What Determines the Value of my Vintage Rolex?

Rolex Watch Circa Vintage

Recently Purchased: Vintage Rolex “Pepsi” GMT-Master Stainless Steel, 1675

The market for vintage Rolex watches is on the rise – but what makes these watches so collectible? Let’s look at why vintage watches are highly sought after, what determines their value, and how CIRCA’s highly trained watch buyers, coupled with our vast network of enthusiastic vintage watch collectors, allow us to pay the highest prices for vintage Rolex.

The values for vintage watches by Rolex have continued their steady rise in recent years. Collectors remain hungry for a 1970’s Submariner with an authentic dial, or a 1960’s Daytona with a rickety bracelet. Tropical bezels and dials only enhance demand for these rare timepieces. One trend in the watch world is buying your birth-year watch. Some collectors are on the hunt for a watch born the same year they were – adding to the increased enthusiasm worldwide for vintage Rolex watches. To escape a world of sameness, vintage enthusiasts are trying to bolster their collection with as many unique and rare finds as they can – and are paying the price. Much like vintage car enthusiasts, vintage watch collectors take pride in owning a piece from the past. If you have a vintage Daytona or a steel Explorer that’s been hiding in your drawer for years, you may be surprised by how much we’d give you for it.

What Determines the Value of my Vintage Rolex?

As with any marketable item, the value of a timepiece is based on its demand at a given time. Right now, demand for vintage Rolex is super-high – which means we’ve never been more enthusiastic about buying yours.

Age: How the Value of a 1950’s Rolex Will Differ From a 1980’s Rolex

When people talk about vintage watches, today they generally mean watches that were manufactured at least 30 years ago – perhaps between the 1950’s and the 1970’s. These watches, especially steel ones from this time, are breaking price records. Particular Daytona models, a watch by Rolex, have been nick-named “The Paul Newman”, having long been identified with the famed actor. His actual watch recently fetched about $18,000,000. While there was only one that he actually wore – and so just one to achieve that price - the watches from this period are highly sought after. And we’d part with treasure for a similar one.

Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Vintage

Recently Purchased: Vintage Rolex GMT-Master Yellow Gold, 1675

Rarity: Low Supply and High Demand Means the Best Value for Your Vintage Rolex Can Be Had Now

While there were many Rolexes made during those years, not all have survived. Many others are in collections and rarely come to be sold again. Yet others are being worn every day as just a nice old beater. Recently demand has far outpaced supply here.

Condition: Wear and Tear Doesn’t Necessarily Impact the Value of a Vintage Rolex

Unlike modern watches, it’s acceptable when a vintage watch shows some characteristics of wear and tear. Here are some of the characteristics a watch buyer will look for when determining value:

  • Original Parts: Vintage watch collectors are enthusiastic about original parts. The value of your vintage Rolex will increase if it has its original dial, movement, or bezel. Many are under the mistaken belief that if they overhaul their old watch with new parts it adds value. Untrue. Vintage Rolex watches that have been updated with new movements, dials or bezels might still be valuable but won’t achieve the same prices as watches that come with original parts.

  • Tropical Dial: Once considered an undesirable flaw, the sun-faded brown or orange-colored dials of vintage Rolex watches are now highly collectable. Each dial is unique and faded its own way. Since modern watches aren’t prone to sun-fading, Tropical Dials are typically found only in watches produced before the 1980’s, making these vintage Rolex watches a pretty rare and sometimes expensive find.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer Vintage

Recently Purchased: Vintage Rolex Explorer Stainless Steel, 1016
  • Desirable Defects: Manufacture defects are rare, especially for an authority like Rolex, so if you have a defect like a misprint on your dial, that’s of a point of interest.

  • Overall Wear: Some scratches and marks are expected in a vintage watch that’s been worn for decades. However, there are other signs of wear that could affect the value of a vintage Rolex. As with any watch, water damage on or inside the watch, as well as missing or broken hands, dial markers, or crystals could negatively impact the value you receive. But regardless of the condition, a vintage Rolex is still collectable and a qualified buyer, such as a CIRCA buyer, will be able to offer the best value for your vintage Rolex.

  • Original Box / Papers: Original box and papers are not necessary to sell your watch, but these documents can add a lot of value if you still have them.

“Vintage watch collectors are enthusiastic about original parts. The value of your vintage Rolex will increase if it has its original dial, movement, or bezel. Many are under the mistaken belief that if they overhaul their old watch with new parts it adds value. Untrue.”

Values for Vintage Rolex Models Are on The Rise:

Our collectors are asking, so we’re buying – and buying for a price you won’t find anywhere else. The President, Datejust, Daytona, Sea-Dweller, Submariner, Explorer, and GMT Master – including the Root Beer, Pepsi and Coke models - are the most highly sought-after vintage Rolex models.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master Vintage

Recently Purchased: Vintage Rolex GMT-Master Stainless Steel, 1675 – circa 1970

Your Watch May Not Be Perfect. Our Offer Will Be.

Why is CIRCA the authority for buying vintage Rolex watches? What enables us to offer the best value for a vintage Rolex?

CIRCA has been buying watches from around the world for over twenty years. Our experience and knowledge enable us to understand all the nuances of the vintage market – and therefore understand the value of your watch. We offer the absolute best price for the vintage timepieces you want to sell. Our team of highly trained and experienced watch buyers - coupled with the increased demand for vintage watches and our global selling platform - means we can pay the price that no one else can. Our ability to maximize the value of your watch and offer immediate payment makes CIRCA the best place to sell your vintage Rolex.

We provide two convenient ways to sell: You can Schedule an In-person Appointment at one of our 19 global locations, or you can Sell Your Watch Online with our free and fully-insured online service. To get started, simply visit our website and provide a few photos and information about your item, and one of our experts will respond with a free Offer Range within 1 – 2 business days.

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