Buying Your First Rolex – What You Need to Know First

Buying Your First Rolex Watch

Your first Rolex is special. Before purchasing your first Rolex – start your research by checking out this guide on – Buying your first Rolex.

Rolex watches and the Rolex brand is timeless and one of the most sought after watch brands in the world to wear on your wrist. This timepiece is signaling luxury, success and sophistication and the brand is loaded with so much power that everyone wants to wear it.

A History of the Rolex Brand

Rolex is truly one of the classic watch brands and one of the greatest status symbols out there – signaling both wealth and success. It has grown from a small company to major global player. With a production of over 3200 watches per day, Rolex is the biggest and most well-known luxury watch brand today.

The history of Rolex began in England 1905, when a young Hans Wilsdorf started a company specialized in the distribution of timepieces. Hans started creating his own wristwatches and in 1908 he decided to give his creation the name Rolex and a legend was born.

Rolex, synonymous with precision

In the early days Rolex concentrated on the precision of the movements, which over the years resulted in many prestigious awards for the watches precision.

In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, awarded by the Official Watch Rating Center in Bienne. (image left)  1914 – Kew Observatory in Great Britain awarded a Rolex wristwatch a Grade A precision certificate, a distinction which until that point in time only had been reserved exclusively for marine chronometers. (image right)

From that time on, Rolex wristwatches have been synonymous with precision.

Company moving to Switzerland

In 1919 Rolex moved their head-quarters to the watchmaking capital Geneva, Switzerland and in 1920 the company name Montres Rolex S.A was registered. In 1926, Rolex presented the “Oyster“, known as the first waterproof watch. They used an advertising for “Oyster” in Daily Mail, from Nov 27, 1927

Notable achievements

  • 1945 – Datejust is launched and the first self-winding wristwatch with date in a window on the dial is presented.
  • 1947 – Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
  • 1953 – Rolex Submariner becomes the first divers watch, waterproof to a depth of 100 meters.
  • 1953 – Rolex, Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay reaches the summit of Mount Everest.
  • 1960 – A Rolex Deepsea Special was sent down to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, about 10.900 meter down (37,800 feet).
  • 1967 – Rolex pantented the helium escape valve.
  • 1985 – Rolex was the first brand to use 904L stainless steel.

“Like a genial hotelier, Rolex has introduced me to some of the nicest people. I ask about their Rolex and they ask about mine. It’s as marvelous a conversation piece as it is a timepiece.” – Maurice Chevalier (1964)

Rolex Watches Product Portfolio

The main Rolex product portfolio consists of the following men’s models: Datejust, Day Date, Daytona, Deepsea, Explorer I & II, GMT-Master II, Milgauss, Submariner, Yachtmaster II

James Bond and Rolex

James Bond wore Rolex in the first 8 movies, before Seiko took over. Rolex came back for Licence to Kill, where after Omega has held the prestigious title as official watch brand for James Bond. Picture of Sean Connery wearing a Submariner.

Other notable wearers and brand endorsers of Rolex

  • Tiger Woods
  • Roger Federer
  • Tom Hanks

Rolex is by far the most famous and well-known of all the luxury watch brands and also the most sold watch brand in the luxury segment, outranking the likes of Omega, Patek Philippe, IWC and other luxury watch brands. Rolex is worn by presidents, movie stars, famous artists and dignities all over the world.

In this guide we will go through the following:

  • Choosing the Rolex model
  • Should I buy a new or used Rolex
  • How to tell the difference between a real Rolex and a fake one
  • Where to buy your Rolex
  • Take your time to find the right Rolex for you

A Rolex watch is an investment, and the start of a collection!

Research Before You Buy Your First Rolex Watch Online

Choosing the model

Let us first take a look at some of the different Rolex models at hand and maybe that can help you decide which will be your first Rolex to buy.

Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner first came out in 1953 as a professional diver’s tool and now over 60 years later it is still captivating the fans. The watch has been worn in many movies, perhaps most known for being the James Bond watch. The Submariner is widely seen as the most iconic Rolex model. This model is available in stainless steel, 18 carat gold (white or yellow) and the 18 carat yellow gold/stainless steel two-tone. Rolex Submariners can range in between $4.000 used to $40.000 new depending on the style and material.

Rolex Datejust and Datejust II

The first Datejust was created in 1945 and as one of the first watches featuring a self-winding chronometer and date display window on its dial it quickly became the benchmark watch for modern watches. It is today amongst the most recognizable watch models in the world and the favorite Rolex model for women.

Being the modern watch, these watches start at about $2.500 used to $20.000 new.

Rolex Yachtmaster II

The Rolex Yachtmaster II was inspired by the luxurious yachting times of the 1950s. Praised for its exceptional, innovative features, which includes the waterproof enhancement of the trip lock winding crown, the bi-directional rotating bezel and the added resistance to magnetic fields and shocks by the par chrome oscillator hairspring, is well balanced by its stylish design.

The Rolex Yachtmaster II is available in a variety of materials and dial colors – stainless steel/platinum, 18 carat yellow gold, stainless steel/black coating, amongst others.

The Yachtmaster II starts at about $5.000 used to $40.000 new.

Rolex Daytona

The Daytona model is a big favorite of celebrities such as Paul Newman, John Mayer, Jay-Z, Leo DiCaprio and Matt Damon amongst many others and certainly one of Rolex’s most iconic models.

Engineered and designed with racecar drivers in mind and launched 1963. The Daytona comes with superbly accurate chronograph and tachymeter scales that racers use to precisely measure their speeds.

In the racing world the watch is considered to be of absolute highest quality. This watch ranges from about $10.000 used to about $40.000 new.

Rolex GMT-Master II

The Rolex GMT or Grand Master Time was designed for pilots and navigators together with Pan Am airlines in 1954. It is by many considered the ultimate accessory for world travelers.

The GMT features the unique “4th hand” to tell time no matter what time zone you’re in and the time tracking feature makes it possible to tell time in three zones at once.

The watch is available in stainless steel, two-tone or 18 carat yellow gold and with different colors on the bezel inserts – Red/Blue (known as Pepsi), Brown (known as Rootbeer) and Red/Black (known as Coke)

Starting price used is roughly $5.000 to $30.000 new.

This is a great video showing you some of the most popular Rolex models.

New or Used Rolex – Which one to buy?

The decision to purchase a new or used Rolex watch is up to you – if you are looking to “make history” with your watch and you want to know no one else has owned it – go new. If you don’t care about that and are comfortable with a pre-owned watch, look into used models. The real difference is value – a new watch will depreciate in value immediately after purchase – as will anything you buy new. A used Rolex does not feature such devaluation.

How to tell a real Rolex from a fake one

Since fake or counterfeit Rolexes are pretty common, a thorough understanding of what makes up a faux Rolex is essential before purchasing your first timepiece.

  • An original Rolex never feature glass casebacks, even though some after-market remakes of Rolexes can be found with glass casebacks to show off the beautiful movement.
  • Real Rolex casebacks do not feature engravings of model name, logo etc…(with some rare exceptions). The caseback should be clear from engravings.
  • Real Rolexes until 2007 included hologram stickers with the Rolex crown (Rolex Crown logo was added 2002) above the model’s reference number. After 2007 they have clear stickers, mainly to protect the caseback.
  • And while replicas occasionally feature hologram stickers, these stickers are not 3D, and are free from the correct design.
  • Other signs of a fake Rolex include “stuttering” rather than smooth second-hand movement, basic winders, and no cyclops lens that magnifies the date.
  • Faux Rolexes are also lighter than real models.
  • If you are unsure, check the paperwork coming with the watch and the model number.
  • And remember, if the price appears “too good to be true” – you’re likely looking at a fake.

Your help is appreciated

If you have any more precise information on especially the stickers/hologram strickers on the caseback and engravings on the casebacks on real Rolexes, I would be very happy if you’d share that with me and the readers,  in the comments section below.

Buy your Rolex from reputable dealers

When purchasing your first new or preowned Rolex watch, it is essential that you do so from a reputable dealer. Check out authorized dealers only that offer warranties, as well as all correct paperwork and original box.

Whether buying new or used, authorized dealers are your best options for avoiding knockoffs. If purchasing your watch online, be sure to investigate each seller’s credentials. Authentic dealers are happy to provide as much information as you’d like about your watch, and never dodge questions or refuse to procure paperwork.

Take your time to find your first Rolex

Buying your first Rolex is a big investment for most of us, so take your time to investigate what to buy, what to look out for and where to buy it. Remember Rolex is not just a fashion statement but an investment. A Rolex will last a lifetime if you take care of your investment and it is a watch you can pass down from generation to generation.

Good luck with finding and buying your first Rolex!

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