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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Rolex will begin certifying used watches as genuine for the first time

Swiss brand Rolex will begin issuing certificates of authenticity to authorized dealers selling the brand’s used watches. This will give the company more control over its products and shake up the $20 billion used luxury watch market.

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The Swiss Bucherer dealer will be the first to sell vintage Rolex watches certified as authentic by the company in stores across Europe, according to the Rolex website. The remaining authorized Rolex dealers will be able to participate in the program in the spring of 2023. Rolex has said it will only certify watches that are at least three years old.

The move to authenticate your own second hand marks a significant shift for Rolex, whose timepieces dominate dealer and online sales. Deloitte predicts that the market for luxury vintage watches will grow to $35 billion by 2030.

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Previously, Rolex did not participate in the authentication or traceability of its products after they were sold by the dealer network. The program will also help protect against fakes. Unauthorized watch dealers who sell watches in person and online, as well as auction houses, will not be able to receive certificates.

Smaller competing brands such as Vacheron Constantin and Zenith sell certified watches in their boutiques, as do independent brands such as H. Moser & Cie and MB&F.

In some cases under the program, authorized dealers are likely to sell certified watches at higher prices than new retail ones. Models such as the Rolex Submariner, Daytona and GMT are usually sold at a premium as retail demand outstrips supply.

Morgan Stanley estimates that Rolex is the largest Swiss watch brand, producing about 1 million watches a year with annual sales of about 8 billion Swiss francs ($8.5 billion) and a market share close to 29%.

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