Rolex Pre-Certified Program

Rolex has introduced its latest initiative, the "Rolex Certified Pre-Owned" program, which allows customers to purchase authentic and guaranteed pre-owned watches from official Rolex retailers. Initially, the program will be available at Bucherer boutiques in six countries: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, and the UK, starting in December 2022. Other official Rolex retailers can join the program from the spring of 2023.

The surge in pre-owned and gray market prices for Rolex watches has led to empty display cases in official Rolex shops, with watches labeled "For Exhibition Only" to manage customer expectations due to the scarcity of available timepieces. This situation has negatively impacted Rolex's public image, evident from the discontent expressed in online forums and social media comments.

To address the supply shortage, Rolex has been expanding its production, including the construction of a new factory space. However, the main bottleneck is the shortage of trained staff to operate the state-of-the-art machines and assemble the watches.

The introduction of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program is a logical step to fill the gaps in the supply chain. This approach is commonly used in the automotive industry, where authorized dealers service and sell used cars with an official warranty. Similarly, Rolex will certify pre-owned watches, allowing customers to become part of the Rolex world.

The first important question raised is regarding pricing. Will Rolex price its officially certified pre-owned watches below the prices in the second-hand market to discourage flippers? Will pricing vary based on location and the condition of the watch? These details are yet to be revealed, and Rolex is expected to have a slow roll-out, as is typical for the brand.

The next question pertains to the sourcing of the pre-owned watches. While it is known that the watches must be at least three years old to qualify for the program, it is unclear whether individuals can walk into a participating boutique and sell or trade in their watches on the spot. Additionally, it remains to be seen if other businesses can sell larger quantities to Rolex or if retailers are allowed to search for used watches sold online.

The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program will offer a two-year international warranty from the date of resale, following a certification process. All certified pre-owned Rolex watches will carry a seal indicating their status as certified second-hand Rolex watches. The guarantee card provided at the time of sale serves as an official certificate of authenticity.

While Rolex has not specified whether the watches will be fully serviced or overhauled, it is highly likely that they will undergo such processes. The company aims to preserve, maintain, and guarantee the watches that are already in circulation on the market, ensuring their quality and reliability.

Rolex emphasizes that its watches, whether new or pre-owned, should only be purchased from official Rolex retailers. The brand asserts that these retailers are authorized to sell and care for Rolex watches, ensuring their smooth functioning over the years. The official Rolex network is the only entity capable of providing such guarantees. This approach is reminiscent of Ferrari's rumored practice of allowing customers to sell back their brand new cars to authorized dealers when they desire a new one. With an extensive warranty period and the assurance of a brand-certified pre-owned label, a product can be sold multiple times by the same retailer, initially as new and subsequently as pre-owned, over the warranty period of five-plus-two years.

As with any Rolex endeavor, there are numerous details that remain undisclosed. Once further information becomes available, updates will be provided.

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