Let me pose a little thought experiment. How much have fake Rolex online forums cost the global economy in terms of wasted productivity in the workforce? How many hours are lost speculating over the Crown’s possible new releases, comparing advice on how to change an Oysterflex, or conducting snap polls on whether to buy the GMT Root Beer or the blue dial Submariner (two tone)? By my calculations, the dollar value would buy Paul Newman’s famous Swiss movement fake Rolex Daytona several times over. Rolexforums.com has hosted more than 11 million posts alone.
But what is the psychological impetus behind this intense buzz of activity? Hiwa Khezri decided to find out. During his Masters degree in Management and Strategic Marketing at the Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, he completed a dissertation that delved into Rolex online brand communities (AKA Rolex’s unofficial fan-boy sites). Hiwa analysed a mountain of posts from two Facebook sources – the Rolex Forum and the Rolex Forum Norge (Noreweigan) for his paper entitled: A Netnographic Study of Rolex Members’ Motivations for Online Engagement.
You can read the whole thing here. But essentially Hiwa found that the reasons for posting came down to three main drivers.
1. Social validation
Members of Swiss made replica Rolex forums happily share images of their watches that, to a detached onlooker, seem like pretty blatant attempts to fish for compliments. In his dissertation, Hiwa cites the following examples from the Norwegian Rolex Facebook group to illustrate his point:
Whether consciously or not, Hiwa suggests that the underlying motive for these types of posts is validation. The posts invariably earn favourable or admiring responses and the member can then bask in the warm glow of satisfaction and a sense of bolstered status within the community.
Yes, this might all seem a bit infantile. But it basically amounts to harmless high-fiving over a shared obsession.“Community members portray joy for the watch posts rather than to spread conflict,” Hiwa explains. “This illustrates a community where the dedication and passion to cheap copy Rolex is strong, where like-minded people can share their love for Rolex.”