Rolex says time’s up for its Fifth Avenue headquarters

Watchmaker files for demolition, plans 25-story office at 665 Fifth Avenue

New York /
Aug.August 12, 2021 08:30 AM
Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour and 665 Fifth Avenue (Getty, David Chipperfield Architects)

Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour and 665 Fifth Avenue (Getty, David Chipperfield Architects)

UPDATED Aug. 12, 2021, 3:44 p.m.: Rolex’s watches are timeless, but its New York headquarters is not.

The luxury watch company filed an application with the New York’s Department of Buildings to begin demolishing its 1970s-era, 12-story headquarters at 665 Fifth Avenue. The Swiss company is partnering with architect David Chipperfield to build a 25-story office tower in its place.

Chipperfield was selected to design the Midtown building in 2019. Renderings from March 2020 depict a modern-looking, 155,800-square-foot office building that resembles five glass boxes stacked on top of each other. It will house Rolex’s offices as well as a ground-level retail store.

Rolex recently opened a store at 29-35 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District.

Rolex has yet to release a construction timeline for its new headquarters. Its current one remains open.

In a statement, the company promised its new building would be energy-efficient and eco-friendly. “The quality, precision and excellence that are associated with Rolex will be incorporated in all aspects of the building,” said Luca Bernasconi, president and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A.

The project evinces confidence in a Midtown office market that has been decimated by the pandemic. Close to 20 percent of all Midtown office space was available in the second quarter, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield. Meanwhile, sublease vacant space increased by 14.7 percent to an all-time high of 12.6 million square feet.

Office landlords were hoping that corporate tenants would come back in September, but the Delta variant has put those plans on hold.

This story has been updated with a statement from Rolex.





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