Anybody hoping that the Coronavirus pandemic would cause the price bubble to burst on the hottest “unicorn” watches from Rolex is going to have to wait a while longer.
Fresh data shared exclusively with WatchPro from secondary market specialist Chronext shows that, while there was a drop in prices in the early days of the pandemic, prices have rebounded in some cases spiked as it has become clear that pent-up demand would overwhelm supply because of the mothballing of manufacturing facilities during lock down in Switzerland.
A theory doing the rounds in the early weeks of the pandemic was that trade prices were softening as professional dealers rushed to sell and a buyers’ market briefly emerged. “That was the case for the first two weeks of March,” agrees Philipp Man, co-founder and CEO of CHRONEXT.
“But it has normalised again because demand has normalised. Buying is competitive and customers have choices for where they sell their watches. We want CHRONEXT be their first choice, so we have to be fair with our pricing. At the moment, you will probably get the same price, potentially even higher than pre-Corona, for many of the unicorn watches,” he adds.
Rolex’s Oystersteel Daytona (Ref 116500LN), which has a list price of £10,500 at authorised dealers, saw prices fall from a heady €26,500 (£23,600) before the pandemic to €23,000 (£20,500) in March, but have since rebounded to around €25,000 (£22,300).
“If you look at the white panda dial Daytona, there has been no change to the rising price trend. It is going up and up,” Mr Man suggests.
A similar, although less dramatic roller-coaster ride was seen with prices for Rolex’s GMT Master II with a Pepsi dial, which retails at official stockists for £7,750 but was being sold on the secondary market for over £15,000. The pandemic wiped around £1,000 off that price by the end of March, but it has since returned to a pre-Covid level.
Rolex’s steel Submariner 116610LN started the year still rising to €12,600 (£11,250) with CHRONEXT before dropping to €11,000 (£9,800) in March and then rebounding slightly to around €11,500 (£10,250).
CHRONEXT supplied data as part of a special report on the secondary market published this month.