It’s official: 2020 begins with the list prices increase by Rolex, Tudor and Audemars Piguet.
In this relatively warm winter, a news was able to send shivers down the spine of collectors.
Let’s discover together what dictates this phenomenon and give a quick look to some models to have an idea of the different maisons’ increase.
Understanding the phenomenon
Over the years, we have seen a lot of price adjustments, so a list increase is certainly not a new event. But what drives the various manufacturers to raise their prices?
Historically, the first reason is inflation. Over history, the purchasing power of currencies has increased considerably, just think that in the 1930s a Rolex in steel costed 14 pounds… an 18-karat gold model just under 40!
Of course, a cup of tea couldn’t cost more than a few cents, while a Rolls Royce was up to 1000 pounds.
Inflation is certainly not behind the recent rise, as we have not seen any particular market changes compared to last year.
Another reason why manufacturers may have review upward their prices is the so-called ” resell market“.
A long waiting list often wants to be overcome, and to do so people are often willing to pay a premium. This mechanism is well known by “resellers”, individuals who resell their new watches at much higher prices to all those collectors who are not willing to wait their turn.
This phenomenon allowed us to find ourselves with inflated prices, even twice as much as the originals, for the most desired models… a.k.a. the ones with longer waiting lists.
And it wasn’t just us who noticed it, but also the maisons.
We can therefore easily understand the decision to raise their prices: if private individuals are able to resell a new watch for twice the original price, without providing the guarantees of the manufacturer at the same time, why should the manufacturer not do the same?
However, we would like to remind the maisons that at the basis of this phenomenon we find the long waiting lists, and therefore by shortening delivery times, many customers probably would no longer be willing to pay a premium.
Now limited to eurozone markets, the price increase does not follow a fixed percentage for all models.
If we look at the new Italian price list (prices will have different adjustments depending on the country and applied taxes), we are facing an increase between 2% and 10%, with an average around 7.5%.
The news is clearly not that bad for some.
Those who buy a Rolex have always had their investment in mind, with the certainty – almost mathematical – that at least it will maintain its value over time. If you recently bought a Rolex, maybe even just a month ago, your watch already had a value increase!
If your Rolex hasn’t arrived yet and you’re on the waiting list, this news won’t please you as much… access to the list unfortunately does not block the purchase price on the date you were entered, and the new price will therefore be applied at the time of delivery.
Let’s take a quick look at the first news coming from the new Rolex 2020 price list.
Oyster Perpetual 36
Although modest, the price tweaks was applied starting from the model at the base of the collection.
If until last month an investment of 5.000€ was enough to become part of the Rolex world, you now need 100 euros more (+2%), spending a total of 5.100€.
Most likely, this small adjustment will not deter you from joining the crowned family.
Explorer I and II
For both Explorers, destined to the top of the Everest, the summit of the price tag rises a little more.
In the case of the Explorer I, we went from a price of 6.050€ to the new price tag of 6.200€, an increase of +2.5%.
Greater the increase of the Explorer II, which with a +6% goes from an old price of 7.500€ to the new tag of 7.950€.
Submariner ref. 114060
To wear one of the most beloved models in history on our wrist, until a few days ago, we faced a price tag of 6.950€.
With the new year, the price for this model has risen to 7.550€, with an increase over 8%.
GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR
One of the most desired, for which the waiting list seem to never end, is definitely the new “Batman” Jubilee.
For those who joined the waiting list last year, it was expected to cost 8.600€. If it hasn’t arrived yet, you’ll need to be ready for a new price of 9.250€. Again, the increase is about +8%.
Daytona ref. 116500LN
The new Daytona with black ceramic bezel is undoubtedly a record holder: endless waiting lists and price increase above 9%. For the lucky ones who managed to get one by the end of 2019, the receipt was 11.550€, while for the new decade Rolex has a bill of 12.600€.
But there’s more…
Here is a short list of other models that have been adjusted in price:
- Yacht Master ref. 126655 (new price: 26.125€, +6.4%)
- GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR (new price: 14.200€, +8.5%)
- GMT-Master II ref. 126715CHNR (new price: 36.700€, +7.5%)
- Daytona ref. 116508 (new price: 35.100€, +8.7%)
- Daytona ref. 116509 (new price: 37.700€, +8%)
- Daytona ref. 116519LN (new price: 28.450€, +6.7%)
- Day-Date 40 ref. 228235 (new price: 37.600€, +7.4%)
- Air King ref. 116900 (new price: 6.150€, +6%)
While Tudor wanted to emphasize its autonomy over “mama” Rolex for a few years now, it has now followed her footsteps.
It looks like its “the year of 5” for Tudor. Price increases are in fact around 5% (even less…), but the international guarantee undergoes an extension that, for new models, reaches 5 years.
Black Bay Bronze
Introduced less than a year ago with a price tag of 3.860€, in less than 12 months the price was raised to 3.960€.
There are those who argue that the compromise is justified, being fine paying around 100€ more (2,5% ca) for a watch with three years of extra warranty.
Black Bay Chrono S&G
Also for this 2019 novelty, the price has already been raised by 150€ (2,3% ca) to get to 6.650€.
Again, a small increase in price that’s repaid by the extension of the guarantee for up to 5 years.
Even Audemars does not miss some adjustments upwards, confirming the tendency to start this new decade… uphill!
Royal Oak 15500ST
The classic 41mm blue-dial steel Royal Oak doesn’t change face, but it definitely changes the price…
From a starting price of 19.000€, we now move to 21.100€, an increase of about +11%.
Royal Oak 15202ST “Jumbo”
One of the most desired ever, Jumbo not only in size but also in charm. From the previous price of 25.500€, an increase of 1.100 euros (+4%) get us to a new price tag of 26.600€.
Royal Oak 26331ST
Until a few days ago, this watch was a bargain that many people mistakenly missed. A combo of the most desired features of the watch scene: Royal Oak + chronograph + steel & blue dial. All this for a more-than-honest price of 25.000€.
We hope that the price increase of 2.700 euros (current price: 27.700€, more than 10% raise) will bring to the light this magnificent watch that has not received the right dose of attention recently.
A new market?
What do you think of this year’s increases? Will they be enough to stop resell prices now reaching twice the price list? Will they discourage new buyers from signing up for waiting lists? Or are they going to feed the game that’s still alive?
Let us know in the comments!