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Why owning a very good watch can also be a very good idea

In 2010, an early Rolex model 5510 Submariner sold at auction at Christie’s New York for $98,500.

Now, this was a very rare item, and the new or used watch that most of us might wear today probably won’t cost, or appreciate, quite so much.

But if you were to buy a pre-owned Rolex from the Watch Expert, you may be pleasantly surprised by how well it holds its value.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that it’s a brilliant piece of engineering. Rolex started life with the intention of producing the most accurate wristwatch on earth - and they succeeded.

Even today, every one is certified as a chronometer – the gold standard for timepiece accuracy. Only 6% of other Swiss watch brands can say the same.

Almost every component is made by hand, in four factories, by 6,000 people, in Switzerland. From casting the gold alloys of the case to the machining, crafting and assembly of the movement, dial and bracelet. There’s no other way to meet their ‘impossible’ standards, they say.

Another reason is design. The way a Rolex looks doesn’t change much. They’re a notoriously conservative outfit when it comes to watch styling and their motto might well be “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That isn’t actually their motto, but you know what we mean.

This means that a ten-, twenty- or forty-year-old Rolex doesn’t look like an ancient watch – it looks quite a lot like a new one, except for that wonderful patina you get with a pre-owned prestige watch. That slightly faded dial. The tiny scratches on the solid gold case that tell the story of an interesting life in the hands (on the wrists) of what must have been some pretty interesting ladies or gents.

And that’s one of the other reasons why a pre-owned Rolex retains (or perhaps increases) its value – its story.

It has to be said that ordinary folk don’t usually wear Rolex watches. Your everyday person wears, say, a Timex, a Swatch or a Seiko - all excellent watches, incidentally, but not ones that immediately identify their wearer as out of the ordinary.

So let’s say you’re thinking about a pre-owned Rolex and you see a lovely 1998 Submariner on the Albemarle & Bond website or at one of our branches.

So where has it been for 16 years? And with whom?

Was it bought new by a yacht-owner in St Tropez? Has it sailed around the world? Or did a hedge-fund analyst in the city just like the look of it and wear it while making millions, never taking it anywhere near the water?

This last possibility isn’t as inappropriate as it may seem, of course, because although the Submariner is waterproof to 300 metres, would you really go diving or sailing with thousands of poundsworth on your wrist?

An alternative possibility is a sportsperson. Premier League footballers wear Rolex watches (they go with their Bentleys), as do successful Olympic athletes, so who knows? You might be about to own a watch that has seen the changing rooms at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or even Camp Nou.

Or maybe there was actually a submariner in the story! Rolex waterproofing is absolute and they seldom miss a chance to demonstrate their leadership in this area.

Recently, they took part in the Deepsea Challenge expedition of film-maker and explorer James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar). On 26 March 2012, the expedition’s submersible descended 10,908 metres (35,787 feet) to reach Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the world’s oceans. The craft had a robotic manipulator arm with which to collect samples from this extreme depth and, guess what, the arm wore a Rolex wrist-watch! It worked perfectly throughout the dive, of course.

So if you buy that pre-owned Rolex, you’ll be joining a distinguished dynasty of discerning people - the first one, of course, being the founder of the company.

‘One morning, while riding on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside in the City of London, a genie whispered ‘Rolex’ in my ear.’

So said one Hans Wilsdorf, when asked where the company’s brand name came from in 1908.

He was a London dealer in timepieces who dreamed of creating the world’s first truly accurate wristwatch.

He naturally went to Switzerland to have the movement developed and, when his wristwatches first achieved ‘chronometer’ status in 1910, the stage was set for Rolex to become the defining brand in high-performance, high-value timekeeping.

Every Rolex is a mark of achievement in life, in sport and human endeavour. They have accompanied high achievers of both genders to the bottom of the sea, the top of Everest, the White House and, of course, to the moon.

Wearing a Rolex makes a bold statement about your style and discernment. Buying your classic pre-owned Rolex from the Watch Expert means your financial discernment is equally admirable.

Have a look at the pre-owned ladies and gents Rolex watches on our website and next to the price of each one you’ll see another amount of money – the value we suggest you use to insure your watch. This is what it would cost to replace your Rolex as new, should it be lost or stolen. Of course, you might opt to replace your watch with another pre-owned Rolex, but this wouldn’t be quite the same. Its story and the tiny, value-adding signs of an interesting life would all be different.

...and that’s another good reason why a pre-owned Rolex can be a very good buy. Each one is utterly unique.

We check its provenance and certify that it’s genuine, of course, and we also clean and service it so that its chronometer performance is as accurate as you’d expect.

We also guarantee it for 12 months – for the next 12 months of its story, you might say. We hope you take yours to some interesting places!

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