A Rolex to a watch man is like a Porsche to a car guy: it’s classic, sophisticated, elegant and cool all at the same time, and it is never out of style.
Of course not everyone has the funds to blow on a Rolex, so pre-owned might be the best way to go. As far as a complete look, nothing beats a Suitsupply suit with your pre-owned Rolex.
Below is a list of our tips, knowhow, advice… call it what you want. This is our guide to buying a pre-owned Rolex Submariner or Datejust watch.
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A Quick Guide
Rolex was founded by a 24 year old
When making the decision to purchase a Rolex, you need to understand the history of the name to recognize the value in your investment. We can thank the innovative mind of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, whose visionary spirit began in 1905 when he founded a timepiece distribution company in London at the age of 24.
It was here that his dream for the comfort and ease of the wristwatch became a reality and the first version of the Rolex watch was born. Driven by the quest for chronometric precision, in 1910Rolex was granted the first ever award of Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision and from these accomplishments grew the legendary brand to where it is today.
The Benefits of Buying A Pre Owned Watch
Obtain the same prestige of owning a Rolex but for a fraction of the price. This makes the decision of investing in a watch a lot easier for you and your wallet. This is also a great opportunity to purchase a style that is no longer in production which allows you to have a one of a kind piece of history. In some cases, aRolex is like a fine wine and increases in value over time. Some watches were made for professionals like the Rolex GMT Master was made for Pan Am pilots to simultaneously keep track of the current time in multiple time zones. Watches made with a design like this are made to become heirlooms over time.
Before you start searching, know what you’re searching for. Here are some of our favorite Rolex Submariners.
Produced from 1989-2010 this model typically runs between $4,500 – $6,000 depending on the year and condition. Both the case and bracelet are stainless steel, keeping this model at the lower end of the price range. It’s classy and stylish and can be worn almost anywhere.
The Rolex Submariner Green Dial – model #116610LV
This watch commemorates the 50th Anniversary edition of the Rolex Submariner and is still currently in production. The after market value typically runs between $8,000 – $9,500 and is known and somewhat of a collectable item for watch connoisseurs.
The Rolex Submariner Two-Tone – model #16613
With self-winding technology, and a 31 jewel movement this is a watch for a man of high standards. It was produced from 1988 – 2010, it can currently be found for sale at prices ranging from $6,000 to $9,000. This model can be found with multiple face colors including black, gold and blue and several different styles of bracelet.
The Rolex 18K Gold Submariner – model #16618
Designed in 1990 with 18-karat gold and an oyster bracelet this time piece can be found on international men of mystery, sea captains and watch collectors alike. Selling for roughly $14,000 to $22,000 this watch isn’t for a rookie.
Now Here Are Your 8 Tips to Buying a Pre-Owned Rolex…
1. Find a Dealer
While Ebay and Craigslist are great for smaller purchases, a Rolex is an investment, even a used one, and you should buy it from someone who knows what they are doing. Talk to reputable watch dealers and collectors in your area. Ask them if they know of anywhere to get great deals on a used Rolex or if they have any in their store.
Purchasing a Rolex from someone reputable will save you a lot of time with no chance for a headache. Will you find better deals on the internet? Perhaps. But you then run the chance of buying something that is completely or partially inauthentic.
Spotting a fake Rolex can be difficult, especially with popular models like the Rolex Submariner or Rolex Datejust. The exterior of the watch may look close to perfect, but the inside is what you’re paying for. Over the years counterfeit watchmakers have learned to imitate Rolexes very well, don’t be over confident
If something simply sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is. You aren’t going to find a Rolex for $900, not a real one at least. If you decide not to go to a dealer and think you truly are that savvy of an internet bargain hunter, then go for it. But remember, no one is going to sell something for $1000 when they paid 8 times that for it.
Ebay can be a slightly better bet, but Craigslist is notorious for scammers and fraud. If you do find something you think may actually be a good deal, then meet them in person, inspect it yourself and use good judgement. Odds are if it really was that good of a deal then someone more knowledgeable than you would have scooped it up already.
2. Learn How to Spot a Fake
Fake Rolexes can be difficult to spot, especially if they are done well. Here are a few basic tips to help you decipher whether or not it’s a good deal.
Look at the Second Hand. On a real Rolex the second hand moves smoothly without ticking, if you see one that ticks as it moves, it is a counterfeit.
Look at the Date Window. Authentic Rolexes magnify the date while many fakes just have a separate piece of glass.
Check Out the Back. Authentic Men’s Rolexes have smooth case backs and zero engravings the only exception is the Rolex Sea-Dweller, which says “Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve” on the back in black along with two Rolex logos. Any Rolex other than that with an emblem or engraving is a counterfeit.
Pick It Up. Fake Rolexes tend to be cheap and lightweight. Real Rolexes are made with heavy, quality materials and weight much more. If it doesn’t feel heavier than your Target bought watches, it isn’t a real Rolex.
3. Get it Authenticated
If you decided to skip the first three pieces of advice, which some of you will, then be sure to get it authenticated as soon as your Rolex arrives. Any good watch dealer (or pawnshop) should be able to open up your Rolex and do this for you. Some will do it for free, some will charge a small fee, but either way it is worth it.
Be sure to do this immediately after purchasing so if you have been defrauded there is at least a better chance of recovering your funds. As we mentioned before, a lot of watches can look authentic on the outside and have falsified parts in the inner workings of the time piece. If possible find a certified Rolex dealer to check it over for you, if this isn’t a certified Rolex dealer around you any reputable watch dealer should be able to do a decent job telling you whether or not you were taken for a fool.
4. Make Sure You Can Get Your Money Back
If you do decide to search online (which lets admit it, thats how most of us do our shopping anyways) make sure you’re smart about it. Sites like Ebay offer a money back guarantee if you are duped by an inauthentic item, but dealing with Ebay isn’t always the quickest or easiest choice you have.
Use PayPal, your funds are held in escrow until everything goes through smoothly. But even then, it can come down to your word vs the sellers word until PayPal steps in and makes a decision for you. This can take some time, and if you spent a small fortune you’re going to want to recover it quick so you can go out there and find the real thing.
Link a credit card to your PayPal account that can protect against online purchasing fraud. A lot (if not most) cards have some way to do this these days. If PayPal and Ebay are moving slowly, contact your credit card company in the case you get ripped off. Banks are more powerful than you, they will get it handled a lot faster.
5. Box and Papers
If possible, go with a used Rolex that still has it original box and papers. This isn’t the biggest factor, as papers and boxes are easier to fake than watches, but most people don’t take the time to do it. If the box is flimsy and the papers look off, then the watch probably is too.
Check the serial number on your Rolex (typically found on the edge of the face, or in the clasp) and be sure it matches up with the numbers on the original tags and papers. If they’re different, don’t bother doing anymore authenticating, go elsewhere.
Of course it is possible that a watch can be authentic and not have everything it came with, but use your best judgement, if you buy something for thousands of dollars, do you typically misplace the case?
6. How’s The Inside Holding Up?
As common sense as it may sound, make sure the watch is in good working condition. Ask the seller to have it looked over by an authorized Rolex service center, or a highly reputable watchmaker to be sure everything is in good condition. If repairs need to be done, or have been done recently to the timepiece make sure to get a statement in writing ensuring the work is top quality and will last you a minimum of one year.
No one wants to find out their watch has a lot of outdated, rusted, or inauthentic parts hiding beneath the surface. And the last thing you want to do it be on the hook to repair it 2 months down the road because you didn’t check it over first. You wouldn’t buy a used car without letting a mechanic take a look at it, the same principal is applied here.
7. Don’t Rush It
The most important thing is to take your time and don’t make rash decisions. Do your research. Find out how much the Rolex you are looking at typically goes for new and used. Learn the ins and outs of what to know when going to purchase yours and don’t jump the gun just because you see a good price. The more knowledgeable you are, the better experience you’re going to have.
Of course when you do find that perfect Rolex Submariner or that beautiful Rolex Datejust you’ve been looking for then know when to pull the trigger so you don’t miss out. Good luck on your Rolex hunt, and enjoy the loads of compliments you’re going to get on your new watch!
If you are going to shop online for a new Rolex, use a trusted pre-owned watch retailer. Bobswatches.com should be your first stop. They specialize in pre-owned Rolexes, as you can see from their logo, and will give you a fair deal. They are located in Huntington Beach, CA but their online store is just as great. Check it out and save yourself a huge hassle.