The market for this highly sought-after brand of watches has seen an average increase in value of roughly 230-250% in the last 17 years.
Whether you have just inherited a Rolex or perhaps you’ve just purchased one, no doubt you will want to know if it’s vintage. The market for this highly sought-after brand of watches has seen an average increase in value of roughly 230-250% in the last 17 years, so it really is in your best interests to learn as much as you can about your Rolex.
To be classified vintage, a watch needs to be at least 30 years old. Determining the serial number will identify the year of manufacture. Every Rolex watch produced will have this unique number and it can be used to authenticate and value the watch too. You can find it between the lugs/horns on the case at the 6 o’clock side, but you’ll need to carefully remove the strap to see it. If you don’t know how to do this, we would advise that you take it to a professional. Rolex started laser-engraving the inner bezel with this number in 2005, and by 2008 they dropped engraving between the lugs and switched solely to the inner bezel. This method is much harder to counterfeit.
There might be some design characteristics that will be a dead giveaway. The shape and overall appearance could be quite telling, whilst the luminous material used on the dial before 1992 was tritium and will typically include a marking below 6 o’clock reading “Swiss-T <25,” “T Swiss Made T,” or “T SWISS T”.
To protect the dial for many years, acrylic crystal/glass was used, as this crystal wouldn’t break easily. However, it is prone to scratching, which could give you more clues about the age of your watch. Rolex started introducing sapphire crystal glass from 1970, but only started exclusively using it in 1991.
A unique feature of the Rolex watch is the smooth motion of the seconds hand, which makes the sound of ticking so subtle, that you can struggle to hear it. Moving eight times per second, it is a truly indicative characteristic of Rolex craftsmanship.
A seemingly obvious, but often overlooked detail, will be the provenance. A Rolex purchased from a dealer without papers or a box, versus an example that belonged to your grandfather complete with box and papers, has a significant part to play when establishing the history of a watch, and its value.
Whilst vintage Rolex watches can command eye-watering prices these days, it depends largely on the model, date, reference, provenance, condition and how many were produced or in circulation. With so many moving parts to consider (pardon the pun!), we would stress the importance of consulting with a professional valuer when establishing an airtight valuation.
We market to a global audience of collectors who are eager to bid for luxury watches.
Any submission you make will be carefully assessed and if we feel we can sell your watch, we will gladly provide you with a complimentary auction estimate.
Please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you:
0207 431 9445 / firstname.lastname@example.org