Pioneers in their field, Rolex watches are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship, and many of them have become collectors’ items. Rolex created the very first fully waterproof wristwatch, and the very first “self-winding” wristwatch. Indeed, throughout their history they have continued to push boundaries and set new trends.
In recent years, shortages of new Rolex watches, fuelled by long shutdowns on production have meant the demand for pre-owned models has exploded to unseen levels, but this isn’t the only factor driving up the second-hand market prices.
Older Rolex watches are becoming increasingly harder to come by, with models from the 1950s until the 1980s most in demand. Limited editions and models that were not on the market for very long, result in less of them in circulation and therefore increased rarity. There are specific models of Rolex that are more collectable than others… Here we take a closer look at some of these.
The Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Ref. 6239 specifically refers to the Daytona with an exotic dial, which Rolex decided to discontinue after a few years of production. The dial wasn’t popular at the time, so not many were sold. The limited amount of these watches in circulation allied with the association to the legendary Paul Newman, it isn’t surprising that these watches command an immense price tag. The original Rolex Daytona, owned and worn by Paul Newman, sold at auction in 2017 for a world record £13,565,921, which also demonstrates the importance of provenance.
The Rolex Submariner ref. 6538 “Big Crown” was famously worn by Sean Connery in several James Bond films, and the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542 was worn by the actress who played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Both Bond associated watches continue to appreciate in value and in demand.
The Rolex Submariner Ref. 5514 “COMEX”. The Comex refers to Compagnie maritime d’expertises, a French diving company that worked with Rolex from 1970 until 1997. This Submariner was produced exclusively for the French diving team, and it is believed that only 154 were made, making them extremely difficult to obtain, and in turn adding to the value of this particular watch.
The Rolex Kermit was launched in 2003 to celebrate Rolex’s 50th anniversary, but it was discontinued in 2010. With such a short production run, these models are now considered rare, especially the earlier ones, and the prices they are achieving is notable.
Clearly, older Rolex watches can be worth more than newer models. As certain Rolex watches become increasingly rare, so does their demand, and their value will continue to increase. Whichever vintage Rolex you choose, you can be certain that it will be made to the highest standards, with the best quality materials.
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