Owning a Rolex is as much about status as it is about the practical benefits of the timepiece, whether you opt for one of the historical models or something more modern. With a keen eye for detail, connecting each model with the built-in features that give it functional benefits relating to specific activities and sports, Rolex has spent the past 118 years designing and bringing life to the luxury watch market. Now, sellers are reaping the benefits of this quality in terms of the price of preloved and second-hand models, while prospective buyers struggle to get their name anywhere near the top of one of the Rolex waitlists.
To cut a long story short, acquiring a Rolex is not simply a case of walking into a store and selecting the model you want. To own a retail market Rolex, you most likely need to spend time on a waitlist – and even then, expect to be superseded by a VIP who decides they want to purchase whatever comes available. And the second-hand market is no different – with the incredible investment value of Rolex as a brand hiking the price of each high-quality and genuine model skywards.
Safe to say, getting hold of any Rolex is not exactly easy. But for the purpose of this blog, we thought it would be fun to consider and share some of the models which are considered the most difficult to acquire.
Which Rolex watches are the most difficult to acquire?
The following are all models that have been designed and released by Rolex over the past 118 years and have become so popular and coveted on the market that seeing them available for purchase, both brand new and on the preloved market, is incredibly rare.
The Rolex Daytona was launched as the Rolex Chronograph and features a built-in mechanism that allows the user to track elapsed time and calculate their average speed. Designed for race car drivers, this watch has become as much a part of the professional sporting world as it is a stylish and timeless design – with the once limited interest in the very first Daytona sowing the seeds of a model which has always remained in limited supply.
The Rolex Submariner is another watch which was not always as popular as it is today; however, over time, its design and the integration of high-level waterproofing, which makes it such an iconic diving watch, has led to the Submariner being one of the most in-demand watches on the luxury market.
Recognised across both the luxury timepiece and diving industry as “the” diving watch to own, the Submariner is a collector’s dream, which has been in ongoing production for the past seventy years (and counting).
Rolex GMT Master II
Another Rolex watch in the steel sport (also known as the ‘Professionals’ collection) category, the GMT Master II is a pilot’s watch, and combines the classic watch face with two hour-hands, which can be set independently from each other to facilitate the reading of two separate time zones. As one of the classic Rolex watches, much of the value and status of this model comes from the fact that, regardless of its mechanical benefits and selling points, it remains a watch that is distinctly wearable and can be enjoyed by anyone – pilot or otherwise.
Every modern iteration and release of the GMT Master II has replicated many of the same core design features, ensuring that the watch is recognisable, whether a vintage model or a more modern design.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is perhaps one of the most interesting models to make this list, largely owing to the fact that, unlike all the other aforementioned models, it does not have any special features or integrated mechanisms. Rather, the very design of every Oyster Perpetual Rolex timepiece is intended to follow and celebrate a trend – with the fleeting lifespan of fashion and style trends meaning that virtually every watch in this collection is limited in stock numbers, and so becomes part of an exclusive market release.
The coloured dial plays an integral role in this, with specific colours ranking higher than others in terms of coveted status and scarcity.
Why are these Rolex watches so scarce?
All of these watches owe much of their status to the simple fact that they are made in limited batches; a tactic employed by most luxury manufacturers and brands, who understand that, when demand outweighs supply, the price of goods skyrockets.
But it’s not just an engineered tactic on the part of the brands themselves – the rise in visibility of luxury goods as investment pieces means that more and more buyers are seeking the best quality goods from the finest luxury brands in order to secure their financial future. This creates the kind of demand around every Rolex which once again drives the cost high, and also means that any watches which do appear on the market are likely to be snapped up in record time.
There are ways of finding a Rolex, but they are costly and focus on a market around which buyers need to be flexible about what they want and can buy – or else they find themselves waiting potentially for years until exactly what they want is available.
Where could I find these Rolex models?
Reputable second-hand and preloved boutique sellers are the most likely to stock these models and other rare and coveted Rolex timepieces – although, again, there is no guarantee with the rolling nature of the second-hand market. Our store in Knightsbridge connects sellers and buyers with a high level of service that delivers authentic luxury goods and formal valuation opportunities, so that customers can buy and sell through us safe in the knowledge that the advice and information they receive is authentic and reliable.
Find out if we have any of these rare Rolex models in store via our website or by visiting us in store.