What Determines The Value Of Your Vintage Rolex?

Are you a proud owner of a vintage Rolex watch? If yes, then one of the many questions you have in your mind is ‘What is my vintage Rolex worth?’ or ‘How much would I get if I sell my vintage Rolex?’

Firstly, you aren’t alone. Anyone who has a vintage or old Rolex model is inquisitive to determine its value. Sadly, the answer is not a straight line but a collective outcome of numerous factors. However, one thing is for sure! If you really do have a vintage Rolex, say a vintage Rolex Daytona hiding in your drawer, you may be elated by how much a buyer would be willing to give you if you ever decide to sell your Rolex.

Now before you even dream of that, let’s come back to the main question.

What is the value of your vintage Rolex?

The allure of a vintage Rolex is undeniable. These timeless gems with their rich history, iconic design and impeccable craftsmanship hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike. However, when you wonder about its actual worth, here are the key determinants:

7 factors that contribute to the value of vintage Rolex watches

1. Model & Reference Number

Different Rolex models, whether vintage or new hold varying degrees of desirability within collectors. For instance, models like Daytona, Submariner and GMT-Master are more sought-after, driving their value up.

The reference number confirming the date of manufacture of your Rolex timepiece is another significant attribute. This primary factor directly regulates your vintage Rolex’s value. You can find the reference number located on the case exterior at the 12 o’clock position.

2. Rarity

One of the foremost factors that determine the value of your vintage Rolex watch is its rarity. Rolex has produced several models over time, but some have not survived or had a small run. So, the fewer examples of a particular Rolex model in circulation, the higher its demand. Similarly, vintage Rolex watches with unique features that are discontinued and are hard to come by will surely attract an increased price due to rarity.

3. Condition

The condition of a Rolex watch is paramount when assessing its value. But unlike modern Rolex models, it’s acceptable when a vintage Rolex shows signs of wear and tear because they’re expected to do so, aren’t they? And, some flaws are even desirable. When evaluating the condition of your vintage Rolex, an appraiser will check the following characteristics:

  • Dial: The dials of most vintage Rolex watches develop a patina or fade with time. While this was once considered an undesirable flaw, today such dials are highly collectable. Each vintage dial fades in its own unique way, where some develop a sun-faded brown shade or turn it into orange. They are popularly called Tropical dials and were produced before the 1980s. As the dials of the modern Rolex watches aren’t prone to fading, it makes tropical dials very rare.
  • Original Parts: Many are under the wrong impression that if they overhaul their vintage Rolex with new parts, it will uplift its worth. Well, no! The truth is vintage watch collectors are eager for watches with original parts. This means if your vintage Rolex has the original dial, bezel or movement, it will be more valuable and achieve a higher price.
  • Desirable Imperfections: Manufacture defects are real and rare. If your Rolex has a misprint on the dial or any other defect, that’s surely going to attract the eyes and interest.

However, please remember any damage that intrudes on the functionality of the watch like broken hands, crystals, deep scratches or water damage inside the watch can negatively impact its value.

4. Materials & Features

The materials used in the making of a vintage Rolex play a role in determining its value. Watches made of platinum or gold tend to fetch higher prices. Additionally, features like special dial variations (Paul Newman), bracelet type (Rickety bracelets) and rare bezel combinations (Bakelite bezels) can greatly influence the value of a vintage Rolex.

5. Historical Significance

Older Rolex watches from significant historical periods or watches associated with specific milestones in history hold a special place among collectors and hence, may carry a higher value.

6. Market Trend

The demand for vintage Rolex timepieces has steadily increased in recent years, impacting the resale value. Customers these days are keener to add rare and vintage timepieces to their collections to escape a world of sameness. So, if you own a Submariner from the 1970s or a Daytona from the 1960s, bravo!

7. Original Paperwork

While having the original box and papers is not necessary to sell your Rolex, having them can certainly add value to it. The documents authenticate the ownership of the watch and make them more desirable.


Both demand and value for vintage Rolex are on the rise. So, irrespective of the Rolex model you own, rest assured that you will secure a good amount. And, if you own any of the most popular vintage Rolex models like the Root Beer, Coke, Datejust, Daytona, Pepsi, the President, Submariner, GMT-Master and Explorer, then it’s worth is beyond anything you’d expect.

Instead of asking any local shop or jeweller ‘What is the value of my vintage Rolex?’ visit professional Rolex watch appraisers in London to find out the exact worth of your watch.

Also Read: Why People Choose Trap Star Hoodie in the UK

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