Only Two Used Rolex Models Rise in Value in a Year of Falling Watch Prices


Only two used Rolex models in the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index gained in price over the past 12 months as buyers sought out value in a declining market.

The Rolex GMT Master II in stainless steel with a ceramic blue and red bezel, nicknamed the “Pepsi” by collectors, rose about 5 percent over the previous 12 months and 1.5 percent in the last 30 days to trade at roughly $20,000, the index shows.

The only other watch in the index to increase in price was the reference 69173 Lady-Datejust in steel and gold which gained about 1 percent to trade around $4,200. It was the top performing watch in the index over the past month, adding about 4 percent.

The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index tracks prices for the 50 most traded luxury watches on the secondary market by transaction value. The data is provided by Subdial, a pre-owned watch dealer and trading platform based in London. The index declined about 7 percent in a year and was flat over the past 30 days with little change in value.

The Rolex GMT with the red and blue bezel is the best known and most desirable for collectors of the Rolex GMT models. The travel-focused watches allow users to move the hour hand backward or forward without stopping timekeeping functions. Developed for Pan-American Airways pilots in the 1950s, they also feature a so-called GMT hand to track another timezone.

The model with the red and blue bezel is also the most popular with customers at Rolex authorised dealers and is among the most difficult to acquire with interested buyers being placed on waitlists that can last years before they get the call.

Rolex enthusiast websites and watch sector YouTubers have speculated in recent months that the model could be discontinued by the biggest Swiss watch brand when it reveals its 2024 catalog in April. No hard evidence has been reported that Rolex intends to discontinue the popular model. The company never shares its production plans and declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Bloomberg News.

The “Pepsi” has outperformed a similar model with a black and blue bezel that enthusiasts have nicknamed the “Batman.” Other than the bezel, GMT hand colour and steel bracelet styles, the models are essentially the same. In Switzerland, the Pepsi on a five-link “jubilee” bracelet is listed for 10,400 Swiss francs ($11,942) at retail while the Batman on an “oyster” bracelet sells for 10,200 francs.

The Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 is the only model in the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index targeted specifically at women with its name. It’s also the lowest priced watch in the group and the only one to trade at less than $5,000.

The Lady-Datejust is the smallest watch in the index with a diameter of 26 millimeters (roughly one inch.) After surging to record highs during the pandemic, prices for the most in-demand trophy models from Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet have fallen sharply on the secondary market since April 2022. Prices for smaller, as well as mid-tier priced watches from brands like Cartier, have been more stable.

By Andy Hoffman

Learn more:

The Record Rush to Buy a Rolex or a Patek Philippe Is Over

“What we saw in 2021 and 2022 was out of the norm,” said Francois-Henry Bennahmias, chief executive officer of Audemars Piguet.

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