Rolex unveiled its certified pre-owned watch programme last week with Bucherer showrooms in Europe chosen to pilot the project before a broader roll out next year.
Every watch sold through Bucherer has to be at least three years old.
They all pass through Rolex’s service department to be authenticated, refurbished and serviced to pretty much mint condition.
They are tested for accuracy and reliability before being professionally photographed and put back on sale either online or in store with Bucherer, or other authorised dealers in the future.
They even get fresh tags and new packaging provided by Rolex.
The question now is, how much would customers be prepared to pay for the peace of mind, impeccable refinishing, authorised dealer experience, and potential upside from an investment point of view?
Chrono24’s CEO Tim Stracke is pondering the same question.
“We expect a 15-25% price premium [for Rolex CPO watches] versus a comparable Chrono24 offer. Would you be willing to pay that?” he asked on the day Rolex made the announcement?
WATCHPRO decided to get an answer by creating an online poll on LinkedIn, and the early signs are that customers are sensitive to prices and unlikely to pay a significant premium for the Rolex CPO service.
With 193 votes in, 42% of respondents say they would pay no more than market prices on platforms like Chrono24 while 45% would pay a 10% premium.
Only 14% would pay 20% or more over market prices.
It isn’t straightforward to directly compare prices for identical watches on Bucherer.com and Chrono24 because Bucherer does not say what year its listed CPO watches were made or sold.
But a high volume watch like a 40mm Rolex Hulk Submariner with date (ref. 116610) Bucherer, with ceramic bezel (the model before the 41mm pieces were introduced) is on sale at Bucherer.com for £23,500.
A new and unworn version of the same watch, made in 2010 and sold with a full set of box and papers is listed on Chrono24 for £19,074, including delivery.
That is roughly a 25% premium.