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Why to invest in Rolex in 2021, Rolex investment guide

3 Feb 2021
Why to invest in Rolex in 2021, Rolex investment guide

The Rolex Cosmograph 'Paul Newman' Daytona - Source: A Collected Man


Here at Time 4 Diamonds, we love a Rolex. The reasons why are innumerable. Their design, quality, status; the list goes on.

Another reason altogether is how well they hold their value. If you pay attention to a few key factors and choose the right model, you'll not only own one of the world's greatest watches, but an excellent investment piece.

With our detailed and helpful guide to investing in a Rolex watch, read on and make 2021 a year of impressive financial gains.


The enormous increase in value

How do you achieve the highest return?

Which Rolex models are still suitable as an investment?

Is there an insider tip?

Where is the best place to buy?

What else increases the value?

What should one pay attention to?

What returns are possible?

The enormous increase in value


The most expensive wristwatch in the world is a used Rolex. A bidder paid over 13 million pounds in 2017 for the Daytona ref. 6239 owned by Paul Newman. The original price was less than £1,000, meaning its value increased by a factor of 13,000.

Of course, this is an extreme individual case, but other copies of this reference are also traded well above £35,000. If one had known that at the time, one would, of course, have grabbed it.

Historical watches as an investment require a lot of knowledge, because the smallest dial differences can strongly influence the value. Also, prices are currently already very high, and it is not sure whether the rapid price development of recent years will continue. Moreover, it is difficult to judge the authenticity of the watches and especially the dials. The new Rolex watches are more suitable for beginners – where fantasy returns are not possible – but they offer much more security.


How to achieve the highest return on investment?

Interestingly, it is not the gold or platinum models that are exceptionally stable in value, but rather the Rolex sport models in steel. But there are differences there too. After all, Rolex offers the chance to buy a brand new watch and sell it again the next day for twice as much, which is otherwise possible at most with the Patek Philippe Nautilus or the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

But there's a catch: it is challenging to get them new. This is true for almost all of the Rolex steel models, with one of particular note being the Cosmograph Daytona (ref. 116500).

The Daytona was already hard to come by in recent years. Since it received a ceramic bezel in 2016, the desirability increased further, and not only among die-hard Rolex fans. It is no longer possible to even get a place on a waiting list anymore, since the lists for the next few years are already full or not kept at all.


But there are many more steel Rolex watches worthy of your attention.

The two Rolex GMT-Master II models in steel are also trading well above price. These are the so-called "Pepsi" with blue-red bezel from 2018 and the "Batman" with blue-black bezel from 2019. Instead of for £8,000 recommended retail price, the "Batman" is currently traded for over £12,000, and the "Pepsi" for £15,000. Prices had fallen somewhat in the meantime, but are now back near their all-time high. However, demand for almost all steel Sport models is unbroken, and they are now almost all trading above their new price.

Since the new Submariner models' launch with a new movement and revised case on September 1, 2020, the price of the old Submariner Date also jumped from £8,500 to £9,600. The Submariner Date with green bezel and dial (ref. 116610LV, nicknamed "Hulk", original price £7,750) increased from £11,900 to £15,000 after it was discontinued in September.

The new Submariner Date (list £7,300) is virtually impossible to get and trades for £11,900. In the meantime, any steel model that you can get for the original price from a Rolex concessionaire is unreservedly recommendable — all Rolex sports models in steel promise to increase in value.

To put it simply: bag yourself a steel Rolex for a shrewd investment. It may be tempting to spring for a model made of metals more precious, but from a purely financial standpoint, there is no better choice.


 Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV aka the "Hulk" - Photo: Time4Diamonds


Which Rolex models are still suitable as an investment?

In addition to the Daytona, there are a few other coveted models traded well above the retail price, including the Deepsea with blue D-Blue dial (same reference as black dial: 126660, nickname "Cameron", currently traded for £11,900) and the Sea-Dweller (ref. 126600, currently traded for £11,450).

In the last six months alone, these two models have increased in value by £500 to £1,000.


 Rolex Deepsea James Cameron - Photo: Time4Diamonds


Is there an insider tip?

For a long time, the Explorer II (ref. 216570, £6,850) was an insider tip, trading only slightly above its original price. However, its price has already risen. If it is revised, experience shows that the old model also increases in value. This was the case with the Sea-Dweller 4000, which was not in great demand until replaced by the new Sea-Dweller in 2017. The prices of the old model jumped by over 50%.

For this reason, we recommend that you keep a keen eye in the market, and when any model increases in price, consider investing in its earlier iterations.


Where is the best place to buy?

A prestigious, safe and secure Rolex concessionaire by the name of Time 4 Diamonds. Of course, it would be remiss to not offer our own services, especially when we are regularly considered one of the country's leading luxury watch sellers.

Authenticity is guaranteed, alongside a United Kingdom serial number and warranty card, complete box and invoice. With other dealers and especially with private individuals, caution will always be advised: stolen goods, fake watches or - much harder to spot - fake dials in real watches (as sometimes happens with the Deepsea with D-Blue dial) are not uncommon.


What else increases the value?

Besides the authenticity, the papers, the condition and a complete box increase the value. The later sale will be more comfortable if the warranty card shows the country code LC160 for the United Kingdom. That way, you're on the safe side in case of questions about import sales tax later on.


What should you pay attention to?

If you buy abroad, you will have to pay Britain VAT on importation and any customs duties. In return, you can have the value-added tax refunded in many countries when exporting. In any case, you should calculate carefully because some bargains turn out to be unprofitable.

If you sell a watch within a year, you will have to pay tax on the profit.


 Rolex collection - Photo: Time4Diamonds


What returns are possible?

The increase in new models' value is mainly due to three phenomena.

First, when you buy a Rolex sports watch in steel - unlike models of most other brands - you get extremely little to no discount. Secondly, Rolex has regularly increased prices, although this was absent for a few years in between. Third, almost all of the Rolex sports models are considered classics; some of which have only been slightly adjusted visually for over 60 years.

If one buys a new watch, it increases in value over the years with the price increases. For the Submariner Date in steel, the selling price in 2017 was 3.6 times what it was in 1994, which means an average annual increase in the value of 11%.

Compared with the minimum interest rates currently available on fixed-term deposits, this is good value. And, unlike gold and stocks, the Rolex price knows only one direction: up.

But here's the best part: you can even wear the watch if you take good care of it and it will still appreciate - even though signs of wear will naturally result in a discount when you sell it.

That means if you were to buy a Rolex from Time 4 Diamonds at the regular price, wear it for ten years, and then sell it again without having it serviced, you will achieve about five per cent appreciation per year and still get something out of your money.

If you had bought the Submariner Date in 2007 for £3,875 and held on to it, you would now be the owner of a watch of 30% greater value (£7,350). Increasing in value by 250%, a similar development in value can be forecast for the next ten years.

Ready to see what investment pieces we have available? Take a look at our wide range of Rolex watches now.