How Much is a Rolex in 2022? New, Used & How to Buy or Sell For the Best Price

Much like the price of a car, the price of a Rolex watch can vary widely. So, if you are thinking of investing in one of the finest watches that Switzerland has to offer by buying a Rolex, there are a lot of things to consider. Popular models on the second-hand market or those of historical note can sell for sums vastly over their original retail value, while others can be worth much less.

It might sound confusing, but we will cover everything that goes into determining the valuation of a Rolex here.

A Note on Rolex Watch Prices Before We Start

As valuations fluctuate so much over time, and with current trends dictating how much a particular watch can command on the market, we do not want to mention specific prices. However, as an extremely general guide in 2022, Rolex watches range from £3,000 to over £100,0000.

Feel free to take a look at our current stock of Rolex and other luxury watch brands to see how the prices can vary depending on make and model.

How to Get an Accurate Rolex Watch Valuation

If you are interested in selling a Rolex watch then you can use our unique private buying service, which is a great way to sell as it allows you to avoid all auction fees. Get in touch with us to book a no-obligation valuation today.

Here we will explain the main criteria in a Rolex valuation, how much a Rolex is from new, how much a Rolex is when used and how to buy one or sell one at the best price:

What Affects the Value of a Rolex?

Close up macro view from Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

As a luxury watchmaker that is world famous, you would expect Rolex watches to be a high-end item, even at the lower side of the price range. But many things will affect how much your Rolex watch is worth. Rolex watches will cost more or less depending on the following criteria:

  • Precious metals: Yellow gold, white gold, platinum and other precious metals are worth more than stainless steel, making it easier to notice how the materials used in a watch design might affect the value. It is not just the metals of the case that can affect price, as the gold or other metals in the bracelets can be worth quite a bit too!
  • Gemstones: Alongside the watch materials, diamond-encrusted watches or designs that feature other stones may be a key selling point of a watch, which can significantly affect the value of the Rolex. Depending on the clarity and grade of any kind of jewel or gemstone, this may have a huge impact on a Rolex watch’s overall worth.
  • Model: Celebrated Rolex models include the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Rolex Datejust 36, 41 or Datejust II and the Rolex GMT Master. Still, unusual or vintage Rolex watches can be of interest to collectors, so models such as the Rolex Milgauss or other Rolex-developed brands are quite valuable as well. The Rolex model is crucial to its worth.
  • Movement: The movement of a Rolex watch, which people also call the calibre, is the internal mechanism of the timepiece and has a big influence on the price. Certain movements are known for their scarcity or accuracy and have other features that may make them more or less valuable. Even dud movements can prove to be valuable.
  • Performance: Rolex watches are precision devices that can often achieve incredible feats, which may influence their value quite significantly. For example, a Rolex Submariner can plunge to 300 metres, or 1,000 feet, and this incredibly water-resistant Oyster case will cost a lot more whether it is at retail or on the secondhand market.

The worth of a Rolex is a conflation of several different things, so it is almost like an algorithm or equation that takes the above into account to confirm its worth. Another important thing is the watch condition, which is (perhaps obviously) an important factor during the valuation process.

How Much is an Entry-Level Rolex?

Rolex Submariner watch is equipped with a ceramic bezel with functions used in diving

If you are curious about what the cheapest Rolex available might be, then the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is the model to look at. Either used or new, it is considered an entry-level watch, if there were really such a thing with a Rolex, and there are a few other ‘basic’ models too.

Examples of entry-level Rolex models, retailing at around £5,000, include:

  • Rolex Air-King, a stainless steel model originally made for pilots in the post-World War II era
  • Rolex Explorer and the new Rolex Explorer II, mountaineering and navigation watches made famous by Everest-conquerors Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary
  • Rolex Datejust, which has always been a very popular model but has some references that use stainless steel and are therefore a little bit cheaper than others

If you are thinking about buying your first Rolex watch, to wear daily or as an investment, you might consider an entry-level model. However, some vintage Rolex watches are still extremely costly. As a result, an entry-level model is not necessarily the best indicator of price alone.

How Much is a Rolex Worth New?

Pagani Design Chronograph Sport Wrist Watch

Rolex watches bought at the retail price are always more expensive than secondhand models. You might expect this to be the case, as most things cost more when they are new, but there are some very good reasons for the extra costs. But new is always better if you can afford it.

A new Rolex will cost more than a used one because of:

  • Limited supply; it is difficult to buy a new Rolex in a shop on the highstreet – most models are made in limited numbers so retailers can charge a premium
  • Provenance; there are a lot of fake Rolex watches, with some being extremely difficult to spot, but new watches from an Official Rolex® Retailer are guaranteed to be real
  • Documentation and boxes; all new Rolex watches come with various papers and a box that will make it more valuable if you sell
  • Support and servicing; Rolex watches are designed to be a lifelong companion for your wrist, so when you buy new you get official servicing free of charge

If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a new Rolex (and waiting lists get very long indeed), you may get a better value when you sell it on. However, this is only true in certain market conditions. Overall, buying a new watch and owning it for years can prove to be a valuable investment.

How Much is a Rolex Worth Used?

Even if you never have worn the watch, the price you can command on the secondhand market prices will drop. Much like a car, the value of a Rolex watch will go down as soon as you leave the shop. Still, that means if you want to buy a secondhand Rolex, you might get a lot more for your money.

A used Rolex will generally cost less than a new one because of:

  • Condition; old watches are much more likely to have scratches, scuffs, or issues with the mechanism, so vintage watches can often be bought for quite cheap prices
  • Lack of provenance; although it is possible to check if a watch is genuine without documentation there may be little to no paper trail or record on very old watches
  • Replacement parts; even if a Rolex is genuine it may have had a generic replacement part put in at some point – there can be hundreds of different parts in a watch design
  • Lack of servicing guarantees; you might not get the benefit of an official Rolex servicing with a used watch, so you could end up paying a lot for even minor fixes

There are exceptions, of course; classic models such as the Milgauss and Cosmograph Daytona have secondhand market values many times their original retail value. Lots of Rolex models that were considered undesirable at the time are now considered collector’s items, too.

What Are the Most Expensive Rolex Models?

By far the most expensive Rolex that has ever been sold is the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Cosmograph, which sold for $17.8 million at auction. It was worn, with plenty of scratches, and featured a cream white dial and black dials for the Daytona’s lap time functions.

The Daytona is a good example of a watch that was not considered desirable at the time, but after Newman popularised it during his stint as a racing driver it became one of the most sought-after models, as it remains to this day. The one that was sold at auction did not even come with a bracelet!

These watches, if you can even find one for sale, are among the most expensive Rolex models in terms of what you could buy from new:

  • Rolex Cellini, the only dress watch made by Rolex
  • Rolex GMT Master II
  • Rolex Yacht-Master and Rolex Yacht-Master II
  • Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
  • Rolex Day Date

There is no ‘cheap’ Rolex, but you might be able to get a good deal if you can find any of the above on the secondhand market or (with some luck) get a new one with desirable features, such as diamond settings or distinctive bracelets. All Rolex watches are pricey, and cheap ones are probably fake.

What Rolex Models Make the Best Investments?

Rolex Submariner watch is equipped with a ceramic bezel

Like every type of investment, there is no way of knowing beforehand whether you will make a loss. That being said, the best investment for a watch is the one that you feel comfortable paying for and the one that you can sit on for the longest possible time.

Nothing makes a watch appreciate like time, especially when it features precious metals, and the value of watches ebb and flow with trends. At some point, almost any Rolex you could buy will become desirable to dealers or collectors.

Notable models that are currently very popular, and have the price tag to match, include:

  • Rolex GMT Master II, in blue and black – nicknamed ‘the Batman’
  • Rolex GMT Master II, blue and red – nicknamed ‘the Pepsi’
  • Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, with white dials and black sub-dials – nicknamed ‘the Panda’
  • Rolex Submariner, with green bezel and dial – nicknamed ‘Hulk’
  • Rolex Ladies Datejust, along with other ladies Rolexes, as they are comparatively rarer and the female watch luxury watch market is rapidly gaining a big market share

You can expect many additions to this list depending on the current state of the market. However, you should remember that the right watch to the right person will be worth a fair amount – all genuine Rolex watches will hold some of their value, too.

How Do You Buy a Rolex Watch?

If you want to buy a new Rolex the best option is to find the nearest Official Rolex® Retailer on the Rolex website. But beware, you might not be in luck for some time and if you want a particular type of watch you could be waiting a long time or have to make a compromise.

One tip for using official retailers is to avoid major centres of wealth, such as Monaco, as dealers can charge a lot more there. The culture of spending and excess in certain countries can push prices up too, so somewhere like Paris or London can be very expensive as well. 

If you happen to be in Japan, heading to a Tokyo retailer may help you avoid the worst of new Rolex price gouging.

For a secondhand Rolex watch, a good bet is to check out our current stock. This is frequently updated, so check back regularly. We also have other types of luxury watches in stock. If you are buying outside the UK always make sure your dealer is as reputable as we are.

How Do You Sell a Rolex Watch?

inspecting a rolex with client

If you already have an unwanted or unworn Rolex that you would like to get rid of, then the best way to get the highest price is by using our unique private buying service. We provide a direct transaction that lets you bypass all auction fees, so book your free valuation with us today.

Aside from using our service to make sure you get the best price, these tips can help to make sure you get the highest amount possible:

  • Hang on to your box: Keep hold of all boxes, papers and documentation, whether you buy new or used, and even the bits you might think are irrelevant. Everything that comes in a box is accounted for by collectors and will keep the value of the watch higher. The Rolex box can be a collector’s item in itself, and they are very well-made, so keep it!
  • Take it for servicing: Servicing ensures every part of the mechanism is completely clean and working as normal. You only need to get a Rolex serviced every 10 years, but be cognizant of performance dips and take it to a service centre if any issues crop up. Always take it for a service if you see any signs of water damage, such as misting.
  • Try not to damage the watch: This is an obvious tip, but the better the condition remains the more you can sell the watch for down the line. Do not worry about little scratches, as it is going to get scratched at some point, but think twice about wearing it during certain activities if you want to maintain the condition for as long as possible.
  • Do general care at home: A simple microfibre cloth will do wonders for daily care, as will taking it off when you sleep or shower. You can rinse a watch with warm soapy water if it gets dirty, just make sure the crown is tightly screwed shut first! You can view more on how to care for your Rolex by reading our post about the subject here.

Of course, if you happen to have a watch owned by someone like Paul Newman or that is a design classic made of solid gold, you could take your chances at auction, too. Many dealers will buy used Rolex watches, so if you have bought one new you could see if they will buy it back.

How Much Is a Rolex? It All Depends!

There is about as much variety in the prices of Rolex watches as there is in the models, movements and colours of timepieces made by the world’s most famous luxury watch brand. As a result, it is impossible to say how much a Rolex is, but they are certain to cost premium prices.

We are leading providers of private buying services for many high-value items and we sell many luxury watches, so we understand the nuances that go into watch valuations. If you have a Rolex watch you would like to sell or value, please get in touch with us.

September 27, 2022

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