Even amongst luxury watches, Rolex commands a premium and have earned a reputation of not just being a status symbol but also of being an investment. Rolex’s long heritage, excellent craftsmanship, and beautiful aesthetics have accumulated over the years to build a brand that continues to attract collectors of all ages. Rolex watches are known to hold their value, sometimes even appreciating in value, partly due to the strict price controls, limited production and strong brand equity.
Before you start your first investment in Rolex watches, here are 4 factors you should consider before making your first purchase.
Read Also: Why Are Rolex Watches So Expensive?
#1 Choose A Classic Watch Design
Among the offerings from Rolex, the two most classic and popular models are the Rolex Submariner and GMT Master. These watches are well-liked by men and women and feature a timeless design clad in stainless steel or other metals. These models of watches retain their value very well and can even appreciate over time, making it a worthy investment. For instance, a Rolex Submariner in 2010 retails at approximately US$7,375 from official channels. Fast forward to 2020, the official retail price of the same model of watches is now US$9,500.
Despite some variants contain expensive metals, special leather straps or even gemstones which are mostly found on women’s watches, timepieces made from higher quality materials such as white gold or diamonds may not be worth the high cost. While these variants can look more attractive, they are also priced higher. Unless your watch holds a unique collection value such as a special background or limited production, buying a Rolex watch with a steep price tag will not only deter casual buyers from buying your watch, but it also may not be attractive enough to draw the attention of potential collectors.
#2 Watch Out For Reference Numbers
The Reference Number is used to describe the model, production year and the material that it is made of. Two watches under the same series can sound the same but can differ greatly in value.
Take the Rolex Submariner for example. A Rolex Submariner with the Reference Number of 6538 (made in the year 1957) was auctioned by Phillips for a record-breaking US$567,000. In contrast, a Rolex Submariner with the Reference Number of 16613 (made from the year 2006 to 2007) is only worth US$12,000 to US$24,000 in the resale market.
The price difference from different Reference Numbers can be attributed to the scarcity of the watch and any historical affiliation with the watch, such as a military background or unique partnerships.
#3 Pay Attention To The Colour Scheme
Despite having the same reference number, series and material, the value of watches can still differ due to different colour schemes. Throughout the last century, the Rolex GMT-Master in “Pepsi” (Blue and Red dual colour) bezel was iconic, standing out among other variants of different colours. The collectable value is partly attributed to the fact that it was developed by Pan Am, America’s largest airline from the last century.
Today, the Rolex GMT-Master 16750 with the “Pepsi” bezel fetches a resale value from US$12,995, compared to the same model with an all-black bezel which starts from US$9,795.
#4 Be Aware Of Condition And Defects
The condition of your Rolex timepiece can affect the value of your watch depending on the age of your watch. In the case of older Rolex GMT-Master 16750 in “Pepsi” bezel, the colour of the bezel would fade over time, resulting in a special pinkish and light blue colour. Surprisingly, such models are capable of fetching a higher value as collectors appreciate the vintage unique colour of the watch.
In contrast, for any Rolex bought in recent years, scratches and faded colours will not be viewed as a sign of authenticity but seen as defects caused by wear and tear, which may cause the value of the watch to depreciate.
While the classic Rolex watches such as the GMT Master and Submariner can retain their value very well, the condition of the watch coupled with the reference number of the watch can make a difference in the resale value. While older watches that show signs of ageing may not affect its resale value (and may increase it in some select cases), it is not a wise choice to leave scratches on the new Rolex that you intend to purchase.
As with any investment, there are risks involved. Unless you are a watch enthusiast and have accumulated substantial knowledge about the watches and their potential resale value, buying a Rolex watch as an investment may not materialise in a gain.
Instead, if you buy a Rolex watch in appreciation of its craftsmanship and brand heritage, you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of owning a piece of Rolex history (and potentially a pleasant surprise if it appreciates in value in the future).
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