Do Rolex Watches Hold Their Value?

do rolex watches hold their value

One of the safest watch brands to purchase is Rolex, according to repute. Rolex has continually produced high-quality timepieces for all occasions since their founding in 1905. From well-known players like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer to numerous US Presidents who spurred the creation of the Day-Date’s nickname, the “President,” we have observed the Rolex crown on the wrist of many significant leaders throughout history.

We can all agree that Rolex has done a remarkable job creating and sustaining such a highly regarded position in the watch market, which has led to them becoming a terrific brand to invest in.


Rolexes are excellent investment items in general, but that doesn’t guarantee yours will appreciate in value the moment you take it out of the box. Rarity is the best measure of a Rolex’s value. Due to their scarcity or rarity on the market, certain references over the course of Rolex’s illustrious history have garnered significant value.

This is well illustrated by the growing interest in antique Submariners. As antique Submariner references are more difficult to locate in better condition, there has been a discernible rise in demand for them. Certain Rolexes have a higher value because of the theory of scarcity. Some of these references make it to the auction rooms of Sotheby’s or Phillips and sell for millions of dollars, while others are sold in the grey market online or through dealers for three times their retail price.

Modern Rolexes are still quite popular today. Rolex had to form waitlists for brand-new Rolex models due to the demand being so great. Before getting a brand-new watch, people on the queue might have to wait a few years. The market for pre-owned Rolex is flourishing as a result. Market prices for several popular models are far higher than their suggested retail prices.

The quality of the watch, both inside and out, is what important, whether you want to buy a modern watch or a vintage Rolex. Rolex watches that are consistently serviced and kept in good condition qualify as investments. These two elements will lengthen the life of your watch and may even raise its worth.



Paul Newman, an actor, director, and race car driver, was the wrist on which this Daytona gained its notoriety. The Daytona he wore on his wrist attracted a lot of attention whether he was filming a scene or driving around the circuit. This watch has grown in popularity as a result of increased attention from collectors and fans of Rolex sport models.

Only 2,000–3,000 of these ancient machines from the 1960s–1970s are still in use today, and a few of them have even been sold at auction for millions of dollars. The real Paul Newman Daytona (Ref. 6239), which sold for $17.8 million at Phillips Auction House in 2017, holds the record for being the most expensive watch ever sold.


Paul Newman helped the Daytona develop enormous fame, and Rolex made the decision to capitalise on it. The Daytona, named after one of America’s major racing venues, is a shining illustration of the unmatched performance, luxury, and style that Rolex’s sport models provide. Each Cosmograph Daytona is an intriguing watch to collect and invest in because they are made with a broad range of dials, case materials, and colours.

There are various Cosmopgraphs available on the market, making them more accessible than the Paul Newman Daytona. These Daytonas are readily available, but due to their tremendous demand, they continue to trade for two to three times their retail price. A wise Rolex purchase is the Cosmograph Daytona.


The Milgauss resembles an elusive Rolex in various ways. This watch was created with the scientist in mind and debuted in 1956. The Milgauss was designed for those who would work in a lab or in the field near intense magnetic fields because of its extremely high magnetic field resistance. Although Rolex accomplished an amazing feat of ingenuity with this watch, the orange lightning bolt seconds hand is what really draws attention to it.

After being phased out in 1988, the Milgauss disappeared for over 20 years. Rolex resumed manufacturing the updated Milgauss in 2007. The same orange lightning bolt is present on this timepiece, but it now also has a sapphire crystal with a green tinge, which improves readability. The pre-2007 models are getting harder to find and more valuable amid the many new models that are flooding the market because of the significant production gap.


The GMT Master II, one of Rolex’s best-selling models, is a superb illustration of a timepiece with lasting value. The GMT, which was initially designed for pilots and travellers, has a separate hand on the dial to show another time zone. Travellers would be able to monitor their current location’s time and their destination’s time concurrently.

This wristwatch quickly rose to fame. The GMT’s multicoloured 24-hour bezel is its most distinctive feature. Due to the two colours on the GMT bezel, these models were given the nicknames “Pepsi”, “Coke”, and “Batman”. Due to their rarity, vintage models with a “patina” or faded dial are now in great demand.

The modern GMT is likewise a highly sought-after item on the market today, even if vintage GMTs are in high demand. The GMT maintains a prominent position on the list of Rolexes worth investing in thanks to a combination of modernised designs and even a “left handed” edition with the crown on the left side of the watch.


The Oyster Perpetual has consistently been relatively underrated despite being Rolexe’s entry-level timepiece. Despite being a Rolex classic, the straightforward design never received as much attention as the more well-known Datejusts and Submariners. 2020 was a significant year for the Oyster Perpetual because Rolex introduced new versions that gained widespread attention.

With the new OPs, Rolex unveiled a new movement and a larger case size, but the unveiling of a wide range of dial colours won over the public. Today, Oyster Perpetuals come in eye-catching hues including turquoise, light pink, yellow, and green. These new versions are currently selling for significantly more than the suggested retail price.


There are a few sport models that Rolex manufactures that have a reputation for steadily holding or rising in value over time. The Submariner is one of Rolexe’s most recognisable watches, and many other watch companies have taken influence from the distinctive dive watch design. It is a superb tool watch that is well worth the money because of its strength, water resistance, in-house movement, and exquisite appearance.

The Submariner was first presented in 1953 as a dive watch with a 100-meter water resistance. Divers can time their dives with the help of the revolving 60-minute bezel. These watches were designed to have a large amount of lume on the dial. Over time, cult followings for particular models have developed among aficionados. The “Hulk” and “Kermit” are two well-known green submariner variants that are getting harder to locate.

In addition to having stylish hues, they’ve both been discontinued, making them extremely rarer. In order to find the most rare references, vintage Submariner fans enjoy to compare the minutiae from reference to reference. The font, logo size, and colour scheme for the lettering on the dial were all important aspects on these antique Rolexes.

Rolex raised the Submariner’s case size in 1959 and 2020. The first gold Sub was released in 1969, while the first two-tone was offered in 1984. The enthusiasm started as collectors started to notice the little differences between references. Each of these elements has the potential to significantly raise the watch’s value.

Great watches, submariners have a lot of sales potential right now. They have historically done an outstanding job of maintaining their value through time and, in many circumstances, increasing in value. Submariners provide fantastic financial opportunities as well as the ability to participate in Rolex history.


One of Rolexes most classic models is the Datejust. This watch, which was created in 1945, was highlighted during Rolexes’ 40th anniversary. Because to the Oyster case, a waterproof design initially presented in 1926, it gained popularity. With a Datejust watch in a 36mm size, it was suitable for both men and women. Rolex didn’t release a 41mm Datejust until 2009 for those who preferred the same style in a larger case.

The Datejust keeps developing and modernising both aesthetically and technically with each new Rolex model. A 50-hour power reserve, COSC-certified chronometer movement is also included with modern Datejust watches. The Datejust 36 is a timepiece that can be completely customised. Numerous variations are available for various bands, dial colours, bezels, and metals.

Consider the quality and originality of your Datejust before making any aftermarket modifications if you plan to use it as an investment item. A bespoke Rolex does not ensure an increase in value in the preowned or vintage markets as much as originality may. The materials, reference number, and age of a Datejust can all affect its worth.

Depending on the aforementioned criteria, the value of a Datejust today might range from below to over retail price. This watch most likely won’t experience any significant price fluctuations in the near future, unlike a vintage Sub or a rare GMT, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that it will appreciate over time.

When compared to other Rolex models, a Datejust may not appear like the most reliable investment, but their prices have followed the same trend over the past century and have gradually risen.


The stainless steel sports models from Rolex are a no-brainer when it comes to purchasing one. They are renowned for maintaining their value quite well and frequently seeing significant value increases. These three timepieces—the GMT Master II, Cosmograph Daytona, and Submariner—make excellent investment choices. Models that come in a range of colours frequently have the potential to appreciate in value as the market changes.

Rolex’s global appeal is growing, making it simpler for different models to develop cult followings and become scarce quickly. The GMT “Batman” and Submariner “Hulk” are two instances of watches that have developed a cult following and are now much more expensive than they were a few years ago.

Another excellent option for a Rolex investment piece is the GMT Master II. Since its creation, the GMT has been in high demand, and it will probably continue to be so as long as they are produced. It is a useful tool for folks who travel or work abroad because it can show numerous time zones at once.

The GMT also has a Rolex in-house movement, which guarantees accuracy and longevity backed by Rolex. Although intended as a tool watch for pilots, the striking design has drawn many admirers from outside the aviation industry. The two-toned bezels that pop with colour and the high contrast dials that attract the attention inwards are appreciated by design enthusiasts. Since then, the GMT has evolved into more of a statement timepiece, adorning the wrists of rakish fans and sartorialists alike.

Another Rolex that is excellent for investment is the Day Date. The Day Date was made with status and opulence in mind. It was the first self-winding, waterproof watch to have a window at the top of the dial that read the day of the week and displayed the date. This revolutionary design quickly gained popularity and turned into a sought-after timepiece.

The Day Date is referred to by Rolex as “the ultimate status watch.” They are made of 18k gold or platinum, which normally has a significant impact on the retail price but also promises to have a high resale value. The Day Date’s classic style enables you to wear it for years on end without worrying about its value eroding.

The Explorer II is a Rolex that hasn’t yet been addressed in this article but should still be acknowledged. The Explorer II is renowned for its 24 hour bezel, 100 metre water resistance and cyclops over the date display. The Explorer II is a watch that was made to withstand the test of time because it was constructed using Rolexe’s most expensive and durable stainless steel and had a vivid lume on the indexes.

The new “Polar Dial” Explorers have a huge orange GMT hand that stands out against the clean black or white dial, giving them the ability to track several time zones in addition to creating a unique look. The Explorer, hence its name, was designed for today’s adventurer who might encounter difficult or harsh circumstances. The Explorer maintains its value steadily now. Expect your watch’s value to progressively increase over time, much like Rolexes do, rather than to increase at random.

The watches on the above list include some of the most popular Rolexes on the market right now. The Sea-Dweller, Yacht-Master, and Air-King are just a few of the other Rolex models that have strong value propositions as worthwhile investments. As we previously noted, the condition, features, and materials of your Rolex will always affect its worth, as will the market and the demands of current Rolex aficionados.

Although it appears that there will always be Rolex “classics” that we can depend on as collectors and aficionados when navigating the market and building our own collections of Rolexes, we also have no way of knowing which models will become popular in the future. Models like the Submariner “Hulk,” GMT “Batman,” and Oyster Perpetual “Turquoise” dial, as we’ve seen in recent years, have all seen a sharp rise in value as a result of market demand.

Knowing the Rolex catalog’s history and which models would make sensible investments is crucial when making a Rolex purchase. Making the ideal choice of model for you will be easier if you are familiar with the brand’s history and model line-up.

We urge you to take control of your education and conduct independent research about Rolex based on your preferences, values, and needs. Any aspiring aficionado will definitely be intrigued by the lengthy and varied history of Rolex.


It is uncommon for a Rolex to experience a sharp decline in value over time because the company has established such a strong brand and reputation in the marketplace. Your Rolex will probably maintain its value quite well and occasionally even rise in value if it is kept in excellent condition during the period it is worn. Your GMT may appreciate in value as it ages or your Datejust may gradually lose some of its retail worth; it always depends on the make and model of your watch.

A well-kept and uncommon GMT or Submariner reference is worth a lot more on the vintage Rolex market than it did when it was originally purchased. A used-up, unserviced Datejust might not be as sought-after as a flawless, vintage one from the same year that’s in excellent shape. Although we cannot guarantee which Rolex will provide you with the maximum return on investment (ROI), we can promise that you won’t regret taking care of your watch to preserve the renown longevity and durability of the Rolex brand.