Rolex GMT-Master II tops 2020 wish list

The Rolex GMT Master II is priced at £6800 at authorised retailers in the UK but waiting lists are several years' long.

Rolex took the top five places in Chrono24’s most popular models list 2020.

The list has been shared alongside a trading update from the secondary market platform that suggests luxury watches were as popular as ever during one of the most challenging years in living memory for most.

In some cases, the online watch specialist explained how the pandemic has actually increased the desirability of certain models.


In March 2020, as COVID-19 was forcing more and more countries into lockdown, Chrono24’s market experts observed a sharp decrease in sales of about 20%.

The unprecedented nature of the pandemic had people concerned less about luxury goods and more about making sure they had access to daily essentials.

Only three weeks later, the winds were already changing. Sales numbers began to rise rapidly around the world and have since remained stable at about 13% above pre-coronavirus levels with Rolex leading the way in this sense.

The pandemic has also led to a rush on certain models. For example, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Omega had already created a limited-edition timepiece in honour of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With the postponement of the Games until 2021, these watches suddenly became rare “misprints,” and searches for this model jumped by a staggering 200% on Chrono24.

Likewise, in March 2020, it was announced that the premiere of the next Bond movie was being delayed. This triggered a 40% increase in searches for watches worn by James Bond on Chrono24.

Tim Stracke, CEO of Chrono24, explained: “Whether they’re an investment or hobby, luxury watches have never been more highly coveted. Passion among buyers is unwavering, and more and more people are turning to online retail to make their purchases. I estimate that the pandemic has brought the global e-commerce industry forward by three years.”

Like all traditional handicrafts, luxury watches are steeped in emotion. Chrono24 surveyed 5,000 users from 41 countries and found that 64% of participants list passion as their main reason for purchasing a luxury watch.

This was, by far, the leading motive among participants and has changed little since the last survey in 2018.

Stracke added: “This booming trend will continue long after the crisis has passed, as people have grown accustomed to purchasing all sorts of products online. We will end 2020 with a 25% increase in sales volume, having facilitated the sale of over 1.75 billion pounds worth of watches.”

See below for a quick look at the most popular brands and models on Chrono24 reveals that not even a global crisis can dampen the appeal of luxury watches:


  1. Rolex
  2. Omega
  3. Breitling
  4. Seiko
  5. Audemars Piguet


  1. Rolex GMT-Master II
  2. Rolex Daytona
  3. Rolex Submariner
  4. Rolex Submariner “Hulk”
  5. Rolex Datejust


  1. It becomes a bit catch 22- the harder they are to get, the more the value goes up on grey market and the more sought after they become, which makes them harder to get… etc etc

    I think the small watch geek community (of whom I am one) have an inflated sense of their place in the market. We are small and to some extent unimportant in the overall picture, we’re likely get fed up and maybe start to move over to other brands but Rolex machine will keep rolling on. Brands like Grand Seiko, Omega, JLC and IWC could do with looking at the one area Rolex is better than all- proportion. Once they start to make watches that are as wearable, durable and reliable as Rolex (they often hit 1-2 of these but rarely all 3) the market may become less Rolex focussed. It’s worth separating the overall market from the watch community market though as they’re very different places in my opinion.


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