BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Feb. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the largest luxury watch brand in the world, Rolex is admired by watch enthusiasts for its craftsmanship and quality. Rolex has set impeccably high standards and continues to make top-selling references that dominate the market each year, making these watches a surprisingly strong investment. Recently, buyers have experienced a “drought” of new stainless-steel models, translating to dramatically increased prices.
Despite Rolex’s estimated production numbers of almost one million watches per year, consumers are finding it difficult to get their hands on some of the brand’s most basic stainless-steel wristwatches. In the past year, models such as the Submariner, GMT-Master II, and Daytona have been notoriously challenging to find at Rolex boutiques and authorized dealers.
While it was rumored that the “Rolex bubble” would burst early this year and stores would be receiving an influx of product, the Swiss watch manufacturer instead raised its prices in the United States by an average of 3.4% according to JCK, with the largest increases focused on stainless-steel models.
“I suspected they were going to hold off on raising prices for yet another year, but it seems to be a case of supply and demand,” said Steve Chandler, Lead Loan Officer at Jewelry-N-Loan, a pawnshop in Costa Mesa, CA, that specializes in luxury watches and fine jewelry. “Rolexes remain highly coveted and my customers continually seek out steel sport models in particular. We’re able to supply our customers with these sought-after models, even when the authorized dealers cannot, and often at better prices. Moreover, each of the fine watches we sell is inspected and serviced by our in-house master watchmaker, ensuring both authenticity and top condition.”
As a result of the scarcity, customers are turning to the unauthorized dealers – known as the grey market – for used Rolex models, with hopes of securing one more easily. In some cases, however, they must be willing to pay up to twice the MSRP on certain Rolex models, as such high demand has inflated prices significantly. Instead, shrewd consumers are turning to pawnshops to purchase these desirable watches on the secondary market.
“Collectors are finding that used Rolexes make better sense and high-end pawnshops can sell even the rarest models at very competitive prices,” said Dan Rifkin, Senior Loan Officer at Beverly Loan Company in Beverly Hills, CA. “Rolex dealers get a limited amount of Rolex watches to sell, but pawnshops have a never-ending flow of watches coming through their doors.”