Tips for buying Rolex Daytona, Paul Newman, Datejust, GMT-Master & Co.
In this article from my blog Fratellowatches I would like to present my personal opinion on collecting or buying Rolex watches. This is only a warning in advance.
Whether it’s like it or not, Rolex Daytona, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Sea-Dweller and associates are still the top priority of potential watch buyers. I have great respect for Rolex–the company, in my opinion, manufactures high-quality watches in large quantities at reasonable prices–and I have already owned several Rolex wristwatches, both used and new.
Buy Rolex Watches–better used or new?
I must confess that I always change my mind on this subject. Once I wrote an article about it, which is why I don’t collect used Rolex watches – and today my humble collection consists mainly of it. Used Rolex wrist watches are a topic for me. In this article I would like to show why this is why it is safer–and probably just as beautiful–to buy a new Rolex.
First, however, I should probably explain why I like the used models of Rolex at all so much. Here at InternetAges you can get more vintage accessories. Like most other vintage watches, a sports model of Rolex from the 60s or 70s also has a touch of adventure. The traces of wear on the case and bracelet suggest that the watch has a lot behind it. Too bad you can’t talk!
The great thing about Rolex watches is that there are so many that you can always find exactly the model you want to wear. I personally do not like yellow colored tritium marks, I prefer to white. I do not like dials with so-called “cobwebs”–i.e. cracks in the surface colour–I prefer Matt leaves with large round hour markers. It is also important to me that clocks have been properly maintained over the decades and no longer have the first crowns, seals and glasses. Conversely, that’s what many people like.
Vintage watches from Rolex collect: A Matter of aesthetics
Buying and collecting used Rolex watches has a lot to do with aesthetics. Most people are not so interested in the mechanical movement, but simply trust in its quality–it comes from Rolex. You prefer to invest in an appealing dial or in Nice hands instead of worrying about the mechanics. Of course, this is not reprehensible, and to let these movements wait, is also quite straightforward. Nevertheless, I always pay attention to the fact that the watch is in an optimal technical condition.
Beware of scams with used Rolex watches
The ugly side of the otherwise very aesthetic theme is: There are many cases of fraud. As always when dealing with valuable things – just think of vintage cars, works of art or real estate. When it comes to a lot of money, there are always people who want to get an advantage and pull others over the table – for example, if someone is looking for a specific watch. Then suddenly people emerge who claim to be able to do millions of business with used Rolex watches and to obtain all imaginable models. Beware of such traders! Choose a trader who sells used Rolex watches only hobbyally or out of hobby, as a business that offers dozens of them, all of which are referred to as “exclusive” and have absurd prices.
Exclusivity is another important point. To make one thing clear: Rolex watches are not single pieces. Even used, they are not exclusive. Because Rolex has always been a watch manufacturer with a very high production capacity. It is rather the Rolex fans who declare certain characters on the dial or signs of use exclusively. So if money doesn’t matter to you, you can buy any vintage Rolex, except for exceptions like prototypes. Do you want a Rolex Daytona Paul Newman? No problem if you have the wherewithal. To be honest, it’s just the price that distinguishes a vintage Rolex. There are clocks from other manufacturers that are much harder to find on the market and perhaps even more interesting in technical terms. But I say it as it is: the demand for Rolex watches can not be so easy to outweigh.
Tips for buying used Rolex watches
Think carefully about your budget.
Find a trusted reseller.
Check the dealer information for the watch.
So if you want to buy a vintage Rolex, you should be aware of your budget and know exactly what you want. If, like me, you do not place a great value on the Dial label or on how yellow the patina and how faded the bezel is, then you are on the safe side. In any case, you should be able to rely on the dealer. Trusted providers can be found, for example, through internet forums and platforms specializing in used Rolex watches.
Of course you can’t know everything about used Rolex watches. But you should feel good about the piece that your dealer offers you. If he says it’s all right and you could check that out, you should be able to trust him. Some merchants will also get their money back if irregularities occur after the purchase. When looking for a vintage Rolex, however, always rely on your common sense. Don’t be reckless. Listen to your gut feeling when something weird happens to you.
The benefits of new Rolex watches
Now, however, to the new or modern Rolex watches. As you have read in the first part of this article, it can be a bit risky to buy a used Rolex. If you are simply looking for a high quality watch and not chasing the perfect vintage Rolex, you might want to think about buying a new Rolex.
Many people–especially watch lovers–will tell you that it is boring to buy a new Rolex and that you can get for the same money or even less completely different interesting watches. That may be true. But don’t forget what matters to you. If you want a watch that lasts for a lifetime (or even two) and does not lose too much value (but rather wins with a little patience), then a modern Rolex is probably the right one for you.
Although Rolex in terms of numbers is about as open as the housing of an “oyster”, it is believed that the company produces almost one million wrist watches per year. The few elect who were able to enter the Rolex production facilities report impressive automated processes that simply make human error impossible. But of course the clocks are still hand-assembled. The high quality that Rolex can hold at this large production volume is absolutely amazing.
Rolex: High Quality plus innovations
Until a few years ago, Rolex was in criticism due to a lack of enthusiasm for innovation. The typical clasp still looked like it was made of the same material as a beverage can. The casings of the sports watches were rather too small with 40 millimeter diameters, and the construction of the works was not changed for decades. But in recent years, Rolex has had as many innovations and changes as in the four decades before. The bracelets were equipped with new closures, which the wearer can easily and very precisely adapt to his arm. Ceramics are now used for the bezels, the movements have been optimized by the Parachrom spiral, and the clocks themselves look bigger. In fact they only look bigger–because the latest models Rolex Sea-Dweller 116600 and Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR with Pepsi-bezel still have a diameter of 40 millimeters. But with the stronger bands, they have a more striking effect.
3 Reasons to buy “expensive” new Rolex watches
With preference, some watch lovers criticize the high price of Rolex watches. At the point, I ask, however, to differentiate. Rolex watches have never been cheap, of course, so “expensive” is always a relative term. And a few arguments that speak for the seemingly expensive Rolex watches, you should just let yourself go through your head.
Basic #1: The comparatively low impairment
A new Rolex Submariner currently costs 6,800 euros. On the used market you get the watch for about 7,000 dollars, in good condition and about one to two years old. Trading with an official Rolex dealer I leave to you. What I would like to say with this example: the impairment compared to all other brands in this price category is very low in my opinion. Of course you get also from other manufacturers for 7,000 euro great watches, maybe even with interesting complications. But do you keep your value? Take a look at our website Fratellowatches to see how much of the list price is left after a few years.
Basic #2: The first-class Rolex customer service
The general overhaul of a Rolex is an expensive endeavor, but you get your watch back like the day you first held it in your hands. When I got my Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 back after a general overhaul in Geneva, I had to look twice to see if perhaps the case had been replaced–and that was not the case. I didn’t trust my eyes. The service lasted six weeks, which is pretty fast for a watch manufacturer. For other brands, the repair has taken considerably longer, even up to six months–and this is for more simple repairs like adjusting the movement. Most manufacturers forget you as their customer once you have purchased a product. They rather spend money on brand ambassadors or marketing campaigns than–like Rolex–to invest in customer service.
Basic #3: The maintenance of used watches is complex
The maintenance of used Rolex watches is something completely different from that of modern models. It can happen that spare parts are no longer available and you have to reduce the value of your long-sought vintage watch with new parts. Sometimes you have to go as much for maintenance as you would for a new watch–and so on.
Conclusion: Even vintage friends can find a favor on new Rolex watches
No matter what modern Rolex you choose, you will get a high quality product. The danger that something is wrong with the watch is very low. And in case of a case, it has an interesting resale value. My favorites are as I said the Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 and the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR. Which model would you choose? We appreciate your feedback..
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, lives in the Netherlands. His passion is watches. He is the author of various watch magazines and has been operating the blog Fratellowatches since 2004. On Watchtime.net we provide you with his articles in German: our site.
Continuously updated article, originally posted online in June 2014.
Tags: manufactory caliber, Rolex, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Daytona, Rolex GMT-Master II, Rolex Sea-Dweller, Rolex Submariner, Swiss watches, vintage watches