After years of intense speculation and insane price rises, it seems as if aftermarket prices for Rolex watches are starting to fall… And the ‘crypto crash’ might be to blame.


Anyone who’s even passingly familiar with watches knows that buying a Rolex at retail is near-impossible right now and that the coveted watches demand a ridiculous premium on the aftermarket. It’s a complex situation, which we’ve discussed in greater detail here.

Prices for popular Rolex models (as well as for other models from other popular watch brands, such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe) have absolutely skyrocketed over the last two years during COVID – mirroring the insane hype around other alternative asset classes like NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

It’s no mystery why: in a global economy racked by recession and uncertainty, alternative asset classes have become much more desirable.

But things are changing. Recent months have seen a reversal in fortunes, with Rolexes on track to lose all the price gains they made this year on the resale market… Which neatly coincides with the ‘crypto crash’ that’s upset investors over the last few months, too.

Image: WatchCharts

As of publishing, WatchCharts’ Rolex Market Index – which is comprised of 30 popular Rolex models with high trade activity, such as the Cosmograph Daytona ‘Panda’ (ref. 116500) and the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ (ref. 126710BLRO) – is now currently sitting at AU$19,851, down from a record high of over AU$23,000 in mid-April 2022. That’s an almost 14% decrease.

Interestingly, this decline roughly correlates with Bitcoin’s performance over the same period, which has fallen by over 30% over the last six months.

As Bloomberg puts it, “the bubble in secondhand timepieces was fueled by a combination of crypto and stock-market gains, stimulus cash and speculation. That is now unravelling.”

“So far, demand for both new watches and other types of luxury goods is holding up. But what’s happening in the secondary watch market is a stark reminder that the bling boom, particularly in the US, might not last.”

Bloomberg

RELATED: The Most Expensive Watches Ever, As Of 2022

Some of the highlights from Rolex’s 2022 Watches & Wonders releases. Image: Jamie Weiss/DMARGE

What does this all mean for retail investors? Well, it might be good news if you’ve been struggling to get a Rolex of your own. Cheaper prices on the aftermarket won’t just make it easier on your wallet to pick up a Rollie, but they’ll also disincentivise flippers from buying up new Rolexes at retail and exhausting allocations for the average buyer, making buying at retail a more realistic prospect.

On the flip side, it means that if you have a Rolex of your own, now might be the time to sell before prices drop any further – which they’re likely to do so anyway, as Rolex gets back up to full steam in terms of production, and stock/crypto markets continue to weaken.

Much to ponder.

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