Dipples Jewellers has revealed that parting ways with watch brand Rolex was a surprisingly positive shift, allowing it to focus more on the jewellery upon which its business was founded.

With shops in Dereham and Norwich, Dipples was founded in 1878 and is now the only fifth-generation jewellers located in the area. It also operates online since 2005.

In an interview with Professional Jeweller‘s sister title WatchPro, Dipples managing director, Chris Ellis, stated that its long-term relationship with both jewellery and watch brands has been the key to its post-Covid success.

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The retailer was an authorised Rolex dealer until around 10 years ago. Ellis admitted that he can see why most people would think the loss a negative, but went on to explain that it allowed Dipples to become better at what its business was all about, dedicating more time to other brands, especially jewellery.

He explained: “For watches specifically, it was of course a big chunk of our turnover but obviously, being Rolex, it operates at a much lower profit margin than other brands and even more so in comparison to jewellery.

“Taking that into account, it wasn’t the kick to business that I think you initially think it is.”

He continued: “It made us really look at what we did. Following that move, we invested a lot more money into jewellery, higher-end pieces and into carat-plus diamonds, lots of fancy coloured stones and things. Now I think we have, without question, the biggest range on the East Coast.”

Discussing the jeweller’s ethos on parting ways with brands, Ellis went on: “We don’t like to drop brands if we can avoid it because we like to work with them over a number of years.

“We believe that if we can stick with them through their up and down years, they will work with us when we need it too.

“As long as they’re doing okay, and we don’t have a lot of fallow years, then we strive to keep as many brands as we can.

“We have dropped brands, of course we have, but generally, that’s because something’s happened specifically.”

Since stores have been back open, Mr Ellis reports that things are going well for the business across both its Norwich and Dereham stores.