The trouble with being one of, if not the, most recognizable luxury brands in the world is the primal reaction many people have to the name ‘Rolex’. For a great many, it equates far too closely with the word “unaffordable”. So, how much is a Rolex?
Much of this is Rolex’s own doing of course, with their brilliantly effective marketing prowess. Rolex has always associated itself with expressions of success and achievement, neither of which come cheap.
But while the brand has never, and will never, be described as low-cost, novices to the world of horology are often pleasantly surprised by just how attainable a Rolex can be.
New Rolex Prices
The lowest price model, the Oyster Perpetual, starts at under $5,000. While there’s definitely an argument for that still being a lot of money for a watch, this idea of an ‘entry-level’ Rolex is different from that of, say, an entry-level car.
Whereas most cars generally fall into one of two categories—the base model and then all the ones you would actually want to own—the lowest price Rolex is still a Rolex.
The Oyster Perpetual can trace its lineage back some 90 years to the original Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. That’s nine decades of constant refining and improvement. What we’re left with today is the archetypal luxury watch, an iconic all-rounder beloved for its versatility. Its range of sizes; 26, 31, 34, 36 and 39mm, along with its choice of colored dials. This allows it to “go-with-anything” for both men and women.
As well as being generous with the number of different styling options, Rolex included the Oyster Perpetual, many of the same features that you’ll find in their more expensive counterparts. It’s constructed from the same tough 904L steel as the rest of the collection. Like all Rolex’s in-house calibers, the OP is certified as a Superlative Chronometers, passing the company’s own “stricter-than-industry-standard” testing for reliability and precision.
In short, Rolex does not scrimp on their offering just because it’s the entry level. You even get 18k white gold on the hands and indices.
Value For Money
Of course, it is possible to spend more on a Rolex. A lot more. Search through their official website, and you’ll find some truly breathtaking numbers, along with the ominous “prices on request” note on some of the more outlandish models.
But are Rolex watches actually expensive, in real terms?
The quality of Rolex’s products ensures their longevity. Properly looked after, they will outlast you, me and everyone we know. Couple that with their peerless reputation, their provenance, and the timelessness of their designs, and you have one of the very few luxury articles that retain their value and, in some cases, appreciates. An example of a watch is the Paul Newman Daytona is a watch that appreciated over time.
Pre-Owned Rolex Watches
The market for pre-owned models is thriving. Like any high-price item, a certain level of depreciation will hit a brand new Rolex as soon as it leaves the store. But with the company’s pedigree being what it is, there’s a definite ‘glass floor’ beyond which that price will not sink.
Some models hold their value better than others. Often seen as the true emblem of the brand, the Submariner remains in great demand due to its unrivaled build quality and classic design. It’s the same story with the likes of the Daytona and GMT-Master II.
This similarity in design means buying a pre-owned model, once someone else has shouldered the brunt of the depreciation for you, lowers the overall cost of owning your watch. You can buy a pre-owned Submariner today and sell it in ten years for roughly the same as you paid for it, meaning you’ve worn an iconic watch for free for a decade. With inflation factored in, you may even have made a profit.
Choose the right model and hang on to it long enough and, in some respects, the cost of owning a Rolex is negative. Many references appreciate in value, particularly the more ‘niche’ offerings that are produced in lower numbers.
The same is true whether looking at men’s or women’s watches. There’s no difference in the levels of quality, manufacture, or performance between the two ranges. The smaller sizes of the ladies collection are reflected in lower price points when set against the comparable men’s watch – and they hold their value over time just as well.
While women’s watches are more likely to be made from precious metals and contain gemstones, both are subject to constant flux in their market values. The price for pre-owned models remains generally consistent.
So, How Much is a Rolex?
Whether you decide to buy a Rolex new or pre-owned, there is a model to suit (nearly) every pocket. Being a watch’s first owner is an exciting prospect, like driving a new car out of the showroom, but many find it enjoyable to have greater purchasing power in the pre-owned market.
The beauty of a Rolex is in their ability to retain their value. Their legacy of technological innovation and obsession over sustaining the quality of their output is legendary. It’s this fact that the Swiss watchmaking giant is so well known for that has sustained them at the forefront of the industry for decades.
Of course, the real value of a watch lies is in what it means to you, regardless of how much you paid for it. The Rolex you choose for yourself reflects your personality and tells the world your story. Look after it well enough and it’ll be handed down to future generations—and you can’t put a price on that.