The dark years of watchmaking seem distant. Many will remember that precise moment in history, when mechanical watches lost their appeal and the watch industry was brought to its knees, with the arrival of much more precise and less expensive quartz movements from Japan. Timepiece lovers today are experiencing an opposite drama: the growing desire for these fascinating time machines, available in limited quantities, in some cases very limited.

Specifically, it is not difficult to note the disappointment of the now 'potential' Rolex customers who for some years have had to deal with an increasingly limited delivery of crowned watches - especially professional steel - at dealerships, with the inevitable consequence of an exponential increase in prices among second-hand watch sellers, the so-called Resellers.

This worldwide policy implemented by the Geneva-based maison was initially initiated with the introduction of the new Daytona Cosmograph reference 116500LN to then involve almost all the sports models of the house crowned by the GMT-MASTER II - now unobtainable - up to the SUBMARINER (unthinkable until a few years ago).

A strategically perfect move for Rolex, which first and foremost increased - unnecessarily - the perceived value of the brand and its timepieces. Secondly, it has given a great gift to the already owners and customers of Rolex: over the course of these 10 years, also thanks to other factors such as the growth of the Chinese market and the other BRICS countries that have driven the watch market, the price of 'vintage' and contemporary timepieces are skyrocketing. All of this reinforced the equation Rolex = Investment.
Because of these elements, owning a modern Rolex, whether of current or recent production, has become something of a privilege. For this reason, I do not think I exaggerate by saying that we are faced with a 'Rolex fever'.

Which models to buy for a long-term investment among those currently in production?

If they ask me for advice on this, I would recommend to my interlocutor of go against the tide. Today everyone requires the same references, difficult to find if not at double the selling price. So unless you are able to buy a Daytona 116500LN at list price, or a GMT - Master 126710BLRO or BLNR, I would say to direct your attention to less requested and easier to find models at the moment.

Il Rolex Sea Dweller 126600, introduced for the 50th anniversary, is one of the references to focus on. At present it is definitely underestimated and in little demand compared to others, therefore easily available. Furthermore, it must be considered that it is acelebratory edition - complete with red writing - and probably it won't stay in production for long. Two elements not to be underestimated.

Il Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Blue Z dial. In production since 2007, it is a watch with a strong personality: the blue dial with orange spheres and indexes, the green sapphire crystal make it a highly recognizable model. Precisely because of this configuration outside the box of the Rolex maison, it is a reference that arouses conflicting opinions. From an investment perspective, I would not miss it. Underrated, it is easily found at dealerships. A bet that could pay off in the future.

Which references among those out of production?

Given that most of the 'vintage' or discontinued Rolexes have already reached staggering figures - just think of the Daytona 'Zenith' 16520 - or easily above 10k, there are some models that are still on the launch pad.

Worthy heir ofExplorer 1016, Rolex Explorer 14270 it is the first Explorer reference to mount sapphire crystal, as well as being equipped with the Rolex Caliber 3000 movement. exaggerated - between 5k and 6k - and destined to rise.

Estimate of the market value (€) of the Rolex 14270 from June 2009 to September 2019
(source Chrono24)

Same for the 14060 Submariner, also the first among the undated Submariners to mount sapphire crystal and heir to the legendary 5513. Buy it possibly complete with kit and tritium dial, therefore produced before 1999. For a year now its value has been steadily increasing , ergo: carpe diem!

Estimate of the market value (€) of the Rolex 14060 from June 2009 to September 2019
(source Chrono24)

Beware of business cycles

Obviously, what has been said is destined to change depending on the trend of the global economy. No one can predict if, perhaps in the face of an economic shock or a negative economic situation, vintage prices will collapse and by how much. History so far has taught us that even in lean periods, not all Rolex watches have maintained its value or in any case has never gone below the purchase price.

Also for these reasons, it is not certain that Rolex's policy on the distribution of watches currently in production may change in the face of particular events that lead to a decrease in demand.