What Is The Resale Value of a Rolex Watch?
The time has come, and now you’re ready to sell your beloved Rolex. You know that Rolex is an iconic watch brand, but you don’t know much about the history of your specific watch. So, you’ve gone down a rabbit hole about how to go about selling your Rolex. What is the resale value of my Rolex watch? Has the value of my watch gone up or down? Is my Rolex considered vintage? Why do some Rolexes go for more than others? Do I get more money if my Rolex if it is a men’s or women’s Rolex? How do I find a reputable dealer?
- Why are Rolexes so Valuable?
- How do I know if my watch is Vintage?
- What Are Some Popular Used or Vintage Rolex Models?
- What Goes Into Pricing a Used Rolex?
- What is My Rolex Actually Worth?
- What Can I do With My Certified Pre-owned Rolex?
- Where Can I Sell a Used Rolex?
Rolexes are always going to be expensive as they are quality and precision timepieces that last for generations. This means that Rolexes typically have higher resale values in comparison to other luxury watches. The mechanical ingenuity and craftsmanship add to the value of a Rolex.
Part of the pricing is due to the material selection for the bezel, bracelet, and dial. The value of your Rolex changes depending on whether you have a piece with gold, stainless steel, ceramic, platinum, titanium, or even diamonds. Other factors determining the price of a Rolex, beyond the materials, is labor, research and development, and marketing and brand position.
Rolex history also plays a part in the price of a Rolex. There are vital turning points in the life of Rolex products that have minor improvements that refined Rolex products in every way. These changes created the illustrious market for used and vintage men’s and women’s timepieces. Rolexes are sleek and stylish and built to last.
There is a blurry line between having simply a used or pre-owned Rolex versus a vintage Rolex. Usually, after 20 or 30 years is when the watch tends to start appreciating in value. At that point, there is usually more visibility and more knowledge about the history of that Rolex model.
You can check the unique serial that comes engraved on every Rolex watch, which allows you to track your watch to learn more about it. Without a serial number, you may have a counterfeit Rolex. If you are unsure if your Rolex is counterfeit or authentic, take it to a trusted Rolex dealer or reseller to learn more about your timepiece.
Not all Rolex models are treated equally. Some used and vintage Rolex models are more popular than others.
After the Rolex Submariner's launch in 1954, the Submariner has been one of the most recognizable Rolex models. This watch was conceived as a diver’s watch since Rene-Paul Jeanneret, the Rolex director at the time, was an amateur diver and sought the help of Jacques Cousteau to test this watch in his underwater explorations. The Submariner's design was not only as a sporty watch but also as a dress watch. There is also a wide price range among the Submariner models including the Kermit and Hulk variations, thus making this iconic watch highly collectible amongst collectors giving the Submariner one of the best resale values on the market.
In 1945, the Rolex Datejust was introduced as the first watch to display the visible date on the dial. The groundbreaking date display mixed with simple details and its precious metal construction led to the Datejust becoming popular for both men and women. Adding to the popularity of the Datejust is the watch’s association with notable figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dwight Eisenhower, Jennifer Anniston, Bono, Roger Federer, and Michael Jordan. The Datejust has a lower price point than others, which makes this attractive minimal piece affordable.
In 2012, Rolex first released the Sky-Dweller to make it the first new Rolex watch in 20 years. This watch features the most complicated movement that Rolex makes. The annual calendar feature is highlighted by the complicated movement that takes into account specific months that have 30 days instead of 31 days. Adding to the Sky-Dweller’s innovation is the month indicator around the dial. Rolex originally released this dressy timepiece with a gold case, making it quite expensive, and later Rolex released this model in steel, thus dropping the price.
In 2008, the Rolex Deepsea was introduced to allow divers to monitor their dive and decompression time and is water-resistant up to 12,800 feet (3,900 meters). With engineering for deep-sea exploration, the Rolex Deepsea is amongst the ultra-resistant watches. After James Cameron’s historic dive to the deepest point on earth, the Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 116660 D-Blue dial was introduced in 2014 to commemorate this dive. The Deepsea has been worn by celebrities, including James Cameron, Sylvester Stallone, Joe Rogan, Stephen Curry, Tiger Woods, and Charlize Theron.
The Daytona was first released in 1963 and named for the city in Florida that is known for attracting motorsport enthusiasts and the Daytona International Speedway, but the original name was Le Mans. This watch celebrated Rolex officially partnering with the racetrack. It featured a tachymeter engraved on the bezel for easy MPH reading. The Daytona also features a chronograph (stopwatch) that drivers could use to time laps. When actor/driver Paul Newman was photographed wearing the Daytona, the popularity of the Daytona increased.
The price of your used or vintage Rolex watch isn’t only about the materials, history, and age of your watch. There are more factors that go into pricing your watch and many ways to determine the value of a Rolex for sale. Two of the main ways to evaluate a Rolex is through their reference and serial numbers which let you know what type of watch you have and the year the timepiece was crafted.
Having a reference and serial number helps you with authenticating your watch for a potential used Rolex buyer, especially if you don't have the proper paperwork. Without the reference or serial number, the Rolex could be a fake. The easiest way to have your used Rolex authenticated is to take it to a reputable Rolex reseller.
Below are a few factors that can go into pricing a used Rolex.
Having a Rolex in good condition will make it more valuable than a Rolex that has significant blemishes or missing links in the bracelet or have non-Rolex replacement parts. This isn’t to say there aren’t rare vintage defects that increase the value of a watch. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the better the condition, the higher the value of the Rolex.
- Having modifications or replacement components can negatively affect the resale value with the vintage collector who prefers to have the original parts versus updating the watch with new movements.
- As with every watch, wear and tear occurs. Be aware, some wear and tear can affect the overall value. Some scratches and marks are expected and often can be easily taken care of but missing dial markers, water damage, or damaged hands can negatively affect the value.
- Is your Rolex working properly? The discovery of any issues with the internal movement of your Rolex will negatively affect the final value of the watch since the internal movement needs repairs.
- If the crown or bezel is not working properly, this has a negative effect on the overall value. Now, more money will go into repairing those parts.
Model and Serial Number
The serial number on your Rolex is the most important part of pricing your watch. If you didn't keep or didn't receive the paperwork that tells you the model and serial number, the watch has the model and serial number engraved on it. You can find the model number engraved at the watch lug at the 12 o’clock side where the case and the bracelet come together. You can find the serial number engraved at the watch lug at the 6 o’clock side where the case and bracelet come together.
- In 1954, Rolex serial numbers reached #999,999 and Rolex reset the serial numbers. Because of this, there are watches out there with identical serial numbers. On the interior of the caseback, there is a date code that indicates whether Rolex made the watch before or after the mid-1950s. Make sure you only open the caseback with the help of a watchmaker.
- Around the end of 2010, Rolex started using random serial numbers rather than chronological numbers. This makes it tough to date except knowing that Rolex made the watch after 2010.
You’ll need to figure out what type of Rolex you have. Is it a used Rolex Daytona, a used Rolex Date-Date, a used Rolex Submariner, a used Rolex GMT-Master (read more about the “Pepsi” Rolex), a used Rolex Datejust, etc.? In order to view the reference number, you must first remove the bracelet.
- The location of the reference number on the Rolex is on the side of the watch case at the 12 o’clock position, which is only visible after removing the bracelet.
- Other terms that you might see or hear is the model number or style number, but these are interchangeable with the term reference number.
- Within the reference number, you’ll discover not only the model but also the coded number for the bezel and material of your watch.
The materials Rolex used in the construction of the watch affects the final sell price. This includes the material for the bracelet, dial, and bezel. Is it platinum, gold, stainless steel, titanium, ceramic, or diamond? Each has different values for the models.
Box and Papers
Having the original box and papers that came with the purchase of your Rolex watch, you can increase the value of your Rolex. However, having the original box and papers isn't a necessity. The box and papers can help with the verification of authenticity. This is more important if you have a rare Rolex. Documentation sets in a buyer’s mind that this is a certified pre-owned Rolex. Having any of the following documentation items can get more money for your used Rolex. But having these items isn’t necessary to sell your Rolex.
- Original paperwork
- Original box
- Service records
- Booklets and certificates
- Hangtags or bezel protectors
- Bracelet links
- Rolex wallet
- Other items that were originally included in the box
Original Features and Authenticity
There are circa-correct Rolex watches and authentic Rolex watches. Both affect the overall price you can fetch for your watch. A circa-correct Rolex has all of the original components that are correct for the time that they produced the Rolex. An authentic Rolex has all of its components made by Rolex without being circa-correct. U.S. Coins and Jewelry guarantees each Rolex to be 100% authentic.
Provenance and Rarity
If you have a fairly standard Rolex that was owned by someone famous, having the provenance of that ownership can increase the resale value of a Rolex that doesn’t fetch the highest price. Having a Rolex with rare qualities, such as a rare dial or defect, can raise the value of your Rolex. Just make sure you have the paperwork to prove it.
The amount that you once paid for your Rolex isn’t the current resale price. The five items above go into the valuation of a used or vintage Rolex. Some of the pricing depends on the current market value. This can change year to year.
The model and serial number allow you to know how much your Rolex is worth simply by looking it up. This is what reputable buyers and sellers go off from for initially pricing your Rolex. The price of a used Rolex can change from seemingly identical Rolex watches, which is why you need to find a certified, reputable Rolex dealer to help you get a fair market price.
With more and more people looking to purchase sustainable items, luxury pre-owned Rolexes are quite desirable.
Whether you have a used men’s Rolex or a used women’s Rolex, you can sell it online or offline. Sites like eBay make it quicker and easier to sell used Rolex watches if you don’t want to go through a specialized buyer though you are likely to lose out on the full value. You can also find a place that does consignments that have the potential to get you more money for your used watch but might take longer. Often at the store, you can trade your Rolex for another model. Or you can choose a reputable Rolex reseller like U.S. Coins and Jewelry who can appraise the value of your watch and offer you cash payment in-person or online.
Having an appraisal conducted on your used Rolex is great for insurance purposes in case it is ever stolen. Keep in mind, the price quoted from the appraisal for insurance is usually higher than the price quoted from the appraisal to sell.
Do you have a Rolex that you are looking to sell or just inherited a Rolex that you don’t know what to do with? Since the Rolex brand goes all the way back to 1905, its long history has created a high resale value for pre-owned Rolex watches. However, not all used Rolex watches for sale go for the same price. It is difficult to determine the valuation of your Rolex just by simply looking at it.
You may find it overwhelming if you’ve decided to sell your used Rolex. There are so many places where you can sell your watch. There are pros and cons to each. You want to use the method that best suits your needs.
Online marketplaces such as eBay
- Pros - You can sell your Rolex quickly by auctioning it off to the highest bidder or selling directly to a buyer. This means that you don’t have to pay someone extra to sell the Rolex for you.
- Cons - If the buyer isn’t satisfied, you can lose money. Some buyers don’t want to purchase a watch from an unknown seller, which can add to difficulty selling to legitimate buyers.
Online auction sites and consignments
- Pros - You can make more money from selling your Rolex. Buyers tend to know exactly which Rolexes they are looking for.
- Cons - The process is often lengthy, and you may not be dealing with Rolex experts who use their extensive watch knowledge to sell the watch. With auctions, a portion of the sale goes to the auction house instead of the seller.
- Pros - This is a quick way to sell your Rolex watch. Some places allow you to trade-in your Rolex for a different Rolex if that is what you are trying to do.
- Cons - They often lowball the watch seller because they have to make money from selling the watch, and they often don’t have expert knowledge of luxury watches. If you happen to have a rare Rolex, you may not get what it is worth.
Brick and mortar shops specializing in luxury watches
- Pros - Dealing with a reputable dealer with expertise in Rolexes helps you get a fair market value for your watch. The shops that specialize in Rolexes spend the time to authenticate your watch and let you know everything you need to know about your Rolex. Many of these specialized shops allow you to trade-in your Rolex for another Rolex.
- Cons - The fair market value may not compare to the sentimental value or the price of a brand new Rolex. The market value is simply the price that the current shopper would pay for that Rolex.
However you decide which is the best place to sell your Rolex, you should go with whichever option has the best reviews, reputation, and resources for your specific needs. If you are considering selling your Rolex or other fine timepieces, consider our experts at U.S. Coins and Jewelry. We are the #1 trusted pre-owned Rolex dealer in Houston and will match or beat any reasonable offer for your Rolex.
Contact the specialists at U.S. Coins and Jewelry at 8435 Katy Freeway in Houston or call 713-597-6367 to help you determine the fair marketing value of your used or vintage Rolex before you sell it. No appointment is necessary.
Want an idea of what you would get before driving to our location?
Simply upload some images at our free, no-obligation, Online appraisal form so we can give you an estimated price if you’re considering selling your Rolex. While it is impossible to give you an exact figure based on pictures, we can get very close. If you want to trade your Rolex for another model we can do that as well.