When Rolex unveiled a radical new version of their popular GMT-Master II at Watches & Wonders earlier this year, it took the watch world by storm. Months later, we’ve finally seen the first examples hit the aftermarket – for some truly ridiculous prices.
The new ref. 126720VTNR – which has a number of competing nicknames, including ‘Destro’, ‘Starbucks’ and most popularly, ‘Sprite’ – is the most out-there watch the typically conservative Swiss brand has released in recent memory. In addition to its unique bezel colour combination of green and black, it’s a right-handed watch: that is, it’s designed to be worn by left-handed people. Not only is its crown on the left, but its date window is too (which is weird even by right-handed watch standards).
Naturally, watch fans have gone completely gaga for this oddball Rolex. The GMT-Master II is already one of the most popular and distinctive watches on the planet but the Sprite is even more eye-catching thanks to its right-handed layout and pleasing colour combo.
It was only a matter of time before we started seeing them hit the aftermarket for prices well above retail, but we’re still pretty shocked at just how high the prices are.
Currently, there are 5 Rolex Sprites selling on Chrono24, with the cheapest listed for AU$91,560 (almost 6x the retail price of AU$15,500) and the most expensive going for a whopping AU$122,717 (almost 8x the retail price).
We’re used to Rolexes going for stupid figures on the aftermarket but this really takes the cake. Six figures for a steel Rolex? That’s officially the highest ever percentage increase for a sports model in steel. But for Italian watch market expert @watchanalytics, it’s hardly surprising.
“In the last [few] years, the phenomenon of first appearances on the secondary market of watches at prices that triple, if not more than, their retail prices has [been the domain of] almost exclusively Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet… For Rolex, this process is only now beginning to manifest itself,” they explain.
“And why? The main reason is the lack of presentation of great novelties, above all in the more ‘accessible’ bands and excluding out-of-catalogue items.”
“The Oyster Perpetual had a similar impact, giving an important signal of how even an entry-level model, going outside the box, could become so sought after on the market,” they continue.
It’s worth pointing out that these are just the first offer prices, and we’d be very surprised if they actually sell for such inflated figures. As more Sprites hit the aftermarket, prices will come down and stabilise, giving us a better idea of what these watches are actually ‘worth’.
Still, it’s a clear indication that the Rolex Sprite is one popular beast.