Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value?

Most models of Rolex watches will continue to grow in value – especially in the long term. The exquisite craft, impressive precious metals or stones and incredible design standards mean they are valuable as an item to buyers and therefore a great investment. Many vintage Rolex watches are worth much more than they were ever sold for as new.

One very important note is that if you buy a new Rolex watch, it will lose value as soon as you take it home from the authorised Rolex dealer who is kind enough to sell it to you. It’s almost like buying a new car.

You can view our current stock of watches if you are thinking of buying a second-hand Rolex, which will usually be a better investment. Alternatively, you can contact us if you want to sell.

What Affects the Value of a Rolex Watch?

Rolex watches will hold value over time, but it is difficult to predict what the next hot watch model might be in 10 years or beyond. However, the following are some common factors that influence the price of your initial investment and the likelihood that it will appreciate:

  • Metals: Stainless steel Rolex watches can appreciate over time but the most valuable metals are platinum, yellow or white gold and rose gold. There are very few silver Rolex watches, so these might be valuable too. There are several different metals for the bezel and bracelet that affect value too, such as titanium or even ceramic materials.
  • Stones: Aside from the metals, the second most important indicator of value is the presence of any precious stones. Most Rolex watches that include diamonds and other gemstones will have them on the dial or hands, but some will have them on the bezel too. The stone cut and grade are important to the overall value of the watch.
  • Model: The model or movement of your watch is the third highest factor in valuing a watch. Rolex sports watches, such as the Rolex Submariner and Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches, often fetch the highest prices for their performance value. However, dress watches such as the Day Date are also quite popular. Trends play a big role here!
  • Condition: So you have a gold watch with diamonds in a popular model, but it will not be enough to command top dollar if the watch is in poor condition. Scratches, scrapes, dents and other imperfections are signs that buyers will look for, and some damage can affect the water-resistant features or the mechanism too.
  • Age: Rolex has been a notable brand for over 100 years, as such there are many older and vintage models of historical note. Older watches that have been kept in good condition can fetch exceptionally high prices. Classic Rolex models include the ever-fashionable Air King and Explorer, which were first introduced in the 1950s.
  • Notability or interest: A watch with a good story, a famous previous owner or another interesting tidbit will often be worth more to collectors. The most valuable Rolex of all time was a Rolex Daytona owned by Paul Newman. Rolex Daytonas are only popular because of Paul Newman, as they were considered a lesser watch before his influence.
  • Documentation: The original documentation, which includes a guarantee and service manual, is important to the value of your watch. If you buy a new Rolex, make sure you keep all of the paperwork. The documents will improve your experience as the wearer of a Rolex and will give you a much higher return on your investment when you sell.
  • Box: The original presentation box, in the classic green Rolex colour, is a big deal for collectors. Boxes are so valuable that people even make fake boxes, which are only detectable by a careful look at the colour tones and printed markings. Always try to buy a second-hand Rolex that includes a box and keep it safe if you buy it new.

People want to buy a Rolex watch ‘as new’ if it is second-hand, so a complete watch of any type will appreciate more than a loose model. However, the worth of your investment and how likely it is to go up in value is a combination of all the factors mentioned above.

What Rolex Watch Models Are Most Valuable?

Any Rolex watch will be sellable, but the ones that are most likely to appreciate include the following:

Rolex GMT Master

The GMT Master and the later GMT Master II models are pilot’s watches that have a great popularity. Some GMT Masters use gold materials, which makes it slightly unusual for a sports watch. Collectable GMT Master II’s often have a distinct colour scheme, with prized colours including the blue and black ‘Batman’.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

This racing watch has exploded in popularity and is one of the most sought-after. If you have a chance to acquire a second-hand Daytona you should seriously consider it as an investment. There are white gold and yellow gold variants of the Daytona but even stainless steel models command a pretty penny!

Rolex Submariner

This historic diving watch is considered a design classic. Submariners will appreciate thanks to their high-performance water-resistant features, and all the more so if you have one in yellow or white gold. The other watch in this line, the Sea Dweller, is also a very valuable Rolex watch model.

Rolex Air Kings

This is a less pricey Rolex watch, with only stainless steel models available, but will still be a good investment. Designed as pilot watches for British Airforce fighters after World War II, the Air King is a historical model and a great investment if you do not want to spend so much as you might on others.

The key to investing in anything is patience, quick returns are not likely. Much like the price of gold or other commodities, the Rolex watch market has a very steady and stable price.


The following are some common questions about the long-term value of Rolex watches and whether they appreciate:

Sell Us Your Rolex Watch

As a leading buyer and seller of many luxury watches, we are an ideal source of information on what affects their value and how to get the most from your investment. We are interested in buying any kind of Rolex watch, especially those featuring gold and other precious metals. 

With over 20 years of experience in the UK antique trade, we are a trustworthy and honest buyer. If you are ready to cash in on your investment we guarantee the best prices, which avoid all auction fees. Please contact us and schedule an appointment for a free, private valuation.

August 3, 2022

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