Rolex Prices Have Dropped By 25% – & Could Fall Even Further, Experts Suggest

"A watch is not an investment, it's an expensive toy, and you should buy it accordingly."

Rolex Prices Have Dropped By 25% – & Could Fall Even Further, Experts Suggest

It seems as if the era of insanely high resale prices for Rolex watches might finally be coming to an end, with both recent sales figures and expert commentary suggesting that a long-overdue market correction has finally hit us.

Anyone who’s even passingly familiar with watches knows that buying a Rolex at retail is near-impossible right now and that the coveted watches demand a ridiculous premium at resale. The aftermarket, grey market, second-hand market, whatever you want to call it – has been totally bonkers. Or, at least, it was.

Since the start of 2022 and into 2023, we’ve started to see resale prices dramatically fall for some of Rolex’s most coveted models. For example, prices for the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ (ref. 126710BLRO) and Submariner ‘Hulk’ (ref. 116610LV) have dropped by over 25% since this time last year.

Some models have seen even more aggressive price drops, such as the GMT-Master II ‘Sprite’ (ref. 126720VTNR) which has dropped by 53%, according to WatchAnalytics.

The opportunistic Rolex dealers who emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to disappear. Image: Bob’s Watches

But what’s causing prices to ease? While last year we thought it might be because of the crypto crash, one expert in the watch space suggests that it’s because the latest crop of speculators, who jumped on Rolexes during the COVID-19 pandemic, are starting to go out of business as the hype around Rolexes has started to peter off and economic conditions have started to settle.

Roman Sharf, a well-known American watch dealer and founder of Luxury Bazaar, shared this revelation during a recent Watchfinder & Co. video, explaining:

“[We’ve] had a significant drop off of these so-called ‘corona dealers’, as I call them. They moved on to do something else… They were just flipping a product and making a quick buck. What they didn’t do is they didn’t build up a client base. They didn’t build up a following. They were selling to each other. And the minute that wheel stopped, they all went out of business.”

Roman Sharf

Sharf also highlights the big factor that saw people investing and speculating in Rolex watches during COVID: the amount of ‘free money’ the US Federal Reserve and other countries pumped into the market during the worst of the pandemic.

WATCH our guide to the most expensive Rolex watches of all time below.

RELATED: Why Rolex Watches Are So Hard To Get

“The United States printed 40% more money [during COVID] than ever has been printed in this entire history of the US dollar. Other countries follow suit. Lots of money went into the market,” he explained.

“What happens to that money? It gets spent, especially it gets spent online because now everybody’s sitting at home, and now people have this excess income and they’re saying, ‘well, what do I do with it?’ Well, a watch sounds like a good idea, a Rolex sounds like a great idea…”

Roman Sharf

Sharf also confirmed something a lot of watch fans suspected but few dealers have ever been bold enough to say: that dealers like him buy Rolexes in bulk directly from ADs (authorised dealers, i.e. official Rolex dealers) and then sell them on to either customers or other dealers for a profit. It’s worth watching the video in full as Sharf shares a lot of interesting insights.

Roman Sharf suggests that. Image: Luxury Bazaar

As a commenter on YouTube has put it, “it appears the secondary market has become a game of hot potato. ADs selling to dealers, dealers selling to other dealers who look for another dealer or a sucker (I mean consumer) to absorb the multiple markups. Sounds like a classic bubble to me.”

Now it looks like that bubble might be starting to – if not burst – deflate.