Nothing lasts forever, and that even includes watch bracelets. Despite being constructed from high-quality materials and solid pieces of metal, even the best bracelets will eventually need to be repaired or replaced at one point or another if you wear them on a daily basis. It may take decades worth of constant and rigorous use; however, connecting pins bend, metal surfaces get worn down, and even the most durable and well-made watch bracelets will eventually reach a point where their structural integrity becomes a potential concern. Therefore, regardless of the specific Rolex watch that you own, there will come a point in time when you may wonder, “can you buy a new bracelet from Rolex?”
The short answer is yes - however, there are some details that are important to note, and it’s definitely not as simple as just going online and ordering whatever strap or bracelet that your heart desires. Rolex’s policies have changed over the years, and there are a lot of rumors and general misinformation surrounding this topic, so below are all the key details about buying a new bracelet for your watch directly from Rolex.
Rolex Will Need to Verify Your Watch
To deter counterfeiters and to preserve the integrity of its watches, Rolex keeps an incredibly tight control over the supply on its parts, and this extends to its bracelets. Rolex won’t sell you a bracelet unless you are in possession of the corresponding watch, and it is for this reason why you will not find stacks of brand-new Rolex bracelets available for purchase at your local watch repair shop.
Therefore, in order to be able to buy a new bracelet for your Rolex, you will first need to bring your watch to either an authorized retailer or one of Rolex’s own service centers. After verifying that you are in possession of a genuine Rolex and confirming the correct type of replacement bracelet that you need, the retailer or service center will then be able to provide you with a replacement or have one ordered for your watch. With that in mind, you will likely find that your choice of bracelet is rather limited.
Image: Millenary Watches
You Can Only Buy the Correct Bracelet for Your Watch
Although you certainly can purchase a brand-new bracelet directly from Rolex, you can only purchase a style that is correct for your specific model of watch. For example, Rolex won’t sell you a Jubilee bracelet for your Daytona 116500LN because that model was never officially offered with the option of a Jubilee bracelet. Similarly, you can’t buy an Oysterflex to put on your Rolex Explorer, because that bracelet is exclusively fitted to solid gold Daytona and Yacht-Master models. However, if you have a two-tone Datejust 16233, Rolex will give you the option of either an Oyster bracelet or a Jubilee bracelet, since both styles were offered for that specific model, and either would be correct for it.
Similarly, Rolex will only sell you the correct generation of bracelet that was originally fitted to your watch. In the event that the original bracelet for your model is a discontinued vintage style that is no longer available, Rolex will offer you its closest compatible counterpart. However, you cannot “upgrade” your watch to feature a more modern generation of bracelet if the matching one is still available. For example, if you have an older Submariner model like the reference 16610, Rolex will not sell you the newer style of bracelet with the Glidelock clasp like the one found on the reference 116610LN. Regardless of what can actually fit on your watch, Rolex will only sell you an option that originally came with the watch.
You Can Buy Parts of a Rolex Bracelet
It’s also important to note that Rolex bracelets aren’t always an all-or-nothing replacement item. For example, additional bracelet links are always available for purchase if you need to make your bracelet larger, and if it is just the clasp that is broken on your watch, Rolex will likely be able to sell you just a replacement clasp.
With that in mind, Rolex’s primary objective will always be to do what is best for the watch, and sometimes this can mean that you will have fewer available options. For example, if while examining your damaged clasp, Rolex feels that the rest of your bracelet has also received a considerable amount of wear or damage, Rolex will instead recommend that the entire bracelet needs to be replaced and decline the partial repair of just the clasp. This starts to become more and more expensive.
Rolex Bracelets Can Be Expensive
Just like the watches attached to them, Rolex bracelets are high-end products that are made by the world’s most famous luxury manufacturer. Consequently, buying a brand-new replacement directly from Rolex will typically cost you a decent chunk of change and in some instances, you may find that it’s cost-prohibitive to purchase a brand-new bracelet for your watch.
As a point of reference, a replacement Oyster bracelet for a 1990s stainless steel Rolex Submariner currently costs $1,250. (If you are looking to save a few dollars but want a Swiss Made rubber strap for that watch click here.) However, if you need a new Jubilee bracelet for a stainless steel and gold Datejust from the same era, a replacement will set you back $4,100. However, due to the presence of the 18k yellow gold components in your worn-out Jubilee bracelet, Rolex will actually offer you a trade-in credit for it, so the final total will be a bit less than the full replacement cost. Additionally, if you need a new rubber Oysterflex bracelet, replacements from Rolex cost $290 per side ($580 total) but this does not include the price of a replacement clasp, which is only offered in solid gold and available separately at an additional charge.
Rolex makes some of the finest watch bracelets in the world, but given their high replacement cost and the limited number of options available directly from the manufacturer, it is apparent why aftermarket straps are so popular among Rolex owners. Some people may choose one simply because they aren’t in a position to pay several thousand dollars for a replacement bracelet, yet they still want to wear their favorite watch. However, countless other Rolex owners opt for third-party straps as a way to minimize wear to their original bracelet, or to achieve a specific look or configuration that simply isn’t available from the original manufacturer.
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