Rolex raises prices in Europe for second time this year

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ROLEX raised retail prices for its watches in Europe for the second time this year due to currency fluctuations including the strong US dollar.

The Geneva-based maker of the Daytona, Submariner and Oyster Perpetual said it had increased prices on the continent by about 5 per cent. That follows a similar increase in the UK in September in response to the plunging value of the British pound that made the coveted watches sold in Britain much cheaper for US buyers shopping in dollars.

Since the start of this month, "there is an alignment of eurozone prices due to currency fluctuations", the company said in an emailed statement.

The cheapest Rolex Daytona chronograph model that was priced at 13,900 euros (S$19,471) in January now costs 14,600 euros, an increase of 5.04 per cent, as one example.

The European move marks the second time Rolex has raised retail prices this year. In January, it bumped up prices in most markets by an average of about 3.5 per cent across its model lines with some in-demand steel sports models becoming as much as 10 per cent more expensive.

The value of the euro fell below parity with the US dollar earlier this year amid mounting signs of economic weakness across the continent, soaring inflation, and expectations of hawkish monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Rolex is the most popular Swiss luxury watch brand, with a market share close to 29 per cent and annual sales of about 8 billion Swiss francs (S$11.2 billion). The Geneva-based company produces about 1 million watches a year and demand for most models outstrips supply, which causes some to trade above retail prices on the secondary market. BLOOMBERG



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