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In December the Swiss watch manufacturer confirmed plans to issue certificates of authenticity to authorised dealers selling second-hand watches. | Source: Hodinkee
In December the Swiss watch manufacturer confirmed plans to issue certificates of authenticity to authorised dealers selling second-hand watches. | Source: Hodinkee

Rolex launches second-hand certification program, records shattered in Geneva

Rolex’s rollout of its certified pre-owned program in the US is underway, appearing in 35 Tournea and Bucherer boutiques as of 3 May.

In December the Swiss watch manufacturer confirmed plans to issue certificates of authenticity to authorised dealers selling second-hand watches.

Certification is limited to models that are at least three-years-old to discourage the ‘flipping’ of newer pieces at prices above retail.

“After an initial rollout of its new certified pre-owned program in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, and the UK in December, the program is open for business stateside this month,” writes Cait Bazemore of Robb Report.

“At first glance, Rolex’s move into the pre-owned market may come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s actually a logical next step for the brand. In the past few years, Rolex boutiques around the globe have run dry with display cases marked by dreaded ‘for exhibition only’ signs and employees breaking the news that a particular watch might not be available for months or even years.”

She added: “The Crown recently gave collectors hope that the tides might be shifting with the announcement of plans to build a new $US1 billion factory in Switzerland. But until it’s up and running, certified pre-owned Rolex watches may help fill the gap in the supply.”

Watches of Switzerland stores in the US are expected to offer the program soon.

Cait Bazemore-Robb Report
Cait Bazemore-Robb Report
“Rolex’s move into the pre-owned market may come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s actually a logical next step for the brand.”
Cait Bazemore, Robb Report

Industry research from Deloitte estimates that the pre-owned watch market will expand to $US35 billion ($AU54.5 billion) before 2030.

Records broken in Geneva

Auctions at Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s combined for more than $US108 million ($AU162.4 million) in Geneva over the weekend.

Sotheby’s Geneva has achieved two new world records, including the sale of a yellow-gold Rolex Daytona ‘John Player Special’ (ref. 6241).

Described by the auction house as ‘the best seen in the past 10 years’ the timepiece returned $US2.49 million ($AU3.74 million).

“When this 1969 Daytona John Player Special reference came into my hands, I immediately knew the piece was extremely special indeed,” Sotheby's Geneva head of watches Mikael Wallhagen told WatchPro.

“For a watch nearly 55 years old, it is in staggeringly good condition with all its parts intact and has never been serviced. This is a true Daytona unicorn and the perfect way to top our Important Watches which celebrated Daytona’s 60 years with a flurry of references from across its six decades.”

Rival auction house Phillips Auctioneers sold a diamond-set Rolex Daytona (ref. 6270) for $US4.11 million ($AU6.17 million).

Also of note was the sale of a rare Rolex Milgauss (ref. 6541) for $US2.5 million ($AU3.75 million).

 

Rolex Daytona
Rolex Daytona 'John Player Special' (ref. 6421) - Circa 1969

Rolex Milgauss (ref. 6541) - Circa 1958
Rolex Milgauss (ref. 6541) - Circa 1958

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (ref. 6270) - Circa 1988
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (ref. 6270) - Circa 1988

 

More reading
Something for everyone at Watches and Wonders Geneva
The rise of Inhorgenta Munich continues unabated
Luxury watch market approaching $100 billion milestone
Swatch Group to steer clear of second-hand market
New Rolex factory expected to be completed in 2029

 











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