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What’s the one thing that celebrities like Rihanna, Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have in common? No, it’s not just kids, money, or fame. It’s Rolex watches, too!
As a brand, Rolex produces prestige, luxury, and impeccable craftsmanship. The watch movements and their impeccable designs are some of its valuable features. People who have an eye for detail appreciate it and can afford to splurge money on high-end watches.
However, can Rolex prices be justified? “Why are Rolex watches so expensive? How has it remained a favorite among upper-class members, and is it worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?”
If you’re curious to answer these questions, buckle up as we explore the Rolex and what makes this brand so expensive.
History of Rolex
To truly understand what makes Rolex watches so unique, we need to meet the genius behind the brand.
Rolex was created in 1905 by a man named Hans Wilsdorf. He was a great visionary who understood the importance of class, skill, and impeccable craftsmanship.
Wristwatches were not a common phenomenon at the time. Many few Swiss luxury watches like Omega dominated the market then, with a head start of over a decade.
To gain ground among the competition, Hans understood the need to build public trust in his brand. He had his watches made by a Swiss company, focusing on the portability and precision of his timepieces.
In time, Rolex became a brand known for sophistication. After Hans, every other CEO of the brand has imbibed the spirit of excellence and the outstanding business acumen he had. So much so that Rolex is now one of the top three most expensive watches globally.
Why Are Rolex Watches So Expensive?
Rolex watches cost a fortune because of public knowledge, from having a solid connection to celebrities to having unique features designed with rare precious stones.
The Use of Precious Stones and Other Exquisite Materials
Rolex is a brand associated with materials of the highest quality, which is one reason why Rolex prices are justifiable. The Swiss luxury brand hires gemologists whose job is to test and integrate precious stones and other exquisite materials into these watches.
The brand is also known for its use of premium materials during the production of all its watch collections. Some examples are premium production materials such as solid gold, diamonds, rubies, or emeralds. The use of precious stones like these explains why some Rolex models are so costly.
The steel used in the making of its model, also known as Oyster Steel, has very high corrosion resistance. This stainless steel watch belonged in the top spot of Rolex’s most famous wristwatches. Because of its quality, such steel is highly sought after in the aviation industry.
Additionally, the company only uses 950 platinum of 18 karat gold.
The Rolex Day-Date Ref. 228239-0007 is an example of a model made out of gold. Like other collections, it is water-resistant and quite functional.
It has a high-quality sapphire crystal that protects it from scratches, making it so endearing to fans of Rolex. It sits nicely on the wearer’s wrist and goes for around $42,370.
Ironically, Rolex watches were not always so expensive. Introduced in 1905, Hans Wilsdorf wanted the brand to be known more for its accuracy and functionality. But you know what they say, create something of value, and watch wealth befriend you!
As time went on, the brand measured up, conducting research and looking for innovative methods to design more complex timepieces. This strategy increased the brand’s value, carving a firm niche for it in the market.
In turn, it caused the prices of the watches to go up.
Rolex Watches Are Built To Stand the Test of Time
Extreme changes in the atmosphere often lead to wear and tear of most watch brands, but no, not a Rolex watch.
The first man to climb Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary, made this stride while wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. He did this amidst highly harsh weather conditions on and around the mountain.
The watch is in perfect condition after he broke this record, and perhaps you can say it broke a history of its own.
This attests to the strength and durability of the Rolex timepiece. Due to high tech, careful construction, and genius capabilities, built the Rolex watch to accompany you through thick and thin and last for generations.
Before the iPhone was made water-resistant, Rolex had already designed their timepieces to be water-resistant. Their watches can withstand underwater pressure up to depths of 100 meters.
Some models can even withstand pressures of up to 300 meters! This feature makes it an excellent accessory for your random poolside activities, people partaking in water sports, and even professional divers.
As a part of the production process, all Rolex dive watches are subjected to tests under a pressurized tank first before being tested in actual bodies of water.
The Rolex Submariner Ref.1024060-0001 is a prime example, with fantastic water resistance ability up to depths of 300m. It is a beauty to behold with its blend of black and silver colors.
The Rolex Submariner comes in a 41mm oyster steel case and costs around $8,540. Other Rolex watches that cost this much are the Rolex explorer ii, Rolex Daytona, and other flagships.
Another striking piece is the Rolex Deepsea Ref.126660-0002, also known as the Deepsea D-Blue. Its water resistance ability is even more remarkable, as it can withstand pressures up to depths of around 4000 meters.
This watch runs an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day, a great feature if you’re looking for a completely accurate watch. Splashing $13,600 on this piece is worth it.
Humans do most of the work, not machines.
Don’t get it wrong, Rolex has several high-tech facilities with several outstanding research and development teams. However, it still relies on humans to expertly put together the designs.
It then employs groundbreaking tools and equipment to keep the watches distinct from other brands and the brand name on everyone’s lips for luxury timepieces.
Even while making these watches, the attention to detail is fascinating—everything from the dimensions to the materials and rare gems used for the mechanical watch’s accuracy. No aspect of production is left to chance.
And let’s not forget the final finishing and packaging. Every process is done intentionally, with the utmost caution, care, and precision when it comes to Rolex.
Rolex watches are a few luxury watches that can be a good investment. Because they typically make limited edition watches, the value of such watch collections increases yearly.
The demand for Rolex watches is high, as with mechanical watches in general, but the production and distribution of Rolex watches are usually kept low.
Of course, something so rare becomes more valued and appreciated. The anticipation of some watch collections also helps to drive sales.
Some of these watch collections sell out in minutes, so if you do not pre-order it or grab one in the first few minutes of its release, the chances of you ever setting your eyes on the watch is slim.
As a result, the value of a Rolex watch does not just sink upon purchase and usage. So if you ever get tired of your Rolex watch, you can resell it for a reasonable sum. Of course, the amount depends on the working conditions and appearance of the wristwatch.
It also depends on the level of demand for that particular collection. Some watch collectors even buy new Rolex watches in high demand to resell them at a higher price later or sell it at an auction for an insane profit.
So if you’re looking to build wealth for yourself, investing in Rolex watches might be an excellent start.
A Record-Breaking Brand
Rolex as a brand was introduced to the world through one of its record-breaking moments. In 1927, Rolex Oyster emerged in perfect working condition from a 10-hour channel crossing underwater. It became recognized as one of the first diver watches.
The swimmer Mercedes Glitz was so astonished by the watch’s durability that she wrote a note to Hans Wilsdorf to convey how impressed she was.
Rolex was also the first watch to land at the top of Mount Everest, perfectly strapped to the wrist of Edmund Hillary. Many other record breakers wore Rolex watches while achieving their record-breaking feats.
In 1935, the excellent speed racer Sir Malcolm Campbell wore a Rolex Oyster to finish his nine land speed records in Utah. He was so blown away by the trustworthiness and reliability of the watch that he offered to become a brand ambassador for free!
Lieutenant colonel Stewart Blacker flew the Royal Airforce in 1933, the first plane to fly over Mount Everest. He did so while wearing a Rolex Oyster. The watch also emerged unscathed despite the extreme weather conditions.
Blacker himself wrote to Wilsdorf, too, astonished with the performance of his Rolex watch. So not only did the Rolex conquer the seas, but it also conquered the skies. An incredible feat indeed!
Rolex and Its Association with Celebrity Status
Celebrities have always been one of the primary entry points for some of the most expensive products and innovations in fashion. Big luxury brands like Omega and Rolex have successfully hacked this marketing strategy.
The standard becomes clear by associating itself with celebrities and aristocrats, making a bold statement of luxury and class. Essentially, the impression is that anyone who can afford the most okay things in life should also get a Rolex watch.
Celebrities enjoy great admiration from the public. Because of this, most brands approach them with brand ambassadorship deals, essentially to cement the brand’s position with the star power and admirable status of the celebrity.
Most celebrities release their fashion products while at the peak of their careers.
Even at that, not just anyone can become a Rolex brand ambassador. As with everything else, Rolex is very intentional with the celebrities it selects to represent the brand.
Rolex has also been associated with several celebrities, such as Ryan Gosling, Tiger Woods, and Brad Pitt, as a luxury brand.
Great Warranty Policy
Suppose you fancy exclusive luxury watches, whether new or pre-owned Rolex, you’re better off buying one with a long-term warranty policy. It isn’t safe to splurge so much money on a brand without a solid warranty policy.
Even at that, a long-term warranty policy is not as easy as it sounds, mainly when extensive damages occur during the warranty period. Ironically, no luxury brand can build a strong relationship with its customers for so many years without a solid warranty policy.
This is one of the reasons why Rolex is respected among watch lovers worldwide. As you pay for your Rolex watch, you have the assurance that you are not just left on your own afterward.
Whatever malfunctioning occurs with your watch, you have a safety net to land on, and the best possible hands will correct it as always, all paid by Rolex.
The warranty policy of the average luxury Rolex Watch is five years, which is a much better deal than the two-year limit offered by most watch companies in the industry. It even has more extended warranty policies for some of its more expensive watch collections.
This shows just how confident Rolex is in the design and production of its watches. Similarly, it increases the general trust and confidence of the public in the brand.
The Long and Rich Brand History of Rolex
Rolex is one of the oldest bands in the world of watchmaking history. It has been around for over a century, but it has also made a long-lasting impact ever since it came into existence.
Many Guinness record-holders wore Rolex watches while breaking their records, so Rolex has been a part of their incredible journeys.
Additionally, this brand has survived two world wars, lived through the craving for Quartz watches in the 1970s, and saw the switch from the industrial age to the digital age. This watch brand has the history and experience that several other brands envy and imbibe.
The Swiss Watch Standard
When it comes to the watchmaking industry, Swiss watches have garnered a lot of respect over the years. Brands like Omega, Rolex, and Patek Phillipe are brands that have been in existence for almost two centuries.
These brands have set a standard of excellence, class, and pure luxury in wristwatches’ design, production, packaging, and marketing. They have cemented their place among the best and most expensive watches worldwide.
Youngerave greatly benefited from the reputation of excellence in watchmaking that earlier brands like the Rolex successfully established.
Mass Production at the Highest Level
Rolex also does mass production of its watches per year. This helps it plan the expenses for every step, from show to packaging, marketing, and final distribution of the wristwatches.
Statistically, Rolex manufactures between 800,000 watches to one million wristwatches per annum. Since the watches are mass-produced, it has to commit wholly to every cost or expense that may arise along the way.
After production, the opportunity for profit arises. So depending on the total production costs, distribution and final retail prices may increase per year.
Costs Of Design
Generally, designing and putting together a watch is no simple task. Add the need to acquire quality production materials from start to finish and meet the standard for a luxurious timepiece.
When you weigh these production expenses, you might appreciate the luxury brands you see.
Rolex puts the utmost effort into developing and researching its watch collections. Only the best experts are employed to provide the necessary staffing for production. It also runs several tests to ensure that all its watch collections meet and surpass industry standards.
Limited Editions and One-Offs
It’s no secret that scarcity increases demand. While this may seem like a simple and apparent economic principle, not many people understand or apply it to their businesses. Rolex is one of the few brands that have managed to hack this principle thoroughly.
Both Rolex quality and scarcity have created an environment for high demand.
For each of its collections, Rolex invests in marketing to create the much-needed buzz before releasing it. And when the demand for the product is high, it releases minimal stock to meet this demand.
The result is that everyone scrambles to clinch one of these designer watches for themselves, driving up the sales and value of the watch.
Strict Selection of Distributors and Monitoring of Retail Prices
You might not have noticed, but not just anyone can sell a Rolex watch. Rolex has its official list of authorized distributors on its website, making it much easier to monitor and ensure strict compliance with its distribution policies.
By keeping all its watch collections within a specific price range, Rolex can retain the high value of its watches, no matter how long ago they were released. It also makes it easier to effect repairs on the wristwatch through the established distribution chains.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the prices of Rolex watches and why they are expensive.
Is it worth buying a Rolex?
As a luxury brand, Rolex takes the time to put the necessary effort into producing its watches. The brand invests in research and development, constantly adopting new designs that impress its audience.
Even though it has become a household name in the watch world, the brand has not been released yet. It continues to use only the best materials for production and is very deliberate about its marketing strategy.
Is Rolex a good investment?
Rolex watches usually have a five-year warranty policy where you don’t have to worry about the personal costs of repairing your Rolex watch for five years. This policy is one of the highest warranty terms in the watchmaking industry.
Lastly, while many other watches lose their value as you purchase them, Rolex watches make a good investment because they are known for holding value or increasing value over time.
Vintage Rolex watches cost a fortune, especially at auctions, making Rolex watches a good investment option.
So if you’re looking for a luxury watch worth spending on, Rolex is a worthy option.
Does Rolex make custom watches?
The Datejust is one of the most iconic Rolex models ever made. This feature was assembled as a gift to Winston Churchill in 1946 and customized with Sir Churchill’s coat of arms. Soon, it became a signature watch for Sir Winston, solidifying its presence in the political landscape.
Since then, Rolex has made other customized watches based on specific requests. These custom-made watches also have the credibility and authenticity of all other Rolex collections.
Why is it so hard to find a Rolex watch?
While there are many factors responsible for this, the primary reason is that Rolex, like so many other luxury watch brands, releases limited edition watches.
Scarcity is one of the best ways to create high demand, and Rolex uses this strategy quite well. Constantly releasing only a few products to meet the market demand creates the illusion that the need for Rolex watches is so high that it is challenging to meet. It also drives up the value of such wristwatches, making them premium goods in the market.
It’s a good strategy, and it has worked well for Rolex.
We hope we have answered your question, “Why are Rolex watches so expensive?” Even among luxury watch brands, Rolex is highly respected. While it may not be the most expensive, it is most definitely one of the most prestigious and famous.
However, the brand did not magically become famous, and Rolex prices didn’t just shoot up overnight. It earned its top position due to its passion for what it does, intentionally putting in every bit of effort and paying attention to even the most minute details.
So, if owning a piece of this elaborate and luxurious piece costs thousands of dollars, then it is worth it. Rest assured that for every dime Rolex charges, it puts in the work to earn it.
If you enjoyed this article, check out other articles about watches on EvesWatch.com.
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My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.