Buying a new Rolex just got a little more expensive.
The sleuths at Professional Watches noticed a number of the Swiss watchmaker’s classic timepieces got price hikes on New Year’s Day. For example, the price of a 41 mm stainless steel Ref. 124300 Oyster Perpetual, which you could buy for $5,900 in 2021, is now selling for $6,150 on the American market. Long-time (or deep pocketed) collectors may not flinch at that 4.2 percent increase, but the Rolex Submariner is another story. The Ref. 124060 has been given a 10.5 percent uptick from $8,100 last year to $8,950 today.
What’s interesting here is that these are not resale prices. Yet, with all the frenzy on the secondary market for Rolex’s coveted examples, experts have alluded to reasons in the past year that may be why we’re seeing spikes in retail prices for Rolex models today. “Prices are up 30 percent almost across the board on not only the Rolex ‘regular’ hot sport models, but all models, from ladies’ models to Datejusts and Cellinis,” Chrono24 co-CEO Tim Stracke told Robb Report in an email last year. “Values continue to tick very much upward.”
But it’s not just vintage watches that are harder and harder to get your hands on. Rolex’s new watches are increasingly difficult to source, especially in stores, but the company said that the current low supply (and resulting high demand) isn’t an intentional shortage.
“The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part,” Rolex said in a statement in September. “Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches–something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised.” To suffice, the brand is now stocking its dealers with display replicas to avoid empty salesfloors, according to Wrist Advisor. The dupes aren’t for sale, but they do come equipped with their appropriate movements.