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Tips for Investing in a Pre-Owned Rolex

September 15, 2022

Rolex is the most valuable luxury watch brand in the entire world. In fact, the most expensive Rolex ever was sold for nearly $18 million in October 2017. Because these watches are so valuable, they make great investments. 

If you want to buy a Rolex watch as an investment but do not want to wait for an age at a dealer for a new one, you may consider buying a pre-owned one. Do you want to get the best deal on a pre-owned Rolex? Keep reading this used Rolex buying guide for the top tips on investing in Rolex that aren't simply "buy low, sell high". Because of this, these tips could be helpful in buying watches other than Rolex.


Find a Reputable Seller

The first thing you need to do before buying a pre-owned Rolex is to research who you will buy the watch from. If you are looking for a specific model that isn't widely available, you might not have as many options. Professional dealers like Watches of Wales are more likely to be familiar with the endless variations of watches that Rolex has made over the years and are more likely to be able to source one for you.

If you have found a watch you like the look of, it will do you good to check whether the watch has been stolen. In the same way that criminals will steal a high-value car like a Range Rover or a BMW, change the number plates and then attempt to sell it on, they will do the same with luxury watches. It would be best if you tried to search for whether a watch has been stolen. Rolex used to keep a lost/stolen register, but you'll now need to use an independent service for this. You'll need to find the watch's serial number. On modern Rolex watches, this will be on the inner bezel at 6 O'clock, and on older watches, it's between one of the lugs. Check out our more complete guide to Rolex serial numbers for this. If a watch's serial number is missing or has obviously been tampered with, you should run for the hills. 

You can usually find a reputable seller by looking into their pricing. If a dealer offers an unrealistic bargain on a Rolex watch, it may be a sign that it is a stolen or counterfeit watch. If the price is too good to be true, it probably isn't a good option. 

Some Rolex watches have been modified with aftermarket parts. These are typically used to make up colour combinations that Rolex never offered, such as a red dial and red bezel on a Submariner 16610. If you're unsure, you must ask for an expert's opinion on these watches. It's possible the parts are of low quality, or the watch they are based on is counterfeit. Also, if you do purchase one of these modified watches, Rolex will not service it.


Learn More About the Watch's Service History

Next, you need to learn more about the service history of the timepiece you are interested in buying. When you find a reputable seller, they should be able to give you information about the repairs and services a watch has had, if any. This way, you can ensure the servicing was done by a professional that provides high-quality maintenance. 

Typically, you should only buy a watch that has been worked on by a brand-accredited service, especially if the watch is still within the manufacturer's warranty period. Rolex may not work on a watch that has been serviced by someone not Rolex accredited if the watch is within the warranty period. This may not apply to vintage models for which Rolex may or may not have the parts and will be outside the warranty by a long time. 

On vintage watches, both condition and originality are fundamental. A vintage Rolex sent back to the factory for a service may end up with parts replaced, such as the dial, which is a significant factor in the watch's value. In this case, it may be beneficial to find a specialist who can service that specific model, even if they are not brand-accredited, in the same way you might do with a classic exotic car.


Make Sure It Has Original Parts

One reason you should always work with a brand-accredited service is that you will only have original parts in your watch. Some people will get their Rolex repaired or serviced by an unauthorised service centre, which may result in cheaper, non-Rolex parts being used. 

This can lower the resale value of your Rolex and might even cause problems with the mechanisms of your watch. If your dealer doesn't use authentic Rolex parts for their watches, you need to find another company to work with. As mentioned above, Rolex may refuse to service a watch with third-party components inside.


Get an Appraisal

Something else that you must do when you buy a used Rolex is getting an appraisal. This will ensure that you do not have any surprises when buying your Rolex. The information you get during the appraisal, including the serial number, retail replacement value, and more, will also be important when you get your Rolex insured. 

When looking for a dealer, you can request that they provide a free appraisal to guarantee that you are not spending too much money on your pre-owned Rolex. You should be aware that Rolex does not offer appraisals; any appraisal services are provided purely by the dealer and are not a guarantee from Rolex that the watch is authentic.


Looking for a Pre-Owned Rolex? We Can Help

A pre-owned Rolex is a great purchase that you can enjoy while also potentially getting a return or profit in the future. 

If you are looking for the best place to buy a second-hand Rolex, Watches of Wales can help! We provide luxury watches of any brand and can help you find the best Rolex to invest in. Contact us today to learn about our products or to book an appointment with our luxury watch experts.