Rolex is a name most people have heard of, and many people associate this particular brand with grand style and elegance.
There is good reason for their outstanding reputation.
Rolex is a Swiss watchmaker that is known across the globe for exquisite quality and beauty.
For some, it is even considered a status symbol.
When you own a Rolex, you own what many will consider one of the greatest watches ever made.
Why Is Rolex So Expensive? (Top 11 Reasons)
Rolex was founded in London in 1905. After World War I, the company moved to Geneva, Switzerland.
They have more than 4,000 employees who continue to make the exquisite, world-famous Rolex watches.
There are several reasons Rolex is so expensive.
1. Masterful Engineering
Rolex is famous for the expert engineering that goes into each and every watch.
The inner workings of each individual watch is very detailed and complex.
It wouldn’t be recommended for anyone to take it apart and try to put it back together unless they had extensive knowledge of the specific mechanics that make these watches run smoothly.
Even though a watch isn’t that large, there are literally hundreds of individual parts that make a Rolex work smoothly.
It takes several different types of engineering specialists to create and put together one watch.
They often begin the watchmaking process with several prototypes.
A team of specialists can sometimes make up to 20 prototypes for a single project.
Specialists in the areas of ceramics, bracelet fabrication, and mechanical movements are just a few of the professionals needed to design and create each style that Rolex produces.
One of the most important aspects of a Rolex to understand is that they are mechanical watches, which take both time and talent to construct properly.
One of the primary differences between a quartz and a mechanical watch is in the ticking motion of the second hand.
A quartz watch produces the “tick-tick” motion that moves each second.
A mechanical watch has a second hand that moves in a continuous sweeping motion.
The expert engineering that goes into each watch is just one of the many reasons a Rolex is so expensive.
2. Long-Lasting Quality
So many items, even expensive jewelry, just don’t last very long.
It seems as though quality has been diminishing in everything from clothes to cars for quite some time.
Rolex is the exception.
According to Millenary Watches, if a Rolex is serviced on a regular basis, the watch will last indefinitely.
If properly cared for, a Rolex can be passed down through several generations.
There are very few items that look as beautiful and will last as long.
Taking proper care of the Rolex starts from the moment an individual purchases a watch.
This begins with making sure the watch is wound correctly.
After initially winding the watch, it will wind automatically as long as the person wears it on their wrist.
There is actually very little day-to-day care required.
It is recommended to clean the watch occasionally with a microfiber cloth.
Because a Rolex is a mechanical watch, it will need to be serviced at least occasionally.
How often should it be serviced?
Rolex recommends that the watch be serviced about every ten years.
Ten years isn’t very often to provide maintenance for something as valuable as a Rolex.
Most individuals who are willing to pay the price for a Rolex are almost certainly willing to keep them serviced on a regular basis.
Because they will last a lifetime and longer if cared for, this is one more reason these watches are so expensive.
3. Beautiful Designs
A Rolex is not only expertly designed and long-lasting, but they are truly beautiful watches.
Rolex makes every effort to make sure their watches stand out from the crowd.
This means hiring the most talented and creative watch designers in the world.
The best talent available does not come cheap.
Making sure their watches are consistently designed to not only function expertly but to look as gorgeous as possible is something customers have come to expect from the company.
There are several designs to choose from, and one is sure to captivate almost everyone who appreciates the combination of quality craftsmanship and gorgeous jewelry.
For example, The Submariner Date is an exquisite watch with an incredible combination of a beautiful black dial and a sumptuous band made of 18-carat yellow gold.
It also features a rotatable bezel.
For those who prefer a gem-set watch, the Pearlmaster 39 features sparkling diamonds set in breathtaking white gold.
This is such an incredible watch that prices are only given upon request.
No matter what model or style is chosen, there are unique differences in each type of Rolex that make it stand out.
The more you study each watch, the more you’ll see the exquisite details and design that goes into each unique style.
4. Rich History
Rolex is a watch that has a rich and extensive history.
In 1910, Rolex received the Swiss Certificate of Precision that was given out by the Official Watch Rating Centre.
Rolex has also received a Class A certificate that is awarded by the Kew Observatory in the United Kingdom.
Rolex has been considered a watch of the highest quality and craftsmanship for well over a hundred years.
In 1926, Rolex created a dustproof and waterproof watch that was called “Oyster.”
This watch was designed with a hermetically sealed design which provided extreme water protection while still offering exceptional movement.
At the time, however, there was skepticism regarding the ability of a watch to be completely waterproof.
Rolex put together a great marketing campaign that included submerging these gorgeous watches in aquariums.
They also gave Mercedes Gleitze an Oyster to wear on her necklace when she swam across the English Channel.
Designing exquisite watches along with clever marketing campaigns are all part of an interesting and complex history.
Rolex was even involved in James Bond movies.
In one of the movies, Bond used what was called a Rolex Submariner.
This was used to track Dr. No. All of this contributes to the many reasons a Rolex watch is so expensive.
5. Detailed Research
Rolex has several research facilities that help with the study and design of their watches.
They also hire the best research teams to work at their labs.
For example, the company uses experts in chemistry to research the different types of lubricants and oils that are used during the watchmaking process.
This is just one area in which they use highly trained professionals and scientists to make sure their watches are among the best in the world.
Rolex has not only four manufacturing locations in Switzerland but also a laboratory where testing and quality control take place.
The Rolex Central Laboratory uses an electron microscope to detect any type of imperfection.
The equipment used can pinpoint even slight distortions of color or contamination in metal.
Quality metals must undergo resistance and friction testing.
Buying and maintaining the equipment needed for these processes can be costly.
The Rolex manufacturing plant also has a state-of-the-art automated stock system.
They have approximately 60,000 storage units and an extensive rail network that transport items directly to workstations.
This system transports an average of 2,800 items per hour.
Each of these specific components is individually identified and then brought to each particular area at just the right time.
This complex process ensures that the manufacturing of each watch is carried out on a strict timetable.
Logistically, the precision of this automated stock system is almost as incredible as the end product.
6. Expensive Materials
The materials that are used in each Rolex are of the highest quality.
Besides producing their own gold, Rolex uses only the highest quality of steel.
For example, Rolex usually uses 904L steel.
This particular type of steel is better than most of the other types that are used even for luxury watches.
Other brands often use 316L steel, which is cheaper.
The 904L steel is shinier, harder, and overall, of higher quality.
This is one of the contributing factors that make the watch so pricey.
The numbers on the watches are sometimes made of platinum that has been sandblasted.
The dials of a Rolex are often made of a beautiful white gold.
Precious gems are sometimes placed at different places on the watch as part of each one’s unique design.
Rolex takes very seriously the process of selecting the best gemstones as well as precisely setting them in the watch.
High-quality gems and the art of gemology do not come cheap.
Rolex employs teams of gemologists to make sure the different types of gems and gold used in making each watch are of the highest quality.
These trained professionals help purchase and test various precious metals and gems that are used in the watches.
Jewelry specialists are also employed by the company to help hand-pick precious metals and other materials.
Costs are high at every level of making a Rolex.
This includes design, construction, and the materials that are used.
7. Extensive Quality Testing
Each watch undergoes an intense 33-hour testing process to ensure the highest standard of quality.
Every component endures an automated process, with the results delivered to a centralized database.
Each of the results is then carefully reviewed.
For example, the precision of the hands on a watch is viewed with both 2D and 3D cameras from several angles.
These cameras are linked for reference to an atomic clock.
This type of testing can be intense and time-consuming.
Water testing for Rolex watches is perhaps one of the most rigorous assessments conducted.
Water experiments require that the tests be conducted in pressurized tanks.
These tests include simulating pressure at 16,000 feet below sea level.
This assessment goes above and beyond the pressure that is stated on the dial that the watch can withstand.
After that, the watches are taken outside and tested in actual bodies of water.
There’s also an acoustic test using a variety of microphones when testing the self-winding system in the watch.
Besides testing the internal mechanisms of the watch, there are detailed stress tests for bracelets and cases.
After all the detailed and extensive testing is completed, each Rolex watch receives the “green seal” that states it has successfully passed a series of tests.
Very few companies in the world have such rigorous testing standards for their products.
8. High Resale Value
A Rolex will maintain its value much longer than most other types of watches.
There are several models and styles of Rolex watches that have an exceptional resale value.
Jewelers and business owners will likely have different standards when determining how much a person may receive for a used Rolex.
Several factors would probably be taken into consideration such as the particular style and how well the watch was maintained when determining used Rolex prices.
When buying a Rolex new, prices start around $5,000, with many costing into the tens of thousands.
There are a few watches that will sell in the millions.
Luxe Digital lists the most expensive Rolex watches of all time.
While there are several interesting watches on the list, Paul Newman’s Daytona comes in at number one, with a price tag of $17.8 million.
While most people won’t ever own a Rolex that sells in the million-dollar range, they can expect a high resale value for whatever style they choose if the watch is properly cared for and maintained.
9. Detailed Handcrafting
Like many other items made in our modern world, Rolex uses robotics to help put together their watches.
The robots, however, are only involved in part of the process.
A Rolex watch is so detailed and intricately crafted, that much of the work must be completed by hand.
Specifically, the bracelets and particular watch movements are assembled by hand.
Before each watch is sent out for chronometer certification, personnel are required to expertly test and double-check the watches to make sure everything is working together to a high standard.
This will obviously increase the overall cost of the watch.
The attention to detail when designing and putting together a Rolex is amazing.
One example of this is that the bezels on a Rolex are unique and intricate for each style.
A bezel is the ring around the face of the watch.
The following are several specific types of bezels Rolex offers:
- Plain Bezels: This is the most basic type of bezel that Rolex offers. This style is on several models that are offered with precious metals as well as steel.
- Engraved Bezels: These are on only a few specific models, including the Daytona Cosmograph.
- Fluted Bezels: A fluted bezel has grooves and ridges. This type can dramatically reflect light and create a stunning look around the face of the watch.
- Rotating Bezels: These can come with inserts or be made with precious metal. These are found on the Professional models that Rolex offers.
- Tachymeter Bezels: This type measures speeds and is found on the chronograph watches.
- Jeweled Bezels: Precious stones are often selected and then encrusted on the bezels of certain styles.
10. Rolex Produces Their Own Gold
Most watches aren’t even made with real gold.
The companies that do use it aren’t making the gold in their own facilities.
Rolex is the only company that produces their own gold for their watches.
The Geneva plant has its own metal foundry in-house.
The company develops their own 18-carat gold alloys.
These include white gold, yellow gold, and Everose gold.
The gold foundry employs a process that produces only the highest quality of gold.
There are several steps in the gold-making process.
One of the first consists of metals being poured into a crucible in the precise order.
Later, drops of liquid gold fall into vats of cool water and instantly form the beads that will eventually become part of the world-famous Rolex watch.
After the beads dry, they are rigorously inspected.
Making their own gold is just one step of many detailed processes that Rolex uses to make their watches.
11. The Brand Is World Famous
Almost everyone has heard the name Rolex.
Rolex is a world-famous brand that automatically brings to mind, wealth, sophistication, and high quality.
Many people are willing to pay extremely high prices to be seen with famous name brands.
Gucci, Mercedes, and Chanel are a few of the brands that millions of people wish to have, but often can’t afford.
Rolex is among these types of brands.
There are several models that Rolex produces to fit all types of personalities and individual tastes.
You may have been one of the people who have looked through all the Rolex styles available and found the one you dream of owning.
Perhaps you’re one of the few who have actually owned one of these incredible timepieces.
The fact that Rolex is a household name, besides being an extraordinary watch, is part of the reason they are so expensive.
Now that you understand why a Rolex is so expensive, do you still want one?
Most people would agree that a Rolex is worth the investment.
If you’re going to buy one, however, you’ll want to do your homework.
The following are a few tips to keep in mind when buying this incredible watch.
Know Why You Are Buying The Watch
Some people may purchase a Rolex as an heirloom to be passed down through the years or even as an investment.
If the watch is to be worn on a fairly regular basis, you’ll want to consider the occasion.
If the watch is going to be worn for formal or black-tie events, it’s recommended to purchase a Submariner or perhaps a Yachtmaster Rolex.
Check for Authenticity
If you’re buying from a name-brand jeweler, you’ll likely not have to worry about the Rolex being real.
If, however, you’re purchasing from a secondhand dealer or even an independent jeweler, you’ll need to be on the lookout for fakes.
Rolex makes each of their watches to precision, so if anything looks “off”, you’ll want to definitely take a closer look and do your research.
You’ll always want to check for the serial or reference number on the watch you’re considering buying.