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How to buy a new Rolex at list price

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    At the age of 26 I bought my first Rolex from an authorized dealer in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for the list price. To be honest, on that day my brother and I both bought our first Rolex (Submariner date and no date) for the list price and it was only 2 months after we handed in our buy request at the authorized dealer.

    This blog will explain how we did it and I’m sure it will help all of you to get the Rolex you want at list price. You can find many articles and videos about how to buy a Rolex at list price, explaining you have to have an extensive network or spend thousands of dollars on jewels or watches that are always on stock at the authorized dealer before you get your hands on a steel Rolex model which have a waiting list longer than the Holy Book. We can say beforehand this is not the conclusion of this blog. Looking back at the whole journey, buying a new Rolex at list price is an amazing experience. It really broadens your view on the market and makes the buy of your new Rolex more valuable. Of course when you walk out of the door with that fresh newly bought Rolex you can sell it for way more. But the feeling of accomplishment and gratification when you look on your wrist will leave you concluding those additional bucks are not worth losing that timepiece.

    What about spending thousands of Dollars on other jewelry or watches?

    Many people believe “normal people” are not able to buy a new Rolex at list price any more. They sometimes think this is due to the fact that you can only buy a new Rolex steel sports model at list price after you have spend thousands of Dollars on other jewelry or watches that are not in high demand and are catching dust in the authorized dealers shop. These stories find us as well and could have happened, although I have to admit I have never met somebody in the flesh that was specifically requested to buy other stuff and were granted a new Rolex sports model. So I’m not sending this statement to the land of the myths directly, but I’m also sure this is not the way to do it. And on top of that, not the way I did it.elleb

    What about not having the high executive network with the authorized dealer?

    You cannot deny a good network will get you in good places at life. But nobody is born with an extensive network. And although high family connections will help you in getting some strong connections more easy, anyone can build a network of highly placed influential people. When my journey on getting my first Rolex at list price started, I knew not even one person at one of the authorized dealers in Amsterdam. Literally, no one. So you are not required to have one either. But if you do, you should leverage it to get a proper introduction to watches and the salesmen at an authorized dealer.

    So where do you start?

    The first couple of steps are the most difficult. You might have heard about Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe or maybe you even know about gilt and glossy dials and can name some reference numbers by heart. It doesn’t matter where you are now. Just starting with reading about luxury watches? Great! There is a lot to explore. Just browse on the internet, read blogs, subscribe to Hodinkee.com, Fratellowatches.com or Craft + Tailored and start watching videos about watches on YouTube. Consume information about watches the way you like it the most. Podcasts by Hodinkee are great to listen to. And one of the best ways to get started on YouTube is watching the “Talking Watches” videos posted by Hodinkee. It contains all types of watch collecting and a lot of great stories about people we know such as John Mayer but also legends in the haute horology such as Jean-Claude Biver and John Goldberger. When I started watching these in 2013 I didn’t know these men were so defining for the luxury market we know today. Try to first distinguish for yourself which watches you like the most aesthetically and what attracts you to watches overall. It is not required to be directly known with reference numbers by heart, names of complications or the special parts of a specific movement. Passion in watches and knowing what you like is the most important first step.

    Go to authorized dealers (!)

    Just go to authorized dealers close to you and be creative. Not everyone lives close to an authorized dealer, but all of you have either family relatives, an annual vacation or a shopping place or city where you go to every now and then. Just do research on Google Maps in all of these spots and check if there are any Rolex authorized dealers. Whenever you have the opportunity (and don’t be lazy, sometimes you have to create an opportunity) go there. Just enjoy looking at the watches and actively talk to salesmen that approach you. Talk to them about your passion for watches and just ask if they have certain models on stock or display. Feel free to try on some watches and talk about them. It can be uncomfortable at the beginning, that was my experience as well, but nowadays it feels like a fun trip. Equal to going to the cinema’s or theaters. It could drive your spouse crazy – it certainly drives my girlfriend crazy sometimes- but the more often you visit them the more your face becomes familiar for them and they will believe you are there for the passion and not to get on the waiting list and make some profit in the end. To be honest, this shouldn’t be your goal either way. I sometimes hop in an authorized dealer whenever the chance is there and I try to go at least once every 2-3 months to my favorite authorized dealer here in Amsterdam. Enjoy the exploration of watches at the authorized dealer and build a relationship with one of the sales representatives you have a good connection with.

    Go to watch events

    In many cities watch enthusiast organize events and get together on watch talking evenings. It is not (always) requested to have a luxury watch yourself. The only requirement is a passion for wristwatches. You can find events and get togethers via forums. Also many authorized dealers organize events related to watches or other jewelry. A strong recommendation is only to go to events or get togethers that correspond with your passion and interests. Going to stone jewelry events when you have no passion or connection with it at all, will not proof to be a place to find new relations and people with a shared passion. In addition to trying on different timepieces, you will find companions with the same passion. I find these events extremely amusing and they have been a great place to find friends and new relationships which can open doors towards the industry. Many vintage watch shops are also organizing events and can be a great place to find new relationships and gain knowledge of watches.

    Go to vintage watch shops

    This blog is about getting a new Rolex at list price and these are (almost) never to be found at a vintage watch shop, but nevertheless vintage watch pieces carry a great part of the history of the new Rolex sports models. Say you want to buy a Rolex Sea-dweller reference 126600. Production for Rolex Sea-dwellers started in 1967 with the reference 1665 and have innovated since then in a great way. Where it for example started with a water resistant depth of 610 meters in 1967 it doubled to 1.220 meters in their newest model. Learning about these facts will certainly get you more aspired to get this watch and it will help you in selling your eagerness for the watch to your authorized dealer. “Reference points” videos offered by Hodinkee.com on YouTube are also a great way to learn about the Rolex Sea-Dweller, Rolex Submariner or Rolex GMT history and are great fun to watch. Keep in touch with your vintage watch shop and feel free to ask them actively if they have any events or get togethers. You might not get invited directly, but when they recognize the passion you have for watches – you will for sure be invited.

    In case you do decide to buy a pre-owned Rolex, be sure to check out our blog about how to buy a pre-owned Rolex.

    Rolex Submariner 2018 116610LN
    The Rolex Submariner 116610LN bought in May 2018.

    Be top of mind not top of the waiting list

    Some authorized dealers still work with waiting lists, although I recognize there is a shift going on in the market. People who are subscribing to the waiting list are many times people that just hop in and directly want to be on the waiting list or leverage on their network with highly placed people at authorized dealers. Pieces sold to these people tend to end on the secondary market, unworn and only bought from the authorized dealer to make a profit. Many authorized dealers are therefore discontinuing waiting lists as these seem not be effective to keep out gold seekers (i.e. people who want to make a profit of the high demand on new Rolex sports models). Authorized dealers do not want new Rolex sport models they issued to, quickly after selling it themselves, appear on the grey market including a high premium on the sales price. I’ve heard Rolex is actively monitoring new Rolex models coming available on Chrono24 or eBay and actively warn authorized dealers about it. So what authorized dealers are doing more and more, is vetting the person they are selling it to. They want to know if you have a real passion for watches and you are not in it for a quick buck. Going to the authorized dealer on a consistent basis, gaining knowledge over time about watches and build a relationship with your authorized dealer will show them you are the real deal. I’ve build a very strong relationship with my favorite authorized dealer (specifically one person) who knew my passion was the strongest for a Rolex Submariner with date function. One day he said to me he would do “his best” to get his hands on one in the near future and would let me know when he did. He knew my brother (although less involved in building the relationship) was also passionate for a new Rolex Submariner no date and confirmed me he would do his best for him as well. Only 7 weeks later he called me to say he had 2 new Rolex Submariners and me and my brother picked it up that afternoon.

    Put in the effort!

    As you can read, this new Rolex at list price will not come easy to you. You have to put in the work, but you will like it. It feels like a stretch to get started, but as with a lot of other things in life, that is the hardest part. Just buying a (nearly) new Rolex sports model is an option as well, but be careful. When it seems too good to be true, it definitely is. In case you can’t wait and want to buy that Rolex right away, Relleb.com is the only company out there providing certainty over authenticity. And if you are new to the game, don’t let your first buy be a horrible experience. See www.relleb.com for more details and good luck!

    Other relevant blogs:

    How we authenticate a Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV

    The Rolex serial number check explained and exposed

    Our experiences buying multiple Rolex watches on Chrono24

    Real Rolex versus expensive fake Rolex

    If you have any remaining questions, or if you want to get in touch so we can help you safely purchase a watch, then feel free to reach out through the contact form below!

    Written by

    Kenny Vaes, watch enthusiast, co-owner of Relleb

    Last updated December 10, 2022

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