Rolex crafts high-quality timepieces that have made a huge mark on the watch industry since their inception in 1905. It’s little wonder why Rolex is one of the most iconic and well-known luxury watch brands out there, to this day.
One has to pay a considerable sum to enjoy Rolex’s impeccable design and craftsmanship. So whenever one is on the market for a Rolex watch, one of the questions they ask is – will my Rolex watch hold its value years after? The short answer is yes, a Rolex is often worth that initial investment. Whether your watch will increase in value after purchase depends on the model you chose and the market, but most Rolex watches maintain a high resale value compared to other brands.
Read on to find out whether your watch falls on the list of Rolexes that hold their value the best and where your investment stands.
Top Rolexes That Hold Their Value Best
The Daytona was created in 1963 to meet the needs of professional race car drivers. While it was not popular initially, it gained popularity thanks to the actor, director, and race car driver Paul Newman who wore an “exotic dial” Daytona model almost everyday. Along with this connection, as well as the surge of interest in vintage watches after the 1970s Quartz Crisis, the Rolex Daytona became cool and collectible.
Today, the Rolex Daytona comes in a wide variety of models – from robust stainless steel ones to uber luxurious gold and gem-set models. With all the different designs there are, a lot of Daytonas on the market today and that number still doesn’t meet the demand. Some styles are trading for two to three times their actual retail value.
Tachymetric scale for easy timing of laps and races
Three chronograph registers: at 3 o’clock for the minutes, at 9 o’clock for the hours, and at 6 o’clock for the small seconds
This interesting model was developed in 1956 with scientist and lab work in mind. Its resistant to magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss (hence its name). This technology was undoubtedly appealing, but what gained the model fame was its playful design, particularly the orange, lightning bolt-shaped second hand.
They discontinued the original model in 1988 and reintroduced a new model in 2007 that features a lightning bolt second hand combined with a green-tinted sapphire crystal to aid in legibility. While the post-2007 models are just as popular, there’s an incredible demand for the rare pre-2007 models.
It can withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss
Steel construction that’s highly resistant to corrosion
3131 movement with incredible performance
As one of the most popular models for Rolex, the GMT-Master was designed for pilots and professional travelers with a third hand to aid in the tracking of different time zones.
While the vintage models with the patina or faded dial are highly sought after, the modern GMT-Master II models with upgrades such as Cerachrom ceramic bezels, redesigned Jubilee and Oyster bracelets, and even a left-handed version are some of the most popular sports watches of today.
Through the years, the GMT-Master line has been produced with prized color schemes that include the blue and black ‘Batman’ combination and the red and blue ‘Pepsi’ that are highly sought after by collectors.
Features of the GMT-Master II
Third hand for tracking different time zones. Wearers of this watch can track three different time zones at once.
24-hour bi-colored bezel
This overlooked, entry-level watch has a simple design that has proven to be timeless. Updated in 2020, today’s Oyster Perpetual sport a new movement and larger case that come in a variety of dial colors to become quite the crowd-pleaser. Those models are currently trading on the secondary watch market for over their original retail price.
Oyster Perpetual Features
Clean, time-only dial
Self-winding movement with a Perpetual rotor
The Most Expensive Rolex Watches in the World
PAUL NEWMAN’S ROLEX DAYTONA AUCTIONED IN 2017
Paul Newman’s ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona (photo: Forbes)
Having made the Daytona watch by Rolex famous, Paul Newman’s actual watch sold at auction in October of 2017 for $17.8 million. This price makes it the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold to date.
Paul Newman’s watch gained popularity due to his connection with the brand. He wore the same watch every day for fifteen years.
CURRENT EDITION ROLEX PEARLMASTER
This watch retails at $87,000 making it the most expensive model of Rolex that you can buy today. Due to the diamonds covering the case, the price can vary depending on the market price for diamonds at the time of purchase.
Exclusively available in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, the 34mm and 39mm cases are a high-end and customized version of the Rolex Datejust and are covered in finely cut diamonds or other precious gems. Their technique for placing the gems allows them to precisely align not only the height but the orientation and position of each stone that sits on the dial.
Why do Rolex Watches hold their value?
Rarity increases demand. Demand increases value. If you combine the rarer more sought-after models or color combinations with Rolex’s business plan that includes annual price increases, you’ll find that most Rolex watches will increase in value over time.
As the most recognized brand in the luxury watch business, Rolex combines demand with exclusivity to perfection.
ICONIC AND CLASSIC DESIGNS
You’ll note that while Rolex will constantly improve the mechanics of their watches, the outer styles remain in tribute to their vintage counterparts. For example, today’s editions of the Rolex Submariner, Explorer, GMT-Master, Datejust, and Day-Date – all introduced before 1955 – still possess the key features of the original watches.
Rolex has been a large part of the watch business for over 100 years now and their watches pass the tests of time. Classic models like the Air King and Explorer first introduced in the 1950s are still being sold on the market today and at a high cost.
Rolex Investing FAQs
Is a Pre-Owned Rolex Watch a Good Investment?
Rolex watches tend to hold their value well. In particular, their stainless-steel sports models are well known for not only holding their value well but also increasing in value exponentially.
As the brand grows more in popularity worldwide, it’s much easier for certain designs to gain what can be called a cult following, exponentially increasing their value. If you treat your watch well, there’s also high potential for an increase in value.
However, we don’t recommend buying any watch for the sole purpose of making it an investment – that is, buying it only to sell it later for a profit – as it’s not guaranteed that their price will appreciate later on. Many factors affect the price of a watch over time, such as the watch’s condition and market trends.
Do Rolexes Ever Depreciate?
It’s incredibly rare for a Rolex watch to depreciate with any significance. Their brand building and reputation along with the high-quality components help ensure your investment alongside proper care and service.
If you keep it in great condition on your wrist, it should maintain its value rather well. Sometimes a Datejust will fall slightly below their original retail value and sometimes your GMT may increase in value over time.
If you’re looking at the vintage market don’t be surprised if your Submariner or GMT that you kept in pristine condition becomes worth a considerable amount more than you paid for it.
Which Rolex Holds Their Value Best?
The Submariner, first introduced in 1953, is best known for holding value or even increasing in value over time. This iconic dive watch is what other brands base their diver’s watch designs on. Luxury watch enthusiasts have started cult following over rare color combinations of the Sub, such as the green colored ‘Hulk’ or the ‘Kermit, which have become harder to find over the years.
With a combination of 100 meters of water resistance and luminance indices, this is the watch for divers, complete with rotatable bezels to allow for tracking the time of dives and decompression.
The Cosmograph Daytona, also of Rolex’s sports series mentioned above, holds value due to being one of the most coveted pieces in the Rolex pre-owned market. They consistently sell for six figures at auction.
As a classic dress watch, the Day-Date was Rolex’s first waterproof, self-winding chronometer watch to have a day display. The Day-Date has earned itself the title of the ‘ultimate status watch’ made in gold or platinum and has an excellent resale value.
Also mentioned above, the Rolex GMT-Master II has been in demand for quite some time. Anyone who travels frequently, whether for business or pleasure, finds this model incredibly appealing and valuable. With Rolex’s in-house COSC-certified caliber, it’s built not only to last but endure.
How Much Is the Cheapest Rolex?
The Oyster Perpetual is currently the cheapest Rolex watch in production. It’s the most affordable due to its stainless-steel case rather than one of precious metals. Without any other fancy functions, the Oyster Perpetual is considered a time-only watch and retails for between $5,300 and $6,150.
How Much is My Rolex Worth?
That depends on multiple factors. Much like buying a car, a new Rolex watch will depreciate the moment you take it from the store. Whether it will eventually appreciate or depreciate more depends on several factors that include:
Materials. Whether your watch is made from stainless steel, yellow, white, or rose gold, silver, platinum, or titanium can have a significant influence on the worth of your watch.
Arguably the second most important factor when it comes to worth, the presence or absence of precious gems will determine the overall value of your watch.
Performance value is also important. The model or movement of your watch, whether it’s a sports watch like the Rolex Submariner or Cosmograph Daytona that fetches a high price, or the Day-Date which displays both the date and day of the week – current trends play a huge role in value.
It can’t be expressed enough that keeping your Rolex in fine working condition is imperative to maintain your investment.
Rolex is a brand that has been in operation for over a century now. Vintage models that are in good, working condition often sell for incredibly high prices.
Cult Following. Whether it’s because the model was favored by a famous person or gained a cult following due to style and coloring, the notable styles gain more value.
Box and Papers. The documentation that came with the brand-new watch which includes the Rolex guarantee, and a service manual will give you a higher value to the watch should you decide to sell it later.
Collectors want that original green Rolex box. This is important enough that counterfeiters even make fake boxes.
Pre-Owned Rolex – Final Thoughts
Due to Rolex’s incredible understanding of the luxury watch market, the odds are most definitely in your favor when it comes to your watch holding its value, and potentially growing in value within a few years.
While some models manage this better than others, a Rolex is a timeless addition to any watch box. Discover the wide array of pre-owned Rolex watches we offer at SwissWatchExpo.com.