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Rot has not set in for Rolex secondary market prices in North America say US traders


Bob’s Watches is one of the most respected pre-owned watch traders in the United States, and 90% of its sales come from Rolex.

When the company’s CEO Paul Altieri read on WatchPro yesterday that German secondary market dealer Chronext was seeing prices for models including Rolex’s GMT Pepsi cooling, he was surprised.

Chronext‘s co-founder Philipp Man said this week that even for the Pepsi, the premium above retail prices is narrowing. “The delta is decreasing pretty fast. It is still quite significantly above retail, but you can see that gap is going to change pretty quickly. Even though it will remain trading at a premium,” Mr Man said.


Bob’s Watches‘ founder and CEO, Mr Altieri, is not seeing any sign of prices weakening in North America, where the company does 80% of its business.

“I have to tell you that in North America right now you cannot go into any Rolex store and find any supply at all of their sports watches. There has been no supply and that is why there is still a healthy $10,000 premium,” he told WatchPro.

“The vintage market for Rolex can be a bit more volatile, but to give you an overall view, the prices are going up by 5-10% per month on some models. There is way more demand than there is supply,” Mr Altieri reveal. By vintage the company typically means references that are non longer in production.

When Rolex switches production from one iteration of a key model to a new version, prices tend to rise because demand can rise for watches that are no longer made.

“The Rolex GMT Batman, the black and blue, has always been selling at retail or $1000 above, but then a rumor started circulating two months ago that Rolex was going to stop production on that model, and that caused prices to rise by 10-20% to $11,000 to $12,000. What usually happens when Rolex discontinues a model is that prices jump by 20-30%. They go up not down,” Mr Altieri says.

He recalls the story of the steel Daytona as a prime example of the phenomenon. “Four or five years ago with Daytonas, there were a lot of them out there flying around and we had an oversupply of the steel models. But then Rolex launched the new Daytona, so a version that had been made for years was replaced. Immediately, the 70 older pieces we had sold through in less than a month and prices went up 20%. They used to sell $8500 and now they sell at $14,000 because they are discontinued. The price has almost doubled for those models and the same is true for the new model because you cannot find it anywhere in authorized dealers. The market is telling us that Rolex’s retail price for the new white Daytona at $12,400 is under-priced because it is selling on the secondary market at $22,000,” Mr Altieri suggests.

Authorized dealers for Rolex do not encourage customers to look at watches as investments, but the entire market pays close attention to which models hold or increase their values. StockX, which keeps a ticker of prices for luxury watches trading on its market, has shared a list of the top 10 references it sold in 2018 with WatchPro.

Rolex sports models dominated the top 10, with strong price rises across the board. Four of the top 10 references were Rolex Submariners with prices rising by 12% over the 12 months of 2018.

Three GMT Master II references made the list, and rose in price by an average of 9.9% last year.

Surprisingly, the Rolex Explorer II, reference 16570 was the top seller and its price rose fastest at 20%, although StockX has not shared information on what volumes of each reference were sold.

Top Selling References in 2018 on StockX.com:

Brand Reference Model
1 Rolex 16570 Explorer II
2 Rolex 16610 Submariner (Date)
3 Rolex 114060 Submariner
4 Seiko SRPA21 Pepsi Padi Diver
5 Rolex 116710BLNR GMT Master II
6 Rolex 116610LV Submariner (Date)
7 Rolex 116710LN GMT Master II
8 Casio GMW-B 5000 D-1 Full Metal – Steel
9 Rolex 16613 Submariner
10 Omega 35105000 Speedmaster Reduced


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