Rolex has announced a program that is certain to add yet another layer to their business model which can only improve their overall business.
From next year, Rolex will offer a certified pre-owned watch program, rolling out initially with their Authorised Dealers, Bucherer boutiques inside Switzerland. However, expect this to roll out to most AD's at a cracking pace if the venture proves to be successful.
The program offers certification, a guarantee of authenticity, and a two-year warranty on its watches. This is the first time Rolex has acknowledged the significant presence of a secondary market for its watches as the program now enables retailers in the brand’s official network to control the distribution and second-hand market.
Why now? Well the program will effectively deal in Rolex into its own secondary or grey market. In order to qualify for the program the watch must be three years old and it might be seen as a great way to get an in with an AD and work your way up to a coveted GMT, Submariner or Daytona!
There is no certainty around pricing for these watches, but expect them to trade at close to or even above Retail, consistent with the secondary market at present. With Rolex set to make a pretty penny on the authorised servicing of the watches that must happen prior to any of these "trade-in" watches being sold under their new Certification process. The whole process can be likened to the car second hand market or a BMW "Full-Circle" program.
What this will also most likely not do is flood the market with Rolex steel sport watches and whilst walking into a retailer and purchasing a second-hand Rolex is not a new thing, being able to purchase a second-hand rolex certified by Rolex and including a warranty is entirely a game changer.