Ever since portable timepieces became a thing, watches have been a staple of luxury men’s fashion. The type of watch that a man or woman wears can signal their financial status, adherence to trends, and their overall level of class. And among luxury watch brands, no name stands taller than Rolex watch.
Whether you’re an aficionado for luxury watches, or simply want a timepiece that makes an impression at the next board meeting, you want to buy a Rolex watch.
However, with so many counterfeiters and scammers on the market today, how can you be sure you’re getting the genuine article? Where can you find a Rolex watch, anyway? These questions and more, we’ll answer below.
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Before You Buy, Get in Touch With Your Motivation
Rolex watches are an expensive fashion investment. Before you go dropping thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on one, make sure you get in touch with your reasons for wanting it. Do you want a Rolex to impress your boss and coworkers, or to showcase your wealth to friends?
Will you wear your Rolex on a regular basis? Does it even suit your style?
If you don’t want your Rolex watch to be a glorified paperweight or waste space in your drawers, make sure you’re getting it for the right reasons.
Where Can You Buy a Rolex Watch?
Once you’ve come to grips with your reasons for wanting a Rolex, it’s time to start the buying process. Finding one of these coveted watches practically requires a Rolex watch buying guide. Luckily, we’ve compiled some potential locations for these elusive and exclusive watches below.
Visiting an Authorized Rolex Dealer
Whether you visit an explicit Rolex store or an authorized Rolex dealer in person, don’t count on getting the exact model that you want. The vast majority of the sporty steel Rolexes aren’t out on display because they’re all in reserve for other customers like you.
If you’re willing to wait months for your dream Rolex watch, then feel free to buy from a dealer in person.
Ordering from a Dealer Online
If you want to buy a Rolex watch without having to search for a physical watch store, you can order from an authorized dealer online. However, even ordering from those places may not save you from the extra-long waiting lists.
Even purchasing from a seller of pre-owned mens rolex watches can land you on waiting lists, depending on the popularity of the model that you want.
Searching Pre-Owned or Vintage Marketplaces
Aside from authorized dealers, you can also search pre-owned or vintage marketplaces. While most pre-owned accessory shops won’t have a Rolex just lying around, sometimes, you can get lucky. People can and do throw things into the donation bin without considering their resale value.
However, those instances are few and far between. So, in many cases, your best recourse is to…
Buy Directly from a Former Rolex Owner
Sometimes, the former owner of a Rolex will simply tire of the watch. Or else, it no longer fits them or suits their style. It could be a painful reminder of an awkward gift or ended relationship. Whatever their motivation to sell, their loss is your gain and lets you cut right past the waitlists for brand new Rolexes.
How Can You Tell If a Rolex Is Real or Fake?
The difficulty with buying a Rolex watch online is that scammers love to look for unwary consumers. These opportunistic thieves will gladly make off with your hard-earned money and leave you with a worthless watch that you can’t sell or even use properly. Or worse, in some cases, use you to offload stolen goods.
So, how can you tell if the Rolex you’re buying is a genuine article? Some key signs include:
A Rolex Watch Is Hefty
When you buy a Rolex watch, you’re buying something made mostly of steel. And steel, as you might imagine, is a heavy material. As such, genuine Rolex watches have significant heft to them when held in your palm.
If your Rolex feels light in your hand, then it’s likely that you’ve picked up a fake.
Rolexes Use a Metal Case Back
On a similar note, all Rolex watches have a case backing made of smooth metal. When you see the watch, flip it over. If the backing is clear or translucent, then it’s a counterfeit. If the finish of the back looks rough or underdone, it’s a fake.
Rolex prides itself on quality materials and smooth, shiny polish on its case backing.
Look for the Crown Logo
Of course, the biggest tell lies in the distinctive crown logo. This logo is usually raised slightly and positioned right at the center. In addition, most post-2002 models have a tiny crown etched into the glass right over the 6 o’clock position. You’ll need a jeweler’s magnifying glass to see it, though.
Search for a Serial Number
Every single watch that Rolex produces has a serial number, the authenticity of which you can easily verify. Duplicates might copy the number itself, but they can’t copy the precise engraving method used to place it on the watch. The number rests on the body of the watch, which makes it an easy “tell” for a counterfeit.
Listen for the Ticking
One of the main reasons to buy a Rolex watch is their silence. They don’t tick due to their construction. So, if you buy a Rolex and it’s ticking, you’ve become the victim of a scam.
Trust Your Gut
If at any point during the buying process, you get the feeling the deal is too good to be true? It more than likely is. Trust your instincts and don’t follow through with the purchase if you don’t trust it.
Understanding the Condition of a Rolex Watch
The last thing to keep in mind when you buy a Rolex watch is its condition. The condition of the watch can determine whether it will have any resale value and how long you’ll be able to use it. Some of the conditions in which you can buy a Rolex watch include:
New Old Stock
Have you ever gone to the store and found something for sale that was open-box, but never used? That’s essentially what the New Old Stock or NOS classification of Rolex watches is. They’re brand new but have never been worn or used.
This makes them the most expensive Rolexes on the market that aren’t totally new.
Used and Unpolished
Any pre-owned watches that have seen some users will have a few scratches on them. At that point, they’re classified as used. Of course, many polish and buff the scratches out, but this can damage the value to collectors.
That’s right, unpolished watches are worth more to the Rolex collector, especially if the watch in question is a vintage model. If the model’s more recent, the difference in price isn’t much, but for older models? The difference can mean thousands of dollars in resale value.
As with comics, a watch in mint condition can be worn, but show no signs of abuse. Since these watches rely on having no visible damage, they’re among the more expensive pre-owned options. And the older the watch, the harder it is to find a mint condition version.
Used and Polished
If you’re buying a Rolex watch second-hand, you’re getting one from this category more often than not. These watches have seen some wear and tear but still function perfectly well. They’ve been polished to remove scuffs and scratches.
However, while this may make them look nicer for you, it can hurt the resale value down the line. So, should you ever decide to sell your Rolex to another buyer, you may not get quite what you paid for it.
If you’re willing to drop extra money for parts and repairs, but save on the watch itself, then this is the category for you. Fixer-upper Rolexes often lack crucial parts or don’t work correctly. If you’re not careful, you can wind up paying more in repairs and parts than the watch itself is worth.
Let’s Review Our Rolex Watch Buying Tips
As our Rolex watch buying guide illustrated, the process of obtaining one of these coveted watches is fraught with difficulty.
First, you have to determine if you want to buy a Rolex watch new or pre-owned. Then, you have to navigate the market with a weather eye out for fakes. Last, you need to know what condition of watch you’re buying.
However, once you navigate the Rolex buying market, you can have a timeless timepiece that can serve as an heirloom.
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