why is rolex so expensive?

why is Rolex so expensive?

by Kevin Tunstall
Updated on

why is Rolex so expensive?

A classy wristwatch is one of the best ways to make an extremely good impression on others.

As most watch lovers would tell you, a good wristwatch does not come cheap. But certainly, $5000 is a bit too much for an accessory!

That is the cost of the cheapest model of a Rolex. Sounds outlandish, right? But this cost is not without a fair amount of logic.  

What makes the Swiss watch manufacturer one of the most expensive brands in the space? The reasons are as follows.

why is rolex so expensive?

Rich History 

Founded in 1905, Rolex is a luxury brand in watches with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis founded the business and christened it Wilsdorf and Davis. It was named Rolex in 1915.

Initially, the brand did not charge as much as it does now. But as it grew in magnitude and quality, it became a big part of the industry.

Hence, the subsequent rise in prices.

The brand had a valuation of $9.5 billion in 2020.

It has become a hallmark of the best kind of watch in the market. These watches have often been worn in popular movies like the James Bond franchise.

The brand has put in tremendous effort to establish credibility over the years. This has certainly paid off in the current position of the now global company. 


Rolex watches are designed by the hands of some of the most talented craftsmen in the business.

The appearance of the watches is given great attention. They are meant to be eye-catching.

Every single watch is loaded with exquisite features. They are specifically designed to stand a notch above other brands.

Their glimmer, the fancy look has a distinct identity.

They are made to combine the beauty of jewelry with the working of a watch. And of course, that does not come cheap.


The watches are assembled by hand.

Machines are involved in only the most basic stages, the rest is done by trained workers.

Due to the minuscule parts involved in the building of a watch, there is a high error margin.

A great amount of attention to detail is required.

Each watch goes through the hands of hundreds of workers where it is built to perfection. They are polished and given a final finishing by hand.

Undoubtedly, this is not an easy task and the workers cannot be underpaid. 

Quality Tests

Rolex pulls out all stops when it comes to its products.

It conducts meticulous tests and checks on its products.

The stimulators put the watches under intense pressure to check their resistance. Each tiny part of the watch mechanism is put through the wringer to ensure smooth operations.  

High Costs

Rolex spares no expense when it comes to ensuring the quality of their watches.

They use premium 904L steel for the making of their products which is a very expensive raw material to acquire.

This material gives a harder build and a shinier look.

Extremely costly materials like white gold and sandblasted platinum are used in the construction of every specimen.

Some watches even contain real gemstones. Thus the initial overhead of production is quite high by itself. 

In-House Production

Rolex watches are made with movements that are entirely made in-house.

Approximately a million watches are made by the company every year.

The facilities in which these watches are made are understandably massive and filled with machinery.

The process of developing a good watch movement takes huge investments of both time and money.

These cost a fortune to maintain by themselves.

Rolex also has its own team of skilled gemologists to ensure the quality of the materials that are used in their more premium models.

Rolex also produces its own gold used in its watches

Making movements and parts in-house costs a lot and thus adds to the prices of Rolex watches.

Water Resistance

A famous distinction in Rolex watches is their exceptional water resistance technology.

Each watch is put into a pressurized water tank and then tested in actual outdoor water.

Some pieces can function at an astonishing depth of 300 meters.

These tests ensure that the watches are impermeable by water.

Research Facilities

Rolex owns research facilities too.

They have internal research facilities where a dedicated team of scientists works at building the newest tech in the field.

No wonder the brand has been at the forefront of innovation in its industry.

These institutions have been filled with all the necessary equipment including micron telescopes. Research on various materials used in the watches is done in these places.  

Popular among Watch Collectors

If you are a watch collector, chances are you already own or are planning on getting a Rolex.

It is a mandatory addition to a true watch lover’s collection.

And collectors are passionate about watches, if they want a particular timepiece they will get it irrespective of the price tag.

This is one of the biggest reasons why Rolex watches are considered more of an investment.  Collectors are always on the hunt for them and they sell for prices much higher than their price tag.

Time Consuming Process

It is said that a Rolex watch is under construction for almost a year.

Starting from the initial stages of design to quality checks- the process is very time-consuming.

There is a great amount of work put into each individual piece of this brand. 


Rolex products are known for their exceptionally long survival. If cared for properly, these watches can last “indefinitely”.

This is why many Rolex watches are passed down through generations as family heirlooms. All these watches need is servicing and cleaning once in a while.

Status Symbol

Rolex is one of those top luxury brands that everyone wants to be associated with.

Having graced the hands of Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, and Robert Downey Jr., the brand certainly has a massive amount of prestige associated with it.

To own a Rolex is a statement in itself. And such a reputation does not come cheap.

How to Afford a rolex?

While everyone would love to get a piece of this exquisite luxury on their wrist, actually buying it is a whole different question altogether.

The unfortunate truth is that Rolex does not offer other affordable alternatives. If you find a cheap Rolex, chances are it’s a cheap copy.

There is certainly no shortage of those in the market. But if you want the actual thing, you are going to have to save for it. 

If you are a dedicated watch collector, sacrificing some of your needs to own a piece of art like this doesn’t sound that bad, does it? 

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About the author

Kevin Tunstall

Kevin is a Men's dating and image consultant. He writes about relationships and lifestyle-related topics on Dapperclan. He loves helping men improve themselves and to achieve meaningful relationships.


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