Advice for Collectors: Buying New vs. Vintage Rolex Watches

Let me start by telling you why I love vintage Rolex watches. Like most other vintage watches, a Rolex sports watch from the 1960s or ’70s has an aura of adventure; the wear on the case and bracelet show that the watches had something of a rough life; the things that the watch witnessed might have been awesome. The fun with vintage Rolex watches is that because there are so many of them around, you can usually find the exact “configuration” that suits your personal taste. For example, I don’t like the ones with the old tritium markers that have turned a mustard yellow color; I prefer them slightly off-white. I also don’t like spider-web dials and prefer them to be all-matte with big, round hour markers. And I would rather have a Cheap Rolex Replica that had decent servicing throughout the decades than a watch that still has its original crown, seals and crystal. But I know that there are dozens of people who prefer just the opposite.

I’ve learned that a lot about buying and collecting vintage Rolex has to do with aesthetics. There is little interest in the mechanical movement; people generally trust it to be good. (It is a Rolex, for crying out loud.) Many collectors tend to be more interested in a nice-looking dial, or matching pair of hands, than to making sure the movement is all nice and fresh. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and these movements are fairly easy to service, but I always make sure that the watch is in perfect technical working order as well.
Now, the other side of the story is that there is a lot of fraud going on in the vintage Cheap Rolex scene. As with all transactions in which serious money is involved — whether it be classic cars, paintings, real estate, even adopting babies — there are always those who want to cheat and scam other people who wish to own a certain commodity (in this case, a watch). There are dealers who claim to have million-dollar businesses selling vintage Rolexes, who claim to be able to supply whatever model you need or whichever is in demand at that moment. Be very careful of those types of dealers. I’d advise you to seek out a guy who trades vintage Rolexes as a hobby (or a passion), rather than to enter a store that has dozens of vintage Rolex Replica Watches that are labeled “exclusive” and carry crazy price tags.

“Exclusivity” is another important issue. Most Rolexes are not exclusive, in terms of numbers, to start with, even vintage Rolexes. Rolex has always been a watch manufacturer with a high production capacity. Collectors have made them “exclusive” because of their needs for certain models with specific signs of aging or specific wording on the dial. In truth, if you have unlimited resources, you can buy just about any vintage Cheap Rolex Replica there is. You want a Paul Newman Daytona? No problem, as long as you can show the money. The only thing that makes a vintage Rolex “exclusive” is its price tag, to be honest. There are watches from other brands out there that are much harder to get, and perhaps also more technically interesting, but let’s face it. The demand for vintage Rolex watches is incomparable.

It is no secret that a lot of people did complain about the lack of innovation at Rolex up until a few years ago. At the time, Rolex still used the clasp that looked as if it was made from soda-can material, the relatively small (40 mm) case diameters for its sports watches and the same movements it had been using for decades. In the last few years, however, Rolex has introduced more innovations and changes than it did in the previous four decades. Cheap Rolex upgraded its bracelets by adding new clasps that have a super-easy system for (micro)adjustment, started using ceramics for its bezels, tweaked its movements with the new Parachrom hairspring, and even made its watches appear bigger. “Appeared?” Yes. For instance, the latest Sea-Dweller 116600 and GMT-Master II 116719BLRO with Pepsi bezel are still 40 mm in diameter, but appear larger because of the dimensions of their lugs.