Article By: Logan Hannen
What is up, watchfam! Today, we’re going to take a look at the age old question that everyone’s mom, best friend, colleague, and creepy uncle asks them when they find out that someone is into watches: is Rolex really worth the amount on their price tags?
Worth and value are totally and (almost) completely subjective. That’s just the nature of the beast. So what might be worth the $10,000 asking price to you, might not be worth it to someone else. For example, I love the Paul Newman Daytona, I really do, but to me it just isn’t worth the six figures that one typically sells for at auction. Check out a video from HODINKEE about the Paul Newman Daytona here. It wasn’t necessarily bad for the time period, but it hasn’t held up well, especially not on a bracelet, and I don’t trust it’s durability any more than I trust the durability of a glass house in a hurricane. But that’s just me, and I’m admittedly clumsy.
That being said, when you look at modern Rolex, or even recent from the early 2000s, things start to become a bit clearer. Check out Christian’s top 3 modern Rolexes here. Instead of the industry standard 316L steel, Rolex literally made their own alloy of steel for their sport models (904L, for the nerds like me out there). That alone can’t be a cheap process (though I won’t pretend to know any better than the next guy), but when you factor in all of the staffing that needs to manage something like that, plus the overhead of the actual space to manufacture the stuff, the cost starts to add up pretty quick. They have accountants to figure out the numbers, but that person is definitely not me.
Rolex has never been known for having the most beautiful movements, but those things are practically bulletproof (if Hunter Thompson were alive today, I’m sure we could convince him to test this theory). I alone have heard tales of Rolexes running just fine some 20 or so years without having been serviced. I’m not sure I’d go near a faucet with one, but hey, they run well! These are heirloom pieces, probably more deserving of Patek’s “you don’t own a Patek Phillipe” line than Patek is. And don’t get me started on how well these things retain value (that’s another article entirely).
When you bundle all of that together, add a dash of near flawless quality control and almost OCD attention to detail, with case finishing that, while perhaps not the most complex, is nothing short of superlative, and you might just start to see why Rolex is one of the few brands that (nearly) justifies its price tag. I say nearly, because I’m sure there’s a super premium just for the name, but not nearly in the amount everyone suspects. Keep it classy, watchfam!