Ever since Rolex announced their Certified Pre-Owned program, the team at Everest has not stopped talking about it. Frankly, the opinions are very mixed. Everyone loves the concept of purchasing a used Rolex that has been authenticated, serviced, and re-prepared for sale by Rolex themselves. The issues lie in the pricing structure and current market conditions. Let’s discuss the good, bad, and ugly of Rolex’s CPO program.
What is Rolex Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)?
If you are not sure what the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program is, let me explain. At an ever-increasing selection of boutiques, Rolex offers used watches – at least three years old – that have been certified and authenticated by Rolex corporate. Authenticity is guaranteed and the watch is serviced by Rolex themselves. When purchasing one of these watches, the buyer knows that only Rolex parts have been used; the watch’s condition is ensured by an international two-year warranty. It also comes with a white hang tag seal (pictured above).
Potential Issues with Rolex CPO
Rolex has never done anything like this, and frankly, it’s a really impressive direction from the historic brand. I’m excited for the long-term effect of this program, however I do see some current downfalls that are cause for concern. The issues I see revolve around secondary-market values. These watches are priced at second-hand prices by Rolex ADs. As you may know, this means that many of these used watches are priced above retail.
I cannot blame Rolex for pricing watches above their MSRP – it’s literally what the market demands. However, this inflated cost is less than attractive to those seeking a good deal (ostensibly those shopping at the CPO counter), especially considering the added cost of Rolex authenticating, servicing, and preparing pieces. These costs have to be factored into the end price. The end user is likely being offered a Rolex watch (at least three years old) that costs more than the retail price of the brand new watch in the window. The optics on this are not great.
Who Does This Affect?
Frankly, I think that the loser here is two groups: Rolex corporate and the end user. Rolex will likely get a bad rap for this. They are trying to fulfill the demand for used watches with something, but it will likely backfire. The end user is likely to feel slighted as they watch someone pay retail for a newer watch while they are shown an older watch that is much more expensive.
All Images Courtesy of Rolex.com