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Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value?

Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value? The Truth About Rolex Investment

Rolex watches are considered to be a symbol of prestige, luxury, and financial success. They're often also considered as an asset to be enjoyed with the potential for holding their value in the long term. But how exactly does this work? Is investing in a Rolex really worth owning for its investment potential? This article will answer the question 'Do Rolex watches hold their value?' for you.

First, we must understand the reasons why a Rolex watch may hold its value and even appreciate over time. Much of this is due to Rolex long-standing reputation, so the best place to start is by taking a look at the history of Rolex and its place in the luxury watch market.

History of Rolex

The First Founding of Rolex

Founded in 1905 in London by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, two individuals with a shared vision for precision and quality in watchmaking. At the time, wristwatches were not yet popular, but the two founders saw the potential for wristwatches to become a stylish and practical alternative to pocket watches. They set out to create a timepiece that was accurate, reliable, and elegant. In 1908, Rolex introduced the first wristwatch to be granted a Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, a distinction previously reserved for marine chronometers. This achievement was a testament to the brand's dedication to precision and accuracy and has not just guaranteed them both a place in watchmaking history, but has also set the brand on the path that it has steered ever since.

How Rolex became an iconic luxury brand

It was this dedication to continuous innovation, and the creation of new technologies that have seen Rolex quickly become one of the world's premier luxury watchmakers. They have developed a reputation for excellent craftsmanship and quality materials, incorporated innovative technologies into their product, and marketed them as symbols of wealth, success, and prestige. Rolex has successfully established marketing campaigns that resonated with customers all over the world and adopted strict standards in terms of construction to ensure each piece met their exceptionally high expectations. Further, they invested heavily in research and development to develop more advanced watch movements and other innovations.

With a reputation for excellence, the brand has been adopted as the watchmaker of choice of many famous icons including Steve Mcqueen, Sir Winston Churchill, as well as the fictional James Bond, and in more recent times the likes of David Beckham and Roger Federer. This continual celebrity association has ensured Rolex continues to be considered one of the world's leading luxury brands.

Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value? Global Watch Shop

What Determines the Value of Rolex Watches

Before looking at the individual factors that determine the value of a specific watch, we need to understand what is it about Rolex watches that ensures they hold their value over time.

Quality of craftsmanship

Rolex is a brand known for its exceptional quality of craftsmanship in creating luxury timepieces. Each Rolex is made up of hundreds of parts and requires extreme attention to detail throughout its entire production process. The watchmakers at Rolex use only the finest materials, from the case and bracelet components to the movement inside each watch. All of these components are rigorously tested and inspected to ensure that each watch meets Rolex’s exacting standards. This quality of craftsmanship ensures that Rolex watches maintain their high performance over time, which further adds to the potential for them to hold their value in the long term.

Materials used

The materials used to construct a Rolex watch are of the highest quality. From the stainless steel and gold used for the case and bracelet to the sapphire crystal that protects the dial, even the smallest component has been carefully chosen for its durability and long-term performance. Rolex also utilises its own 18ct gold alloy called Everose, which is specially developed to prevent fading and discolouration over time. This ensures that the watch will retain its iconic aesthetic even after decades of wear.

Design and innovation

Rolex has consistently sought to maintain its status as the world’s leading watch brand by pushing the boundaries of design and innovation. They have introduced a range of technologies and materials to create increasingly sophisticated timepieces, from the Oyster case-waterproof design that set the standard for waterproof watches in 1926 to their patented Parachrom hairspring which provides improved protection against shocks and temperature variations. This dedication to innovation has enabled Rolex to create watches that not only look great but also stand the test of time, thus increasing its investment potential.

Brand reputation and celebrity endorsements

Rolex has long held an impeccable reputation in the watch industry and beyond. The brand's cult-like following is largely due to its commitment to quality craftsmanship, which has enabled them to develop watches that have become synonymous with wealth, success, and prestige. This reputation has led to and has been further strengthened by their association with celebrities, from sports stars to movie icons, further enhancing Rolex's desirability. This continuous endorsement from high-profile figures ensures that Rolex watches remain coveted items that are likely to hold their value in the long term.

Association with certain events or occasions

Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value? Global Watch Shop

Rolex is often associated with high-profile events or occasions due to its strong brand reputation and celebrity endorsements. For example, Rolex has been the official timekeeper of various prestigious sporting events like The Open Championship, US Open, and Wimbledon for over 70 years. Furthermore, the brand is synonymous with success in Formula 1, as they have been the official timekeeper since 2013. This association with such prestigious events has enabled Rolex to further cement its status as a world-renowned watchmaker, and this connection inevitably increases the desirability of the watches they produce - which in turn helps them hold its value over time.

Factors that Affect Rolex Watch Value

The key factors that affect the value of a Rolex over time in the main relate to its quality, condition, rarity, and popularity. Here we'll explore some of these key components as to whether your Rolex of choice is likely to hold its value so that you can make an informed decision when deciding on your next purchase.

Model and rarity

Rolex watches come in a wide range of models, each of which has its own unique features and purpose. The most popular models are generally Rolex sports watches, usually, those from the Rolex Professional range. The relentless demand for models like the Rolex Daytona or the Rolex Submariner outstrips supply and underpins their long-term value.

There are also those models that feature unique details like limited production dials which are usually found amongst a range of more expensive Rolex watches. The higher price tag limits the ability of many to be able to attain such watches but the extremely limited production number of and exclusivity of Rolex models like the Rainbow Daytona or the Rolex Yacht-Master 'Tutti Frutti' guarantee their status as rare Rolex watches and a good investment for the longer term.

Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value? Global Watch Shop
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Older watches that have been well-maintained and serviced regularly are likely to hold their value better than those that have been neglected or mistreated. A Rolex watch in mint condition will always be worth more than one that has been damaged or heavily worn. Many watch collectors will opt actively seek out a new Rolex watch in its original manufacturer's stickers for this reason. Therefore, it is important to take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure that your Rolex watch is always in the best condition possible, thereby helping it to increase in value over years of ownership.


Rolex prides itself on using only the best components, from the top grade 904L grade stainless steel for its steel watches to 18ct gold and other precious metals, which is why these timepieces remain among the most highly sought-after in the world. It has often been the adage amount watch enthusiasts that stainless steel sports models are models that hold their value best over the long term. Whilst historically this may have been true we've certainly seen the precious metals versions of the most popular sports watches increase in value dramatically in recent years, taking the Platinum Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 50th anniversary edition as an example. One thing to be aware of is that although huge gains have been seen on luxury watches formed in precious metals, the volatility of valuations is also higher, so you must consider your risk appetite, and at what point in the price cycle you are buying to ascertain whether your purchase is likely to be the right Rolex investment for you.


When assessing the worth of your Rolex, age is an important factor to keep in mind. Vintage models may be more sought-after and valuable than more modern contemporary examples, due to the scarcity brought about by ceasing production. A discontinued vintage Rolex model will only ever see a decrease in the numbers available.

Age by itself is not a guarantee of a higher valuation. Good-condition modern Rolexes of limited production runs like the turquoise 'Tiffany' Oyster Perpetual 41 for example, will always be preferred to a poorly looked after mass-produced example of the Rolex Datejust of which there are hundreds to choose from. Vintage Rolex watches do offer good investment opportunities, just be sure to consider this in conjunction with the other factors mentioned when looking for more vintage, sought-after models.


Provenance refers to the origin and history of the watch. The story behind a Rolex can add considerable value to its price tag, depending on the narrative and whether or not it has been verified. Provance can be as simple as having the original warranty papers issued with the watch by Rolex at the date of initial purchase. Other items like the original box, the swing tags, and original pamphlets & inserts can add value to the watch so should always be retained where available.

In more complex situations where vintage Rolexes come with a valuable back story provenance can help tell and verify the history and add credibility to the Rolex history. For example, a COMEX-issued Rolex Submariner with a divers ID and diving log, or a Rolex GMT-Master with a pilot's flight history can add as much value to the item as the watch itself.

Remember that a watch's value is only as good as its provenance – without proper documentation, it can be difficult to prove the legitimacy of a story whether dealing with modern or vintage watches.

Market demand

Market demand plays a major role in the valuation of any timepiece. As the most popular luxury watch brand in the world, there is always a steady demand for Rolex watches. The rarer models, such as the Daytona and Submariner, can fetch high prices even when the overall market is declining. Some models have been discontinued and are difficult to find on the second-hand market. Rarities like the 'Paul Newman Daytona' or something as simple as Rolex Milgauss watches that have recently ceased production are sure to attract a higher level of demand and as such command even higher prices. As the popularity of a model increases, so does its value. Consider not only how the market views any potential purchase now, but how it might view any model in the future when considering the best Rolex watch for holding value.

Rolex Watch Models and Their Investment Potential

Having considered the above factors it's time to settle on the collection that will give you the best option when considering which Rolex holds value the best. Whether choosing an entry-level watch or maybe an expensive option, here's a run down on which collection may suit your preference the best.

Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is one of the most sought-after models and is considered a great investment opportunity due to its limited production numbers. It offers great potential for long-term gains, with many vintage versions commanding extremely high prices that have only increased over time due to their rarity and collectability. Paul Newman's watch was a Rolex Daytona and this is perhaps the most coveted Rolex of all.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

The discontinued Rolex Sea-Dweller 116600LN offers excellent long-term investment potential owing to its extremely short production run. Launched in 2014 and discontinued in 2017 this is one of the shortest production runs for a Rolex sports watch and ensures there will be limited numbers of this model available to the open market for evermore.

The modern 126600LN anniversary model will also be expected to hold its value relative to the market. As it's not one of the 'big three' collections from Rolex production volumes will be much smaller which could lead to an enhanced desirability in years to come.

Rolex GMT-Master II

The Rolex GMT-Master II is one of the most sought-after watches, and its investment potential remains strong due to its iconic status, and long-standing history. Over time, the GMT-Master II has consistently maintained its value and has seen a steady appreciation in price, making it an excellent choice for those looking for investment options.

There are many iterations of the GMT-Master so detailed research should be conducted on any potential candidate as an investment option. As well as checking any vintage models' provenance you will also need to ascertain the originality of any parts of the watch when considering this model, specifically if the hands, bezel, and dial are from the original purchase or have been changed out at service.

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner has been a popular choice for serious watch collectors and is considered an excellent long-term investment option due to its iconic status and immense popularity. Like the Daytona, rarer models will command higher prices on the second-hand market and should be considered if you're looking for a special piece to act as a value store. As with other vintage Rolexes check that the original constituent parts of the watch have not been swapped out on service.

Other Rolex Models

Most Rolex watches will hold their value over the longer term, but in general Rolex sports watches, especially stainless steel Rolexes tend to perform well and have reduced price volatility making for a more comfortable investment journey. There will be short-term fluctuations in the market but history has shown that over the longer term, almost any Rolex will hold, and potentially increase in value.

The Future of Rolex Watches as an Investment

As the most renowned and popular luxury watch brand in the world, Rolex watches have always been a symbol of status and excellence. These iconic watches are renowned as an excellent long-term investment, and their value will likely continue to appreciate over time. With their timeless designs, craftsmanship, and iconic status in the watchmaking world, it is quite likely that they will remain a desirable choice for luxury watch collectors around the world for many years to come.

Overall, Rolex watches are a great long-term investment and can be an excellent way to preserve your wealth over time. With the right care and maintenance, you can be sure that your Rolex will retain its value for years to come.


In conclusion, Rolex watches are a viable and attractive investment to consider as, when purchased in line with the above factors, and care taken over their wear and maintenance, they not only have the potential to hold their monetary value but can also provide significant value appreciation in time, no matter the market conditions. As always with all investments, it is important to do your due diligence and carefully assess the options available on the market. Investing in a Rolex shouldn’t be taken lightly but with well-timed market evaluation and a keen eye for design trends and industry developments, you could potentially benefit from owning such a luxury item of increasing value for years to come!

FAQs - Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value?

Q: What is the best Rolex watch for holding value?

A: The best Rolex watch for holding value is subjective, as each model has its own unique features and aesthetic that may appeal to different buyers. However, some models are more popular among collectors than others such as the Rolex Daytona, GMT-Master II, Submariner, Sky-Dweller and Explorer II.

Q: Is it a good idea to invest in a Rolex?

A: Yes, investing in a Rolex can be a great long-term investment if taken seriously and done correctly. When you invest in a quality product like a Rolex with iconic status and timeless design, you can be sure that it will retain its value over time and even potentially appreciate. Just make sure to do your research before investing in a Rolex and ensure that it is the right model for you.

Q: What should I look out for when buying a Rolex?

A: When buying a Rolex, there are several things you should look out for. Be sure to check the authenticity with a reputable dealer or watchmaker, and always buy from a trusted source. Additionally, check for any scratches or damage as this could affect the aesthetic of the watch and potentially lower its value. Lastly, make sure that all the watch’s functions are working correctly as designed by the manufacturer.

Q: How can I ensure my Rolex watch retains its value?

A: To help ensure value is retained it's essential to keep it in good condition. Regular maintenance and servicing by a qualified Rolex technician can help to prevent damage and ensure that the watch is functioning correctly. Ensure any additional items that came with the purchase are retained. This includes the original box and warranty card or papers, but swing tags, instructions and pamphlets will also help maximise future value.

Q: How much can I expect to get for my used Rolex watch?

A: The resale value of a used Rolex watch can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the model, condition, materials, and rarity of the watch. It's best to consult with a reputable dealer or appraiser to determine the current market value of your specific Rolex watch.

Q: Is it better to buy a new or pre-owned Rolex watch?

A: Whether it's better to buy a new or pre-owned Rolex watch depends on your personal preferences and budget. New Rolex watches come with a warranty and are generally more expensive, but they are also in perfect condition. Pre-owned Rolex watches can be less expensive and may have some wear and tear, but they can also be rarer and have unique histories contributing to a higher valuation.

Q: Can I trade in my Rolex watch for a new one?

A: Yes, most Rolex dealers and watch retailers offer trade-in options that allow you to trade in your current Rolex watch for a new one. The value of your current watch will be assessed based on several factors, and you will receive credit towards your new purchase.

Q: What should I do if I inherit a Rolex watch?

A: If you inherit a Rolex watch, it's essential to have it appraised by a reputable dealer or appraiser to determine its current value. You should also consider having it serviced to ensure that it's functioning correctly and to prevent any potential damage. Whether you decide to keep the watch, sell it, or pass it down to another family member, it's important to take good care of it to maintain its value over time.

Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value? Global Watch Shop

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