5 things you should know before buying a Rolex Watch

5 things you should know before buying a Rolex Watch

When you buy a Rolex, you’re not just buying a watch. You’re buying a working piece of art, a wearable statement with a long history, and an investment. Taking all these things into account, you need to know the different models and decide on which Rolex reference fits your lifestyle.
Author: Chrono Hunter
Last Updated: 26 Jul, 2022


The basics

When you buy a Rolex, you’re not just buying a watch.  You’re buying a working piece of art, a wearable statement with a long history, and an investment.  Taking all these things into account, you need to know the different models and decide on which Rolex reference fits your lifestyle. 


Just as importantly, you need to be sure it’s a good investment.  Although it can be argued that buying any Rolex is a good investment, you need to do your research. 


First, think what you want the watch for.  If you’re going to wear it, how often and under what circumstances is important to consider.  For instance, if you’re a pilot or a diver, then you’ll go in one direction.  If you’re a fashion influencer or a business owner, you’ll likely go in another.  


Decide on a budget.  Rolexes can cost anything from a few thousand to over a hundred thousand and everything in between.  When choosing a watch, keep your eye on the price and stay within your budget.


Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’ll look at what you need to know before you buy.  There are two ways to buy a Rolex: 


  1. Buy brand new from an Authorised Dealer
  2. Buy pre-owned 


Buy brand new: 

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Advantage: You’ll buy a brand new watch at RRP

Yes, you’ll only pay the recommended retail price.  And you can experience going into a luxury jewellery shop and browse, chat to the staff and get your questions answered.  You’ll probably be able to try on a few watches too, to help you make up your mind.   


Disadvantage:  You may have a long wait 

If you go to an AD (Authorised Dealer) you won’t be able to buy what you want right there and then.  Rolex doesn’t work like other retailers.  They will have some watches on hand, but they’re unlikely to let you buy right there and then.


AD’s have waiting lists for the more desirable references because Rolex limits the number of watches they manufacture each year.  If there’s a certain reference you want to own, you’ll need to talk to the staff about putting your name down on the waiting list.  Only do this if you’re serious about buying.  When you get the call to say it’s available, make sure you have the funds ready to make the purchase and pick it up as soon as you can. 


Customers become known to AD’s and they will remember if you were on a waiting list but failed to buy.  They’ll remember if you’ve bought from them in the past, and they’ll notice if you’re wearing a luxury watch already.  Building up a positive relationship with your local AD can go a long way to help you get the watch of your dreams. 


Disadvantage:  You may have a long wait 

Once you’ve put your name down on a waiting list you’ll need to be really patient.  In some cases, customers end up buying a different watch than they really wanted.  More popular Rolex watches can have a waiting list of a year or more. 


TIP:  If you’re planning to buy a watch to flip it, don’t let the AD know as they take a dim view of it and are likely to move you to the bottom of the waiting list. 

Buy pre-owned: 

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Advantage: immediate availability 

There is a very robust pre-owned Rolex market with a broad selection of references and prices to choose from.  You can find pre-owned watches that have never been worn, so they are in brand new condition. Even watches that have been worn can be found in great condition, thanks to the owner taking really good care of it.  


Disadvantage: You’ll pay more than the RRP

In most cases, you’ll pay more than the RRP for pre-owned. For more popular references, it may be a lot more.  While this might initially make you hesitate, consider what that tells you.  If a used Rolex sells for a higher price than the RRP, what does that mean when you buy one as an investment?  

Over the years, Rolex prices have climbed higher and higher, often out-performing more traditional types of investments.  Although increasing prices can’t be guaranteed, the overall trend throughout the history of Rolex watches has been upward and for some references, by an impressive amount. 


The 5 things to know 

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Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at five things you must know before you buy a Rolex.  


The watch could be fake


Take care that you’re buying a genuine Rolex by buying from a known and trusted source.

There are some really impressive fake Rolexes around these days, so don’t buy from someone you don’t know or can’t get a recommendation on.  Remember that if you get offered a deal that sounds too good to be true, it’s almost certainly fake, or, if it’s genuine it could even be stolen. 


The best and safest place to buy your Rolex is through Chrono Hunter.  They have built up relationships with known and reputable Rolex dealers, making it safe and easy to conduct a smooth transaction.  The team at Chrono Hunter are experts at knowing what to look for to confirm that a watch is genuine. 


The Box and Papers might not be the originals


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If the watch you’re interested in comes with the original box and papers, that’s a plus.  But how do you know if the box and papers are genuine?  It’s very easy to buy a Rolex box on eBay and there are also fake “papers” to be had.  


While each genuine Rolex box has a serial number of its own, it doesn’t have to be the exact box that came with the watch originally to have value.  On the other hand the “papers” - or at least the warranty card - has to be genuine to be of value.  The user manual isn’t so important, as long as it is for the same reference.  User manuals can be downloaded from the Rolex website. 


If you’re new to buying a luxury watch, the best way to be sure that everything’s genuine is to go to the professionals who are able to verify every pre-owned watch they deal with.  


The watch may not be in perfect working order 


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This is very difficult to know if you’re buying online sight unseen.  Reliable and knowledgeable dealers will always be upfront about the condition of a pre-owned watch.  It’s not in their interest to pretend the watch is in perfect condition and then have their customers disappointed when they receive it.  They are looking for loyal, repeat customers. 


A watch that has a replacement bracelet or has a scratch on the crystal isn’t a watch you shouldn’t buy - but you need to know as it will affect the price and potentially, the functionality.  A professional service can fix most issues, but this should be factored into the selling price. 


Again, if you’re dealing with reputable dealers, you can rest assured that everything has been checked.  You can ask whether the watch has had a recent service and any other details you want to know. 


Buying a watch that’s older means there’s more chance that the watch may not be in tip-top condition.  Watches that have been serviced by Rolex will have a record of the date of service and any parts that were replaced included in the paperwork. 


Some components of the watch may not be original - or even genuine Rolex 

Sometimes people change the strap or bracelet on a Rolex.  Sometimes they might have the crystal replaced by an unauthorised dealer, meaning that not all the parts of the watch are officially Rolex. For instance, on recent models, (since around 2001), Rolex started to etch the brand’s coronet into the edge of the crystal.  If there is an “S” etched into it, it’s a service crystal - meaning it has been replaced.  This wouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker, but it’s a good thing to know as a potential buyer. 


The serial number is important 

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Check that the serial number on the watch matches the number on the warranty card. 

Note that there are Rolex warranty cards available to purchase on eBay for around £350.  These are not valid if they didn’t come with your watch.  Although it’s possible the reference number will match, the serial number certainly won’t.  So these warranty cards are useless as far as getting any watch repairs done under warranty and also useless when it comes to selling the watch.  



There are many things to consider when you’re buying a Rolex watch.  Buying a Rolex is an important decision and for many people it’s a landmark moment in life.  

It’s very important to get as informed as you possibly can and buy through the most reputable dealers.  Feel free to Contact Chrono Hunter  to get advice and see how they can take out a lot of the guesswork. 


Buy Or Sell A Luxury Watch The Smart Way With Chrono Hunter 

If you are considering your new purchase or perhaps the sale of a beloved timepiece, Chrono Hunter is the smart way to buy or sell a luxury watch.

Compare Offers from the worlds most reputable luxury watch retailers.

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Save Money. 

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