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Old 1 April 2009, 04:06 PM   #1
shutterj
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How long does it take to build a rolex???

does anyone really know how long it takes to make a rolex? I have heard so many different answers to this question but i am looking for some real answers..

let me know everyone.
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Old 1 April 2009, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hey they say on their web site it can take UP TO a year to build a Rolex Movement. The Bezel takes 40 hours according the their site as well. Not sure about the bracelet. As for the case probably 30 minutes. However long it takes it is one hell of a finished product.
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Old 1 April 2009, 04:11 PM   #3
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The most ridiculous answer is one year, that's what I heard long time ago. Come on, it would'ld take a year even we go back to stone age.
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Old 1 April 2009, 04:37 PM   #4
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"Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand by far, producing over 2000 watches per day."

http://www.rolexandwatches.com/page/55654202

Two thousand watches per day.

If it took a year to make a Rolex, then one would have three quarters of a million watches in the process of production at any given time.

I suspect that Rolex has automated much of the watch building process, or as much as technologically possible.

Rolex could make many of the parts in advance, in batches, and hold them in inventory; or, Rolex could make all the parts in parallel, practicing "just-in-time" supply to the assembly lines.

I would assume that all the parts necessary to make a Rolex exist at least one day prior to assembly, and, given two thousand watches a day, and one assembly line for each watch model, how many watches does each assembly line produce per day?

Do the more popular watches have parallel assembly lines, perhaps four assembly lines for GMT Master II's and only one assembly line for less popular models?

Or, perhaps the Daytona Assembly line only runs 3 months out of the year.

Then again, does Rolex run its assembly lines 24 hours a day?

Two shifts?

One eight-hour shift?

How much of the assembly can a machine do, and how much absolutely requires a human being?

Anyway, with 2,000 watches a day and an eight hour shift, that comes out to a little over four watches per minute.
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Old 1 April 2009, 05:29 PM   #5
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The most ridiculous answer is one year, that's what I heard long time ago. Come on, it would'ld take a year even we go back to stone age.
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Old 1 April 2009, 06:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
"Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand by far, producing over 2000 watches per day."

http://www.rolexandwatches.com/page/55654202

Two thousand watches per day.

If it took a year to make a Rolex, then one would have three quarters of a million watches in the process of production at any given time.

I suspect that Rolex has automated much of the watch building process, or as much as technologically possible.

Rolex could make many of the parts in advance, in batches, and hold them in inventory; or, Rolex could make all the parts in parallel, practicing "just-in-time" supply to the assembly lines.

I would assume that all the parts necessary to make a Rolex exist at least one day prior to assembly, and, given two thousand watches a day, and one assembly line for each watch model, how many watches does each assembly line produce per day?

Do the more popular watches have parallel assembly lines, perhaps four assembly lines for GMT Master II's and only one assembly line for less popular models?

Or, perhaps the Daytona Assembly line only runs 3 months out of the year.

Then again, does Rolex run its assembly lines 24 hours a day?

Two shifts?

One eight-hour shift?

How much of the assembly can a machine do, and how much absolutely requires a human being?

Anyway, with 2,000 watches a day and an eight hour shift, that comes out to a little over four watches per minute.
you raised some great points there. Id love to hear the experts weigh in
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Old 1 April 2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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I remember my AD throwing me that BS. I'm quite reclusive and introspective so I didn't argue; knowing the units produced per annum.
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Old 1 April 2009, 08:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutterj View Post
does anyone really know how long it takes to make a rolex? I have heard so many different answers to this question but i am looking for some real answers..

let me know everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by postiff View Post
Hey they say on their web site it can take UP TO a year to build a Rolex Movement. The Bezel takes 40 hours according the their site as well. Not sure about the bracelet. As for the case probably 30 minutes. However long it takes it is one hell of a finished product.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyen View Post
The most ridiculous answer is one year, that's what I heard long time ago. Come on, it would'ld take a year even we go back to stone age.

Would agree about the year thing,its a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. And around 2006 Rolex had roughly 3500 employees in total employed in the whole of the Rolex empire in Switzerland.Now Rolex now make 900000 plus watches a year so do the sums,and Switzerland has one of the highest public holidays in the world.Would think if say half the workforce was in direct production of the actual watches,there must be still a lot of automated massed produced production.
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Old 1 April 2009, 08:33 PM   #9
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Hey they say on their web site it can take UP TO a year to build a Rolex Movement. The Bezel takes 40 hours according the their site as well. Not sure about the bracelet. As for the case probably 30 minutes. However long it takes it is one hell of a finished product.
I've heard people say it takes one year to make a Rolex watch. But come on, think about it, there's no way they could produce 900,000 watches per year if it took a year to make one. That would mean they'd need 900,000 watchmakers to do just the assembly, let alone how many machines they'd need to make all the parts. We all know Rolex doesn't employ 900,000 people.

That video on Rolex's site that says it can take up to a year to make a movement is misleading. They said "movement" _not_ "watch." I can believe it takes a year to engineer a new movement from scratch, yes - they are quite complicated. But one year to make a watch, give me a break.

As far as how long it really takes to make one Rolex watch, I have no clue. However, how long it takes to assemble all the parts into a movement by a good watchmaker - I'd say about one to two hours, but that's just a guess. I saw a video recently that showed (in close-up detail) a watchmaker assembling an ETA 7750 movement from start to finish - it was really cool. They cut out the sections where the watchmaker was lubricating parts in order to keep the video short and also excluded the instances where the watchmaker had to flip the movement. They also didn't show the installation of the hands on the dial (which on a 7750, I know is a bitch because the chrono 30 minute hand and the chrono seconds hand are on freely movable cams - so you have to get the alignment absolutely perfect _before_ pressing them down on the pin). The video itself was about 15 - 20 minutes long. But I'm sure oiling the parts takes a lot of time (since you have to be super precise) and then you still have to install the movement in the case, install the crown, install the pushers (if it's a chrono), put in the gasket, screw down the case, test the watch, etc. So, all in all, I'm sure it takes a few hours to assemble all the parts into a complete watch.
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Old 1 April 2009, 09:05 PM   #10
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Has anybody thought it may take them a year?

Perhaps the watch is finished apart from the crown (or whatever last piece they attach) and then it sits in somebody's outtray for 6 months before being delivered to the crown adder onner where it sits in his inbox for 6 months.

He quits playing minesweeper or logging on to internet forums for 5 minutes to screw on the crown and there you have it...one finished Rolex that took a year!

Actually if the Rolex production line was as bureaucratic as our national health service or local authorities I could see a watch taking two years to complete!!!!!!!!

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Old 1 April 2009, 09:05 PM   #11
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Seriously do we have any watchmakers here who can tell us how long it takes to reassemble a watch that has been taken apart?

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Old 1 April 2009, 09:22 PM   #12
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very interesting questions, i can't imagine it takes a year to make the watch

a ferrari 599 start to finish takes 2-3 months
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Old 1 April 2009, 09:24 PM   #13
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It takes two weeks to dig the steel out of the side of the Matterhorn. It needs to rest for three months before it can be polished.
Diamonds are sourced from under Lake Geneva, Rolex technicians have to wait until their submariners are completed before they can dive. This takes up to three months.
All the new models are subject to focus group tests. The recent Basel releases were agreed by Lil Wayne, Kanye West and 50 Cents. This can take ages, a year could be too short.
Each part has to be assembled by a citizen of Switzerland, if it is found that a foreigner has been involved the watch will be taken apart and the process will start again. This is a great example of the legendary quality control Rolex have. Assembly can take up to 6 months, depending on public holidays.
AD's have to arrange armed transport to take delivery of Rolex when they arrive in the destination country. In the USA all Rolex are kept at Fort Knox, in UK it is the Bank of England. This process can take up to three months and this explains erratic supply in AD's shops.
I hope this is an insight into how special our Rollies are.
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Old 1 April 2009, 09:29 PM   #14
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It takes two weeks to dig the steel out of the side of the Matterhorn. It needs to rest for three months before it can be polished.
Diamonds are sourced from under Lake Geneva, Rolex technicians have to wait until their submariners are completed before they can dive. This takes up to three months.
All the new models are subject to focus group tests. The recent Basel releases were agreed by Lil Wayne, Kanye West and 50 Cents. This can take ages, a year could be too short.
Each part has to be assembled by a citizen of Switzerland, if it is found that a foreigner has been involved the watch will be taken apart and the process will start again. This is a great example of the legendary quality control Rolex have. Assembly can take up to 6 months, depending on public holidays.
AD's have to arrange armed transport to take delivery of Rolex when they arrive in the destination country. In the USA all Rolex are kept at Fort Knox, in UK it is the Bank of England. This process can take up to three months and this explains erratic supply in AD's shops.
I hope this is an insight into how special our Rollies are.
They aint as special as you are...that made me laugh out loud

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Old 1 April 2009, 09:33 PM   #15
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I've heard people say it takes one year to make a Rolex watch. But come on, think about it, there's no way they could produce 900,000 watches per year if it took a year to make one. That would mean they'd need 900,000 watchmakers to do just the assembly, let alone how many machines they'd need to make all the parts. We all know Rolex doesn't employ 900,000 people.

That video on Rolex's site that says it can take up to a year to make a movement is misleading. They said "movement" _not_ "watch." I can believe it takes a year to engineer a new movement from scratch, yes - they are quite complicated. But one year to make a watch, give me a break.

As far as how long it really takes to make one Rolex watch, I have no clue. However, how long it takes to assemble all the parts into a movement by a good watchmaker - I'd say about one to two hours, but that's just a guess. I saw a video recently that showed (in close-up detail) a watchmaker assembling an ETA 7750 movement from start to finish - it was really cool. They cut out the sections where the watchmaker was lubricating parts in order to keep the video short and also excluded the instances where the watchmaker had to flip the movement. They also didn't show the installation of the hands on the dial (which on a 7750, I know is a bitch because the chrono 30 minute hand and the chrono seconds hand are on freely movable cams - so you have to get the alignment absolutely perfect _before_ pressing them down on the pin). The video itself was about 15 - 20 minutes long. But I'm sure oiling the parts takes a lot of time (since you have to be super precise) and then you still have to install the movement in the case, install the crown, install the pushers (if it's a chrono), put in the gasket, screw down the case, test the watch, etc. So, all in all, I'm sure it takes a few hours to assemble all the parts into a complete watch.
Average year is 365 days that is 8,760 hours which is 525,600 minutes or31,536,000 seconds..Now Rolex produce around 900000 plus watches a year now, so based on above figures Rolex must churn out around one and three quarter watches per minute 24/7.
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Old 1 April 2009, 09:45 PM   #16
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Kia ora,

It would be really cool to see the whole process, from the raw materials, through the various stages fabrication, to the final finished watch.

Anyway, I found this:

http://montresuisses.blogspot.com/20...breitling.html

It seems to make sense (to me anyway )
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Old 1 April 2009, 09:49 PM   #17
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The entire process is automated except for movement assembly, which is done by hand. I would think movements can be assembled, lubricated, and timed in an hour. Daytonas have more parts and can take longer.

While we'd all like to think our Rolex takes many hours to hand-build, the truth is they're cranking them out VERY quickly. What's remarkable is how they can maintain quality and perfection at the numbers of watches they mass produce.
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Old 1 April 2009, 10:00 PM   #18
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Well, it takes a year, because of the average age of Rolex's technicans. They've been around for a long time:

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Old 1 April 2009, 10:09 PM   #19
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There's a long queue at COSC. I'm guessing there is a little truth to this, but not in the sense that it takes a tech 2,000 hours of labor (40 hrs per week x 50 weeks) to produce a finished product.

Maybe they're referring to production of a new model, or the lag between the time the first step is taken until the finished watch passes through QC. We know they have stacks of stamped cases waiting for movements to be installed, and they have a few thousand movements at any given time awaiting COSC certification. Total, though, I'm guessing it's well under 50 labor-hours for production. (At $20/hour, that would be $1k of the cost just for production labor.)
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Old 1 April 2009, 10:28 PM   #20
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It's hard for me to fathom that it takes a year to produce a Rolex.

My only argument or reasoning for it taking a year, would be that an entire batch probably takes a year. Let's use Mcdonald's as an example. When you are pumping out that much burgers in a year, you have to have your direct materials or indirect materials ready for assembly...i.e....the burgers.


Would you kill a cow and make a 100 patties, bake the buns, process dairy for the cheese and grow the lettue......then make your 100 burgers? Then you have employees sitting around waiting for everything to be produced again.

-or-

Would you kill 500 cows and make 50,000 patties, 50,000 buns, have the cheese ready and the lettuce washed.....then make your 50,000 burgers for the rest of the year? After selling the 50,000 burgers for the year, your employees would have another 50k to make (this is if everything being equal and food will not perish).....therefore, the assembly line is pumping out parts faster than humans putting them together. Burgers and watches are being produced at a consistent rate.


I think this is what Rolex is doing, if it really takes a year. They have all the parts ready before they put them together. They are not making watches based off of First-IN...First-Out method. More like Last in-First out method....the very last part completes the watch....and that is the first watch out.

This argument can explain why they may not be able to cut production on watches in today's economy due to the structure of their work-in-progress. If they have parts sitting around and produce to order than their will be non-popular models laying around. Hence, why the Daytona maybe least made. Takes too long to produce with all those parts including the movement.

This is just a thought....if it actually takes a year but I somehow doubt it.....
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Old 1 April 2009, 10:50 PM   #21
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The entire process is automated except for movement assembly, which is done by hand. I would think movements can be assembled, lubricated, and timed in an hour. Daytonas have more parts and can take longer.

While we'd all like to think our Rolex takes many hours to hand-build, the truth is they're cranking them out VERY quickly. What's remarkable is how they can maintain quality and perfection at the numbers of watches they mass produce.
Well easy when you think of it,all watch parts are machine made and mass produced just like many other volume watch manufactures.And being machine made to a very high tolerence they should be all the same its that simple.There are only 8,760 hours or 525,600 minutes in a full year,Rolex produce 900,000 plus watches a year so do the sums its that simple.And if the movements are all completely hand built they sure must have a huge workforce but its still one remarkable watch.
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Old 1 April 2009, 11:41 PM   #22
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Why doesn't the original poster write a letter to Rolex and ask them? For the price of a postage stamp, it would be interesting to see how they respond, if they respond at all. I think hey would have to respond. But if they didn't, then lets get a 100 or as many members aspossible from on here, sending a letter. I think Rolex would notice then!

Not to sound like a Bolshevik, but with the vast number of particpants and members in this forum, we do have a strong voice, if we speak in unison. In these tenuous economic times, no sane company would ignore a 100 or so of their customers on any issue raised. They would at least have to respond in some way. If there ever is a time to try to assert some influence on Rolex (a slim a chance as you may think that is), now would be the best time to rise upand be heard! Viva Le Rolex!!

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Old 2 April 2009, 04:03 AM   #23
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The entire process is automated except for movement assembly, which is done by hand. I would think movements can be assembled, lubricated, and timed in an hour. Daytonas have more parts and can take longer.

While we'd all like to think our Rolex takes many hours to hand-build, the truth is they're cranking them out VERY quickly. What's remarkable is how they can maintain quality and perfection at the numbers of watches they mass produce.
All do respect,but I dont think your even in the ballpark with your estimate.
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Old 2 April 2009, 04:08 AM   #24
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I don't really care how long it takes to manufacture a Rolex......as long as it's fully assembled by the time it hits my wrist!!
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Old 3 April 2009, 04:45 PM   #25
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haha, good one JJ!
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Old 3 April 2009, 09:08 PM   #26
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not long enough to justify the price.
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Old 3 April 2009, 09:55 PM   #27
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I don't really care how long it takes to manufacture a Rolex......as long as it's fully assembled by the time it hits my wrist!!
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Old 4 April 2009, 01:52 PM   #28
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Bear in mind, time to produce anything on a production line is a misleading question and answer. They build many parts at the same time, assemble as parts are available, and some take more time than others. They don't build watches one at a time, so actual time from raw material to finished product is misleadingly long, whatever the answer. I can believe that a Patek complicated watch might take as long as a year, but a Rolex? No way.
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Old 4 April 2009, 02:04 PM   #29
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Sure it could

Consider the example of a high-end lens, say from Nikon. The batches of optical glass used are kept hot for months and allowed to cool at an extremely slow, controlled rate. It could honestly be said that it takes a year to manufacture those lenses, even though there isn't an employee tending to each individual lens personally for a full year.
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Old 4 April 2009, 03:23 PM   #30
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It takes two weeks to dig the steel out of the side of the Matterhorn. It needs to rest for three months before it can be polished.
Diamonds are sourced from under Lake Geneva, Rolex technicians have to wait until their submariners are completed before they can dive. This takes up to three months.
All the new models are subject to focus group tests. The recent Basel releases were agreed by Lil Wayne, Kanye West and 50 Cents. This can take ages, a year could be too short.
Each part has to be assembled by a citizen of Switzerland, if it is found that a foreigner has been involved the watch will be taken apart and the process will start again. This is a great example of the legendary quality control Rolex have. Assembly can take up to 6 months, depending on public holidays.
AD's have to arrange armed transport to take delivery of Rolex when they arrive in the destination country. In the USA all Rolex are kept at Fort Knox, in UK it is the Bank of England. This process can take up to three months and this explains erratic supply in AD's shops.
I hope this is an insight into how special our Rollies are.
I've read all the explanations and prefer Martin's.
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