As a watch dealer I have my finger on the pulse of secondary market prices for both vintage and modern pieces. From 2020-2021 the prices for modern Rolex and Patek Phillipe went ballistic. Prices were rising daily. Stainless Steel Daytona’s which retail for $14,000 were selling for $50,000 in the secondary market. Everyone knew these prices were unsustainable, but no one knew when the correction would come.
COVID-19 coupled with a rally in the stock market and real estate fueled unsustainable price increases over the last two years. In March 2022, Rolex decided enough was enough and released a huge number of modern pieces back into the marketplace. In addition, after Russia invaded Ukraine, Rolex stopped shipping to Russia and diverted all of the watches destined for that marketplace to the rest of the world.
Eric Brahms, President of MAE Capital, LLC, said in a statement, “What has happened in just one month is astounding. Prices for modern Rolex has fallen 20-25% across the board. Dealers are now buying/selling watches at prices not seen since December of 2021. Liquidity is gone. Dealers are no longer buying every piece they can get their hands on, they are not buying much at all. Everyone is scared to stock any watches for fear that the prices next week will be 10% lower and they don’t want to get stuck with inventory.”
This is a good thing for everybody, especially consumers looking to buy and own. The misconception is that when a dealer sells a $14,000 Daytona for $50,000 that the dealer is making a killing. The truth is that the customer who buys the watch from their local AD for $14,000 and flips it for $45,000 to the secondary dealer is the one making the killing. Secondary dealers work off of 10% margins, so the spread remains the same for us regardless of what the market establishes the value to be.