The dark years of watchmaking seem far away. Many will remember that precise historical moment, when mechanical watches lost their appeal and the watch industry was put on its knees, with the arrival from Japan of the much more precise and less expensive quartz movements. Timepiece lovers today experience an opposite drama: the growing desire for these fascinating time machines, available in limited quantities, in some cases very limited.

Specifically, it is not difficult to see the disappointment of the now 'potential' Rolex customers who for some years have had to deal with an increasingly small delivery of crowned watches – especially professional steel watches – to dealers, with the inevitable consequence of an exponential increase in prices at the sellers of second-hand watches, the so-called Resellers.

This worldwide policy implemented by the Geneva-based maison was initiated at first with the introduction of the new Daytona Cosmograph reference 116500LN and then involve almost all the sports models of the house crowned by the GMT-MASTER II – now unreginable – up to the SUBMARINER (unthinkable until a few years ago).

A strategically perfect move for Rolex, which in the first place increased – without needing it – the perceived value of the brand and its timepieces. Secondly, it has given a great gift to the already Rolex owners and customers: during these 10 years, accomplices also other factors see the growth of the Chinese market and the other BRICS countries that have driven the watch market, the price of 'vintage' and contemporary timepieces has skyrocketed. All this has strengthened the equation Rolex = Investment.
Because of these elements, owning a modern Rolex, current or recent production, has become a kind of privilege. For this reason, I do not think I exaggerate by saying that we are before an'Rolex fever’.

Which models to buy for a long-term investment among those currently in production?

If they ask me for advice on this, I would recommend to my interlocutor of go against the tide. Today everyone requires the same references, difficult to find if not at a price double that of sale. So unless you can buy a Daytona 116500LN at list price, or a GMT – Master 126710BLRO or BLNR, I'd say direct your attention to less in-demand and easier-to-find models at the moment.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600, introduced for the 50th anniversary, is one of the references to focus on. At present it is decidedly under-estimated and under-requested compared to others, therefore easily available. It must also be borne in the way that this is acelebratory edition - complete with red writing – and probably won't stay in production for long. Two elements not to be underestimated.

The Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Blue Z dial. In production since 2007, it is a watch with a strong personality: the blue dial with orange spheres and indices, the green sapphire glass, make it a highly recognizable model. Precisely because of its out-of-the-box configuration of the Rolex maison, it is a reference that arouses conflicting opinions. From an investment point of view, I wouldn't miss it. Underrated and 'easily' available from dealers. A bet that could pay off in the future.

Which references among those out of production?

Given that most of the 'vintage' or out-of-production Rolexes have already reached mind-boggling figures – just think of the Daytona 'Zenith' 16520 – or at least easily above 10k, there are some models that are still on the launch pad.

Worthy heir to theExplorer 1016, the Rolex Explorer 14270 it is the first Explorer reference to mount sapphire glass, as well as being equipped with the Rolex Caliber 3000 movement. If you are lucky enough to find it complete with a kit and perhaps with a nice dial from the turned tritium, you are still in time to buy it at an un exaggeration – between 5k and 6k – and destined to rise.

Estimate of the market value (€) of the Rolex 14270 from June 2009 to September 2019
(source Chrono24)

Same goes for the Submariner 14060, also the first among the undated Submariners to mount sapphire crystal and heir to the legendary 5513. Buy it possibly complete with kit and tritium dial, therefore produced before 1999. For a year now its value has been steadily increasing , ergo: carpe diem!

Estimate of the market value (€) of the Rolex 14060 from June 2009 to September 2019
(source Chrono24)

Beware of business cycles

Of course, what has been said is bound to change depending on the development of the global economy. No one can predict whether, perhaps in the face of an economic shock or a downturn, vintage prices will fall and how much. History has so far taught us that even in lean periods, Rolex watches, not all of which need to be said, have maintained its value or at least never went below the purchase price.

Also for these reasons, It is not certain that Rolex's policy on the distribution of watches currently in production can change in the face of particular events involving a decrease in demand.