Vintage Rolex and the rising power of Social Media
Social media is revolutionising the marketplace for many businesses, and vintage luxury goods are no exception. In the last two years the number of images of vintage Rolex on social media has skyrocketed. Last time I checked there were more than six million posts on Instagram alone.
It used to be that the only place you could find a quality vintage Rolex Daytona or Sub for sale was to go to a dealer, or become part of a niche network of collectors. These were tightly knit groups of dedicated enthusiasts. Now it’s as easy as typing in a few keywords and adding a hashtag.
Personally, I have quite an inflow of enquiries when posting a picture of a nice watch, in some cases there is a quick exchange of details and that watch is sold. Facebook is moreover a presence which is good to have but Instagram does it for us.
Besides being a place to just show off the latest addition to your collection, they’re valuable information resources too. For a look at how some accounts do it right, see the likes of: @WatchAnish, @Atommoore, @WatchesbySJX, @RedBarCrew, and @Rolexaholics.
In short, the landscape has changed for both fans and serious collectors. The online watch community is an active one, so at any given time, thousands of people are looking online at the new arrivals from their favourite brands; obsessing about their passion for vintage; finding out about the latest fake dials or watches on the market; or even posting warnings about stolen watches.
It’s instant, it’s visually appealing, and it’s very big.
Today more than ever, information is power. The powerhouse forums where most online watch fans go for information can have a huge impact on the selling price of specific watches – whether on auction or on eBay.
Where it comes to Rolex vintage influencers, two of the most well-known forums are run by Eric Ku – owner of the Vintage Rolex Forum and Philipp Stahl- owner of the Rolex Passion Report and Rolexpassionmarket. Their opinions carry weight, and help make or break the selling price on important watches.
Traditionally the luxury watch brands themselves – especially the more conservative ones like Rolex and Patek Philippe have avoided places like Facebook, but in 2013 Rolex took the plunge, and finally opened its FB page. To be sure, the brand has stuck to their conservative ways, posting sparsely, and targeting their words carefully.
Their most popular post, for example, was part of the “Did You Know” series, and explained why Rolex uses the Roman Numerals IIII, the “Clockmaker’s Four,” instead of IV. That earned nearly 120k likes.Strange, but true.
The social media phenomenon has shaken the foundations of the watch market – both new and second-hand. Scores of watch nerds, collectors and dealers follow the most popular accounts and cherry pick the best of the best vintage specimens.
Modern collectors are learning in months what the old salts learned in years – and the best specimens of high-quality vintage watches are being snapped or reposted by collectors from China, the Middle East, and Europe, literally all around the globe. Following the trend of other vintage goods, like cars, wealthy buyers are looking for new ways to invest, and watches are popular.
It’s a brave new world for watch lovers, and the place to find it all is no longer in some hidden corner of the world – but online, where everyone can see it.
Tariq Malik is the managing partner and co-founder of Momentum watch shop, DIFC, Dubai. momentum-dubai.com