Why are Rolex watches so expensive?


Anyone who has ever thought about buying a Rolex watch knows: these are luxury watches whose price can quickly reach almost unimaginable heights, depending on the model. But what exactly makes a Rolex a luxury item? Why are Rolex watches so expensive? In the following article, we'll shed some light on the reasons behind Rolex prices and take a look at what factors influence them.

History of Rolex

We start with a short journey through the history of the Rolex brand.

Development and innovations of Rolex watches

Originally, the Rolex watch manufacture was mainly known for feature-rich watches that were considered more utilitarian than luxury timepieces. Even then, the brand's watches weren't dirt cheap, but they were still significantly more affordable than they are today. The change began in the 1980s: Quartz was struggling as a commodity, and so the image the public had of mechanical watches changed permanently. Rolex gradually established itself as a luxury brand around the world and became a symbol of classic watchmaking.

Significance of Rolex watches in history

The success of Rolex today is based on decades of constant development and optimization. The manufacturer's claim has always been to present truly exceptional watches that stand out from the crowd in terms of quality, complications, precision and design. Rolex has succeeded in this with numerous models and collections: Just think of the Submariner, the GMT Master II, the Explorer or the "Paul Newman" Daytona - all watches that made history.

Production of Rolex watches

If you want to get to the bottom of why Rolex is so expensive, you have to take a closer look at the production of the Swiss watch manufacturer.

Materials and Quality

When it comes to materials, Rolex makes no compromises. Each luxury watch is made from materials of the highest quality, with 904L steel being used first and foremost. While many other manufacturers rely on 316L steel, which is also of high quality but not nearly as high, the 904L steel preferred by Rolex makes the watches particularly hard and shiny - but also higher in price. In addition, dials made of white gold, numbers made of platinum and other luxurious elements make the selling price of the items skyrocket.

If you become the proud owner of a Rolex watch, you can rely on the best quality. Because: Every single timepiece is manually inspected with the utmost precision before it goes on sale. The deviation tolerance is extremely low. Any watch that is not 100% perfect in any respect is sorted out. Even the melting down of the precious metals from which Rolex watches are made is specifically controlled by the Swiss company. This allows Rolex to ensure the highest quality standards, which also contribute to Rolex being so expensive.

Craftsmanship and labor

In terms of watchmaking, each Rolex watch is a masterpiece that is second to none. Each of the watches is composed of numerous small filigree parts, and the completion is mostly done by hand. It goes without saying that this involves an immense amount of work. From the start of production to the moment the models are launched on the market, many hours of work are invested, resulting in a correspondingly proud price.

Technology and innovations

As a pioneer in the watch industry, Rolex is constantly working on technological innovations. The manufacturer's own research laboratory is constantly tinkering with improvement options for the models. As a result, Rolex watches set the example for top luxury watches around the world, with few rivals holding a candle to them in terms of functionality, design and craftsmanship.

Marketing and brand equity

As with all luxury brands, aspects around marketing and brand equity are reflected in the price of Rolex.

Pricing and exclusivity

There is probably not a collector or watch fan in the world who does not associate anything with the name Rolex and who would not wish to own a Rolex watch. The Swiss brand of luxury watches enjoys an impeccable reputation and many models have long since achieved the status of true icons. It's a basis on which Rolex can set the list price comparatively high for the 800,000 or so watches that find their way onto the market each year, without significantly deterring buyers.

One of the central reasons for the high Rolex prices is certainly due to exclusivity. Rolex watches are not thrown onto the market by the millions, but are only produced in limited numbers. This leads to the fact that it is perceived as something very special to be able to call a Rolex his own. Many a collector no longer even sees a price premium in the list price as something negative, but reacts with an approving nod. After all, Rolex watches are worth every penny. Something many brands can only dream of.

High demand

Which brings us to the market price. This refers to the price for which the watches change hands on the open market. It's no secret that it's not uncommon to pay many times the list price for a Rolex watch here. The reason is easily explained: demand far exceeds supply. Rolex "feeds" the market with significantly fewer watches than there are interested parties. This is especially true for strictly limited models and those whose popularity has been through the roof for years.

Due to the high demand, not every watch lover with purchasing power is lucky enough to get hold of a Rolex watch directly from the Swiss manufacturer. Then there is only one thing to do: You have to go to the free market, where Rolex watches are usually offered at a higher price.


Fact is: Rolex watches are pure luxury, which one must be able to afford. But if we ask ourselves what makes a watch of the manufacture such an exclusive luxury item, the search for answers leads us to versatile reasons, which explain the prices quite conclusively. Rolex is quite simply a name that the entire watch world knows and appreciates. The popular products of the Swiss watch giant know how to convince with unbeatable quality, finest materials and outstanding watchmaking art - a combination of positive attributes that is rarely found in this strength and expression.