What's Rolex watches to do with professional photography? Actually, plenty. We have a lot to learn from Rolex. Rolex sells watches, not just watches, expensive watches and extremely expensive watches for as much as five hundred thousand dollars. Rolex official retailers are reporting good sales. In spite of the worldwide recession, 2008 has been the best year ever for the luxury watch industry, Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Panerai… 2009 looks like another great year of the luxury watch industry.
Rolex sponsors many high-end sports tournaments like yachting and tennis. As a sponsor of Wimbledon Tennis, Allen Brill, President of Rolex Watch, US was attending the men's final when asked:
Acquaintance — How's the watch business?
Allen Brill — I don't know.
Acquaintance, surprised — What do you mean?
Allen Brill — We are not in the watch business, we are in the luxury business.
There are many large brands like Seiko, Citizen, Swatch… that make “better” watches. Watches that are much more accurate than Rolex. Watches that are more “rugged” than Rolex. But the cheapest “real Rolex” sell for $3900 in Vancouver, BC.
What can we learn from Allen Brill? Every family has at least 2 or 3 people with a cheap digital camera. How many good photos do they have? How many photos that they treasure do they have? Everybody has a driver's license with a “great” photo on it, nobody cherishes that photo.
If photographers think of themselves as providers of luxury then customers will treat them as such and pay them as such.