The RealReal is the largest online luxury consignment site and it did good business in 2020. The company just released a report (PDF) reflecting on buying trends in 2020 and how they might feed into this year and when it comes to preowned, collectible luxury watches, there was one clear winner: Rolex.
The Robb Report says Rolex "only strengthened its position in 2020," selling faster than they did just one year ago. Robb also notes that some Rollie models reach escape velocity faster than others like the GMT-Master II “Batman.”
RealReal's report indicates the "Batman" frequently sold up to "170 percent of its original retail price in 2020."
Another fascinating detail from the report: Preowned Rolex Explorers saw a 15 percent rise and diamond-encrusted Rolexes accumulated 44 percent in value in the latter part of last year. Fascinating because even as a pandemic slammed most of the world and economies took a nose-dive worldwide, it's clear there were still plenty of well-heeled people ready to treat themselves with a fine timepiece.
The news wasn't just good for Rolex, though.
The RealReal's report indicated that in year-over-year sales, Franck Muller rose by a striking 63%, making the brand a leader in average sale price growth. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak had the greatest resale value growth with 24% and Panerai was leading in fast sales, people snapping up Sylvester Stallone's favorite luxury watch brand 1.3 times faster than in previous years.
An earlier report issued by the same retailer in August 2020 mapped the dominance of a well-known, legacy brand like Rolex to the coronavirus pandemic. According to RealReal, the tough economic climate didn't make people grow stingy so much as it inspired a need for "safer investments," which is why sales of "high-value items, across numerous categories, outpaced that of low-value."
Owning a Rolex is, as any collector will volunteer, as much an investment as anything, and a proven secure one. Rollies will likely dominate the wrists of smart spenders for years to come.