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Why Are Rolex Watches So Expensive?

From fanatical watch collectors to average consumers, everybody knows the name Rolex, and for good reason.


Team Bezel

April 26, 2022


5 min read

Throughout the brand’s history, Rolex has become synonymous with watchmaking excellence, boundary pushing engineering, and of course the sense of personal success and achievement that comes with finally acquiring one of their watches.  Naturally, this sort of excellence comes at a price, and no small one at that, inspiring curiosity in the minds of prospective Rolex timepiece buyers. Today, we answer why are Rolex watches are so expensive, and explore what about them justifies the thousands of dollars it costs to be able to call one your own. 

Attention to detail and an eye for perfection

The Rolex Submariner, Sea Dweller, and Deepsea Sea Dweller - executed in precious metals and stainless steel
The Rolex Submariner, Sea Dweller, and Deepsea Sea Dweller - executed in precious metals and stainless steel

Rolex watches are entirely assembled by hand. Whether that’s their in-house movements or the meticulous multi-part bracelets for which the brand is famous, Rolex has a no-nonsense approach to quality control, and a hand assembly production process allows the Swiss brand to ensure that everything is exactly as it should be. Whether that’s the movement being adjusted such that the date switches over at the stroke of midnight, or the bracelet having the perfect level of flex and articulation, Rolex takes pride in its well-earned reputation for perfection.


Making a good watch isn’t cheap

Regardless of what material it's executed in, the Rolex Submariner must meet exacting Rolex standards
Regardless of what material it's executed in, the Rolex Submariner must meet exacting Rolex standards

It costs a lot of money to make a product that’s as refined as a Rolex watch, and it’s for this reason that “The Crown” spares no expense in developing and refining new manufacturing processes, materials, and movements to develop and assemble its watches. Naturally, this sort of commitment to excellence has positioned Rolex at the forefront of the industry in terms of technological advances. To ensure their continued reputation for leading the charge, Rolex makes use of several well-equipped research labs to develop their components. Using highly sophisticated and sensitive pieces of equipment, including electron microscopes and gas spectrometers, the brand’s engineers can ensure that every single component in a Rolex watch flawlessly performs the job it was designed to do.


The highest quality materials

Expensive materials like yellow gold, diamonds, and turquoise explain this Rolex Day Date 36's price point
Expensive materials like yellow gold, diamonds, and turquoise explain this Rolex Day Date 36's price point

Rolex only uses the highest quality materials in its watches, and never cuts any corners in manufacturing, which sets the brand apart from many of its competitors. For example, take its watch cases; its stainless steel is a proprietary in-house alloy called “Oystersteel.” Where most brands will commonly use 316L grade stainless steel, Rolex uses its own unique version of 904L stainless steel, which is much more corrosion resistant, and allows for a higher luster polish, ensuring that Rolex timepieces will not only perform better than competitors’ watches, but that they’ll look better, too. Even the ceramic material Rolex uses for its bezels is a proprietary alloy called Cerachrom, developed and quality controlled by the brand’s engineers to be practically scratchproof and not lose its color over time with UV light exposure. 


Rolex designs timeless and iconic watches built to last a lifetime

The Rolex Submariner, Daytona, and Datejust enjoy timeless designs and unparalleled model histories

Rolex watches are designed to handle the rough and tumble occurrences of everyday life in unmatched style. They’re tough and rugged tool watches, yet are simultaneously sophisticated, making their presence suitable in any social situation. With their high-tech construction and advanced capabilities, there is no doubt that all Rolex watches are built to last, ensuring that when you buy a Rolex watch, you’re investing in a timepiece that will be with you for generations. This dedication to quality is why people desire Rolex watches, as they know that they’re buying the best their money can get. As such, it’s no surprise why Rolex watches command the prices they do. 

Water Resistant Capabilities

Rolex introduced the world's first water-resistant watch, the Rolex Oyster. The high water resistance score of Rolex influences their high price tags. Experts test each piece in a high-tech facility to ensure that they score 100% on validity and reliability, ultimately equating to a more worry free watch ownership experience.

Why Are Used Rolex Watches More Expensive Than New Models?

Theoretically, once you take a luxury product out of the store, the value depreciates immediately. So how are some pre owned Rolex watches still more expensive than new models at retail? Much of this is explained by the incomparable demand that Rolex watches enjoy. With countless collectors looking to get their hands on the latest and greatest from the brand, examples have been known to sell on the second-hand market for multiples of their retail prices.  

Similarly, vintage Rolex watches are no longer in production, making examples in desirable condition extremely scarce. Over time, the scarcity associated with discontinued models has helped increase their value dramatically. 

Are Rolex Watches Really Worth The Money?

Thanks to their historic significance, precise manufacturing process, and quality materials, most members of the watch world agree the high price tag associated with Rolex models to be justified. Today, Rolex watches hold a significant place in pop culture as symbols of beauty, wealth, and luxury.

The watch company also maintains a major presence on the resale market, meaning their luxury timepieces aren't just wrist accessories; they're also investments.


Buying a Rolex means investing in a watch that will last for years. Ultimately, it's the craftsmanship and quality that allow Rolex to price its pieces higher than other watch brands. There are some "cheap" Rolex watches on the pre-owned market if you're newer to collecting though.

Of course, it's important to vet your dealer before handing over such a significant amount of money. With Bezel, you can shop from thousands of watches without worrying. Our team of experts verifies numerous touchpoints on every watch before it gets to you; no more "shopping the seller." Find your next watch today, and buy with trust.


Are Rolex watches really worth the money?

Rolex watches are made with high-end materials by experts in the field. Their value can also increase over the years, meaning they're worthwhile investments as well.

What is so special about a Rolex watch?

Rolex watches are celebrated for their historic significance, precise manufacturing process, and quality materials. The company remains one of the most notable brands within the watch world, and beyond.

Where are Rolex watches made?

Rolex watches are made in Switzerland, where the manufacturer of luxury watches employs over 2,000 people.

What's the most expensive Rolex watch?

The most expensive Rolex timepiece is a vintage Rolex Daytona model known as the "Paul Newman Rolex Daytona," which belonged to the renowned movie icon himself. The model was sold at an auction in 2017 for a total of $17,752,500.


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