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Why are pre-owned Rolex watches more expensive than newer ones?

If you’re a watch collector or enthusiast, you’ll be very familiar with the pre-owned Rolex situation. If you thought brand new Rolex watches were expensive enough wait until you see the price of pre-owned Rolex watches. Yes, you heard that right. Pre-owned! For years now pre-owned Rolex’s have been selling for even more than their original retail price and it’s got a lot of people stumped. Why on earth would a used watch cost more than a brand new one? Well, we’re here to help you understand this phenomenon for yourself. Just to put things into perspective for you a Rolex Submariner date retails on the Rolex website at £8,650, but on the pre-owned market the average price for this watch is around the £13,000 mark and sometimes even more! So let’s see why this is happening.

Before we talk about why pre-owned Rolex’s are outshining their new born baby brothers and sisters we should quickly mention what makes Rolex’s such an expensive luxury in the first place. Rolex watches are made using the finest materials and expert craftsmanship. Each watch is handmade and goes through rigorous testing to ensure that they are as durable, precise, and luxurious as they can be. As well as this the brand itself represents wealth and luxury, which is why many view owning a Rolex as a status symbol. This in itself means that its accepted for their watches to cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Supply and demand

One of the main reasons for these sky high prices is the fact that there is a very high demand for Rolex watches but very little supply. This is actually done on purpose by Rolex to keep their products highly desirable. People always want what they can’t have, and clearly this tactic works. Rolex only produce a limited number of each of their models due to amount of intricate work from expert watchmakers required to produce the watches, which means they’re hard to get your hands on. So, when someone does manage to snap up one of these amazing watches it means they can bump the price up, and someone who is desperate to own that specific model is happy to pay over the odds if it means they stand a chance of actually getting it.

Vintage and exclusive models

As mentioned, there is a limited supply of their watches anyway so when it comes to vintage or exclusive models, it’s a whole other kettle of fish. On the second hand market, limited edition Rolex’s can fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds simply because they are so rare, same goes for vintage watches. Only a select few get the opportunity to own limited edition Rolex’s so when they are no longer available to buy, the price sky rockets. It also goes without saying that vintage watches which have been kept in excellent condition will sell for more money than those which have a few scratches etc.

The waitlist

One thing which many people are shocked to discover is that you can’t really just walk into a Rolex store and buy whichever watch you fancy. A lot of the time there is a very long waiting list, especially for highly desirable models. These waitlists can be years long meaning by the time it’s your turn, the watch you wanted may not even be available anymore. This frustrating process drives people to buy from the pre-owned market instead, to avoid having to wait long periods of time and being disappointed. Yes you have to accept that you’re going to probably be paying more for the watch but many people are happy to pay the price for convenience. People who are selling their watches know this and as a result bump their prices up, can you blame them?


These are some of the main reasons as to why pre-owned Rolex watches are more expensive than new ones. Because of this it means Rolex’s are now thought of as an investment and many people purchase one for that reason alone. It’s of course very important to do your research before jumping into something like that, as different models hold their value better than others. Hope you've enjoyed this weeks blog, if you have make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so you can be informed when we release a new blog AND be the first to know when we have new watch arrivals!


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