Why Are Rolex Watches Expensive?

Why Are Rolex Watches Expensive?

Every watch-lover’s heart skips a beat at the sight of a Rolex, the iconic timepiece that is synonymous with luxury style. With a heritage that stretches back more than one hundred years, Rolex watches are both exclusive and expensive – but what is it that gives this renowned brand its high-end price tag?


One of the main factors that influence the price of Rolex is that some elements of the watch, including the movement, are assembled by hand. Making a Rolex requires time, skill, and exquisite attention to detail, and with each watch made in Switzerland using highly sophisticated equipment, manufacturing costs are high. 


Rolexes are also designed to last a lifetime and can withstand extremes in temperature and altitude that would damage other luxury timepieces. In fact, Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Everest, did so while wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Although most Rolex-wearers won’t climb mountains, this is a testament to the durability of the watches.


Unlike many luxury purchases, a Rolex will hold its value, and will often appreciate in value. This makes them an investment piece and, when combined with high demand for such a celebrated name, means that even second-hand pieces remain expensive.


How Are Rolex Made?

With more than 500 patents registered in the course of its history, Rolex has always been at the forefront of watchmaking innovation and excellence. Each part of the watch is made across a number of sites in Switzerland, the home of luxury timepieces – from the 18 ct gold alloys created in Rolex’s own foundry, to the gems that are set into the watch face by precision dial makers. 


Rolex largely manufactures mechanical watches, which are more time-consuming to craft. Comprising hundreds of small parts which work together to make the watch tick, they have no battery that can fail, which means that if the movement is well-maintained, the watch can run indefinitely. This contributes to the cost of a Rolex, but also makes it a better long-term investment, which will keep ticking as it is passed down through the generations as a family heirloom.


Although Rolex are not entirely handmade, many parts of the manufacturing process are still completed without machines. Movements are assembled by hand, and the watch hands are also attached manually. Many people consider the assembly of the movement to be the most important step, which is still done by skilled watchmakers to this day, continuing the tradition of precision and luxury that Swiss timepieces are famed for. 


Are Rolex Waterproof?

Although undoubtedly a luxury item, Rolex can be worn and enjoyed on a daily basis, and it is possible to get them wet. Every Oyster Perpetual model Rolex is waterproof to at least 100 metres, while Cellini models are waterproof to 50 metres. Some Oyster models can withstand depths of as much as 1,200 or 3,900 metres. 


The key thing to remember before taking a dip is to ensure the winding crown is tightly screwed, creating a hermetic seal that will prevent water ingress. If you do wear your Rolex in the sea, make sure you rinse it when back on dry land to remove any residual salt or sand.


Can Rolex glass scratch or break?

Thoroughly tested for real-life use, Rolex are designed to be durable enough for everyday wear – even when playing sports. Generally low maintenance, all the watch requires is an occasional clean with a microfibre cloth, or a wash with soapy water and a soft brush every now and then. 


Watch crystal is the transparent case or glass that covers the face of a watch, and Rolex uses synthetic sapphire crystals when making their timepieces. Sapphire, both real and synthetic, is one of the most durable materials on earth – which means that a Rolex watch face is incredibly hard-wearing and almost scratch-proof. 


Although tough and durable, Rolex glass can still scratch or even shatter. In the rare event that the crystal, or glass, on a Rolex shatters, it’s important to immediately pull out the crown to stop the movement, preventing the hands from moving and damaging the dial. 


What Causes The Value To Increase?

Unlike a new car which loses value as soon as it is driven, a Rolex appreciates in value over time, which means prices continue to rise as the year’s pass. Highly collectable, Rolex watches are always in demand, which further inflates the price. 


Because these luxury watches are assembled by hand with exceptional attention to detail, production capacity is restricted, which means that demand can often outstrip supply. New Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers, which can make them harder to come by, and often leads to long waiting lists.  


Are Rolex Watches A Good Investment?

In January 2020, Rolex increased prices by an average of 7.4% across their range. Since then, demand has grown, as consumers who haven’t been enjoying luxury holidays or expensive leisure pursuits during the COVID-19 pandemic look to spend their savings elsewhere. 


For people who already own a Rolex, the combination of increased prices and growing demand will only boost the value of their timepiece. The past 18 months have shown that a Rolex remains an aspirational item that many people would love to own, and that its value can withstand economic uncertainty and even a global pandemic.


Browse our selection of Rolex watches

Aylesbury Bullion has a hand-picked selection of second-hand Rolex watches for sale, each of which has been carefully chosen for its exceptional quality and condition. From the iconic Submariner to the Everest-scaling Explorer, you will find some of the finest examples of watchmaking in our collection.


Contact Our Watch Specialists

With a wealth of experience in buying and selling precision timepieces, Aylesbury Bullion can help you find the perfect watch to treasure for a lifetime. You can fill out our contact form, call us on 01296 423 198, or visit us in-store on High Street, Aylesbury to discover your dream Rolex.