Bubble could burst for Rolex watches on secondary market


WatchBox’s chief revenue officer Mike Manjos is a man with an enviable dashboard of data informing him about the slightest twitch in demand and prices for the world’s hottest luxury watches.

WatchBox is one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch traders, with offices in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States, and tracks information across the global CPO market.

Speaking ahead of this week’s new watch launches from Rolex, but already well-informed about the watches likely to be unveiled, Mr Manjos said that prices across the Rolex portfolio had been rising as retailers reopened and global shortages of unicorn watches persisted and, in some cases, worsened.


“Now that [Rolex] retailers have reopened we are seeing global shortages and prices continuing to rise,” he says in his weekly Market Wrap report for WatchBox Studios.

“We have offices all over the world, and everywhere we find empty cases,” he adds.


Mr Manjos says that collectors or investors buying up watches that are being discontinued makes sense, but the balance between demand and supply for pieces that are still being manufactured on an industrial scale by Rolex could shift.

“I understand rising prices for Hulks and Batmans that are no longer produced, but I am nervous about Submariners and Daytonas. These are watches that are produced in decent quantities,” he suggests.

“Yesterday a dealer was asking $11,500 for a stainless steel Sub. This is watch that used to sit in a case. I do not know why people would want that watch when a new one comes out, so it scares me that the air could come out of that bubble,” he predicts.

The ever-rising prices for Daytonas is a particular concern since Rolex production could catch up with demand. That does not mean prices dropping to the official retail sticker, but it could deter flippers who think that prices can only continue to rise, taking further heat out of the market.

“White Daytonas are selling for well over $25,000 and heading quickly towards $30,000. I think that is a piece we might see come back to reality in the coming weeks,” Mr Manjos concludes.


  1. A lot of buyers on the grey market will not like reading this, but the bubble will burst at some point they all burst eventually , as long as Rolex continues the artificial starvation of market products the grey market will prosper, but why anyone thinks paying 12.5 k and up to 14 or 15 k for a watch that’s worth 7.3 k is beyond my my comprehenshin , how do you insure your 14 k watch the insurance will only cover retail value not what you paid
    But the madness continues.

    • ‘how do you insure your 14 k watch the insurance will only cover retail value not what you paid’…not true, my policy will supply new for old/like for like regardless of what I paid for the item. If I pay 11k for a sub & retail is 7.5k, a new sub is what I will receive. Your comment only becomes a problem if you elect to receive a cash lump sum from the insurer rather than a replacement, only then will you find yourself out of pocket!

      • Steve Mac! How stupid is that response! Your insurance company is not the manufacturer nor an AD. In the terms and conditions of replacement if the item is unavailable then the cash value of the item will be given ie the retail price, not the grey market. Most SS sport Rolex models have a waiting list of over a year, the insurance company cannot magic one out of thin air as mentioned earlier they are not the manufacturer or AD. Honesty do you research before you chat utter nonsense!

    • I don’t understand why people keep saying that Rolex is artificially starving the market. All the respectable industry reporters say that Rolex produces as much as possible and the demand is just too big currently. Rolex cannot increase the production numbers due to human resource constraints and also because it knows the increased demand will pass eventually and don’t want to have to downsize later.

  2. People have been saying this for years. It won’t burst unless Rolex flood the market (which is unlikely becos that’d be shooting their own foot). The same goes Hermes & Chanel bags (certain models) & Tesla stocks & Bitcoin. They’re all highly correlated, anybody with decent statistical skills can relate. I’m happy with my decent collections, if prices fall i’ll be happy to collect & I think that’s what many people are thinking too.

  3. I wouldn’t buy another Rolex. My close family have bought 12 over recent time and I was dismayed when I sent my own for repair to Rolex London. The watch was working and in what I believe was reasonably good condition. Maybe a scratch or two here and there due to everyday working. The price for a service including any parts was quoted at £3,800.00. I told them to return it and even then they wanted £100 for the £1 battery they had fitted. It’s an Oysterquartz. Robbers; what more can I say.

  4. I have had Rolexes over the years and I remember I bought a datejust for £750 and 10 years later the service was the same price. Instead sold it for £2000. My advice is to do the same or trade it in. No brainer.


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