How Rolex is changing the second hand watch market

Rolex made a surprising U-turn this week by releasing novelties after announcing that it wouldn’t be doing so this year. Releasing new models means discontinuations, which transforms the second hand market almost overnight. Co-founder of The Watch Exchange London, Arfan Mohammed, explains the impact and predicts the next phase of collectors items:

“The decision by Rolex to alter the size of its flagship sports model, the Submariner, is a significant one and indicates that the world leading brand is looking to shake things up. Not only has the Submariner been given a new, better movement with a 70-hour power reserve, it now has a larger 41mm case with narrower, more elegant lugs. These fresh aesthetics increase the sophistication of what was once their golden standard timepiece.

All of the popular 40mm timepieces such as the Hulk, Smurf, Bluesy, regular black no-date and even the black date are no more, replaced by a new movement and updated case. The more desirable of these models will now skyrocket in value.


The Hulk, for example, has already begun to trade for upwards of £20,000 and we’re just seeing the start of its meteoric rise. Traditionalists are likely to stay loyal to the 40mm mark and this will inevitably see an increase in prices. The Smurf may well become an example of a seemingly unpopular model experiencing a surge in demand thanks to its discontinuation.

In another surprising change, the 39mm Oyster Perpetual has been upgraded to 41mm, despite it being a challenge to purchase at retail. The new 70-hour power reserve means this model now has a better movement than the Explorer 1, Air-King and Milgauss. We will likely see the OP39 increase in value as people seek the wearability of the smaller timepiece. This, combined with the fact that the current OP41 comes only with a black and silver dial means the old OP39 grape, white, blue and rhodium will likely experience an increase in popularity.

Given this seemingly strange move to preserve the integrity of the OP family as a modern watch, it is no surprise that Rolex has also released a whole host of new colours. Available in black, silver, yellow, blue, green, turquoise and coral red, the new OP is one of the most vibrant collections Rolex has ever released. It is a clear call back to the rare and highly sought after Stella dials that Rolex is famed for producing.”

To find out more about The Watch Exchange London, visit www.watchexchangelondon.co.uk