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Rolex’s Best Selling Model Is Also The Most Undervalued

Paul Altieri

Ask a Rolex enthusiast what they think is Rolex’s most popular watch model and they’ll likely reply “Submariner.” Nope, it is the Lady-Datejust. While Rolex does not divulge official production numbers or sales figures, there are credible sources out there that confirm that the Rolex Datejust watches for women outsell all the other Rolex models. If this is indeed true, then why is the Lady-Datejust one of the most undervalued Rolex models in the secondary market? Here are my thoughts on the matter.

Lady-Datejust
The Lady-Datejust is the quintessential Rolex women’s watch.

The Value of a Pre-Owned Rolex Lady-Datejust

If you shop for a pre-owned Lady-Datejust, you’ll be shocked (delighted?) to see how well-priced they are. It is not uncommon to find second-hand steel ladies Datejust watches well below $3,000, two-tone editions for under $4,000, and full gold versions for less than $6,000. Men’s versions are easily double that.

So if the ladies’ Rolex Datejust outsells other models at retail, why are they undervalued in the pre-owned market? I have a few theories about this. First, the Lady-Datejust is the best selling Rolex model at boutiques because it is the must-have ladies’ luxury watch out there. Seriously, aside from maybe Cartier, for a top-tier women’s watch, a Rolex is the one to own.

Subsequently, whether it’s a man buying his lady a nice watch or a lady buying herself a nice watch, opting for a Rolex Datejust is an easy choice. It is a status symbol; it has a classic design; it comes in a bevy of flavors; it lasts forever. Plus, women’s Rolex watches run on automatic movements, which is a much better proposition for some (like me) than buying expensive quartz-powered women’s luxury watches.

Lady-Datejust
The Rolex Lady-Datejust is available with a wide variety of different bezel styles, dials, bracelets and precious metals.

But what about the pre-owned ladies’ Rolex watch market? It’s no secret that men are typically more interested in mechanical watches than women. Generally, women have one or two go-to fine timepieces rather than a large collection. After all, women also have other luxury accessories to spend on like jewelry, purses, and shoes. Therefore, if interest in mechanical watches is more of a man’s hobby, it’s only natural that there is much more trading of second-hand men’s watches than second-hand women’s watches – thus, keeping the value of a pre-owned ladies’ Rolex Datejust on the lower end of the spectrum.

Also, this is just anecdotal evidence from my side, but from what I have witnessed, many women are happy to wear the same classic high-end watch for decades. If the women in your circles are anything like my friends and family, they’ve been wearing the same watch since an important graduation/wedding anniversary/birthday/job promotion milestone. So according to my observations, if someone buys/receives a new Rolex Lady-Datejust, she’d be happy to wear it for years and when she’s ready for another one, she’ll probably head to a boutique for a brand new model instead of looking at the secondary market for a pre-owned one.

Lady-Datejust
The Lady-Datejust is one of the most recognizable women’s watches of all time.

Relating to this, if a lady is interested in horology, she’ll quickly realize that ones categorized as “men’s watches” are more mechanically interesting (and oftentimes better designed) than those categorized as “women’s watches.” The only complication currently available among women’s Rolex watches is a date function! C’mon! There are no fun Rolex chronograph, GMT, day-date, or annual calendar complications specifically geared towards females in the Rolex lineup. But I digress; that’s a discussion for another day.

Lastly, the pre-owned market for luxury watches is heavily targeted towards men and oftentimes, women’s watches are simply an afterthought. Content, inventory, media, and forums revolved around the secondary watch market are all, without a doubt, male-orientated. Perhaps not enough women know that there’s an entire world of topnotch pre-owned watches out there waiting for them? On the other hand, flip through leading fashion magazines and you’ll spot plenty of advertisements showcasing shiny new women’s watches from the world’s best brands. Accordingly, if a woman is in the market for a very nice watch, then it’s safe to say that getting one from a boutique would be her first thought.

Regardless of whether my theories are dead wrong or spot on, what remains true is that Rolex Lady-Datejust watches are currently some of the most undervalued and underrated timepieces in the secondary watch market. And that is good news for those of us who love them.

Lady-Datejust
Which Rolex Datejust would you choose?
Paul Altieri

Celine is a luxury watch writer here for us at Bob's Watches who has enjoyed working in the horology industry for over ten years. Like many of the high-end timepieces she writes about, she comes from Switzerland—the heart of fine watchmaking. From Singapore to Montreal to Geneva to Dubai to Amman, Celine has lived all over the world but now calls the beaches of Southern California home.