It’s no secret that Rolex is one of the most valuable and desirable names in the world of luxury watches. Since its founding in London over 100 years ago as Wilsdorf & Davis (before changing its name to Rolex Watch co. Ltd. in 1915) Rolex has also cemented itself as one of the most valuable brands in the world, with multibillion-dollar turnovers every year.
Chief among the factors that have caused its value and the desirability of its watches, is the fact Rolex watches are released in limited numbers, so getting your hands on one isn’t always as simple as just walking into a Rolex boutique or authorised reseller, trying one on and walking away with it.
If you want to get one from Rolex retailer, you’ll have to put yourself on a waiting list. Depending on the model you’re after and the dealer’s ability to get one from Rolex, you could be waiting several years before your new timepiece makes its way to your wrist. There is also no guarantee you will actually get the model you want, as Rolex is known to stop making particular models without giving any real warning.
If you want to get your hands on one sooner, or you’re after a particularly exclusive model, a vintage one or one that was only released in extremely limited numbers, you’ll have to turn to a resale website such as Chrono24, which will almost always have some of the best Rolex watches available to buy from verified resellers.
However, going down this route can bring with it a large variance in pricing, especially over the amount you should be paying if you got your watch from Rolex.
We, therefore, felt it wise to put together a guide relating to the prices you should be paying for the best and coolest Rolex watches compared to what you can expect to pay if you want to own one right now.
Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’
Reference Number: 126710BLRO
Original Retail Price: US$9,250/AU$13,600
Chrono24 Price: From US$18,000/AU$25,000
The Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ became an instant classic when it launched, thus also making it one of the most sought after Rolex watches of all time. While it can be found with more simple Oystersteel or rose gold finishes, it’s the Pepsi that is one many collectors want.
This is reflected in the resale prices considerably, as you can expect to pay double what Rolex asks in order to secure your very own (you can secure one for less, but only if you’re prepared to settle for the Oyster bracelet instead of the more traditional Jubilee). However, with a years-long waitlist to be expected for one directly from the Swiss manufacturer, you’ll have to ask yourself how desperately you want it.
Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’
Reference Number: 126710BLNR
Rolex Price: US$8,800/AU$13,600
Chrono24 Price: From US$15,500/AU$24,000
This latest version of the Rolex Batman was introduced just after the Pepsi model above, and is essentially the exact same model save for the colouring of the bezel. It’s unquestionably a good looking watch and with Rolex’s 3285 movement running the show, is robust and reliable. The Jubilee bracelet makes it that bit more attractive, so it’s no wonder it has already become a highly sought after model barely a year after its launch.
The waitlist for one of these Batman GMT-Master IIs direct from a dealer will be incredibly long, so the only way of getting one now is to go down the resale route. Private sellers and other dealers know this, and so have priced it accordingly, meaning you can expect to pay around double the RRP.
Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Root Beer’
Reference Number: 126711CHNR
Rolex Price: US$14,050/AU$20,850
Chrono24 Price: From US$19,000/AU$24,000
Completing the trio of desirable GMT-Master II models is the ‘Root Beer’. Finished in a two-tone of Oystersteel and Everose gold. This gold material is a Rolex innovation and has featured on various timepieces since 2005. It combines steel and gold together to create a strong, reliable and lust-worthy material, and one that is incredibly resistant to fading in various water types. It takes its ‘Root Beer’ nickname from the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 16753, which rocked a brown and cream coloured dial, which on this current version is mimicked in the form of the two-tone case and bracelet colouring.
As with the other two GMT-Master II models, the ‘Root Beer’ is firmly in the desirable category. However, maybe not quite so much as the Batman or Pepsi, and so only demands a slight premium over its official Rolex pricing. With the inclusion of Everose gold, however, don’t expect it to come cheap.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Reference Number: 116500LN
Original Retail Price: US$12,400/AU$18,500
Chrono24 Price: From US$25,000/AU$35,000
Another iconic Rolex model now, the Cosmograph Daytona. Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona currently remains the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction at US$17.75 million ($15.5 million auction price plus buyer’s premium) and the second most expensive watch ever sold. Available in various colour finishes and materials, this Oystersteel version with Oyster bracelet and white dial with black cerachrom bezel is one that many aficionados want in their collection.
While this version may not cost quite the same as Paul Newman’s, if you want to get your hands on one right now you can, as with the Pepsi GMT, expect to pay double the RRP.
Reference Number: 114060
Rolex Price: US$7,500/AU$11,100
Chrono24 Price: From US$9,000/AU$12,500
Ok, so this Submariner is still in production and so can be pretty common to find. However, it’s the most authentic Submariner model currently available in that it doesn’t rock a date window. The original model, when launched, didn’t feature one either, as Rolex didn’t see the need for divers to know what the date was when underwater. The Rolex Submariner is also responsible for spawning a ridiculous number of clones and essentially introduced the basic design for a divers watch that still rings true today.
So while resale prices may not be that much more than direct prices (and you probably have a good chance of getting one direct, or at least not waiting very long) it’s one of the best Rolex watches to own.
Rolex Submariner ‘The Hulk’ [Discontinued]
Reference Number: 116610LV
Rolex Price: US$9,050/AU$13,150
Chrono24 Price: From US$19,000/AU$20,000
The Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’ was introduced as a sort of sequel to the previous ‘Kermit’, another Submariner with a green bezel. ‘The Hulk’ took things further by introducing a green dial too, and since it debuted with Rolex’s new Maxi case, made it larger and meaner than models before it too. It’s certainly a fitting nickname then. It’s that green colouring that makes this model so desirable, since it’s a colour that’s rarely seen within Rolex’s catalogue, despite it being the brand’s official colour and for its connotations with money.
Weirdly, ‘The Hulk’ works out to be more affordable if you buy it in Australia, with resale prices in Australian dollars being roughly on par with those in America. Regardless of where you buy your Submariner Hulk from, you’ll be paying around double the recommended retail price, but since you’ll be the owner of a more unconventional Rolex watch, it will likely be an investment worth making.
Rolex Price FAQ
How much is a rolex?
A Rolex starts from about $6,000 USD
How to tell if a rolex is real?
Fake watches are getting very good and closer to the real thing these days. It's our recommendation that if you're looking at buying a watch secondhand then buy it from an authorised dealer.
Why are rolex so expensive?
In short we would say two things. 1. Brand prestige. 2. Scarcety - Rolex only releases a limited amount of their most popular models causing after market prices to rise.