It has always been the case: "Rolex wristwatches should only be purchased from official Rolex retailers who are authorized to sell and service them." The Swiss watch manufacturer does not say this for fun, because unfortunately the coveted watches with the crown are among the most counterfeited luxury items in the world. The risk of buying a deceptively genuine watch off the beaten path that later turns out to be a plagiarism is correspondingly high.
The problem: Buying a new Rolex from such a specialist dealer is currently associated with a very long waiting time of sometimes several years for almost all models. To prevent this, it is advisable to buy a used watch. only where?
Whether it's an old model or a newer example, finding a trustworthy retailer that you can be sure the watch is genuine - and in good condition - is not always easy. Rolex wants to change exactly that and is therefore starting the so-called "Rolex Certified Pre-Owned" program (CPO) with immediate effect.
As part of this program, Rolex confirms the authenticity of pre-owned watches for the first time. It is envisaged that watches purchased by jewelers from customers will be sent to Rolex for inspection and overhaul. There, the manufactory subjects the watches to a service that includes the complete revision and verification of each individual part.
Rolex then sends the watch back to the dealer and provides it with a new type of certificate that confirms its authenticity and includes a two-year guarantee. At the start, watches that were in this program are only available from Bucherer. From 2023, Rolex also wants to give other specialist dealers access to this service.
The program is not available for private customers who want to have their watch certified before selling it. The same applies to those who have bought a used watch and would like to reassure themselves of its authenticity. The only way to do that is through full revision via Rolex, which is only done if the watch is genuine. However, there is no "CPO" card afterwards.
However, the program is not a panacea for the tense situation on the watch market. Only watches that are more than three years old are allowed to take part. This prevents new releases from greed for profit quickly ending up in official resale. The second-hand market for coveted models that nobody has ever worn remains largely untouched - with all the advantages and disadvantages.
In addition, it cannot be assumed that Rolex watches will finally be available again with hefty discounts. As Rolex explained to the star, the manufacturer only takes care of the service and certification of the watches. Unlike new watches, the sale of which from official specialist dealers is strictly based on the list prices of the group, Rolex has no say in the pricing of second-hand goods. That means: A three-year-old watch that is back in the shop window through the CPO program can be more expensive than a brand-new example.
So the fight against counterfeiting is in full swing. However, the program will not fix or defuse the problem with strained demand. From now on, it says: "Rolex watches - new or second-hand - should only be bought from official Rolex dealers."
The incessant increase in the price of Rolex watches could end - but there is still a long way to go