Now might be the time to buy that vintage Rolex you’ve been eyeing.
Only two of the Swiss watchmaker’s models have gotten more expensive on the secondary market over the past year, according to the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index.
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The price of the Rolex “Pepsi” GMT Master II (Ref. 126710BLRO) rose about 5 percent in the last 12 months and 1.5 percent in the last 30 days, with pre-owned examples costing roughly $20,000 apiece. The Lady-Datejust (Ref. 69173) also got more dear, with the average transaction value increasing about 1 percent to about $4,200. The uptick in price shows the enduring appeal of the two models.
Introduced by the Crown in 1995, the iconic GMT-Master was designed to help Pan Am pilots keep track of time zones, the idea being that the pilot could set the timepiece’s fourth hand with the 24-hour bezel to a second time zone. The red and blue bezel was originally a nod to the airline’s logo but later spurred on the watch’s cola-inspired nickname. The Pepsi has evolved from the 1950s (Ref. 6542) up to the modern-day (Ref. 126710BLRO) and remains the most popular GMT model. (The 2018 iteration outperformed the similar “Batman” GMT-Master II with a black and blue bezel, the index shows.)
The Pepsi ranks as one of the most difficult references to acquire, too, with collectors having to join long waitlists before they get their hands on it. The price and scarcity of pre-owned Pepsis may increase still. The watch world believes the famous model may be discontinued, as reported by Bloomberg. Rolex has not confirmed this but will reveal its 2024 catalog in April.
The Lady-Datejust is also becoming costlier. Released in 1984, Ref. 69173 features a mix of stainless-steel and gold, a signature fluted bezel, and a champagne dial with diamonds marking the hours. It is the only model in the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index targeted specifically at women. It’s also the smallest watch (26 mm) in the group and the least expensive (under $5,000). Still, the Lady-Datejust was the top-performing watch in the index over the past month, adding about 4 percent to its value.
The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index tracks prices for the 50 most-traded luxury watches on the secondary market using data provided by Subdial. The index declined about 7 percent in the past year and was flat over the past 30 days. That’s not exactly surprising, of course. After rocketing to record highs during the pandemic, prices for wrist candy from the big three (Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet) have been steadily declining on the secondary market. Time to look for some deals, folks.
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