vintage rolexThere are many brands of luxury watches, but one of the most popular is Rolex.  They have been making watches for a long time, and they have many established models that have been available for decades.

The company is long on innovation, and they haven’t resorted to mass producing their timepieces over time.  They still make them by hand, and their classic models – the Submariner, the Sea Dweller, the Datejust and the Explorer, among them, have had little change over the decades.

But they do change from time to time, and those changes, no matter how minuscule, draw collector attention.  The change might be as simple as adding a magnification window for the date or changing the color of the watch face or hands, but collectors do notice, and when this happens, prices for older models can go through the roof.

A pre-owned Rolex can be a good value, too.  While new models are quite expensive, especially with cases made of anything but stainless steel, older models can be a relative bargain.   I say “relative,” because rock-bottom for any working and authentic Rolex these days is usually in the low thousands of dollars.

There was a time when you could find a used one for hundreds of dollars, but we’re several decades beyond that now.  You should take care when buying a pre-0wned Rolex, however, as there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration before you buy:

  • Is the watch genuine?  There are many, many fake and reproduction Rolex watches on the market, and some of them are quite convincing.  If you’re unsure of what you’re buying or you don’t know your seller, you should exercise caution and avoid buying if you’re not receiving some sort of guarantee.
  • Is the watch all original?  There are companies that take genuine Rolex watches and then modify them – adding color to the case via a PVD technique or adding diamonds or other gemstones to the watch that weren’t originally intended to be there.   While adding bling to a watch might make it appealing to some buyers, such models are no longer completely original and are unlikely to increase in value over time.

vintage rolexThere are several ranges of Rolex watches to consider.  Vintage models are those that are more than 30 years old.  There are some bargains to be had there, but many older models sell for lots of money on the second hand market.  Newer models, of course, will come at a premium, especially if you buy from an authorized retailer.

New models can sometimes be purchased through “gray market” retailers, but again, you should be sure that you know whom you’re buying from to be sure you’re getting the real thing.  There are many legitimate retailers who sell new old stock models at reduced prices.

The best bargains are to be found in models that are no longer new but which aren’t yet vintage.  These are often referred to as “discontinued” models and those are the ones who are currently “bottoming out” when it comes to price.  Before long, they’ll be considered vintage, and then the price will go up again.

A Rolex watch is not only a good watch to own, but it could potentially be a good investment, too.