Does It Pay to Go Green When Collecting Watches?

Does It Pay to Go Green When Collecting Watches?

Should You Go Green When Collecting Watches?

Do green watches always perform better than their black counterparts? Unfortunately, investing in watches is not so easy and this might not be a hard and fast rule. There are many factors that influence the current and future prices of a watch, and they’re important to consider when judging the investment potential of one. 

The first factor to consider is scarcity. Although no one but Rolex can actually know exactly how many Hulks and black sub-dates were produced, it’s a very common claim that the Hulk was produced in lower quantities. This was due to the lack of interest when it was first released along with longer production times in order to manufacture the green cerachrom bezel and the green sunburst dial. 

rolex hulk on everest rubber strap on everest watch pouch

Rolex Hulk on Everest green rubber strap with Everest leather watch pouch.

The second factor may be the rise of Instagram influencers which have skyrocketed the popularity of Rolexes in general but more specifically the Hulk. The brightly green colored bezel and dial are real attention grabbers in photographs; they draw your eye right to the watch, even if it isn’t the subject of the shot. Additionally, many claim that the green of the Hulk is the closest one can get to “Rolex Green” in any of the watches they offer, this combined with the iconic silhouette of the Submariner make it, arguably, the perfect Rolex.

Luckily, however, there is data that we can look into in order to see if that rule exists for a specific watch, the Rolex Submariner

line plot green rolex vs black submariner

Data Source: Chrono24

The price of the Rolex 116610LV “Hulk” has far outpaced the price of the black sub date (116610LN) on the secondary market over the past 3 years, as seen in the chart above. Although the Hulk costs ~$500 more at MSRP, it has maintained a healthy $1,000+ premium over the black version on the secondary market, peaking at a maximum premium of $6,423 in October of 2020. With the difference in price you could buy a Cartier Santos or a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, imagine that!

bar graph rolex hulk comparison

Data Source: Chrono24

Is that all?

Price premiums don’t tell the full story. When considering if a watch is a good investment there are other factors we should look at. Many of us aren’t able to get the watch at retail meaning the price premium must result in higher returns over the secondary market purchase price. Over the past 3 years, the Hulk has returned 118% compared with 73% of the black sub-date as seen in graph 2.

everest line plot rolex submariners

Data Source: Chrono24

Chart 3 shows the % return of the Hulk compared with the black sub-date, assuming you purchased both in January of 2017, you would’ve made about the same return on either one up until March of 2018. After March, we see the Hulk take off in value and since then it has returned considerably more than the black sub. 

Interestingly, according to the data, investing the green Rolex Submariner actually does lead to a better investment over the black sub! However, keep in mind that these price dynamics may suddenly change and the past performance demonstrated isn’t necessarily indicative of the future. Additionally, as mentioned in the beginning of the article there are many other external factors that can affect the price of a watch and this rule may not hold for all green watches.

Let me know your thoughts! Are there any other factors I left out that may help explain the rapid rise in value of the Hulk? And for those of you fortunate enough to own a Hulk or a Submariner, Everest has a wide selection of attention grabbing straps for those Instagram shots.


Written by: Joshua Jiang

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