It is no secret that for the first time in years, Rolex prices have come down. After seeing prices for almost every Rolex model go up consistently for years on end, the first small dip showed itself in April of this year. Some experts have called it “a correction” of market prices. Others believe that this is the start of a bigger drop, given the fact that Rolex prices have been rising disproportionately to the rest of the market over the last three years and the relationship to official Rolex list prices has gotten lost along the way. Only time will tell what the reality will be, but we’re going to look at some of the popular models that have come down in price quite significantly in the second quarter of 2022. Have they finally become affordable? Or are they still out of reach for a lot of buyers?
1. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 124300
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 124300 is incredibly popular among Rolex fans across the board. The watch comes in different sizes and an array of dial colors. The 41-mm version with a blue dial has dropped nearly 30% in price on Chrono24 over the last months. You’re probably thinking, which of the two blue versions is he talking about? While the dark blue version has dropped quite significantly in price, it’s the “Tiffany Blue” version that has depreciated spectacularly. Prices for the latter model had absolutely skyrocketed to ridiculous levels, but even after this price drop, you can still expect to pay between roughly $25,000 and $50,0000 – that for a watch with an official list price of $5,800. It seems only logical that these prices will come down even more over time.
2. Rolex Submariner Ref. 1680
The second model that has come down in price is a vintage classic. The Rolex Submariner ref. 1680 is a special model in the Submariner lineage. It was the first Rolex Submariner to feature a date function, making it a very significant watch in the model’s history. This reference was officially in production from 1967 until 1980, though some experts say it was already available in 1966. Whatever the case, the watch was produced for roughly 13-14 years. During this time, Rolex released a number of different versions of the watch, the most famous being the “Red Submariner,” which features the model name printed in red on the dial. These special versions still go for a significant premium, but overall, prices for the Submariner ref. 1680 have dropped by approximately 20% in the second quarter of 2022. Prices for a stainless-steel watch range from roughly $11,000 for the “basic” vintage model to $50,000 for a rare version in great condition.
3. Rolex “Zenith” Daytona Ref. 16528 – White Dial
The Rolex Daytona is without a doubt the most popular Rolex model. As a result, prices for the various Daytona generations have gone up a lot over the last 3-5 years. However, the current generation has always remained the most popular and, therefore, most expensive. Performance for this model seems proportionate to its age. Thus, the “Zenith” Daytona, the watch that began the model’s automatic era, was the last to increase in price and the first to drop in price again. For instance, the Rolex “Zenith” Daytona ref. 16528, the 18-karat yellow gold version with a white dial, depreciated in value by 20% in the second quarter of this year. Depending on the condition and what you are willing to spend, a Daytona could now be yours for anywhere between $40,000 and $100,000.
4. Rolex Submariner Ref. 5512
We’ve already talked about the Rolex Submariner ref. 1680, but at the same time that model was being made, Rolex also produced the Submariner refs. 5512 and 5513. Unlike the 1680, neither of these two watches feature a date function. The difference between the two, however, comes down to their movement and the text featured on the lower part of the dial. The Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 is powered by a COSC-certified movement, while the ref. 5513 is not. As a result, the ref. 5512 features two extra lines of text on its dial: “Superlative Chronometer/Officially Certified.” You’ll find several dial variations throughout the reference’s history that are worth checking out. Prices for the Submariner ref. 5512 dropped by 20% in the second quarter of 2022. There are many different versions of the reference available, so prices range from roughly $14,000 to more than $80,000 for rare dial variants.
5. Rolex Day-Date Ref. 228235
Rounding out the top five popular Rolex models that have dropped significantly in price is the current 40-mm Everose gold Rolex Day-Date ref. 228235 with an olive green dial. Funky dial colors are massively popular among Rolex fans, so it came as no surprise when prices rose quickly for this watch. The Rolex Day-Date in Everose gold comes in a number of different dial colors. The versions with a chocolate, white, or sundust dial aren’t any less attractive, but the olive green dial certainly stands out. The ref. 228235 was first introduced in 2015, and while it might not be the first reference that springs to mind when you think of a Rolex Day-Date, the 40-mm Everose gold watch has become a favorite for those who are looking for something other than the “standard” yellow gold model. It is less flashy and the dial is an absolute gem. Even so, prices dropped by 18% in the last quarter. Of course, that still doesn’t mean this is an affordable watch – expect to see prices between $55,000 and $85,000.
Other Rolex Models That Have Depreciated in Value
So, there you have it, the top five popular Rolexes that have dropped significantly in price recently. But before we sign off, we’d like to mention a few of the other popular references that have depreciated in value of late, the first being the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542. This is the very first Rolex GMT-Master reference that dates back to the 1950s. It is an absolute vintage classic that kicked off the brilliant GMT-Master legacy. Prices for this watch dropped by 16.9% and now range from $20,000 to $120,000, depending on the condition of the watch.
Next up is the current stainless steel Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN with a white dial. Prices have dropped by 16.7% to between $30,000 and $50,000; of course, these prices are still more than three times the current MSRP. Another Daytona that has depreciated in value is the Rolex Daytona ref. 116508, also known as the John Mayer Daytona. This reference dropped 16.5% in the second quarter of 2022. Prices are currently between $75,000 and $110,000, which represents a significant drop from this time last year, even though it’s still an expensive and popular timepiece.
Another current model that came down in price by 15.3% is the current Rolex Sky-Dweller in stainless steel with a blue dial. Prices for this watch start roughly $10,000 above its list price at $24,000 and move up to around $35,000. To close out the list, we have the unusual Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400. The white dial version, which has been out of production for quite some time now, depreciated by 15.3%, leaving prices between $9,500 and $17,500 – still quite a bit of money for this quirky but beautiful Rolex that flies under a lot of people’s radar.
Final Thoughts: Is 2022 the time to buy a Rolex?
When you look at recent price drops both in terms of percentage and amount, there is no denying they are significant. Prices for many watches have come down by several thousand dollars. What does remain, however, are the overall incredibly high price levels for almost every Rolex model. There are whispers out there that some of the stainless-steel models are available again at authorized Rolex dealers. Of course, this could lead to further price drops, but for now, prices remain far above official Rolex list prices, which is still a pretty remarkable situation. It will be very interesting to see where this all leads by the end of the year. Only time will tell.