Should You Remove Your Rolex's Stickers?

Should You Remove Your Rolex's Stickers?

This article could simply read, “do whatever you want with your watch,” but where’s the value in that? Today we’re talking about Rolex stickers: when and where you’ll find them, whether or not you should remove them (if presented the opportunity), and their impact on your watch’s value. Disclaimer: this article mostly touches on Rolex’s modern clear protective stickers; if you’re here for those circular green caseback stickers (no longer in production), skip to the final section.

Rolex’s Current Sticker Protocol (2024)

Rolex Stickers Pepsi GMT-Master II

Rolex authorized dealers (ADs) receive watches covered with clear protective stickers. These stickers protect nearly every surface of the watch: case flanks, lugs, caseback, bracelet, inside and outside of the clasp, etc. Since 2019, Rolex has instructed ADs to remove these stickers as soon as a watch sells. This protocol prevents grey market resellers from flipping hard-to-obtain watches for a profit, advertising them as “brand new in box” and/or “full stickers”.

Because this protocol is managed at the AD level, fully-stickered examples occasionally slip through the cracks. Fully-stickered Rolexes newer than 2019 are obviously hard to come by, but they’re certainly out there. For the very reason that Rolex implemented this rule, these fully-stickered examples sell at a premium to those without stickers, even if they’re in the same physical condition. But why?

Should You Remove Your Rolex’s Stickers?

Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master II in Coffin

Before the late 2010s, no one really thought twice about these stickers. Sure, if you were planning to sell the watch down the line, you may have kept them on, but removing them was akin to peeling plastic off of a new phone, appliance, etc. Satisfying? Sure. Worthy of deliberation? Not so much.

Only with the somewhat-recent proliferation of retail flipping and watch market hype/investment potential have these stickers gained significant value. It’s unlikely that you’ve found yourself with a fully-stickered Rolex without knowing how or why, but if you’re wondering if you should remove them, here’s what to consider.

Rolex Protective Sticker Aftermarket Installation

First, do you plan on keeping and wearing the watch? If so (and I would hope so), go ahead and take off those stickers. If you truly despise scratches, you can buy aftermarket protective stickers for most Rolex models. If you don’t plan on keeping and wearing the watch, you probably don’t need my advice.

Green Caseback Stickers + Final Thoughts

Green Rolex Caseback Stickers

If you’re looking at a circular green sticker on the back of a Rolex, that’s a different story. Up until some early 6-digit references, Rolex casebacks were adorned with circular green stickers that came in multiple varieties. Some read the reference number, newer ones were holographic, but all were green (from the factory, at least). The choice to remove this green circular sticker is, of course, still up to you, but I will say this: I love seeing vintage Rolexes with worn-out caseback stickers. It’s a charming bit of history, not to mention a token of how the watch has been worn. In most cases, you can't count on these stickers adding much value to a watch. There are plenty of fakes out there and, in general, buyers don’t really care about an old sticker.

So, have you ever purchased a fully-stickered Rolex? Was it before 2019? Did you remove them? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking for another way to prevent bracelet scratches, check out our selection of curved-end straps for Rolex models.

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