What to look out for when buying a vintage Rolex
The value of rare vintage timepieces has continued to grow, despite the worldwide economic pressures. If you bought a Rolex Daytona with a Paul Newman dial in 1970, looked after it well over the years and were still in possession of it today, then you might have a good chance to auction it and make some serious money.
As the world’s most famous watch brand, Rolex timepieces tend to do rather well at auction. The brand has established itself through innovation and introduction of Firsts, including the first waterproof watch and the first watch with a day and date window on the dial. Rolex is one of the most consistent brands when it comes to the having the power to maintain its value, and show good return, as far as investments go.
Recent auctions of Rolex timepieces has seen a rare 1942 Rolex Split-Chronograph (of which only 12 were ever made) sold for AED4.29 million at Christie’s, while a 1971 Rolex Daytona Albino that belonged to Eric Clapton sold for over AED5.5 million.
Although not all Rolex are surefire investments. The secret is to know what makes certain pieces so special. To understand how a watches qualify as collectible, sought after pieces, Esquire turned to Tariq Malik, the Founder of UAE’s first and only vintage watch boutique, Momentum, to share his insight:
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1 | True Vintage
The first point is to establish what is meant by ‘vintage’. the term not only apply to the era (1920s-1990s) which the watch was made but also the story behind it, its collectability and rareness. Even slightly newer watches qualify as vintage if they are ‘important’ watches or if they are iconic.
2 | History
One of the most important aspects affecting selling price is the unique history of a watch. If someone famous owned it, gave it as a gift or wore it on a movie set or a race track, you can be sure that the value will go up. Rolex has featured in the lives of many famous personalities, and in plenty of newsworthy events – this was part of their marketing strategy all along. A Rolex with historical provenance will be among the most important ones.
3 | Condition
Often Rolex-produced timepieces use only the highest quality of materials, including gold, silver and diamonds, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, some of the priciest Rolex models ever sold were made from steel. It’s important to have a watch in good and, most importantly, original condition. The replacement of original components affects the value and collectability immensely.
4 | Paperwork
Original documents and packaging, including certification, are sure to increase the value of the watch tremendously. Look after these as carefully as the timepiece itself!
5 | Rarity
The fewer watches released to the market originally, the more valuable the watch tends to become after time. Some models were made in very limited numbers, making them all the more rare and valuable to the collector.
6 | Complications
Generally speaking, the more intricate the design and the more complications, the pricier the watch. For Rolex, Split Seconds Chronographs and Perpetual Calendars are the rarest, therefore skyrocket in value.