Rolex’s Certified Pre-Owned Program has Arrived
In a sudden turn of events, Rolex has announced the launch of an official pre-owned program that offers certification, a guarantee of authenticity, and a two-year warranty on its watches. This is the first time Rolex has acknowledged the significant presence of a secondary market for its watches as the program now enables retailers in the brand’s official network to control the distribution and second-hand market.
The program will launch at six Bucherer boutiques inside Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, and the UK before it makes its way to official Rolex retailers by the spring of 2023.
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While the success of the program will become evident over time, it immediately addresses the two biggest pain points for buyers of second-hand Rolexes, authenticity and performance.
To qualify for the pre-owned program, the watch must be at least 3 years old, however, no other requirements in terms of condition, servicing history, or originality have been addressed. Some of the largest secondary marketplaces such as StockX require watches to be in 100% brand new-in-box condition, while Chrono24 conditions vary.
You’re probably wondering how the brand will deal with pricing. Questions have yet to be answered around the market adjustments, for example, if you were lucky enough to score yourself a stainless steel Rolex for retail price, would the brand pay you the market-adjusted price when you went to sell it back to them three years later? Will they be sold on consignment? What margins have been built into the process? Does this mean Rolex is going to flood the market with stainless watches? Probably not.
Of course, this isn’t the first time you’ve been able to walk into a retailer and purchase a second-hand Rolex, however, this is the first time the watches will be certified by Rolex and include a warranty.
aBlogtoWatch calls this the logical next step, “Certified pre-owned is, therefore, a logical next step to fill the gaping holes in the supply of Rolex watches. It’s a tried and proven technique that’s been widely used in the automotive industry, where authorized dealers take in used cars, service them, and then sell them at a profit, supported with an official warranty,” writes David Bredan.
We’d say it’s more of a jump. In fact, the used car example falls flat when you consider Rolex will be selling most of these watches at two or three times the price they charged in the first place. If they offer to buy back the watch for retail (or below market value), it gives them the chance to make the profit they could’ve had in the first place. We liken it to Nike selling its rarest sneakers straight to StockX, a process that authorised retailers have been caught up with in the past.
Ultimately, the biggest winner will be the consumers who can now walk into any Rolex boutique and purchase a watch right off the shelf with a warranty.
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