Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Watch Program Debuts In U.S.: What You Need To Know
A pre-owned Rolex expert weighs in on what the program means for collectors.
Be it brand-new Rolex watches or coveted vintage Rolex models, the market for a “Rollie” has seemingly never been more red-hot than it is right now. That momentum just got (arguably) another boost, courtesy of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program, which just started its rollout in the United States last week.
The U.S. launch comes on the heels of its debut in Europe last December, including markets like the U.K., France and Denmark. While it’s tough to say how well it fared exactly in those markets, the development is a positive one for Rolex fans and the secondary watch market itself, said Paul Altieri, CEO and founder of Bob’s Watches.
From the Oyster Perpetual to the GMT-Master II, Bob’s Watches stocks a wide array of Rolex timepieces.
“I’ve said all along it’s a positive development and validation of the secondhand market,” he told Maxim. “So, in that sense, it’s good for the industry.”
Rolex Certified Pre-Owned watches are available at Bucherer’s own Rolex pre-owned showrooms, each of which is “beautifully designed to exhibit a large selection of timepieces, including Rolex’s most iconic models,” Bucherer said.
The rollout of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program further bolsters the secondary market, said Eugene Tutunikov of luxury watch marketplace SwissWatchExpo.
“Rolex will add credibility to the entire space and take pre-owned even more mainstream than it is now,” he said. Tutunikov added that the process of shipping pre-owned watches to authorized dealers will be “expensive and time-consuming, potentially leading to a premium mark-up of 10 to 15 percent.
“A few of us larger players in the pre-owned space have a stellar reputation in terms of both authentication and service, but some consumers will pay the premium to get the Rolex rubber stamp on the product pre purchase,” he said, noting that some consumers will stick with dealers they know and trust, rather than the Rolex program.
And in an effort to dial in the exclusivity of pre-owned Rolex watches, only models older than three years old will be featured, preventing the “flipping” of newer Rolex models.
And demand for Rolex watches certainly continues to surge: The watchmaker is building new factories to bolster its supply of luxury timepieces.
“More people will be willing to buy a preowned watch, knowing there will now be more places they can sell it or trade it in. This is good news for everyone involved,” Tutunikov said.
The experience gets even more tailored beyond that: Each Rolex Certified Pre-Owned watch comes with a two-year warranty card, a Rolex “wax seal” tag and a certificate of authenticity.
What’s good for Rolex collectors in search of a pre-owned watch is ideal for the industry as a whole, Altieri of Bob’s Watches said.
“The pre-owned industry is (worth) about $20 billion a year in size, so there should be plenty of market share availability,” he said in regards to Rolex amping up the competition in the secondary market. “Perhaps the pie gets even bigger now.”
Time will tell how the latest Rolex move impacts the secondary market’s valuation of Rolex watches, Altieri added.
“We might need to wait a few years to get a valued answer here. But I don’t expect this to have any meaningful impact ln existing secondhand values,” he said.
For those who’ve been scouring the market for a pre-owned Rolex, the field just got a bit more wide open: Shop accordingly for an enviable timepiece.