While the best Rolex models haven't been a breeze to pick up at retail for a while now, they've at least been relatively well priced. Compared to the secondary market prices, Rolex at retail is quite the steal.
That was perhaps best shown with the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program. Introduced last year as a means for official Rolex Authorised Dealers to combat the burgeoning grey market, the program only really served to showcase just how disparate the two are.
As the new year rolled in, so too did another round of price increases for the lineup. That's not entirely uncommon – we see the prices of big watches from major retailers jump about once per year. Here, we're going to dive into the changes and analyse just what it means for those looking to buy.
Have Rolex prices increased in 2024?
Simply put – yes, they have. As mentioned above, though, that's not entirely uncommon. Luxury watches tend to increase in price each year, sort of like inflation.
This years increases have been really succinctly laid out by watch YouTuber, Britt Pearce. Her analysis shows a broad 3-5% increase for prices in the UK, with precious metal pieces seeing more of an increase than stainless steel.
Which Rolex models are more expensive now?
Perhaps the most interesting part of this is looking at which Rolex models are being given the biggest price increases. Popular models like the 'Batman' GMT-Master II were only given a small bump, changing by a few hundred pounds. By contrast, a two-tone version of the same model – widely considered to be a less desirable piece – was plumped up by almost £1,000.
That trend continues in their dive watch range. The ever-popular green bezel Submariner saw a £300 increase in the UK. Comparatively, the Sea Dweller and Deepsea models were pushed by around £500.
Even the lovable Explorer 36 gets involved. The stainless steel model adds a couple of hundred pounds to its price tag, while the poorly received two-tone jumps by almost £500.
Why are Rolex increasing prices?
I'm sure if you speak to someone at Rolex about the price hikes you'll be told something about 'market conditions' or 'weakening currencies'. I'm not sure if I necessarily believe either of those, though.
The price of gold hasn't changed massively in the last year, so there's no real material cost difference there. Inflation sat at 3.9% in November, which possibly is an indicator.
I think there's a different reason why, though. Cynical though it may be, I think this is Rolex attempting to push their luck with pricing one last time. We've seen grey market prices sinking fast in recent months, falling away from their grossly inflated heights.
If that trend continues at the same rate – a big 'if', I grant you – secondary dealers may soon be selling at near-enough parity with retail pricing. I think Rolex recognise this, and are making a last ditch attempt to move prices closer to the current market value.
It's done tastefully, though. A 3-5% increase isn't going to be too bitter a pill for those spending several thousands of pounds on a watch. It's not too out of line with historic price rises, either, making it unlikely that anyone would question it.