Let’s take a look at the claim “it takes a year to make a Rolex.”
A Rolex factory yesterday where apparently Rolexes have to grow for over a year.....
Rolex submits about 800,000 watch movements to COSC test per year. However, this does not consider the watches that they produce that are not certified chronometers and I would think that a good number to work with would be around 1,000,000 units per year. Surely at 1,000,000 watches/working year you need 1,000,000 watchmakers for it "to take a year to make a Rolex!"
Using some simple arithmetic, you'd figure that Rolex pumps out in the area of 4255 units per day (assuming a 235 day production year), or 532 units per hour based on a single-shift eight hour day or about 9 watches per minute. So a Rolex is created every 7 seconds or so. Now, I heard somewhere that Rolex employs ~5000 people between their Geneva, Bienne and other satellite facilities.
Of course, “a Rolex is made every 7 seconds” does not quite have the same ring to it……. But, Rolex are to be lauded for literally punting out their level of functional quality; an impressive achievement. To me it is more impressive than actually trying to pretend that it takes "a year to make" one.
Compare Jaeger LeCoultre: Based on making 50000 watches per year with 900 staff (of which 200 are watchmakers) and gives 213 watches per working day, 27 watches per hour. One watch every 2 ¼ minutes - 20 times longer than Rolex. In JLC’s case, we know the number of watchmakers and can calculate on that basis: ~1 watch per watchmaker per day.
Remember on the one hand the average is across the model lines AND JLC provide movements (in various stages of finishing) to other watch firms; in other words tying up resource not making their own product. On the other hand something as complex as the Gyrotourbillon will take a lot longer than a day to put together, test, and send out the door…….