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A Guide for the First-Time Rolex Buyer: A Show of Hands

April 30, 2014

BY Paul Altieri


We are enchanted with technological must-haves. A smart, sophisticated approach is the golden ticket to fashion nowadays. Less is more, and the traditionalists were right all along. Despite the many functions our must-haves serve – texting, calling, Googling, Liking – none compare to the signature craftsmanship expected of a genuine Rolex. Here is step one to your very first Rolex.

Rolex Sea Dweller - Bob's Watches

Getting a Sea-Dweller as a first watch is an excellent choice especially for the first time buyer.

The way we pace our chronological step says a lot about our personal aesthetic take on the times. Wristwatches have gone through evolutionary style changes in direct reflection of the ongoing fashion trends we see shifting every season, and their accessibility has never been easier now that retailers have the immediacy of the online marketplace at their whim. Luxury goods are now more readily available to the public than ever before, and the internet has made it possible for your everyday shopper to enhance their lifestyle with some of the most coveted timepieces in production. Additionally, the best part is buyers get genuine, authentic items from trusted and respected sellers who have a true appreciation for their merchandise and their customers. For Rolex admirers, new, used, pre-owned, and classic models that are affordably-priced can be in your hands through just a few easy clicks.  For those looking to sell a Rolex you will be happy to hear that you can get a good price for your used timepiece.

Daytona - Bob's Watches

A Rolex Daytona is a fine watch and a great watch for any collector.

Some people may argue that purchasing luxury goods online is not the safest route, but with some savvy shopping via insider tips up your sleeve, you can come out with a true gem.

Spotting a Fake

Fake vs. Real - Bob's Watches

Be sure to authenticate your watch and be sure that the Rolex you’re getting is certified.

Counterfeit Rolexes are a common thing in the luxury timepiece marketplace, so knowing how to spot a fake Rolex can save you money and a lot of embarrassment.

The following tips can help you separate a fugazi from a Rolex original:

    1. If the price is too good to be true, then your instincts are probably right.
    2. Consider your surroundings. If a Rolex is being offered to you in an alley, walk away.
    3. If you are having trouble viewing the magnified date, then it is most likely a fake.
    4. If it says “Oyster” on the dial, dunk the timepiece in question in water for a few seconds. When leakage is apparent, then the watch is not genuine since all Rolex Oyster perpetual watches are 100% waterproof.
    5. Check the model number online and verify it coincides with the metal. If the two do not match, you have a counterfeit.
    6. Rolex watches are designed to perfection, and that includes the writing. When any kinds of misspellings are spotted or the text is unclear, its authenticity is doubtful.
    7. Case backs on any genuine Rolex are not made of glass. With the exception of two extremely rare models from the 1930s, all modern Rolexes have steel case backs.
    8. Usually on the interior of the band of the watch, engravings showing the model and serial number can be found. After examining them with a magnifying glass, anything less than perfectly cut should be called into question.
    9. With special Rolex tools, you can take the case back off of the watch and examine its inner workings. The gears should be different colors, and the interior of the case back itself should include its origins (“Made In”), metal type, and model number.
    10. Listen closely to the watch. If loud ticking can be heard, then it is a definite fake. Replicating the perfection of a Rolex is nearly impossible, so imitation gears will not match up to the same high-quality standards of an original.

Download Our Free Guide on How To Spot A Fake Rolex at the bottom.

Deciding On a Model

rolex models - Bob's Watches

This is one of the hardest steps of the process.

Choosing which kind of Rolex model to buy is solely up to the purchaser, but a quick overview of the different Rolex lines is a great way to figure out which one speaks your stylistic language:

  • The Submariner is the classic model worn by the coolest of cool, Steve McQueen. It is a sport watch designed for true deep sea diving, but with the omnipresent Rolex flair.
  • The President is considered a classier, more elegant model that can perfectly accentuate any attire when impressions matter most.
  • The Rolex Datejust was originally introduced in 1945, and is considered a true mark of elegance that can be embraced by both him and her.
  • The Yacht-Master is a sleek, sporty statement perfectly matching adventure with elegance, and can come in either platinum or stainless steel finishes.
  • The Cosmograph Daytona is a solid, reliable, and classic timepiece perfectly blending the sport of racing with meticulous aesthetics in watchmaking craftsmanship.

These are just some of the models being offered by Rolex, but anyone curious about their reliability – or ability to engage onlookers – should not worry themselves. The mechanical ingenuity and sheer inventiveness the company has become famous for stands as a true testament to their peerless status, which is now a reflection of their loyal customers.

Where to Buy

bobs watches lobby - sell a rolex to get the best value

At the very least visit the brick and mortar store to get a sense if the place is trustworthy.

buying a rolex for the first time can be a scary process.

Let’s admit it. A Rolex is an investment where you do not want to go wrong. NEVER trust Craigslist or eBay.

Since some consider a Rolex purchase to be a big one, approaching the market with a trained eye is the absolute best way to make such an investment. Pre-owned and used models should be considered on the first purchase, and in time one can eventually discover which model suits them best and buy a newer version.

An Explorer from Bob's Watches is commonly a First Rolex for many people.

The unfortunate truth is that people will attempt to scam you, so be sure to do your research.

Try and avoid questionable online outlets like Craigslist or eBay when conducting business in the realm of Rolex’s. There are a lot of people out there with less than honest ideas on their minds, so make sure to buy from a trusted and reliable retailer who is willing to help you get the most out of your buck with genuine products that are happy to authenticate for you. In addition, if a company offers warranty options and reasonable return policy is available, you can most likely trust them. These companies know full well how valuable their merchandise is, and should go out of their way to accommodate anyone willing to make such an investment.

Taking that initial plunge and buying your first Rolex is indeed a big step. Knowing what to look out for and gaining better insight on what flaws constitute fakes is a great way to ensure you know where your money is going.

Anyone considering a Rolex purchase should be asking a number of questions – and rightly so.

The following FAQ’s represent a sampling of common inquiries for first-time Rolex buyers:

How can I get the most value out of my first Rolex purchase?
Buying a used Rolex is not like buying a used car. While vehicles may depreciate over time, Rolexes generally sustain and increase in value as time passes by.  First-time purchasers would be wise to consider buying a used or pre-owned model on their first go around.

If my Rolex purchase is not satisfactory, is there a return policy?
Any pre-owned watch purchased from us, with the exception of vintage models, can be returned as long as the piece is in the same condition sold and has the boxes, papers, books, and accessories included.  Notify us of your intent to return the item(s) immediately.  Watches must be returned within three (3) calendar days from the initial purchase.  This applies solely to online purchases.  All in-store and international sales are final.

What should I do if my Rolex breaks, stops working, or is damaged?
We offer customers a one year warranty on all Rolex watches, so if the timepiece in question happens to break, is damaged, or shows defective signs of any kind, simply send it back for restoration and we will fix the problem(s).

Is it safe to ship a Rolex?
Upon receipt of your order and verified approval from the credit card company, all purchases made before 2pm PST will be shipped on the next business day.  All domestic orders are over-nighted via FedEx and are fully insured with no charge to the customer whatsoever.

How exactly do Rolex’s keep time?
With the rare exception of ladies and gents models in the Cellini Collection, almost all Rolex’s are self-winding through daily wrist movements from the wearer.  This energy is translated into the actual mechanisms of the watch, which causes the rotor within the casing to pivot and thus move the hands of the watch.

Is my Rolex waterproof?
All Rolex watches can withstand water at depths of at least 100m.  The Rolex Deep Sea Challenge, meanwhile, was recently descended 10,908 meters into the deepest point of the world’s oceans and proved its precision the entire time.



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