Expert authentication of Rolex
Expert authentication of Rolex

A Guide to Rolex: Shopping, Selling & Authentication


With over a century of history and innovation, Rolex is among the world’s most renowned luxury houses. It’s also consistently our best-selling watch brand, with demand still on the rise: searches for Rolex are up 17% since last year.

Whether you’re a watch aficionado or a newbie collector, here’s everything you need to know about shopping, selling, and authenticating a Rolex timepiece. 

The RealReal watch authenticator Amy Tam

How to Shop For a Rolex Watch on The RealReal

“When choosing a watch, it’s always best to get the highest quality you can within your price range,” says Amy Tam, The RealReal’s Senior Technical Manager, Watches. “Make sure the condition of the dial, the hands, and the case is the best possible for its age.” On the RealReal, each watch is given a condition grade from zero to four, with four being good condition and zero being mint condition. 

“It’s important to remember when you’re selecting your first watch that you’re not just buying the watch, but you’re also buying the seller,” Tam says. “And at The RealReal, we authenticate before we list our watches.”


Three Rolex Watches to Know

Rolex Datejust

“When you choose Rolex as your first watch, you’re also choosing a certain standard,” Tam notes. Our #1 selling watch is what Tam describes as a “great starter watch,” thanks to its relatively low price point, robust movement, and high quality. Due to high demand, it also retains value well, especially if kept in solid condition. 

Rolex Submariner

“For me, a natural upgrade from the Datejust would be the Submariner,” Tam says. It’s an iconic sport watch, and one of the first diving watches ever created, able to keep track of time spent underwater with its unidirectional bezel. Submariners are in limited supply, so if you’re looking to score one, be sure to create a saved search so you don’t miss out. 

Rolex Daytona

“Daytonas are highly desirable because they’re very limited. You’re not going to find a lot of Daytonas out there and especially not steel models, which are the most desirable,” Tam explains. Part of the demand comes from the fact that Daytona is the only chronograph watch Rolex makes, meaning it can calculate elapsed times, similar to a stopwatch. 

Rolex watches

Authenticating a Rolex Watch

“Our Watch Lab experts are professionals from the watchmaking industry, many of whom have worked in the factories of the brands we carry,” says Tam. “They also have access to the same state-of-art equipment you’d find in a top Swiss service center.”

Here’s what they do when authenticating a Rolex:

Step 1: Begin by examining the watch’s exterior components: the crystal, the dial, the hands, the bezel, the crown, and the bracelet, ensuring all are in keeping with Rolex’s manufacturing standards. 

Step 2: Open the watch and ensure the movement components, case back, and any inside components are accurate to the manufacturer. 

Step 3: Proceed by testing the watch with proprietary equipment to make sure the quality and function is as it should be. 

Rolex watches

Selling a Rolex Watch on The RealReal

A Rolex not only retains value, but often increases in value. So when you’re ready to upgrade, you can upgrade with The RealReal. “We are a community of buyers, sellers, and collectors. We have millions of people who want what you want to sell,” says Tam. “And, collectively, our experts have hundreds of years of experience authenticating, pricing, and earning you the most every time you sell.”

If you’re curious how much you could earn for a Rolex or other luxury watch, you can make an in-person or virtual appointment with one of our luxury experts to get a price valuation. Rolex watches are in high demand, so yours is likely to sell within 30 days. 


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