Why Are Rolex So Expensive? [ What Makes Rolex So Expensive To Buy?]

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Wondering why Rolex is so expensive than other watches? In economics, scarcity drives up prices and there are only few luxury watch brands with worldwide recognition like Rolex. For several decades, Rolex had designed and manufactured nothing but watches with highly refined quality. The meticulousness in Rolex watches defines the exceptional quality they have engineered for several years with, extensive labor, scarce level of craftsmanship, and expensive material input.

A Rolex watch has no descriptive name less than extravagance, luxury, elegance, top-class business, best rated, and highly precise jewelry. The wonders, uniqueness, the feel of high-quality and high-value, embedded into the design of Rolex watches, is the reason why it remains an unrivaled stunning piece of wearable, endeared and loved by most high-profile individuals worldwide.

Many divers, ocean goers would love to wear a Rolex submariner for deep diving, but the huge price barrier. But why is Rolex submariner so expensive than other dive watches? From high hourly rate for labor to investing in expensive machinery, material cost, scarce craftsmanship and time-consuming quality control, Rolex is not expected to get cheaper.

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Img: Rolex Datejust – Why are Rolex so expensive?


Should these justify why rolex carries a hefty price tag?

Not necessarily. The heavy investment behind this very sophisticated piece of jewelry is one of the reasons why Rolex watches cost a fortune. Even their repair services and maintenance are not easy, very budget friendly to lots of Rolex wearers. See Rolex repair service cost, what it includes, and where you can service the watch.

It is not that Rolex watches are exclusively made for people of a certain class; it is just that rich individuals like John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and the movie industry _think of celebrities like James Bond) are lucky to have the money to buy it.

More: Top Female celebrities who wear Rolex watches



how much is “expensive”?

What does ”expensive” really mean? Is rolex expensive in terms of money or in terms of time(an asset we don’t own)?

Expensive is a relative term and very subjective, when used to describe a product and how much to purchase it. It is true that luxury products cost a lot of money, but whether a watch is expensive or cheap lies in your perception.

Jeff Bezos would not see Rolex to be expensive in terms of price, but a low-income person would cry loud if asked to pay an entry-level price of $5000 for a Rolex wristwatch.

Again, as compared to other super luxury watches like Patek Philippe, Rolex can be considered as a more affordable, budget friendly, and perhaps cheaper.

So why are Rolex watches so expensive in to buy? Sincerely, Rolex price is so heavy because you are not rich and you don’t have the money to readily buy one.

Someone who doesn’t know any much about watch qualities will question why a person would buy a Rolex for over ten thousands dollars, when there are giveaway timepieces that tell the same time, for under $100.

As a result, one person may perceive Rolex as an expensive watch brand while you consider it as cheaper. It just depends on the value you each hold for the piece of jewelry.

Related: Stainless Steel vs Titanium Watches – Why choose stainless steel


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Img Amazon – Rolex Datejust – best luxury watch for small wrist – 36mm case size

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Why are rolex so expensive? What makes rolex so expensive than other watches?

Here are some reasons why Rolex watches cost so much money to purchase:

1: Expensive design

There is no other job as meticulously tiring as making watches, arranging and engineering very tiny components with hands. Design is one of the prime contribution to why Rolex is expensive or costs excessive money.

The brains behind a luxury business like Rolex is in the research and development department. Investing in a highly precise watchmaking tool or equipment like gas spectrometer, and electron microscope, requires highly professionally skilled personnel to use them.

The Rolex’s manufacturing methods, quality procedures and techniques beat the efforts of the competitors. It is not inexpensive to hire highly experienced and trained scientists to work in watchmaking laboratory, but that is what Rolex does.

Research into materials for Rolex watch’s case, movement, bracelet is not done in a day. The R&D takes time, and it is not temporary since Rolex must keep looking for newer fashionable designs for its customers.

From the research works to movement designs, development and assembling, one can’t expect rolex to be cheaper. Do you?


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img: Luxury Rolex Watch – why make rolex so expensive to buy

Read on: how much does it cost to service a Rolex watch?


2: Rolex uses premium, expensive, Watch Materials

Material cost is one reason why rolex is expensive. While building elegance, and classic touch for its clients, Rolex does not compromise durability, as other watch brands do. Everything about structural design of Rolex watches is durable stainless steel. it is relieving to know that you will spend $8000 on Rolex and have it last for years.

To make Rolex luxury watches compete more extraordinary, they are produced from 904L – an expensive high-grade stainless steel which is stronger, shinier and requires a lot of labor and skills to manufacture.

This 904L stainless steel is a high-quality metal that comes with a high Corrosion resistance, and coupled with super strength, Rolex makes supreme watches with striking appearance. Cheaper competitors use the cheaper 316L steel grade.

In addition to the premium metals like Oystersteels in their extremely high quality timepieces, there are many other expensive materials in a Rolex Watch. Think of the 18k yellow, white, or Everose Gold for its indices, diamond, mother-of-pearl, tough and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal as the glass cover on the dial.

If you want to know what is also very special about Rolex, it is that; they are the only watch company that use 904L steel. Check these best stainless steel smart watches


3: Rolex is expensively built to endure environmental changes

You remember the first person to wear Rolex Oyster perpetual to the highest(cold) Everest mountain? Edmund Hillary was the first, and not long in 1994, Rolex Explorer 2 ascended the mount.

What do these tell you about Rolex timepieces? Give it any harsh climate, the Rolex is built to endure any punishment -movement, temperature, humidity, and altitude.

Imagine a watch like Rolex GMT master 11. I believe that is the most frequently travelling Rolex watch. As a travel GMT watch, is moves between different climates and time zones. So why is Rolex GMT so expensive too? It is costly engineered to endure tougher environments.


4. Watch parts Assembling

One reason why Rolex watches are expensive is the hand assembling of watch components.

The most costly labor is humans, robots in the long terms offer cheaper labor than human hands. Although Rolex watchmakers use machine to cut file, sort and catalog watch components, assembling is the skillful works of human hands.

Assembling a watch bracelet and the watch movement are more complex tasks that can patiently be executed only by hand. Hand-assembling watch movements needs highly skilled, well-paid and well-trained scientists, and personnel.

This demands a lot of time, patience, dedication, and double-checking for quality after chronometer is certified. Does this make you understand why a Rolex watch so expensive?

Related: Best Smartwatch With Camera for Spying, Taking Photos, Making Video Calls from wrist


5. Quality, Quality, Quality

Pursuing high quality is what makes rolex so expensive to own. The way Rolex makes their watches, they are quality-based. To ensure there is nothing missed and that the movement works precisely as expected, movement assembling is done with the highest quality inspection procedures and techniques. Developing quality, that does not face takes pretty longer time and more experience in quality control.

Unlike other cheaper watch brands, rolex is a quality-driven brand that only releases its watches when they have passed the highest standards of quality tests. The perfectionists must do their job before customer receive the products, I guess that is one quality control rule in Rolex factories.


6. In-house manufacturing & In-house movement

In-house manufacturing is one reason why rolex watches are expensive. Rolex is a quality-driven watchmaker who manages a whole manufacturing process without outsourcing.

They produce the best of qualities; they choose to do most of the work in-house, instead of outsourcing. For example, Rolex watch brand is responsible for melting down precious metals like gold and silver, used in the watches.

More importantly, Rolex watches like the rolex GMT Master 11, are powered by Mechanical in-house movements (Rolex calibre) which they had designed, developed, improved, with their one machinery. Developing a highly precise watch movement takes a lot of resources and time.

It is therefore no doubt that Rolex chooses to do all the hard work in their own factories, in order to carefully examined and inspect their watches for all possible flaws, and not to compromise product quality.


7. Rolex Watch vs water resistance

Why are rolex so expensive in the market? Research and development against water ingress is one cause.

The greatest enemy for watches is water, and it takes a lot of expensive research to bring a watch and water together. Take a look at these Rolex watches – Deepsea D-Blue watch and Rolex Submariner watches.

They have impermeability that is totally extraordinary. While most luxury looking watches that compete with Rolex, hold water resistance just up to 100m, Submariner has a water-resistant up to 300 metres.

It is not a cheaper job to test this Rolex dive watch under high pressure water tanks developed through COMEX. That is why they perform wonderfully outdoor actual water.

Related: best GMT watches under $500 for travel


But Rolex watches were never always expensive!

If you go back to 1950s, you will see that at the current world income level, Rolex were never expensive. Despite that, they have become one of the most expensive watches in the world, a genuine Rolex Submariner in the 1950s, as reported, only costed under $200. If it costed 150 dollars then, factoring in inflation, that should be approximately $1,500 in our modern economy.

Comparatively, you must budget at least a $5000 for an entry-level Rolex watch today. Most of the luxury Rolex models cost a lot more like between $7500 and $13,000. Paying such an enormous price tag for a wristwatch is, just buying the engineering and the craftsmanship.

As of the moment, the swiss-made Rolex Daytona  is the most expensive watch ever sold in an auction sale for $17.8 million USD, beating the Patek Phillipe (11 million USD auction). Over the years, Rolex has grown from just being a status symbol, a fashion accessory, to luxury object with huge financial value.


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Img: In the Early start of  2021, Joel Biden wore this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watch on his inauguration day.


Top personalities, rich business men and women, and political figures like Presidents, also take pride in wearing Rolex. I love to wear a Rolex too but price is the barrier. What about you?

If you wear a Rolex today, in addition to it expressing your personal style, what do you think the Rolex watch says about you? How much can you monetarily qualify that value?

What is the cheapest Rolex Watch?

As solid as they look, Rolex Oyster Perpetual have an extremely moderate price range where the brand’s New piece cost in the range $3,000 – $7,000 and Pre-owned perpetuals comes inside the $3,000 – $4,000 range

Rolex watches are extravagance watches, with widely recognized status, refinement and absolute quality. it remains a craving for people who want to join the elite club.

If you want to satisfy your sentiment of owning a Rolex, go for a replica rolex watch if you can’t buy an original piece. Rolex replicas come at best cheaper prices,.

Besides, the cheapest rolex watch is the Oyster Perpetual but i understand that this cheap rolex watch is till not budget-friendlier to most people. With an oversimplified style, Oyster perpetual watch is a good fashion accessory for beginners.

The Rolex Perpetual watches are water resistant up to 100 meters , made from 904L stainless steel, with exceedingly indestructible properties and self-winding developments.


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Img:  why are rolex submariners so expensive?


What should you know before entering a Rolex watch Store?

Beware, don’t always believe that Rolex watches always hold their value, and that there is a flood of counterfeits Rolex around.

I understand that buying fake is not a thing for everybody. There are many people craving to wear the real Rolex watches and they want to invest in ordering one.

So instead of purchasing cheap Rolex-like watches, i recommend you go to reputable buyers of real rolex watches and pick a pre-owned model.


How much does the cheapest Rolex watch cost?

An entry level Rolex watch costs at least $5000, which still still not very affordable for most people. This is true for individuals who are looking for the cheapest option. I wonder if, rolex watches could ever sell at a little discount, even in the gray market. But sure, it is business and discounted sales are possible.

Is there a way to get a Rolex with discount?

You might be lucky to get a second hand Rolex, but some Hot Rolex watches just carry some high dissuasive prices, even if they are old.

Except that you are a Rolex employee, getting one of their watches at a little reduced budget is possible if you have a family member( whom your are married to or directly related to) working for Rolex.

It is a culture that companies motivate their staff, and when employees are well taken care of, they will care for the customers. So rolex workers are able to get the product at a slightly lower price, but there are rules that apply.

  1. Seniority is a requirement: you are not eligible to apply if you are a temporarily hired worker, an intern or a new employee.
  2. You can’t immediately apply for a newly released Rolex watch. Employees have to wait before ordering a newer piece. How long that can be, depends on the Rolex management
  3. Rolex customer is first served : Watches in great demand must be sold to clients, before employees can make their demands. I see that this is pretty much fair, for business.
  4. How often? Rolex employees can only get watch every 4 years. More importantly, the Rolex watch price is compared with worker’s salary range.
  5. Limitations: Even if your relative who is working for rolex succeeds to get one,they are forbidden to sell it out, since they bought it internally. As expected, employees can only offer the obtained watch, as a gift to parents, spouse, children and other closer family members. Selling the watch is highly risky for employees and it is obviously a one way ticket to being fired from the job.

Despite these conditions, letting employees also wear these expensive wrist watches makes them good brand’s ambassadors to the world.


Wrap Up

Rolex makes top-notch luxury watches, made, polished and finished by hand in Switzerland, for its consumers. An authentic, elegant Rolex watch comes with an unparalleled  and requisite accuracy, as compared to some competitors like, Tag Heuer or Omega. Surprisingly, it may take an entire year to manufacture a flawless collection of Rolex watches. With too much investment money going into craftsmanship, material costs, and research and development time, I believe that a Rolex watch high pricing is well justified.

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