The world of luxury watches has been upended over the last few years as demand for Rolexes has well outstripped the supply. The result has been dramatic wait times. In fact, in some cases, even getting on a waitlist is near to impossible. If you manage it, though, you might wait years for the model you want. So what can you do? Many people choose to purchase a Rolex on the secondary market, what has been referred to as the grey market.
What Is the Grey Market?
The idea behind this foolish name is that there is a “black market” in Rolex watches and a “white market” in Rolex watches. The grey market falls in between. It’s a terrible name and really designed to prevent consumers from feeling comfortable spending their own money as they wish. This market has been around for all of human existence. If you have ever purchased an item at a yard sale or bought vintage clothing or anything at a thrift store, you’re been involved in a so-called grey market. Have you ever bought a pre-owned car? That’s the same thing as well. Doesn’t sound as nice when you call it by a name designed to keep you doing what best profits the authorized car dealerships, clothing boutiques or, in this case, authorized Rolex dealers.
What Is the Current Grey Market Status?
For many years, the secondary Rolex market involved selling vintage models. This was because authorized dealers could, for the most part, keep up with the demand for new models. However, in the last few years, the market for new Rolex models has dramatically gown, a perfect storm creating this voracious appetite. As a result, there are now enormous waitlists. Because some people who handle the wait choose to sell their purchase to a dealer on the secondary market, the laws of supply and demand are making new model prices skyrocket. Naturally, the rapidly increasing prices attract more attention, increasing demand even more.
Can I Buy Safely from the Grey Market?
Authorized dealers are required to sell at or near the manufacturer’s retail price. They would rather hold onto customers and make them wait on waitlists than that the customers had other alternatives. Because Rolex is not increasing production anytime soon, buying on the secondary market may be the only wat to get certain models. You can expect to pay far above retail cost for a new Submariner or a new Oyster Perpetual but there is far more the secondary market has to offer. Most people who sell pre-owned Rolexes do so as part of their regular business. You might buy from a jeweler or a high end boutique. You might buy from an establishment that sells coins and bullion. You might buy online from companies designed to sell pre-owned watches.
If you buy a Rolex in the secondary market, from a trustworthy pre-owned Rolex seller, you’re as safe as you would be making any legal purchase anywhere. If possible, buy with the original paperwork and make sure you save your receipts, something you should do if you’re buying from an official authorized dealer, too.