Investing in a Rolex

After a metronomic four-year surge, the price of Rolex watches ticked down through 2022 and are just starting to stabilize. 

This offers a potential entry point for buyers, said luxury watch expert Luke Daniels on his YouTube channel, but he warned that the value of certain models may still “fall out of the sky”.

For over a century, Rolex has been making luxury watches that stood the test of time. The word ‘perpetual’ is written on almost every Rolex watch face as a tribute to the quality of the watches and the fact they are built to last. 

Rolex watches are more than just a classy accessory, though. Money can be made from investments in Rolex watches.

The global watch industry is expected to reach $53.5 billion by 2028, according to a report published by KBV research. 

Demand for luxury watches by women and young people is a particularly lucrative market growth opportunity, KBV research said.

The investment case for a Rolex

Daniels said that, while returns may vary in the short term, if you want to play the long game and there is a watch that you have always wanted – it is a good time to buy. 

Returns will vary dependent on the model, and when it is sold.

In 2017, a Rolex Daytona formerly owned by actor Paul Newman sold for over $17 million at an auction in New York. The watch was originally bought for $300, a report said.

Naturally, this extraordinary rise is matched by many watches losing their value.

Daniels said the Rolex Day-Date 40 and the SkyDweller Oyster Flex are currently “under-list”. This means many dealers are not stocking those watches to sell because the market is currently soft on them.

A Rolex Day-Date

Despite this, Daniels, who represents a watch dealership, said that, given the current easing of prices, it may be a good time to buy a Rolex if you choose “the right watch, at the right price, at the right time”.

WatchCharts has an online index that shows the price of the top 30 Rolex models by transaction value.

Between March 2018 and March 2022, the value of the index more than doubled, rising from $16,000 to $38,000.

The cheapest watch on the index is a Rolex Explorer II, which is priced on the second-hand market at around $8,500. The most expensive watch on the index is a Rolex Daytona, which is priced by the market at nearly $125,000.

However, there has been a nearly 25% pullback in the index from its early 2022 highs.

Graph showing index of 30 secondhand Rolex watches with the highest transaction value. Source: WatchCharts

Second-hand market

In December 2022, Rolex announced that it would be launching its own certification program for pre-owned watches. 

The aim of this program is to add value to the Rolex watches already circulating in the market by ensuring the authenticity of Rolex watches at the point of sale. 

“This approach is in keeping with the Perpetual philosophy – the relentless pursuit of excellence and a long-term commitment to future generations,” said Rolex.

According to WatchCharts, Rolex watches that have been officially certified through the program are currently 34% more expensive than other Rolexes.

Counterfeited luxury watches represent “a significant industrial issue that costs businesses billions annually”, the KBV research report said.

“Retailers ensure the continued smooth functioning of each timepiece over the years. Only the official Rolex network is able to provide these guarantees,” said Rolex.


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