Global Watch Shop

Second hand Rolex watches, a guide to buying a pre owned Rolex

In recent years as luxury watches have become more attainable for many, there's been almost an explosion in the marketplace for second hand Rolex watches. Whether you’re looking for something nearly new, or a classic vintage piece there are literally thousands of Rolex models available to purchase in a variety of ways. But where do you start, and what do you need to know? Buying pre owned Rolex watches safely can seem like a minefield. How do you know you’re not buying a fake? How do I know it’s not been stolen? What if it goes wrong? Will I be faced with a huge repair bill? Our complete buyers guide will answer all of these questions for you and more. Be it a sporty GMT Master II or a second hand all gold Day Date, read on, we’re sure you’ll find everything you need to know right here.

Why buy second hand Rolex Watches?

If you’re considering buying a second hand Rolex there are a number of potential benefits to be had over a new model.

Second hand Rolex watches, a guide to buying a pre owned Rolex Global Watch Shop


Buying a second hand Rolex watch has the obvious benefit of reducing the price you’re going to need to pay. There are often significant savings to be made when somebody has purchased a new watch, only to change their mind, or find that their circumstances have changed and discovered they need to sell. Although over the medium to long term Rolex is often considered a good investment, it is in the first year that you will notice a dip in value and an immediate depreciation in the market value of a watch as it moves from being new, or unworn, to being preowned, having been worn by somebody else for the first time. Consider the parallel of driving a brand new car off the dealership forecourt, it is at this time when value depreciates the most. The difference between buying a new car and a Rolex watch is that over time, the car will to continue to depreciate in value, whereas a Rolex watch is likely to rise in value over time as Rolex increase their prices. So if you’re looking to buy for yourself to wear, or purely as an investment there’s definitely a financial benefit to buying second hand.


In recent years Rolex have moved to reduce the production numbers of the majority of their watches leaving many of the sportsmodels almost impossible to buy brand new from Rolex stores. Over the last 5 years we’ve seen waiting lists go from being necessary only if you wish to buy a stainless steel Rolex Daytona, to now being in place for all stainless steel sports models, as well as some Datejust 41’s and most of the newest releases. If buying brand new from an Authorised Rolex dealer there are a number of conditions that they may require you to fulfill. You may have to have been previous customer to be able to even get onto the waiting list, there could be a requirement to buy a gold Rolex to get a stainless steel one. Even if you meet the dealers conditions, they are likely to withhold the warranty card for a period of 12 months which restricts your ability to gain full value, should you need to sell the watch in that time. Generally, buying a second hand Rolex watch does not come with these stipulations, and you’ll be free to choose any one of the Rolex models you desire from the second hand market.


Buying new Rolex watches means you are limited to models that Rolex currently have in production. When looking at second hand Rolex watches for sale you have a much wider variety to choose from. You may be more of a vintage watch fan, looking for a classic Rolex Submariner, or maybe you prefer the discontinued 40mm Rolex Sea-Dweller to the new 43mm version, or maybe your a fan of Turn-o-Graph collection is now completely confined to the Rolex history books. All of these models can only be sourced from the second hand Rolex market.

Where to Buy Second Hand Rolex Watches?

If you’ve decided to buy a second hand Rolex, your next question is likely to be where to buy it from. Traditionally you’d look in the window of your high street jewellers and there may be a small selection of second hand Rolex watches available, but things have changed, you’re now presented with much more choice. As well as shops dedicated to the sale of used Rolex, there are also many online shops where you can browse pages of various pre-owned watch brands. There are also marketplaces like eBay and, more recently we’ve seen a number of watch traders working solely as sellers on Social Media sites like Instagram without the need for any premises. Whatever option you choose it’s incredibly important that you do your research on who you are buying from. As in many walks of life, the majority of merchants are reputable, honest traders, but there are also a number who are not. It’s vital you know what to look for when assessing both the watch and the merchant, but there is an old saying that rings true when buying second hand Rolex watches: ‘Buy the seller’, which in short means you are as much buying into the reputation of the seller as you are buying the watch, and it definitely pays dividends to do you research here before parting with your hard earned money!.

What to look for?

The Watch

When buying a new Rolex watch, the pricing can be fairly standard, with little variation due to the fact there is no real variation in the watch itself.  When buying a second hand Rolex watch there is much wider scope for variation even when comparing two Rolex watches that are identical in model. Does the watch come with box and papers, or Rolex international warranty card? How old is the watch? What condition is it in? All these elements come into play when understanding the value of a pre owned Rolex watch and these need to be understood to help you make the right decision as to which watch to buy. 

The Seller

As mentioned before the seller offering the watch is also an important consideration, and a good starting place when considering a seller you have no experience of is by checking their online reviews. All reviews are not created equally and it’s important to understand the validity of the reviews on show. A quick google search will usually help ascertain a level of confidence here, for example googling ‘Global Watch Shop Reviews’ returns a number of independent review services (such as Trustpilot, Facebook and Google itself) with a significant number of independent reviews. It is also worth looking at company registrations (Companies House, HMRC, FCA), news articles and industry awards to get to know the seller you’re about to purchase from. Remember, you are ‘buying the seller’ as much as you are buying the watch!

The Guarantee

A new Rolex watch comes now comes with a Rolex International Warranty valid from the date of registration on the warranty card. When buying second hand rolex watches, if the watch is within the initial 5 years warranty period, you will also benefit from the remainder of the manufacturer's warranty, providing the watch is sold with a valid, original Rolex international warranty card. If the warranty has expired, or for any reason is invalid, does the seller offer a warranty that will give you peace of mind over the mechanical workings of the watch? Should your new purchase fail within the first year through no fault of your own what options does this leave you with? Also, can you satisfy yourself that the title of the title of the watch is correct and there are no outstanding claims? Always ask your seller what provisions are made should any of these eventualities occur.

Second Hand Rolex Watches from GWS

At Global Watch Shop we have a range of pre owned Rolex watches available, all offered for sale with 12 months warranty and an insurance backed guarantee against defective title, providing peace of mind over the provenance of any watch we offer for sale. We offer a range of flexible payment methods including pre owned Rolex finance options including interest free, and long term finance options. We offer the ability to part exchange your existing watch, or should you wish to sell your Rolex watch outright we also offer a purchasing service. If you’re considering buying a second hand Rolex watch and have any questions at all, feel free to get in touch, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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