Unlike most used luxury cars, high-end electronics, designer clothing and, well, almost everything else, pre-owned Rolex watches often hold their value, and even appreciate over time. In fact, many of the worlds most expensive and highly coveted Rolex watches are actually older, vintage references that are now considered quite rare and collectible, yet were relatively inexpensive at the time they were originally purchased. In this way certain Rolex models have come to be valued as highly as classic cars or coveted contemporary art.
Even fairly new Rolex watches can command higher prices – or at the very least what they were originally worth – thanks to a worldwide surge in demand for the most iconic models like the stainless steel Submariner. Which can make selling your Rolex, either for profit or in order to trade up to a more exclusive model, an attractive proposition. Unless you are trained in assessing luxury jewelry however, you’ll want to tread very carefully due to the high number of counterfeit watches and parts and the unscrupulousness of certain operators in the market.
“Whatever your motivation for selling your Rolex, proper research can ensure that you don’t lose out on getting the best deal,” Paul Altieri, one of the world’s top Rolex collectors and founder of online luxury watch boutique Bob’s Watches tells JustLuxe. “Most people want to sell their Rolexes in order to trade up for a newer, higher priced model. This can be a smart strategy as long as you follow proper procedure, starting with figuring out exactly how much your watch is worth. And there is no shame in it; even famous people sell or trade their Rolexes all the time.”
Dealing with a transparent, honest and certified company will make sure you don’t end up getting burned. “A reputable buyer will offer total transparency, as well as free shipping and insurance,” Altieri says. “There is a lot of myth and hype surrounding the Rolex market, but with a detailed report on the condition of your watch determining the value is actually pretty scientific. It’s also important to know whether you have the original box and papers your watch came with and if it’s in its original factory condition. And if you have a vintage or rare Rolex model, you might be quite surprised at how much it’s worth. Often times it can be like hitting the lottery.”
A couple of guidelines when you are ready to part with your precious timepiece: know your watch’s provenance and whether all servicing and repairs were done by an authorized Rolex dealer; and avoid pawn shops and jewelry stores even if convenient as they will always offer lower prices because of high overheads and lack of knowledge needed to properly value Rolex watches. Bob’s Watches lists all of it’s “buy” and “sell” prices online so you’ll know exactly what the market value and profit margin is on your watch before you make a commitment, and they put the entire expert valuation process on video from start to finish once the watch arrives at their Newport, CA headquarters. That's not how everyone does it, but it certainly sets the gold standard.