Is There Such a Thing as a Cheap Rolex?

December 07, 2016

While most would not admit to it, there is a large number of people searching for cheap Rolex watches online every month. I have covered the topic in posts about the cheapest Rolex model available and recommended that those looking for a timepiece priced under $5,000 US check out Tudor, the watchmaker's sister company. However, if you have your heart set on a Rolex and don't mind buying one on the gray market, there are a few models that you can find to fit your budget. 

Rolex Explorer II (photo: Rolex)
Affordable Pre-Owned Models
If you are looking for affordability when it comes to your Rolex purchase, you should take a look at pre-owned models. There isn't a large selection of model configurations prices below $5,000, but you can find a few stainless steel options. The photo above shows the Rolex Explorer II, a model that you can find pre-owned priced between $4,000 and $5,000. The Explorer I is also usually available pre-owned for as low as $3,500 in some cases. You can find a stainless steel Submariner for just under 5k, but the most common model at this price point - and lower - in the gray market is the Datejust.

Where to Look
There are a few different ways to find pre-owned Rolex watches priced to sell. Rolex Forums has a classifieds section where sellers post watches for sale. The benefit of going that route is that you can vet the seller with forum members on the general information forum before making the purchase. There is also WatchRecon, a site that aggregates sale posts from Rolex Forums and other watch sites like WatchNet and Watchuseek. If you or someone you know has a relationship with a brick and mortar jeweler or watch dealer, that may also be a good place to look. Dealers often need to move inventory and you can come across a good deal if you are patient and persistent.

What to Look For
When shopping for a pre-owned Rolex, regardless of where, you should be scrupulous with who you deal with. If you find a timepiece priced well below market, it may be a fake, a scam or a misrepresentation. Finding a reputable dealer or seller is the first step. Once you are comfortable with who you are dealing with, make sure that the watch you are looking at is represented accurately. I have seen instances where someone was presented photos of one watch and sent another after the deal was done. If you are going to spend thousands on an item, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for detailed information, including photos and documentation. Many buyers are fine with buying a pre-owned watch without the original paperwork, but that requires a trust in the seller and authenticity of the piece.

Anyone who has worked hard for their money would say that there is no such thing as a cheap Rolex. Sure, you can find some models at a discount if you look hard enough, but that doesn't make them cheap. Even the pre-owned models I mentioned above go for more than many people make in an entire month. With that being said, there are still ways to get a good deal on a Rolex if you shop smart. For more information on any of these watches, visit the Rolex Models page or


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