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CHRONEXT Price Index: Can the value of a Rolex Daytona double?


by Nils Rau

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June 07. 2018 - by Nils Rau

Is it really possible to make money with the watch on your wrist? We took a deep dive into our figures and have the found answer: It works! The value of the Rolex Daytona has almost doubled in the last three years. Read on and find out what the prospects are for the next few years and whether it is worth getting started now.


The history of the Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is without a doubt one of the greatest watch legends. Although Rolex started building a chronograph with the reference 6234 in 1955, it wasn’t until 1963 that Rolex used the model name "Daytona" with the reference 6239, derived from the Daytona International Speedway, a world-famous race track in Daytona Beach, Florida.

While today, the Daytona is one of Rolex's greatest successes - this racing chronograph had a slower start: early models would lay like lead in the windows of jewellers before a buyer would eventually take one home. This was nevertheless due to the fact that the first Daytona models still had a manual winding movement, while the competitors Breitling, Zenith and Heuer were already equipped with modern automatic movements. When Rolex later responded to this flaw and equipped the new Daytona generation - reference 16520, which was introduced in 1988 - with automatic movements from Zenith, demand finally increased. However, supply remained low, as Zenith only sold a limited number of movements. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Daytona was fitted with the successor reference 116520, an automatic movement.

Another major milestone dates back to 2016, when the Daytona collection was unveiled at Baselworld with a new, modern ceramic bezel. However, it was in 2017 that the Daytona truly made its mark in history. The auction of the original Rolex Daytona Paul Newman with the reference 6239 at a record price of 17,752,500 US dollars (around 15.2 million euros) made the Daytona the most expensive watch ever sold to date.

Daytona: A rapid price development

It's hard to imagine today, but in 1963 the Daytona only cost around 200 dollars. Since then, two main factors have led to its enormous price development: Price increases and the infamous Daytona myth. The latter is evident from the fact that the Rolex Daytona has been trading above the list price for several years - a fact most watch manufacturers can only dream of.

As a rule, Rolex increases prices by about seven to eight percent every one to two years. But with the high costs of many Rolex models, that small percent increase quickly amounts to more than a thousand euros. This constant price increase does not only apply to new or current models. The second-hand market is moving along accordingly and even models that have long since ceased to be produced are also becoming more expensive.

We have observed the price development of the last three years - from 2015 until today - for the Daytona reference 115620. In 2015, the purchase price for this watch was around 11,000 euros, in 2017 between 13,000 and 14,000 euros. In the current year, the prices of the watch has jumped to 20,000 and 21,000 euros respectively. This development is impressive considering that the value of the watch has nearly doubled within three years. No conservative investment promises such a profit. 

The value of a Rolex

Of course, when it comes to value appreciation, there is never any guarantee - neither in the stock exchange nor for luxury watches. However, the last few decades have shown that price trends tend to follow one direction. It can be safely said that buying a Rolex is always a smart investment. The purchase of such a watch entails very few risks, and not only from a financial point of view: Rolex models are considered to be extremely robust and durable, and Rolex service is impeccable and reliable.

In addition, it has become quite difficult to buy a Rolex in recent months. Demand for the coveted models, especially the Daytona, is much higher than supply. The waiting lists of the concessionaires are so long that it often takes several years before you are able to get your watch. Availability does not seem to have improved, especially in recent years. Even the most recent auctions contribute to the general increase in value. The Rolex myth seems to be becoming more and more of a reality: Not only on the vintage models, new watches are also among the most sought-after timepieces worldwide.

The Conclusion

If you look at the current prices you will rightly be amazed: A few years ago it was unthinkable that a Rolex Daytona could cost so much money. It is not surprising that the question arises again and again on how long the price increase will continue and whether this development will not stagnate at some point. But the development has shown time and again that prices have only ever risen.

In addition, the watch market is just like the classic car market: the good examples are becoming rarer. And the desire for the Daytona seems bigger than ever. If you want to buy a Daytona, you'd better hurry. Tomorrow the Daytona will be even more expensive.

 
Nils Rau

by Nils Rau

Nils is a guest author for the CHRONEXT Journal. He currently dedicates most of his free time to wristwatches – be that talking with friends, browsing through blogs and online magazines, or keeping an eye on the timepiece stock exchange. When he is not contributing to the CHRONEXT Journal, he works as a junior lawyer in Northern Germany. His articles focus on brands, trends, as well as the philosophical questions within the world of fine watches.

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