January jump: Rolex’ quiet price hikes
The Swiss watchmaker quietly ramped up its Rolex prices on New Year’s Day - its first rise in two years - with the Submariner soaring more than 10 per cent.
Arguably still the leading brand in the pre-owned market, Rolex increased its retail prices by an average of 3.4% — and this is reflected by the US prices on Rolex’ official website. For many models, this means a jump of several hundred dollars, with some timepieces commanding over a grand more.
While we would generally expect a price increase most years, this year’s hikes have been model dependent with classic timepieces like the Day-Date receiving the smallest average price increases while the Professional Watches models like Daytonas and GMT Master II have seen the largest increases.
Clearly, Rolex watches have been increasing in cost for decades and are now more expensive than ever – but this trend shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, Rolex is expected to reach $29 to $32 billion in sales by 2025, according to research by McKinsey.
Let’s take the 43mm Rolex Sea-Dweller in standard steel, ref 126600. In 2021 it cost $11,700. This year’s price is $12,950. The only Milgauss still offered by Rolex (116400GV) has seen an $800 increase on last year, along with the new Rolex Explorer II (124270) which is now $7,200, up from $6,400 the year previous.
But it’s the Submariner (124060) that has seen a 10.5% jump from $8,100 last year to $8,950 today.
But for normal collectors and fans of the brand, it’s virtually impossible to get hold of a new model unless you have access to a Rolex authorised dealer.
People having had more money to spend due to lockdown restrictions and soaring markets have combined to show that demand for watches is outstripping supply, leaving people to go to third party dealers. Waiting lists are now up to a decade-wait while prices on the secondhand market are also sneaking up, with new pieces increasingly vexing to source.
Last September, Rolex claimed: “Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches–something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised.”
Some people who have been saving up for a watch will be disappointed by the price hike but if you’re in the market for a Rolex it’s a safe and sound investment to make this year. And we would say that any price you can get from an authentic dealer should be seen as a privilege to buy.
You’ll be glad to know that buying a pre-owned Rolex from a reputable dealer like ourselves is much more likely that scoring yourself a brand new one! We have plenty of models for you to admire at our new High Street boutique in Epping.
And while you may think the initial outlay is steep for your newly-increased watch - should you manage to actually get a brand new one - there’s always the hope that it will increase in value as the years go by. If it’s boxed and has its original paperwork, it could be a great investment indeed.
So whether it’s a nest egg for the grandkids or it’s time to treat yourself, Rolex will remain a firm favourite with watch fans.