What Is My Rolex Worth? — How To Value Your Watch

If you’ve thought of selling your Rolex in recent times, then you’ve definitely asked yourself the question” “what is my Rolex worth?” It’s a critical question, after all, considering how much you spent getting the watch in the first place. You’re not about to sell your watch for anything below top dollar, are you now?

Well, valuing your Rolex to ensure that your Rolex gets bought at a fair and realistic price isn’t quite straightforward. The question raises a number of complications which depend on a number of factors, each with a significant part to play in how much your Rolex sells for at the end of the day.

For brand new watches, valuing is easy since the watches are in perfect condition. You simply sell at the same price other watches with the same model number are sold for. For pre-owned watches, it is different.

Of course, there’s always that tendency to believe that your watch is worth much more than it is actually worth in the current market. Owners most often focus on sentimental value as well as how much they bought the watch for some several years back when valuing their watches. They often forget that as the market changes, so does the value of the watch. And this, consequently, changes how much their watch can fetch them ultimately as well.

Factors Affecting The Worth Of A Rolex Watch

1. Model And Serial Number

This is the most important factor considered when valuing a Rolex watch. For watches that are rare, prices naturally go up as the natural laws of demand and supply dictate. To find the model and serial numbers of your Rolex watch, check the lug of your watch at the 12 o’clock position where the bracelet and case meet.

You’ll also find the serial number and model number engraved on the exact same spot except that the serial number is at the 6 o’clock position.

The model number of a Rolex watch is super important as it tells the year in which the watch was made as well as the material from which it was made and the movement in the watch — all of which affect the worth of a Rolex watch. The serial number is also important as it helps to verify the authenticity of a Rolex watch.

A brand new Rolex watch will come with a box as well as authentication papers. These papers contain the serial number of the watch which matches what you find on the case.

Now, one mistake that many new Rolex watch owners make is to lose these papers as well as the box or mishandle them. They don’t know that if an enthusiast is looking to buy a watch, they would be far more willing to pay more for a watch that comes with the box as well as the papers. This is one reason many watch owners end up with far less than they expected to sell their watches for in the first place.

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For more information about that, click here to read our article: Where Can I Sell My Rolex?

Check out how you can check your watch’s model and serial number in this video below:


2. The Material Of The Watch

Another important factor that affects the worth of a Rolex is the material used in the making of the watch, dial, and bezel. Watches with cases made from platinum fetch the highest prices, followed by gold, and then stainless steel. For the bezel, bezels come in a range of materials from gold, to titanium, to platinum, to ceramic, and, of course, each of these materials has its own value. Dials also come in a range of materials. Studded ones, naturally, fetch a higher price.

3. The Condition Of The Watch

Of course, the condition of your watch will also affect the worth of your Rolex watch in the market place. Scratches on the case, crystal, bracelet or case can affect the price your watch is sold for in the end, of course, depreciating it. 

Fortunately, if the scratch is a shallow one, it can be buffed out and might end up not affecting the price the watch sells for. However, for more significant scratches and blemishes, you can be sure they’ll affect the price at which you can sell your watch.

Besides scratches, bracelets can stretch too and that also reduces the value of your watch. Missing links affect value, as well. 

How about the internals of your watch? The internal working of your watch also plays a major role in determining the value of your watch. Naturally, Rolex watches are built to last several generations, even a lifetime (to see all the processes that go into making a Rolex watch, click here to read our article: Why Is Rolex So Expensive?). However, there are some watch owners who do not take proper care of their watches. In the end, this is going to affect the resale value of the watch.

4. The Age Of The Watch

Just like a car, the initial depreciation of a watch’s value is greatest is at the first point of purchase. From then on, year after year, the value of the watch versus the price of a new model will continue to depreciate.

Nonetheless, in spite of this, the valuation might benefit if there is a hike in the price of the watch since the time the watch was initially purchased as a new watch. This is why the baseline for your valuation should be what your watch currently sells for and not what it sold for at the time of purchase.

In the end, it’s the market forces that will demand how much of a discount buyers would demand when purchasing a pre-owned watch versus a newer one.

5. Market Forces

Finally, even with everything we have said, it is still important to note that the market forces still play a huge role in determining whether or not your Rolex fetches that handsome price you’ve been dreaming of.

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So, in the end, it might not even matter whether your Rolex is a super rare edition or whether the watch is in mint condition, market forces are still going to affect how much you get for the watch.

You’ll need to consider the market value of your watch when valuing your watch. The market value of a watch is how much the average shopper is willing to pay for your watch currently. One way to do this is by doing a research on current watch sales. That way, you can get a more realistic ballpark figure to begin with when determining how much to sell your watch.

Watch this 1960 GMT Master Model Rolex with Box Papers being appraised in the video below:

Calculating A Rolex Valuation

There are two methods you can use when it comes to creating a Rolex valuation. These methods give different values. However, the one you should use would depend on the purpose for the Rolex valuation. 

The two types of valuation include the insurance valuation and the sales valuation.

1. Insurance Valuation

If you need to find out how much your watch costs in the case of replacing a missing or stolen watch, then this is the appraisal method to go for. In most insurance companies, you must have an insurance valuation for valuables such as your watch. This valuation is usually based on the replacement cost value of the watch.

For most new Rolex watches, the replacement cost value is simply the current retail price of the Rolex in question.

If you need more information about insurance valuation, you might have to do a little more research on that personally. We won’t be dwelling too long on that since that’s not what we’re talking about today.

2. Sales Valuation

For the purpose of our article today, we are going to zero in on sales valuation.

The first thing you should know about Rolex valuation is that it is purely subjective. So, whatever result you get in the end, bear in mind that that’s not a fact. It’s simply an opinion. Different valuers use different methods and none can be categorically deemed right or wrong. They are simply different.

In the end, as we explained, it’s the market that’s the ultimate judge. The market will tell which valuer’s method is realistic.

Valuing Rolex is pretty much like valuing stocks and bonds. The industry is practically a moving beast, sharing many similar principles with the stock market. 

For instance, it’s the number of buyers and sellers currently in the market for any particular timepiece that will determine supply and demand. Currency exchange rates will also affect the worth of a Rolex watch as well.

Beginning Your Sales Valuation

If the Rolex model you intend to value is still currently being produced by Rolex, then a good place to start is to check out its current retail price.

So, for instance, say the watch you have to sell is a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT Master Transition Model. If you check current pricing as at the time of this writing, you’ll find that this watch is listed for about $11,000.

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So, it’s safe to assume that the market is willing to part with about $11,000 to get that watch.

This figure makes a fantastic foundation on which to begin valuing your watch. 

Usually, the price at which resellers would carry this watch would vary from just a little below the retail price to a little above it.

These prices will, of course, be affected by forces of demand and supply as well as inflation (if there is).

For instance, if a reseller is selling at a higher price than the retail price of the watch, then that might indicate to you that this watch is rare. Although if there are resellers selling the watch at a lower price, then the lower price would be preferred figure to set as the benchmark people are willing to pay for a watch like yours in new condition.

Finalizing Your Rolex Valuation

So, say your watch is a 2011 model but with the original box and the complete papers and just the normal signs of wear and tear.

After considering the current retail price of the watch and seeing that your watch is in good condition, you’d then need to assess current market prices and then decide how much of a discount a buyer would expect buying a pre-owned watch over a newer model of the watch.

This is where valuation becomes a little more subjective and there are a couple of options to consider if you’re thinking of selling.

Private Vs Dealer Sale

Selling your watch is pretty much like selling your car. You can sell privately to the buyer which gives the best returns except that it takes a longer time and is not convenient, in most cases.

Selling with a dealer, on the other hand, is much easier. But here’s the thing about dealers, when reselling, dealers tend to demand a much higher price since they’ll be factoring in how much it took them to refurbish the watch to get it looking good as new. So, ultimately, if you’re selling to a dealer, returns are never as high as when you sell privately.

This means that when you run a search online for the price of a watch at the age and condition similar to yours, you’d need to make a few deductions. Let’s illustrate.

So, say your watch has a retail price of about $6,000 to $6,500. This means that someone can get it for about $6,300, right?

For those selling privately, they might be able to sell for about $5,500 while a dealer might sell for about $5,800 thereabout (factoring in costs for refurbishing the watch). Therefore, calculating profit margins, you can deduce that a dealer might want to purchase this watch anywhere from $4,500 to $5,000. They have to make their profits, haven’t they?

In the end, this places the value of your watch, realistically, between $4,500 and $6,300.


The good thing about Rolex watches is that, as they say, having one is literally the same as holding currency. Rolex is a brand that has built itself up to a point where their timepieces have such high value and everyone knows it.

Rolex watches are typically easier to sell compared to other watch brands in the industry as they have a high resale value. There’s literally no other brand (or very few brands) that has a resale value as strong as that of Rolex watches. So, when it comes to selling your Rolex, you can rest assured in the fact that you have little or nothing to worry about.

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