When I first saw the watch it was just after midnight. It was September 2020 and we were up late refreshing our browsers every few minutes to finally view the official new releases from Rolex. Normally we’d get the insane perk of viewing these in person at Baselworld, but as we all know too well, COVID had other plans.
Mere moments before the releases were made public we saw leaked images of the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual line. We initially saw the gorgeous navy blue and the champagne dial versions, and then immediately after we saw the unusually bright candy colors. We were surprised at first and thought, wow, that is very un-Rolex to do such a bright bold dial color. But then we saw the one, and we were obsessed almost instantly.
The moment I laid eyes on the Turquoise Blue “Tiffany” OP41 I knew I had to have it. I had always been in love with the vintage Stella dialed Rolexes from the 1970s, specifically the turquoise dialed version, which is a watch that is now extremely rare and very difficult to acquire. This new version was modern, sleek, gorgeous and nostalgic all at the same time.
Photo Credit: Mark Worthington Jewelers
It was love at first sight and even though it was after midnight I texted my AD right then and there asking him to please get me one of these beauties. Naively I thought this should be no problem, because although I personally was in love with this watch, surely it was not going to be a very popular new release. After all the Stella dialed Rolexes were considered to be a flop, as it wasn’t until many years later that their popularity surged.
Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong. Even though I was the first to ask my AD, it still took several months before I was able to purchase the watch at MSRP and see it in the flesh. As of today, according to several Rolex ADs we have spoken to, the Turquoise Blue Oyster Perpetual 41 is the most popular new release with the longest waitlist and it is by far the most requested Rolex from the 2020 new releases. While the other colors and sizes of the Oyster Perpetuals are popular as well, the Turquoise blue remains leaps and bounds ahead of the others.
Photo Credit: Monochrome Watches
So why is this?
You can pinpoint a lot of reasons, on paper, as to why this Rolex has been wildly successful. First and foremost the color is stunning, unisex, and multi-seasonal. Both males and females can and do wear turquoise blue and the color looks both summer-y and also wintery at the same time. Whether you pair it with salmon shorts and a white polo on the golf course or have it peek out of a wool sweater sleeve at the winter holiday party, it’s going to look right.
The color is also filled with nostalgia and reminiscent of Tiffany’s, which gives an instant feeling of luxury and classic elegance. It reminds us of Italian vespas, Caribbean waters, and the classic Van Cleef & Arpels vintage Alhambra necklace. It’s calming, it’s serene, it’s ethereal.
At 41mm, the case size is really perfect for a man or woman with average sized wrists. It truly wears more like a 39 in my opinion, and the comfort level of a Rolex Oyster Perpetual is unmatched. The bracelet is flawless, the clasp is perfect, and attention to detail on the watch is meticulous. Even though the dial is technically lacquer, it looks matte, and is very unique and striking. Other than a difference of opinion on personal taste or color choice, it would be extremely challenging to find a flaw in this particular iteration of Rolex.
The demand for this particular unusual Rolex has become truly out of control. Although it’s an incredibly beautiful watch, the hysteria makes no sense. Yes, Rolexes are now becoming extremely hard to acquire in the traditional way--and perhaps people speculated that this might happen and therefore the hype has been heightened. Is this the classic Dutch tulip bulb of the 21st century? I’d also be interested to see who is on the waiting lists for these watches. Wondering if they are newbie collectors-more of the millennial era, or more experienced collectors, or a combination of both.
I would claim that “social media” hype is a likely culprit to blame for Rolex shortages in general, but in the case of this particular Rolex, it doesn’t make sense as very few people have this watch, and Rolex has almost never specifically advertised it. This is not the Louis Vuitton Neverfull that everyone wants, and everyone can get if they have the funds. This is something different.
At MSRP the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 in Turquoise Blue is listed as $5,900. Currently on the gray market, these watches are selling for upwards of $20,000 USD! On average you can find them for sale between $18,000 and at the highest, $22,000. This is almost a 4x markup in less than one year. What shocks me the most is that this isn’t a discontinued Rolex (yet), or a vintage Daytona worn by Paul Newman.
It just happens to be a standard steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual that for whatever reason has become extremely coveted, extremely expensive, and extremely popular. There is speculation that it might be discontinued, but absolutely nothing has been officially announced. As much as I do absolutely adore this watch I truly do not think I could ever validate spending 4x MSRP on it. It just seems way way too much, but shockingly people are willing to pay.
I certainly do not claim to know all the answers, or any answers at that. I’m still left a pretty confused as to exactly WHY the price of this watch has sky-rocketed so high right now. What are your thoughts on the hype? What is causing the hysteria over this watch? Is it worth 20K? Will it continue to increase in value beyond 20k? Is this a weird, random bubble or signs of times to come with steel Rolex sports watches? I need answers! Please tell us your thoughts below!