Which Rolex is the best investment ?


You want to invest in a Rolex model that will gain value year after year ? Thanks to the daily transactions on Watch-Deal, we have established a selection of five Rolex in which investing is a very good idea.
The market for vintage watches and investment in iconic models is still booming, it is one of the rare investment markets that didn't suffer from the coronavirus crisis. It is estimated to be a 2-to-3 billion-dollar market according to an article in Fortune magazine. In all the articles dedicated to the topic, two brands always stand out: Rolex and Patek Philippe. A good investment strategy: purchasing a pre-owned Rolex, more or less recent, and then resell it as a vintage piece once it is at least 20 years old. Here are the top 5 Rolex series from the Swiss luxury brand that you should look for. 

N°1: Daytona

The average value of this emblematic model has doubled in ten years and has more than 100 search alerts created every day. It is the most legendary chronograph in the world of motor racing and the most complex from the Rolex company. The most sought-after model in the world is its steel automatic version, more specifically the Daytona 16520 with the Zenith El Primero movement and, more recently, its successor, the Daytona ref 116520". For the latter reference, an automatic steel model from 2005 costs around $13,000.

Models from the 1980s can even sell for around $150,000, according to the French magazine Le Point. It is also worth remembering that it acquired in 2017 the title of "the most expensive wristwatch in history", at least the one sold at auction in New York for more than 17 million dollars. It is above all its history that made its worth: it belonged to Paul Newman, a legendary actor and racing driver.


Rolex Daytona 116518 with panda dial

A Rolex Daytona 116518 with a Panda dial is an excellent investment

N°2: Submariner

Like the Daytona, the average value of the Submariner has increased 2.2 times in ten years. As you must know, this model is one of the most sold by Rolex. It is thus necessary to privilege the rarer references, those who almost disappeared with time. Another trend in the vintage market. On the pre-owned market, it is the reference Submariner 14060, whose production has been stopped by Rolex, which is the most sought-after, because of its dial and its "Tritium" hands (luminescent material) giving it a very nice patina with time. "For this reference, a model from the 1990s is being negotiated at around $6,000.

N°3 : The Datejust

More modest progress for Datejust, with 60% growth over ten years. It still is one of the most sought-after vintage watches on Watch-Deal. It is the unisex Rolex by excellence, for which demand has not dried up since its creation in 1945, thanks to its timeless look and its more accessible level. Indeed, demand is stronger for vintage watches such as the vintage Rolex Datejust 1601 and 1603, with a "jubilee" bracelet and striated bezel.  For a Rolex Datejust in steel, ref. 1603 from 1981, count about $3,000 .

N°4: The GMT Master

If its name is less emblematic than the first two models, the GMT Master's rise in popularity deserves attention: its average value has increased tenfold in ten years. According to the head of the watchmaking department, the re-release of the GMT Master this year has greatly boosted demand on the market. It's THE watch for Panemerica! The GMT Master is known for its different bezel colours, all equally sought-after, including the so-called Pepsi (red and blue) or Coke (red and black) bezel. For a steel Rolex GMT Master II, ref. 16710, circa 2000, count about $7,000.

N°5 : The Explorer

Finally, the last Rolex in this top 5, the Rolex Explorer model, whose average value has doubled in ten years. According to our analysis, the Rolex Explorer is the extreme-sport watch of the house, particularly the ascent of Everest, thanks to its technical performance and its great resistance. Its recognizable dial alternating numerals and stick indexes has made it iconic. The original model is the most sought-after. A steel model, ref. 114270 from 2007 is around $4700.


In any case, whatever the model chosen, analysts always recommend choosing a watch to suit the buyer's tastes. It will thus always be a pleasure to wear, if not a source of added value, depending on market conditions. Finally, favouring prestigious brands is not enough to make a good financial investment. At the time of resale, the watch must be in absolutely impeccable condition," stressed an article in Capital magazine. The slightest scratch observed under a magnifying glass could thus result in a discount of 5 to 20% compared to the same model without defect. The Rolex bracelet can also be very valuable and is often inseparable from the watch it accompanies. This is the case, for example, with Rolex Oyster bracelets

We hope you've find this article instructive and you will invest in a nice vintage Rolex. Feel free to send us an email whether you have any questions about a specific Rolex model, we will be happy to help you.

And finally, if like us you love rare vintage Rolexes, don't miss our daily selection of vintage and second-hand Rolex. There are some real rarities out there! Here's our daily selection of the best Rolexes available on the web.