The market sets the price on all merchandise including Rolex watches. As long as someone is willing to pay the asking price, there is no reason to reduce that price. The company sells every watch that they make and have a waiting list for some of their models of up to 2 years. The question might be: are they worth the price? Judging from the ones I have seen that are 50 to 60 years old and still running well, and are in good condition, my answer would be “yes".
Where should you buy your watch? Most watches are purchased from an Authorized dealer within the USA. Some Non-authorized jewelers will also sell you a new watch. However, you should be aware that the company frowns heavily on this practice and will likely not honor any warranty on these watches even though they are 100% genuine. If you purchase your Rolex outside the USA, you are permitted to hand-carry one watch back into the country. Bringing more than one is considered a Trademark violation and all watches will be taken by US customs. You should always check with US customs before bringing any watch into the USA from overseas. Purchasing a Rolex by mail from overseas is also a trademark violation.
Many consumers are turning to eBay to purchase their high end watches. Thousands of Rolex watches are sold on eBay every year, probably tens of thousands. However, if you're considering going this route you should take every precaution that you can and that is still no guarantee that you'll get what you pay for. eBay does a very poor job of policing the site for counterfeits. They say that it's not their job to verify every auction, and I think they could be right. The seller should provide you with the full serial number, model number, and any paper work that's available. You should see close-up pictures of the exact watch that is being sold, including close-ups of the serial number and model number that are engraved between the lugs at the 6:00 and the 12:00 position. Once you have all this information, take it to someone who is an expert in identifying the genuine product.
The only true way to determine if the watch is genuine is to take it to an authorized technician, and have him remove the case back and do a thorough examination of the movement and the bracelet. This can be time consuming and costly but is the only sure way.
Pricing is reasonably firm at all authorized dealers. The company puts a suggested retail price on every watch. This price is usually found on the tag along with the serial number of the watch. Most authorized dealers will give you a small discount on their watches although Rolex frowns on this practice also. Contrary to popular belief they do not put a 300% markup on their watches. Not even close. I won't reveal the exact markup, but suffice it to say that the actual markup does not allow for much discount at all and still leave a profit for the dealer.
After wearing your watch for a few years you might notice that it is gaining or losing time. This might indicate that it needs servicing. If it's only off a few seconds a day this should not be a major concern. However, if you notice that it is losing several minutes in a 24 hour period then it will need to be serviced. There are two schools of thought on when a Rolex should be serviced if it is running properly. Many collectors say every 2 to 3 years. Rolex says every 5 years. My personal thoughts are 6 to 7 years assuming that the watch has been running continuously since it was new. By that I mean that if over the years the watch was allowed to go un-worn for months at a time, without running, and then worn for a few months, and then un-worn once again. Wearing the watch in this manner can cause more problems than wearing it all the time.
Quoting From Rolex:
Quality, style, respect for a great watchmaking tradition… there is no shortage of reasons for wearing a Rolex; indeed, a Rolex watch would not be such a unique and coveted object of desire were it not the product of exceptional craftsmanship. What makes a Rolex so distinctive is the alliance of technology coupled with a unique philosophy. Pioneering spirit and the pursuit of perfection, qualities first embodied by the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, continue to the present day, and those personalities who represent the Rolex name in advertising are testimony to this Watchmaking perfection and an abiding philosophy… these are the reasons why you wear more than just a watch when you wear a Rolex.
James Greene is a Graduate Gemologist and Master Gemologist Appraiser currently doing appraisals in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has been in the jewelry and appraisal business for 27 years. http://www.diamondmarketwatch.com