Rolex dodges the luxury slump with a record $10bn in sales last year, Morgan Stanley says: 'No other luxury brand can claim such a dominant position'

Rolex sales crested $10 billion for the first time as the top Swiss watch brand gained market share, according to a report by Morgan Stanley. 

The dominant Swiss luxury watch brand produced 1.24 million timepieces in 2023 with sales of 10.1 billion Swiss francs ($11.5 billion). That’s a gain of 11% from 2022, analysts at Morgan Stanley and Swiss firm LuxeConsult said in a report Wednesday, adding that Rolex’s current level of market share is “unprecedented.” 

The maker of the Daytona, Submariner and Datejust models grew its retail market share to just over 30% as well-heeled buyers clamored for watches made by the Geneva-based entity, which is controlled by a charitable trust named for Hans Wilsdorf, who co-founded the brand in 1908. The lower-priced Tudor watch brand, which is owned by the same foundation, had sales of about 545 million francs in 2023, according to Morgan Stanley estimates. 

“No other luxury brand can claim such a dominant position in its respective sector,” analysts led by Morgan Stanley Edouard Aubin and LuxeConsult’s Oliver Müller wrote in the report.

Louis Vuitton, for example, had about a 19% share of the luxury handbag market last year, the analysts said.

The Rolex “brand remains the unchallenged No. 1 within the luxury watches industry with greater sales than that of the five following brands Cartier, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Richard Mille combined,” they said. 

The report showed Swiss luxury watch sales continued to be ruled by a handful of brands with more than 1 billion francs in annual sales. Vacheron Constantin, the historic marque controlled by Richemont, joined the elite 1 billion franc sales club for the first time in 2023.

At the other end of the spectrum, Swatch Group AG’s namesake brand sold more than 2 million MoonSwatches in 2023 and about 5.8 million watches in total at an average price of 141 francs, the analysts said. Largely due to the success of the MoonSwatch, a collaboration with Omega, Swatch was the fastest-growing watch brand for the second year in a row.

The Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult figures are estimates, as Swiss watch brands including Rolex don’t disclose their individual annual sales. 

A spokesperson for Rolex declined to comment on the report and the Morgan Stanley estimates. 

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