1. Be honest—can you afford it?
Before actually buying a Rolex, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself if you can afford it. Will the watch be an asset or a liability? Do some research: there are various versions of Rolexes out there, with an official, brand new Rolex being the most expensive.
Are you willing to buy new? Does it have to be 100% authentic? Assess you financial situation carefully and honestly, and choose your watch accordingly.
2. Make sure the dealer is legit.
Even a pre-owned Rolex is an expensive item. It is absolutely essential that you buy your Rolex from a knowledgeable dealer, a dealer you know you can trust.
Every year, people are scammed out of millions of dollars thinking they are buying “the real thing,” when in fact it’s a cheap knock off.
That is why it is important to buy a new or used Rolex watch from a knowledgeable and reputable dealer, preferably in a brick and mortar store you can visit in person.
A new Rolex can be purchased from an authorized Rolex dealer or it can be obtained from an independent, unauthorized watch dealer selling new, near-new, pre-owned, or vintage Rolex watches.
If your objective is to purchase a new, current model Rolex and to save on the price, or if you are looking for a specific model no longer available from an authorized dealer, then buying from an independent watch dealer is probably your best option.
To find an authorized Rolex dealer in your area, visit rolex.com for dealers in your area.
3. Make sure it’s a real Rolex.
In the past, fake Rolex watches were so poorly made that it was usually easy to distinguish the fake from the genuine item.
Today, counterfeit Rolexes can be almost impossible to distinguish from the world-renowned Swiss masterpiece. Online auction houses and individual Internet sellers commonly offer very convincing copies.
If you want a genuine Rolex, make it clear to the dealer that you are interested in seeing and buying only a 100% genuine, unaltered Rolex watch—including the watch band.
Ask the dealer:
Do you offer an unconditional money back guarantee that the watch is a completely genuine, authentic, unaltered Swiss made Rolex?
Will you also off an unconditional guarantee that the bracelet does not contain any non-Rolex parts?
4. Confirm that it’s in good working order.
Before you buy, make sure the watch is working properly, and has been serviced by an authorized Rolex service center, or reputable and experienced independent watchmaker known to specialize in high-end watches.
Ask the dealer:
Do you offer a full, written, timekeeping and water resistance guarantee with your watch for one full year?
5. Get the model and serial number.
Make sure you get and check the model and serial number of the Rolex before buying. The dealer should give you the opportunity to take the bracelet off and check the numbers located between the lugs.
The serial number is usually located next to the “6 O’clock” point of the dial and can tell you the approximate age of the watch. The reference number is located next to the “12 O’clock” point of the dial and is engraved with the phrase “ORIGINAL ROLEX DESIGN” and a 4-5 digit number under it.
This number must match the model. Note that some better fakes may have serial numbers, but they are generally acid etched in and not engraved. If the watch does have a serial number but it looks poorly engraved or barely etched then do not buy it! In 2005, Rolex started engraving the case’s serial number in the inside edge of the case at the “6 O’clock” position, under the crystal and below the bezel.
6. Take your time deciding.
Whether you are buying a new or pre-owned Rolex, choose carefully and don’t allow yourself to be rushed into buying. Do your research, and if necessary, ask the dealer to hold the watch for you for a day or two while you consider buying it.
Trust your instinct: if the deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with the watch and the purchase—this is an heirloom item that should last your lifetime and be handed down to the next generation.
Finally, once you buy, insure it and enjoy it!