CORDER’S COLUMN: Why Authorised Dealers Are Giddy With Excitement About The Rolex Pre-owned Watch Programme

WATCHPRO co-founder Rob Corder.

Details of how Rolex’s certified pre-owned (CPO) programme will be rolled out beyond the current pilot with Bucherer in Europe are still under wraps, but one fresh information has emerged from an on-the-record interview with an authorised dealer, who tells WATCHPRO that all watches will first be serviced by the retailer (if qualified to do so), and only then sent to Rolex for certification and the issuance of their new two year warranty.

This is not a surprise. ADs have been investing heavily in workshop space and equipment in preparation for the roll out, as we have reported for the likes of Laings, Prestons, Bucherer, Watches of Switzerland and many others.

And there has been a frenzy of recruiting and training of Rolex-certified watchmakers.

A little more details was shared with WATCHPRO this morning, with a spokesperson explaining the CPO process thus:

“Rolex agrees to take in a watch sent to it by one of its Official Retailers that the retailer has bought in the pre-owned marketplace.

“The watch in question must be at least three years old.

“Rolex will then authenticate it before carrying out servicing (or not, depending on the watch’s authenticity and ‘state’); in some cases, the servicing may also be done by the Official Retailer if they have an Rolex Authorised Service Centre.

“At the end of these various steps, the retailer will then be able to sell the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned watch.

“The watch will be covered by a new two-year international guarantee, valid from the date of sale to an end customer at the boutique.”

This division of labour when it comes to servicing makes sense because the volume of watches likely to be feeding into the Rolex CPO pipeline is expected to be enormous.

Authorised dealers are licking their lips at the thought of customers using older watches like cash that can be used to buy new watches.

Rolex cpo cardiff workshop 15
Laings’ Rolex Authorised Service Centre in Cardiff.

Rolex cpo cardiff workshop 13And there are literally tens of millions of Rolex watches out in the world that could be changing hands through authorised channels in the future.

Until now, all those watches have been handled by secondary market specialists, who are putting a brave face on developments, but ought to be seriously concerned at the risk their Rolex trading will dry up.

As the CPO Rolex market matures, it is expected to behave much like the new and used car market, where people view their vehicles as a store of value that can be put towards the next shiny model they want to drive off the lot.

Rolex cpo rolex certified pre owned watch tag
I predict that most customers will happily pay a premium for the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned tags and the Rolex-issued guarantee, and that means shopping at an authorised dealer.

A major difference is that a Rolex watch holds its value a great deal better than a used car because they can be brought back to near mint condition with the right refurbishment.

So, while the cost of servicing each watch before it is sent to Rolex for certification will be borne by the authorised dealer, the CPO programme presents them with two winning opportunities: first to sell a new watch to somebody using a pre-owned piece as a deposit, and secondly to sell the watches that have been certified and guaranteed by Rolex to another customer.

Small wonder they are all giddy with excitement, even though they are still waiting to see how the plan evolves, and are desperate to hear more while at Watches and Wonders next month.

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