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10 May

Expert’s Guide On How To Buy Your First Rolex

Buying Rolex for the first time is a big deal! It’s a special event that you will most likely never forget. Seeing the iconic Crown on your wrist, whose image is closely associated with success, prestige, and power, is an inexpressible feeling. But the path to acquiring your first Rolex is not a bed of roses. 

Which Rolex is perfect for me? What do I say to the dealer? Who is the best Rolex dealer near me? How much should I pay for a Rolex? How to ensure the Rolex is genuine? These are just some of the many questions that hover in your mind. 

Honestly, not many will say this to you, but Rolex is among the most daunting watch brands you’d jump into. There are millions of them out there, each with different functions, characteristics and appeal. As such, the hunt for your first-ever Rolex can be a bit more overwhelming than you’d have imagined. 

As you know, nothing great comes easy, does it? So, as you go after your first purchase from the Crown, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to have the best experience…EVERYTHING! 

Let’s get started!

6 Key Things To Consider When Buying Your First Rolex

1. Set Yourself a Budget

It is essential to know how much you’re planning to spend on your very first Rolex. The price of a Rolex can be as little as a few thousand pounds and go up to over a million. So, you don’t want to waste time looking at models you cannot comfortably wear regularly. Also, it is equally frustrating to find your dream watch quite out of the league, at least in that moment. 

If you have a limited budget, don’t worry—Rolex has models for every price range. For example, the Sky-Dweller is the brand’s most complicated creation, with an in-house annual calendar movement, making it one of the most expensive Rolex models. Similarly, if you are looking for a more basic model, the Rolex Datejust, Air-King, and Explorer may be a good place to start. You could look for cheaper models and still find yourself spoilt for choice. 

2. Choose Your Rolex Model

It’s easy to feel lost at the starting line as Rolex offers myriads of choices and variations in its catalogue. The diversity is commendable, from dress watches to purpose-built pieces. However, all Rolex watches primarily fall into two main categories: Classic and Professional.

Classic— This segment hosts Rolex’s traditionally styled watches, such as the Datejust, Day-Date, Oyster Perpetual, and the Cellini collection, Rolex’s dedicated dress watch lineup. Classic Rolex models are not built to meet any particular purpose, sport, or lifestyle activity but are your ‘everyday’ watch. You can wear the Classic Rolex models in different situations and with almost any attire. 

Professional – Often referred to as the ‘Sports’ watches, the professional range is designed with specific functions and performance capabilities in mind, like any particular sporting, diving or occupational activity. These watches usually have a long waiting list and are considered the most desirable. Some of the most legendary Rolex models, like the Daytona, Submariner, Explorer and GMT-Master, are categorised in this range. 

Once you decide to buy a Rolex, the next step is picking the right model. Rolex makes watches for everyone, from frequent travellers to scuba divers, motor racers, scientists, and everyone in between. So, as a buyer, you need to understand your needs and what you want out of your Rolex. 

Consider your lifestyle and make sure the Rolex aligns with that. Other important points to consider are the size of the watch, what materials you prefer, the type of strap and bracelet, and the bezel and dial design. 

3. New, Pre-Owned, Vintage?

If you thought buying Rolex meant visiting a local Rolex dealer with cash in hand and leaving with your desired Rolex, that’s not how it works. There are four main Rolex markets:

New— It was not long ago that you could actually walk up to an authorised dealer and buy just about any Rolex. But today, retail has no place for a first-time buyer. Also, you cannot buy the majority of new Rolexes. Rolex presents itself to its preferred customers, the VIPs, and you’ll be one of the many on Rolex’s long waiting list. So, if you aren’t ready to participate in that show, consider the pre-owned Rolex market. 

Pre-Owned – Don’t get it wrong, the pre-owned market for Rolex watches is not what it sounds. In fact, the pre-owned market is the best option when buying your first Rolex. It is enormous and confusing, with countless reputed pre-owned Rolex dealers and countless watches for sale. Additionally, in 2023, Rolex started its own Certified Pre-Owned Program (CPO), which more or less takes out the cringe of buying a pre-owned Rolex. The pre-owned market is cost-effective and will open the door to all the discontinued, hard-to-get and vintage Rolex references. It is the ideal option for those who want an immediate purchase. 

Vintage— The world of vintage Rolex is an exciting space to explore. Rolexes at least 40 years old are considered vintage and are incredibly popular amongst collectors and enthusiasts alike. This has caused the prices of some of the most popular vintage Rolex models to increase steadily. In some cases, the value of a vintage Rolex from the pre-owned market can be more than buying a new Rolex because of the limited numbers circulating. 

4. Pick a Rolex Reference (4, 5 or 6 Digits)

The millions of Rolexes out there can be categorised into three parts: four, five, and six-digit references. Rolex aficionados say things like, ‘I want a four-digit Submariner or a six-digit GMT.’ Therefore, you must get acquainted with the digits. 

Every Rolex watch has a corresponding reference number that marks the eras of Rolex production. Each time the watchmaker adds a digit to its reference numbers, a new generation of watches is born with its own list of traits, features, and updates. The Rolex reference numbers help decode details about a watch’s production era, its bezel style, type of model, and even the materials used in its case and bracelet. 

  • 4-Digit Rolex References: From the 1940s to 1980
  • 5-Digit References: From 1980 to 2004
  • 6-Digit References: From 2005 to Present 

Rolex watches from different eras have their own set of upsides and downsides, and knowing them will ultimately allow you to understand the brand’s timepieces better.

5. Find the Right Seller

Having a bad experience with your first Rolex purchase is probably the last thing you’d want. The best way to guarantee a positive first-time experience is to buy Rolex from a trusted and verified seller with a proven track record of happy customers. Do your research and ask the seller questions. The best way to learn about a seller is to check reviews and ask fellow collectors. 

You can buy a new Rolex from an authorised store or shift to the pre-owned market for a more diverse assortment. There are plenty of authorised dealers out there. However, the problem with buying a brand new one is that they might not have the model you want as the selection is limited. Additionally, the small Rolex boutiques have a few popular models for sale. Whereas secondary market shops like Luxbrokers have a wide range of options without any waiting list. You can buy any popular Rolex model for the right price. 

6. Is It An Investment?

Rolex watches are a universal emblem of excellence, often symbolising personal or commercial success. The brand has a stellar reputation for quality and holding value, making it one of the most sought-after brands in the world. 

Are you buying Rolex for everyday use or hoping to sell it for a good price in the future? Many first-time buyers are often concerned about the resale value of their Rolex, and well, there’s no harm in that. Rolex has become a popular investment option, and when sold, it fetches a high resale value. However, there are certain things one must keep in mind. 

Not all Rolex watches are successful investments. Generally, stainless steel models are the safe baits because models crafted from precious metals such as gold or platinum are bought and sold less frequently, depreciating their value faster. Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060, Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV, Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270, and Rolex Datejust Ref. 69178 are some of the best investment options for a first-time buyer. 


Clearly, buying a Rolex is not simple; there are several points to keep in mind. Following the expert advice outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process confidently and select a Rolex that reflects your style and holds its value over time.

So, here’s to your first time claiming the Crown. We hope your experience is rewarding and fascinating. And, don’t forget to have fun along the way! 

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