Updated: Apr 20, 2020
We recently published the article "Is it a good time to buy a Rolex?", which outlined current Rolex prices on the pre-owned market and showed that there were several models that could be picked up at a notable discount.
The article was met with significant interest and we decided to expand upon our research and to create a more detailed guide.
We know how much work it is to maintain visibility of price changes, so we decided to do the leg work for you and publish a guide that will be updated monthly so you can stay informed. In this first edition, we are simply capturing the current state, but depending on your feedback we will continue to evolve this guide.
As for the prices in this guide, the MSRP prices we provide were pulled directly from Rolex's website. The pre-owned prices were sourced from various sites and are not guaranteed but rather aim to provide an indication of the current market.
So, with that being said, here is what we found for Rolex:
The Oyster Perpetual is one of Rolex's oldest models and is a great choice if you are looking for a "budget-friendly" Rolex that can be worn every day.
There is an abundance of OPs available on the secondary market. We found a white dial OP from a verified US Dealer with box & papers for US$ 1,300 below MSRP.
If you don't care about dial color or the scope of delivery, you can get Oyster Perpetual for an even larger discount.
The Explorer is a great choice for an everyday watch. It is an iconic, yet understated watch that will serve you equally well on Mount Everest and in the boardroom.
There are a lot of Explorer's available on the secondary market. We found several dozen from verified US Dealers with box & papers. While many are priced above MSRP, you can certainly manage to pick one of these up for a slight discount.
There are several 36mm Rolex Explorers from the 1990s available for under US$ 5K. I've also heard that many even prefer the smaller case size of the five-digit reference over 39mm of the current model.
Although the Explorer II was one of the less popular watches Rolex produced for a long time, it has recently gained a lot of attention. This is especially true for the white dial or "Polar" Explorer II.
While there has been an increase in private sellers on chrono24 who are trying to sell their pieces for a lower price, we only considered verified US Dealers. There are several black dial Explorer II's that are priced below MSRP.
There are several black dial Explorer II's available in this price range. They are the smaller 40mm references that were produced pre-Rolex Supercase.
One of our personal favorites, the "Pepsi" dial GMT Master is one of Rolex's most iconic watches. With its ability to track more than one time-zone, it was originally designed for pilots, but also quickly gained popularity among international travelers. If you're interested in the GMT line, check out "A Vintage Rolex GMT Master's Journey Through Time".
Unless you can purchase this GMT Master II reference from your authorized Rolex Dealer, you will be paying a high premium. We recommend suffering through the waitlist at the AD.
If you are keen on getting your hands on a GMT Master II, you should consider a discontinued black bezel or "Coke" bezel GMT Master II.
Next to the Speedmaster, the Submariner is probably one of the most popular sports watches on the market. The watch first drew attention on the wrist of Sean Connery as James Bond.
This Submariner reference is another Rolex you should try and purchase from your authorized Rolex Dealer, as it trades for almost US$ 1K above MSRP among verified US Dealers with box & papers.
The good news is, that if you are not set on having the current reference, you can get an older no-date Submariner at a nice discounted price.
Although you are unlikely to ever go to 1,220 meters below sea level, the Sea-Dweller could certainly accompany you to that depth. The watch is the larger more robust brother of the Submariner and maybe a good fit for those with larger wrists.
This Sea-Dweller is slightly more expensive on the secondary market, but it is up to whether that warrants spending a few months on an ADs waiting list.
What is great is, that you can get a pre-owned 16600 Sea-Dweller for almost half of what the current reference is trading for. If you are looking for a Sea-Dweller, we recommend picking up one of the previous models and saving yourself a lot of money.
As you can see, many of the pre-owned six-digit Rolex references remain high and in some cases, we recommend suffering through the waiting list at your local AD. This is particularly true for "Pepsi" GMT Master II. That being said, there are certainly great value options among the five-digit models, which are almost 50% below current MSRP such as the 16600 Sea-Dweller.
If you found this Guide interesting or if you'd like to see additional Rolex models on this list please let us know in the comment section below.