Pulling the trigger and buying a pre owned Rolex watch can be a daunting experience. With so many outlets for people to choose from including Facebook, Gumtree and eBay, plus the many established sellers such as Watchfinder and Blowers. The question is; from who and where is the correct place to buy from?
Use this handy Rolex buyers guide to choosing your next watch, what to look for, what to avoid and ultimately, what you need to know...
1. Buy the seller, not the watch.
Do your research. Google is your friend. If you are buying from a private individual, check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin etc. If you are buying via eBay, check their feedback and completed listings. If you see that the watch you are interested in buying has sold before, there is a chance that the seller is trying to sell it multiple times before the buyers, eBay and PayPal catch up with them. If you are happy with the seller then there is a good chance that you will be happy with the watch. This goes for buying from a dealer too. If the dealer is open and honest about the condition of the watch, is happy to supply additional photograph or videos, and offers a full refund policy then you should be ok. Always check reviews on Trustpilot, Facebook and eBay though. Most sellers, both private and professional, are more than happy to discuss the watch over the phone or if possible in person prior to a sale. And if in any doubt, walk away.
2. No such thing as a bargain.
If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. There are of course exceptions to this, but as a rule, if you are being offered a Rolex Submariner, Daytona, GMT Master II etc at a greatly reduced price, there may be a reason. Use your head and always go with your gut.
3. Box & Papers - are they really worth it?
For some, buying a pre owned Rolex without the original boxes and papers isn't a problem. They are often cheaper and there are sometimes good reasons why the boxes, papers and hang tags may be missing. However, if you have one eye on future values, or think there may me a possibility that you will sell or part exchange in the near future, buying a Rolex without the original boxes and papers may be a false economy.
4. Check Serial Numbers.
Any Rolex without an engraved inner rehaut will have the serial number engraved between the lugs at the 6 o'clock position and the model number at 12. You will need a special tool to remove the bracelet but any good dealer will have one and be more than happy to show you that the numbers on the watch match the paper warranty certificate or green warranty card. The serial number will also be on a white sticker attached to the rear of the green swimpruf hang tag.
5. Check dates on manuals.
Here's a good one to check that the full set you are buying isn't made up of random manuals from eBay. Every Rolex manual will have a date printed on the rear or just inside. If you are looking at a D serial Rolex Submariner from 2005, the date on the manual should be ideally be 2005. However, back in the mid 2000's, consumers didn’t demand a Rolex like they do today and certain watches would sit in the window for a period of time meaning you may end up with a manual from 2006. Generally, you need to make sure that the date on the manual is around the production date or the date of sale. For example, a 2005 D serial would not have a 2003 or 2007 dated manual.
6. Hang tags.
This is an important one if you are looking at a Rolex Submariner 16610 LV or GMT Master II 16710. With prices of the Rolex Submariner 16610 LV now over double the price of a standard 16610, some less honest sellers may wish to cash in on this and try their luck by adding an aftermarket maxi dial and green bezel to a 16610 in the hope of fooling a buyer into parting with their money. One way to establish if the watch began life as a Rolex 16610 LV Submariner is via the sticker on the rear of the green swimpruf hang tag. The sticker will have the serial number and will show the watch as being a 16610LV. This is also true for the GMT Master II 16710. The model number on the sticker will show 16710BLRO for a red/blue "Pepsi" bezel, 16710LN for a black bezel and 16710 for the red/black "Coke" bezel.
This list will continue to grow, I will also expand on certain points such as buying on eBay, what constitutes a "full set", and the types of paperwork you should expect to receive with your pre owned Rolex.