“Fresh data shared exclusively with WatchPro from secondary market specialist Chronext shows that, while there was a drop in prices in the early days of the pandemic, prices have rebounded in some cases spiked as it has become clear that pent-up demand would overwhelm supply because of the mothballing of manufacturing facilities during lock down in Switzerland.” That’s quite a lead (at least in terms of length). The question is, is it true? . . .
The article’s based entirely on data from UK-based watch trader Chrononext.com. While their employees all look like nice trustworthy folks, one datapoint does not a reliable statistic make. Given the predominance of new, unworn watches on their site, it’s safe to assume Chrononext’s assessment’s based predominantly on dealer sales, not private sales.
With that in mind, here’s their take on pre-owned Rolex and Pepsi prices (with a free plug slipped in by watchpro.com to promote their mutually beneficial partnership):
A theory doing the rounds in the early weeks of the pandemic was that trade prices were softening as professional dealers rushed to sell and a buyers’ market briefly emerged. “That was the case for the first two weeks of March,” agrees Philipp Man, co-founder and CEO of CHRONEXT.
But it has normalized again because demand has normalized. Buying is competitive and customers have choices for where they sell their watches. We want CHRONEXT be their first choice, so we have to be fair with our pricing. At the moment, you will probably get the same price, potentially even higher than pre-Corona, for many of the unicorn watches,” he added.
“We turned to the best possible source for reliable data on private watch sales: watchcharts.com. Founder and number cruncher Charles Tian is a UT Computer Sciences grad with no axe to grind – they sell info, not watches. Here’s what he had to say about the watchpro.com article:
“I have attached our data for the last 6 months on the Rolex Daytona (ref. 116500LN) and Rolex “Pepsi” (ref. 126710BLRO).
“The prices that we are observing are lower across the board, but that’s to be expected – we’re primarily tracking private party sales, whereas sites like Chronext presumably track mostly dealer sales [ED: as mentioned above].
“For the Daytona, we observed sold prices dropping about 12% from their peak in February. As you can see from the chart, there has been a bit of a rebound in price over the last couple weeks. But we haven’t seen any evidence that prices are ‘potentially even higher than pre-Corona’ for this model.
“What’s more interesting: during the period from April to June, unsold prices were significantly lower than sold prices. This most likely indicates that there was a softening of demand in the market. Sellers were eager to discount their watches to drive sales, but buyers remained hesitant.
“We see a similar trend with the Rolex GMT 126710BLRO. However, compared to Chronext, our data suggests that the price softening was much more than just EUR1000.
“From the peak of EUR15500 in February, we saw prices drop more than 20%, as low as EUR12000. Prices have been recovering over the past month or so, but it remains to be seen whether they will stabilize at pre-Corona levels.”
And there you have it: the truth about pre-owned Rolex Daytona and Pepsi prices.
I’m happy to admit here that I was wrong; I thought there would be a much longer road to recovery of prices than watcharts is reporting.
I think you’re being premature about being premature. We shall see.