Watches - Buying Guides

Choosing your first pre-owned Rolex

Buying your first pre-owned Rolex timepiece is a moment you’re likely to remember for a very, very long time. It’s so much more than a typical purchase; it’s the first steps on a journey into the realm of high-end watchmaking, which will leave you in possession of an item made by one of the world’s true remaining luxury brands.

However, making that deeply significant step is one which cannot, and will not, be taken lightly. There are plenty of factors to bear in mind when making your choice, and you’ll need to think carefully about the wide range of pre-owned Rolex watches available, and you’ll have to also bear in mind your own personal sense of style, and exactly what you’ll be using your new timepiece for. What’s more, you need to choose whether you’re seeking an item to treasure and pass on one day, or to keep hold of as an investment item.

In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of these deciding factors in a bit more detail, as well as considering what it is about pre-owned Rolex watches which make them such a perfect purchase, especially for those seeking to bring some real class and sophistication into their lives. There are also a handful of pitfalls to watch out for, too, and we’ll be laying out a couple of key guidelines to help you avoid making any errors with your choice and ultimate purchase.

Why Choose Rolex?

It’s difficult to overstate just how important Rolex is as a watchmaking brand of almost unparalleled quality and appeal. Throughout their history, this company has balanced their mission for timepiece perfection alongside a commitment to remain timeless in style, and this is a mission they’ve fulfilled consistently across the decades. What’s more, the ‘working man’ origins of Rolex have allowed this company’s creations to consistently remain fashionable and desirable; indeed, to have a Rolex watch on your wrist is still the status symbol and signifier of excellent taste it also has been.

Of course, getting your hands on a pre-owned Rolex isn’t exclusively about style, fashion, taste, or your association with this world-famous band. It’s also a choice which aligns yourself with a particular lifestyle; an understated charm and unshakeable cool, a commitment to quality and refinement, and an image which has been spearheaded by plenty of iconic figures over the past century.

From an investment point of view, choosing Rolex as the brand of your pre-owned watch is a seriously smart move and one which only becomes smarter as time goes on. There is no shortage of luxury and high-end timepiece brands out there to choose from, many of which offer watches which are every bit as stylish, accurate, and iconic as Rolex. However, if you’re looking to use your new watch as an investment item which will appreciate in value over the years, Rolex are actually one of only two watchmaker brands in the world today whose value is almost guaranteed to increase. While other brands may well join Rolex at this particular list in the future, as far as investment into watches goes, Rolex is about as safe a bet as is possible, both today and in the years and decades to come.

Settling on a Model

Now you’ve decided that, out of all the luxury timepiece brands available, Rolex is the one for you, it’s time to decide on which stylish, high-end model is the best fit for your preferences, image, and lifestyle. With an impressive and dazzling array of models out there, this isn’t necessarily a simple choice. One must consider the various merits of the different watches in the Rolex back catalogue, and decide which one speaks most clearly to you. In this sense, buying a pre-owned Rolex makes a whole lot more sense that purchasing one fresh from the factory. The range of pre-owned models out there is far broader (and some would argue, far more exciting and alluring) than that of the new designs and releases, and you are also likely to get a much wider range of price points, too.

Let’s take a brief look through the key categories of pre-owned Rolex timepieces you’re likely to come across on the marketplace, and consider their various strengths and some of the key examples you have to choose from.

Rolex Sport Watches

The Rolex sports watches are the most versatile, most popular, and possibly the most iconic timepiece types to come out of this brand throughout their history. Sleek, elegant, beautifully designed, and packed full of unique and fascinating features, they are understandably the watches which have the most powerful appeal to the majority of Rolex collectors and wearers.

At the very top of most timepiece fans’ lists of Rolex sports watches, they’d like to own sits the Submariner range. Available in a multitude of styles and metals, it’s an absolute design classic which has remained perennially popular since its release in 1953. There are many reasons for this model’s enduring appeal; it introduced a wealth of new features which helped revolutionise the luxury timepiece industry for a new generation, and it looks absolutely stunning when worn with anything from a classic tuxedo, to a casual suit, or a simple jeans and shirt combo.

This is a pre-owned Rolex Submariner men's 16610

From the strands of Rolex Submariner DNA comes a range of other hugely popular sports models. The GMT Master II (which is highly similar in style, but which features a second-time zone hand), the Sea-Dweller (a bulkier, and more professionally-aimed diver’s watch), and the Yachtmaster, which straddles the line between the laissez-faire sportiness of the Submariner with a dressier model. Perfect for more formal wear, yet also ideal for showing off an active lifestyle and commitment to adventure, the Yachtmaster and its variations is a popular choice which truly stands out from the crowd.

This is a pre-owned Rolex GMT-Master II pepsi gents 16710 watch

Of course, no list of Rolex sports watches which make for highly desirable pre-owned models would be complete without some mention of the Daytona Chronograph. Somewhat more elaborate and classically elegant than other sports watches, this model comes in a wide range of styles. Famously, the steel Daytonas are so popular with collectors and investors, they frequently sell as pre-owned models for more than their retail value, and their versatility and unmistakable look makes them an absolute classic that’s sure to turn heads.

Rolex Dress Watches

Unmistakably elegant, deeply luxurious, and a powerful status symbol for both men and women of the utmost sophistication, pre-owned Rolex dress watches are perfect for any buyer who knows the impact such an item possesses. It goes without saying that when it comes to embellishment and decoration, the sky really is the limit in the world of high-end watches. There are Rolex dress watches out there encrusted with diamonds, decked out in a variety of precious metals, and customised in a number of different ways… but to keep things relatively brief, we’re going to be looking today at some of the key models you’re likely to come across on the pre-owned market.

This is a pre-owned Rolex Datejust women's 68273 watch.

The most obvious place to begin on any list of renowned Rolex dress watches is the Datejust series. Glamorous, elegant, and utterly iconic, the fluted bezel of this model has been a hallmark for Rolex ever since it was first conceived decades ago. The Datejust’s strengths lie primarily in its timeless style and conservative sense of stylistic supremacy. Made from steel, and featuring a white gold bezel, it’s an icon of prestige and power and is a watch which regularly surprises the market with its high resale value. If you’re looking for a pre-owned Rolex to wear to high-powered meetings, and which pairs brilliantly with a sharp tailored suit, this might just be the one for you.

This is a pre-owned Rolex Day-Date men's 18038 watch.

Alongside the Datejust models sit the dazzling and rather showy Day-Date timepieces, sometimes referred to as the Rolex ‘President’ models (thanks in part to the number of heads of state who have been committed fans). Although fairly similar to the Datejust in terms of size and style, the Day-Date watches include a day of the week complication and do not come in steel versions, relying solely on precious metals instead.

The Life of Your Pre-Owned Rolex Watch

Whether you’re interested in the more famous models listed above, or are after something a little more niche and less widely available, it’s important to think about the kind of ‘life’ your Rolex will have once you’ve bought it. Considering what you’re likely to use your timepiece for, when and where you’re going to wear it, and what you’ll do with your Rolex in the future may help you to decide which kind of model to opt for.

For example, if you’re hoping to wear your Rolex on a day-to-day basis, and have it as a key part of your everyday wardrobe, it would perhaps make more sense to choose a classic or more contemporary sports model, such as one from the Submariner range. The versatility and understated elegance of these watches really do offer a glimmer of utter distinction and add real value to even the most casual of outfits. Such watches are highly likely to retain their value (even if they’re relatively well-worn), and will probably see a slight increase in value over the years.

Looking for a watch to wear on special occasions, or want a timepiece to act as a status symbol for certain functions, gatherings, or business meetings? In this case, one of Rolex’s dressier watches would be advised, probably in precious metals, or featuring some precious stones. These watches commonly increase in value, and their raw materials also make them a powerful investment.

This is a pre-owned Rolex Submariner kermit gents 16610LV watch.

For those looking to use their Rolex as an investment item, and who are hoping to see a fantastic return on their original purchase, there are a couple of different routes one can take. The first of these is to seek out unusual and rare classic models, which almost never fail to appreciate in value. The second is perhaps more accessible to most collectors and involves buying newer models which have real collectable potential in the future. Examples would include those featuring lesser-seen colour combinations (for example, a newer dialled ‘Kermit’ Submariner with a green bezel), or those which are produced in lower numbers at present, and as such are likely to become highly sought-after in the future. Quite when that future comes about is, at the moment, anybody’s guess… but that’s all part of the process for investors and collectors of luxury goods.

Whichever path you choose for your pre-owned Rolex, one thing is for sure: with the right care and attention, and with the recommended regular watch services these timepieces require to keep them in tip-top condition, your Rolex should comfortably last the generations. This brand is still deeply popular with those seeking to establish heirlooms to pass onto their children, and buying a pre-owned Rolex to be treasured by those who survive you is a perfectly good reason to look into purchasing a watch from this peerless brand.

Always Opt for a Trusted Supplier

It really goes without saying that, when considering buying a pre-owned Rolex timepiece, it’s vital to ensure that it comes with all the correct paperwork intact, and from a trusted source or supplier. Your watch merchant should be able to provide all the necessary verification documents and put your mind fully at ease regarding any questions you might have.

To purchase your first pre-owned Rolex is an exciting step for any watch collector or investor, fan of luxury items and brands, or anybody seeking to bring a truly legendary accessory into their daily life. While selecting the perfect timepiece for you isn’t the easiest of choices to make, that’s merely a testament of the sheer power and significance that these watches have - and it’s a choice which deserves real time, exploration, and consideration. After all, there’s no other brand quite like Rolex.