Silver says one of the “charms” of Rolex used to be its combination of quality and accessibility—but increased demand has lessened the latter.
Marking a big occasion
“There was always a bit of a wait for the status pieces such as steel Daytonas and so on, but if you wanted anything from the regular range you used to be able to get hold of it pretty easily,” Silver says. “Now that has changed—we have adapted our vintage offerings from being 30-plus years old to 20-plus. A lot of customers are also coming to us looking for birth year watches to give their sons or daughters as 18th or 21st birthday gifts.”
Silver says the return of smaller watches has also helped the business, with men seeking 36mm cases of many Rolex Oyster models of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.
The entry-level price for a men’s Rolex at the Vintage Watch Company is between $6,5000 and $7,500, which will get you a steel Oyster Perpetual with a silver, black or blue-grey dial.
Another long-established UK dealer, Charles Fish, concurs with Silver both about the difficulty of buying a Rolex brand new and the fact that it has been good news for pre-owned retailers.
“If you have an existing relationship with an authorized Rolex retailer, great—but the average Joe walking into a Rolex store off the street to buy a dream watch doesn’t have much chance,” says Fish. Although the situation has bumped-up demand for pre-owned and vintage Rolex models across the board, he believes there are still some that are under-valued.
“The Reference 116600 Sea-Dweller had probably the shortest production run of any modern Rolex—only three years—and is currently obtainable for $18,000-$19,000,” says Fish. “But when more people realize how good it is, I think the price will start to fl
How to Buy a Rolex Right Now