For many people, the purchase of a Rolex watch is no longer just an insider tip and is well worth considering, whether as a risk-proof or long-term investment. However, some models of the market leader offer better investment opportunities than others. Therefore, we are going to reveal to you which are the best Rolex watches to invest in.
Rolex as an investment: Which models are worth investing in?
Anyone who looks a little more closely into watches will quickly come across the topic of value stability and investment. Luxury watches are often excessively advertised as offering high value growth and very promising returns, but unfortunately, the reality is a little different. The truth is that only a few models from certain brands within the luxury sector actually are profitable investment opportunities.
Nevertheless, we can reassure you: Starting out with buying a Rolex, you're not doing anything wrong. However, in order to properly invest in pre-owned Rolex watches, you should follow a few simple rules for investing in watches.
ROLEX SUBMARINER 16610LV | ROLEX SUBMARINER 116610LV | ROLEX SUBMARINER 126610LV
Basic rules for investing in watches
- 1. Leave personal taste aside: Once you have decided to invest in watches, make sure you disregard your own tastes and personal preferences when making a purchase. Investing in Rolex watches means first and foremost investing in stainless steel models. No matter whether you prefer gold watches or think that golden models are more valuable or stable in value simply because of the material. Once you have understood this rule, you will see Rolex watches only as a means to an end and will have no problem selling them at the right moment.
- 2. Keep an eye on the market: Create a portfolio of watches that you want to monitor and regularly check the current value of these models by doing a quick internet research. After a while, when you have developed a feel for the market, you can start investing independently without hesitation.
- 3. Stay up to date: Inform yourself regularly about novelties, rumours, trends, etc. All this can quickly trigger a certain hype among collectors on the watch market and cause the prices – even of used models – to skyrocket or, in the worst but also the rarest case, to plummet.
But why should you invest in Rolex models at all – and more importantly, which ones are best? Buying a Rolex can be one of the quickest, most profitable and also safest investments. Very popular as a commodity and appreciated as a prestige object, the popularity of the brand is continuously increasing, which is also reflected in the value of the watches. Some Rolex models have increased in value over the years, in some cases by more than 100%. International prestige and high quality inspire people around the globe and make these remarkable price developments possible in the first place.
Another factor is the rarity of some watch models. Rolex produces about 800,000 watches a year and thus cannot meet the high demand in the least. In fact, Rolex doesn't want to. As a result, the waiting lists for certain models go on for years. Impatient collectors and interested parties therefore also turn to the second-hand market and buy pre-owned models online. The prices for Rolex models develop at different rates here. To give you an overview of suitable investment purchases, we present the best Rolex models to invest in below.
Top Rolex watches for investment
The Rolex Submariner – the classicAs a classic among luxury watches, the Rolex Submariner has been inspiring us since the 1950s. As popular and sought-after as it is, the Submariner as an investment is no longer considered an insider tip. Nevertheless, you can still achieve great returns if you buy the right model.
The Submariner "Hulk" (Ref. 116610LV), produced from 2010 to 2020, had to fight its way to the top, but is now more popular than ever since being replaced by its successor, the 126610LV. While the 116610LV still had an average market value of €5,979 in February 2011, over the following nine years it increased to an average value of €13,566 in August 2020. But when the model was discontinued in September 2020, the average value of the "Hulk" jumped to €16,401 almost overnight. As if that was not enough, the value of the Rolex Submariner 116610LV continues to rise and is currently around €17,114 (as of December 2020).
ROLEX SUBMARINER 126610LV
Yet the Hulk is not the only Submariner that promises a profitable return. Its predecessor, the Submariner (Ref. 16610LV) nicknamed "Kermit", has also risen enormously in value thanks to its new version, the 126610LV. Previously less popular, the model was still priced at €4,011 in January 2010, but has seen its value soar over the past ten years, reaching a current value of €14,383. That's a return of a remarkable €1,000 per year – and that's for a daily worn object.
The Rolex GMT-Master II – for frequent travellersCurrently one of the most popular watches in the brand's portfolio: the GMT-Master II. As a classic steel sports watch, it not only comes with time and date, but also has a second time zone. In particular, the "Pepsi" (Ref. 126710BLRO) and "Batgirl" (Ref. 126710BLNR) models on the jubilee bracelet are considered top sellers and now compete with the Daytona for the throne of the most sought-after Rolex model.
Due to their high grey market prices, both models are rather less interesting as an investment with a fast and high return. However, the discontinued and comparatively unpopular GMT-Master II (Ref. 116710LN) is a different story. As a discontinued reference with a modern look, the model is somewhat overshadowed by the coloured models, but in the period from 2010 to 2020 it was able to record a positive development in value from €4,507 to €10,981 – continuing to go upwards.
ROLEX GMT-MASTER II "BATMAN" 116710BLNR | ROLEX GMT-MASTER II "COKE" 16710
The Rolex Daytona – perfect for those with petrol in their bloodAs the flagship for all chronographs in the luxury segment, the Rolex Daytona enjoys incomparable popularity. Being able to buy a new Daytona in a Rolex boutique (the emphasis is on being able) is emotionally akin to winning the lottery. For this reason, many prospective buyers turn to the grey market and buy a Daytona second-hand.
Basically, just like the GMT-Master II "Pepsi", the Rolex Daytona is less suitable for achieving quick returns in large amounts. Simply put, this is due to the fact that the prices for Daytona models on the second-hand market are significantly higher than their list prices anyway. Therefore, we have a tip for you: Buy a Daytona (Ref. 116520) – preferably unworn – as a full set (i.e. with original box and all associated papers), lock it away safely, then wait and see. This reference is in fact the last Daytona without a ceramic bezel, which is why the prices are already very high and still going up. While the Daytona (Ref. 116520) with a white dial was priced at €7,536 in 2010, it now commands solid prices of between €17,000 and €20,000 – depending on its condition. Accordingly, in addition to its obvious use as an excellent wristwatch, the Rolex Daytona is also suitable as a long-term investment.
ROLEX DAYTONA 116519 | ROLEX DAYTONA 116509 | ROLEX DAYTONA 116519
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual – a surprising prodigyThe surprising beneficiaries of this year are all those who purchased a Rolex Oyster Perpetual with a 39 mm case diameter at the beginning of 2020. Whether an "entry-level Rolex" or not, with the current facelift of the model, the old version with the reference number 114300 was discontinued. Either it is the simple fact that the model has been taken out of production, or the new version of the Oyster Perpetual with a 41 mm diameter, the refernce 124300, is simply having a hard time finding favour in the watch community. The larger diameter and the double indices at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock are not everyone's cup of tea.
Despite this, the Oyster Perpetual (Ref. 114300) has soared from an average value of €5,541 since January 2020 to a value of up to €7,212 in October 2020. Such an increase in value is a good example of the positive performance of a watch model after it has been replaced by a new edition. The Oyster Perpetual is definitely a classically simple and elegant wristwatch worth keeping an eye on.
The Rolex Air-King – a model for speculatorsFor those hoping for a quick return, we’d like to recommend the Air-King (Ref. 119600). The Air-King is a collection that is underestimated by many. Its current design is the result of a collaboration between Rolex and the "Bloodhound Project". This is a failed world record attempt for which Rolex designed the on-board instruments of the high-speed car "Bloodhound SSC". The company eventually adopted the look for the current Air-King collektion.
Since the reference 119600 is considered one of the most unpopular watches in the Rolex range, insiders expect the collection to be discontinued soon. This does not mean that the Air-King will disappear completely, but the series is believed to stand on shaky ground. Many people therefore expect an update of the Rolex Air-King. Those who speculate on a quick return as with the Oyster Perpetual should consider buying an Air-King model. Especially as it is already trading at an average price of currently €7,088, which is about €1,200 above the list price. Not bad for a supposed underdog, is it?
Why are these Rolex models worthwhile?
Perhaps you are now asking yourself why these Rolex models in particular are worth considering as an investment with a worthwhile return. Now let us decipher it briefly: The models presented above are currently enjoying enormous popularity due to their everyday use, their design and their functions. The principle of price development in supply and demand reacts accordingly. Popular models enjoy a high demand, which is why, conversely, supplies shrink and prices rise. In addition, discontinued references such as the Oyster Perpetual gain enormous value and interest in collector circles due to the aforementioned circumstance of discontinued production.
ROLEX EXPLORER II 216570
What else helps to increase the value of Rolex watches?Ideally, you should invest in an unworn Rolex watch as a full set. At best, this means that you have bought a new Rolex at some point and never worn it. You also own every receipt, sticker and associated piece of paper and can therefore seamlessly prove the history of the watch.
Even if the watch was worn regularly, however, a full set consisting of the original box and papers can significantly increase the value of the timepiece. In general, a complete and verifiable history is advantageous for an additional increase in value – especially to make it easier for potential buyers to distinguish between a genuine and a fake Rolex. In case of doubt, a prospective buyer will always opt for the watch with its original box and papers.