The world of used Rolex watches can from the outside appear to be a rather hostile place and to be honest, I don’t blame some want to be Rolex owners for feeling this way. Over the years, the second-hand Rolex market does seem a bit murky – hence the term often used to describe it, grey. The second-hand Rolex market is not only riddled with unrealistic prices but also the issues some people fall victim to, such as disingenuous dealers or even worse, purchasing a watch that may either be fake or stolen. Fear not, just last week Rolex announced its new pre-owned programme.
As many of you may already know, Rolex watches often live several lives. And because they may be worn on new wrists, the Rolex Certified Pre- Owned programme now enables retailers in the brand’s official distribution network to sell second-hand models that are certified as authentic, and which come with a new two-year international guarantee.
Rolex Certified Pre-Owned watches will initially be available at Bucherer boutiques in six countries (Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, and the UK) from the start of December 2022. Other Official Rolex Retailers who choose to be part of this programme will be able to do so from spring 2023.
The new programme makes it possible to purchase pre-owned watches that the brand itself has certified and guaranteed. Its aim is to bring added value to the existing supply of pre-owned Rolex watches. Because when these watches change hands, their authenticity must be attest-able at the time of resale by the Official Retailers.
Because Rolex watches are built to last, the manufacturer therefore wishes to accompany the second life of its watches already circulating on the market, with a view to preserving, maintaining, and guaranteeing what already exists. This approach is in keeping with the Perpetual philosophy.
What does this mean? Every pre-owned watch sold by the brands selected resellers will come with a certified pre-owned warranty card. As a bonus, these certified-authentic second-hand watches also offer customers a tangible and immediate opportunity to become part of the world of Rolex – giving access to new Rolex watches too.
In concrete terms, the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme attests the authenticity of second-hand Rolex watches – that are least three years old – at their time of resale by an Official Retailer displaying the special Rolex Certified Pre-Owned plaque. It guarantees that these watches benefit from the quality criteria inherent to all Rolex products and from the full know-how and professionalism of the brand’s worldwide network of experts.
The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned seal that accompanies the watches concerned symbolises their status as certified second-hand Rolex watches. The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned guarantee card, delivered at the time of the sale, officially confirms that the watch is genuine and guarantees its proper functioning. This card bears the words “Certified Pre-Owned” and serves as an official certificate of authenticity.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE GREY MARKET?
This feels like a bit of a strange but I’m sure new buyers will most definitely welcome this, as it offers a sense of safety. However, I don’t think much will change in the long run to be honest. Retailers such as Bucherer have been selling pre-owned Rolex in store and online for quite some time now and it’s probably fair to say that Rolex wanted a share of the business – after all, they’re only profiting from the initial sale.
I think it will stay restricted in terms of which AD’s will be able to sell certified pre-owned Rolex. The pricing is going to be the most interesting part because the market for some pieces can fluctuate. Will their pricing be higher than the current “market price” for pre-owned or lower. If people start to buy certified pre-owned to get on the list for retail pieces, then the pre-owned prices are likely to rise further. For me it is still strange that you will walk into the same store to put your name down for a Rolex that you are unlikely to buy at retail, but also sell the same model pre-owned for potentially double, triple the price.
Furthermore, there’s a catch! Certified Pre-Owned Rolex watches will not be sold with the original warranty card or papers even if it is present when you view the watch you want to purchase. Bucherer or any other retailers apart of the programme will not be allowed to give you the original warranty card or papers and in my humble opinion because of this, the so-called grey market may even thrive. That my two pence, so let’s see what the future brings and whether this will have a bigger impact on the second-hand Rolex market regarding price stability.
For more information on this new Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme, visit rolex.com