As a professional valuer, people often ask me what is the best value pre-owned Rolex. To be honest, there’s no simple straightforward answer – there are so many variables to consider. Your budget, the age and condition of the watch, whether it has box and or papers, and whether you’re looking to buy as an investment or for something to wear daily. All of these aspects will bring you a slightly different answer . . .
I’ve been buying, selling, owning and valuing Rolex watches for over twenty years. In that time, I’ve worked for no less than four authorised distributors, as well as several second-hand specialists. I used to be a Rolex fan; I loved the history of the brand, the industry-leading developments, and the exciting watches used by explorers, specialists and professionals. As the years have passed, my love for the brand has slowly waned . . .
The Rolex shortage remains in full force. Certain models – the stainless steel Daytona, GMT-Master II and Submariner – might as well be made of unobtanium. Models further down the food chain – the stainless steel Explorer, Air King and Oyster Perpetual – aren’t sitting on the shelves, either. They come in, they go out to waiting customers. As we enter the New Year, strong demand has facilitated yet another Rolex price hike, as follows:
There is an enormous temptation to buy a watch abroad. You’re on holiday. The bills are at home. Factory tour? Sure! The horological urge is equally strong at the airport duty free shop. Or that fancy foreign watch boutique you entered “just to look around.” Don’t do it! Don’t buy a watch abroad. Here’s why . . .
The Rolex Explorer made its bones when Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest wearing the watch. Only that didn’t happen. Eddie left his Oyster Perpetual at base camp and ascended Everest wearing a Smith’s. Rolex created the Explorer name to commemorate Hillary’s triumph. Does that matter? It does if you’re looking for Rolex’s most exploration-ready timepiece. News flash: the Explorer ain’t it . . .