiss equipment, but also control the work force. If a talented young person is frustrated, working on the same movement day after day, where will he be able to look for a better job? He’ll be stuck there with no career options.