Buying a new Rolex used to be a little bit more of a production. It came in a wooden box, often leather-covered. The interior was velvet, and the buyer also received a guarantee paper that listed the serial number of the watch, as well as the place and date of purchase.
Now, the leather box has been reworked and downsized, so that it’s now more leather-ish than actual leather. A wave pattern graces the top of the box, and cream velour (instead of velvet) lines the interior. However, depending on your AD, you may receive your watch directly from the factory in a coffin case, a tightly-packed protective casing to ensure the watch ships safely. Instead of paper certification, the watch’s guarantee is now indicated by a plastic card tucked into a compartment inside the box, which signifies an electronic proof of purchase.
If you’re thinking about buying a used Rolex, you may wonder what certifying papers and packaging you should be looking for to ensure its authenticity. If the watch was produced after 2009, you should be looking for the following things:
- Green presentation box
- Green seal tag, indicating the watch’s categorization as a Superlative Chronometer (-2/+2 second accuracy)
- Plastic guarantee card with the watch’s serial number and model number
If you’re buying the watch new, you may also receive some of the following items:
- Owner’s manual for the specific watch reference you purchased
- Warranty booklet explaining Rolex’s 5 year warranty on watches
- Factory service guide
- Bezel protector
When buying a watch secondhand, you shouldn’t expect all these extra items to be included with your purchase, although it’s always a bonus if they are. For the purposes of authentication, however, you’re just looking for the plastic guarantee card.
Selling Your Watch
It’s no secret that many people purchase Rolexes as investment pieces, primarily with the intention to sell them later as the value increases. If this is the case for you, it’s particularly important that you retain all the original packaging and accoutrement. If, for some reason, you don’t have access to some of these bona fides, there are two alternatives to establishing authenticity.
- Have a reputable authorized dealer certify the authenticity of the watch.
Depending on the AD’s depth of knowledge and experience with Rolex watches, this is one pathway to authentication. However, it’s worth noting that not all potential buyers will accept the word of an AD, unless they know that person (personally or by reputation). If you know the person you’re selling to, however, this step should be sufficient to reassure them that the watch is genuine.
This option is an excellent way to both check out the current functioning of your watch and have it authenticated for sale. At a Rolex Service Center, specialists can determine which parts of your watch are original, and if any parts of the watch have been replaced or refurbished. They can also run tests on and ultrasonically clean the movement to ensure it’s functioning properly. After a factory service, you’ll receive a two-year post service warranty, and service paperwork that indicates your watch’s authenticity. This is attractive to potential buyers. One small caveat here: Rolex Service Centers try to bring older watches up to new factory standards. If you have older or unique elements of the watch you’d like to retain, you’re better off taking it to an independent watch technician to have it authenticated.
Protect Your Investment
Keep your Rolex bracelet factory-perfect for resale by replacing it with a rugged vulcanized rubber strap from Everest Bands. Our highly-rated aftermarket bands for Rolex watches are known for the integrity of their construction and the intentionality of their design.
cover image: Instagram @boxforwatches_
Written by Meghan Clark