Frequently Asked Rolex Questions To Inform Any Prospective Buyer

Image: Pinterest

Buying a Rolex isn’t as simple as just buying a Rolex. Not only do you need to be able to track down your ‘grail’ piece (far easier said than done due to limited supplies and high demand) but you need to ask yourself, and your respective watch dealer, a fair amount of questions before you part with several thousand dollars of cash. It’s going to be an investment piece after all, as many Rolex watch prices tend to appreciate over time, so keep your in good condition and you’ll be virtually guaranteed of a sizeable return if you ever decide to sell it.

But what questions should you be asking exactly? That’s where we here at DMARGE come in. We know Rolex like the back of our hand (or wrist, as it were), and have delved through enough listings, spoken to dealers and representatives and engrossed ourselves in all things Rolex so much, that we reckon we could actually spot a fake model from a mile away* (*not verified).

So, we thought it best to collate all the questions you could possibly ever need to ask when considering buying a Rolex and provide you with answers spelt out in plain English so that you leave this page feeling far more informed than before you clicked on it.

How Much Is A Rolex?

How long is a piece of string? is what you may as well be asking. The price you can expect to pay for a Rolex will, unsurprisingly, fluctuate depending on which model you want.

Most prospective Rolex buyers, and those making their first foray into becoming a loyal fan of the luxury Swiss brand, will want to secure themselves a Submariner. It’s easily the most recognisable model and is the one responsible for spawning countless imitation models from other brands.

Rolex released new iterations of the Submariner in 2020 – giving them a 41mm case for the first time – start at AU$11,400 and rise to AU$55,950 if bought directly from Rolex or an authorised retailer. You can expect these prices to increase on the resale market.

If it’s the most affordable route into the world of Rolex you’re after, check out the Oyster Perpetual 41, sitting pretty at AU$8,300 (the Oyster Perpetual 36, 34 and 31 can be had for less, but these smaller sizes will only really be suitable for smaller wrists).

How To Tell If A Rolex Is Real?

This is a big one. The counterfeit watch market is rife with fake Rolex watches, many of which are so convincing in their design that you really do need to be an expert if you’re too spot a fake one from a real one.

However, there are some key points to look out for to help determine if you’ve got your hands on a fake Rolex or a real one.

  • Only buy your Rolex watch directly from a Rolex dealership or an authorised retailer. As soon as you venture online to well-known marketplaces, despite how good the listing might look, until you can inspect the watch up close, you’ve no way to be sure what you’re looking at is real or fake.
  • Most fake Rolex watches will use quartz movements, as opposed to the high-quality self-winding automatic movements found in the real thing
  • Real Rolex watches use premium precious metals. Fake Rolex watches won’t be able to use these, so will feel lighter to hold, or at least won’t feel as solid.
  • All real Rolex watches are engraved with both a model and a serial number on the case at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock respectively, where the band meets the lug. You’ll need to take the band off to be able to view these.
  • Real Rolex watches have a cyclops lens if they have a date function, which magnifies the date when you look at it. Fake Rolex watches can’t replicate this, so will just use a piece of regular glass.
  • The overall finish of a real Rolex will exude premium. You should be able to notice a significant drop in quality of a fake, and it just won’t feel ‘special’.

Why Are Rolex Watches So Expensive?

Rolex can command high prices for its watches due to the incredibly high level of craftsmanship that goes into producing each and every one. Not only do they use precious metals, including its own proprietary Oystersteel which uses a higher quality stainless steel compared to the industry standard, but the movement that goes into each piece is assembled by hand in-house.

The company, of course, also enjoys worldwide recognition. So, while you are indeed paying for meticulous quality and a watch that has been designed and assembled by the best in the business, you are also paying for the Rolex name.

Are Rolex Watches Waterproof?

Yes, all Rolex watches are waterproof. However, the level to which they will remain waterproof will vary depending on the model. Oyster Perpetual models are waterproof to 100 metres, models such as the Submariner are waterproof to 300 metres while the Sea-Dweller can be taken down to depths of up to 1,220 metres.

Rolex recommends you rinse your watch under tap water after each time you take it into the sea.

How Do I Check A Rolex Serial Number?

All real Rolex watches will have a serial number engraved on them, but it is hidden away so at not to interfere with the overall aesthetic. To find the serial number of your Rolex watch, you will need to remove the band (if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself or you don’t have the tools, take it to an authorised service centre). You will then see the serial number on the case below 6 o’clock at the point where the band meets the lug.

How Do You Change The Time On A Rolex?

The whole point of wearing a watch is to view the time. But unless you have a GMT-Master II, you’re going to need to change the time each time you travel (or if you don’t wear it for an extended period of time and the power reserve runs out).

Firstly, wind your Rolex watch to give it some power if it has fully depleted. To do so, unscrew the crown by turning it counter-clockwise until it pops out, then, turn it clockwise around 25-30 times to ‘recharge’ the power reserve.

You will then need to pull out the crown to position 2 (as far as it will go). You will notice a ‘position 1’ if your Rolex model has a date function, but if it doesn’t, you just need to pull it all the way out.

Turn the crown clockwise to set the correct time, push the crown back in and turn clockwise to screw down.

How Much Does It Cost To Clean A Rolex Watch?

If you do it yourself, absolutely nothing! Taking good care of your Rolex should be a no-brainer, especially if you want it to be worth more than what you paid in the future.

To keep your Rolex looking its very best, you can wash it using soapy water and a soft brush to get into crevices. Only do this if your Rolex has a metal bracelet, however, as a brush can damage a leather bracelet. Before you wash it, ensure that the crown is fully screwed down to avoid any water from entering.

While cleaning may be free, you will need to pay for routine servicing.

How To Open A Rolex Watch Case Back?

If you’re not a fully trained watch technician, then the simple answer to this question is, don’t. A Rolex watch is an incredibly intricate instrument and as such, should only be handled and serviced by a trained professional who has the right tools.

Various models can have various case backs that are all removed in different ways, and to do so in the wrong way, could potentially cause irreversible damage in itself.

What Rolex Watches Will Go Up In Value?

One of the key questions any prospective Rolex buyer will ask themselves before they make their investment. Knowing which Rolex watches will go up in value can be hard to predict, although some previously released models can only expect their current valuation to increase in the years to come.

These models include the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’, GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ and the Submariner ‘Hulk’. We’ve taken a closer look at which Rolex models are particularly susceptible to valuation increases here. 

When Was Rolex Founded?

Rolex was originally founded in London, England in 1905 as Wilsdorf and Davis. The company registered the name Rolex, as the brand name for the watches it produced, before assuming the company name Rolex Watch Co. Ltd. in 1915.

The company moved its base to Geneva, Switzerland following World War I, and eventually used the name Rolex SA shortly after 1920.

Are Rolex Watches Quartz?

No, all modern Rolex watches rely on automatic movements, most of which are self-winding, however some need to be manually wound. Rolex introduced the Oysterquartz in response to the arrival of Japanese quartz watches in the 1970s.

Models that made up the Oysterquartz collection included Datejust and Day-Date models, but the production of these fully ceased in 2001.

What Year Was My Rolex Made?

The production date of your Rolex watch will play a significant role in determining its resale value and to work out when it needs servicing (by default, Rolex recommends you get your watch serviced every five years). If you bought your Rolex watch brand new and held onto the box and papers (something you should always do) these will let you know when it was made.

Alternatively, to work out when your Rolex was made, you need to find the serial number. This is located on the case between the band and the lug at 6 o’clock for all watches produced up until 2008. From 2005, Rolex began engraving the serial number on the rehaut (the inner bezel) as well, but as of 2008, the serial number can only be found on the rehaut.

However, Rolex watches produced after 2010 have a ‘random’ serial number, so tracking down its production date is pretty much impossible. The only way to find out the production date is to look at the warranty card that came with the watch at purchase.

Rolex watches produced from 1926 until 2010 will have a number that can be found on a table to help you determine when it was produced.

Read Next