It’s a tradition for Rolex to adjust their prices at least once a year, but this time they’ve given us the gift of a roughly 3% price hike in 2023 – at least in the U.S. However not every Rolex has been affected the same way as some models have been hit harder than others and for those special “off-menu” options, we can’t even say for sure.
One of the hardest hit in the recent price hike is the Daytona, specifically the white gold Daytona which is up $5,400 USD (17%). The steel Daytona, hasn’t been hit as hard with just a $250 USD (1.72%) jump.
Popular steel sports selections have risen on average 1.6%. For example, the Submariner ref. 124060, 126610, and the Explorer II ref. 226570, are all up by $150 each. The GMT-Master II went about 1.9% but depending on your bracelet you could now be paying $10,700 USD for the Oyster, and $10,900 for the Jubilee. Barclays is reporting that these popular steel models averaged a 2.2% increase in the U.S.
These price increases aren’t surprising given global inflation and the rising cost of materials. Last year Rolex increased the price of the Daytona by 10.6% from $13,150 USD to $14,550 USD and we all thought that was steep. 2023’s 17% price hike makes 2022’s seem reasonable by comparison.
Not everything went up in price, as Yacht Master models received a *huge* $50 USD decrease. Not much but it is something.
This isn’t limited to the U.S. either as the U.K has experienced a somewhat less severe price hike average around 2.5%. The white-gold Day-Date ref. 228239 received the largest jump of 11.3% going from £31,450 to £35,000.
It seems that white gold models have been affected the most with one possible explanation being the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia is a major producer of gold and amidst the wider pullback of financial links with the country, entities such as the London Bullion Market Association have suspended all six Russian gold and silver refineries. This no doubt is having an effect on global supply chains of precious metals.
However, this doesn’t explain the steel models going up in price. One theory suggests that these increases bring the MSRP closer to grey market prices in order to disincentivise flippers. Whether this will work is unclear, but it isn’t the only thing that Rolex have done to combat this. The launch of the “Certified Pre-Owned” program was Rolex’s effort to curb the secondary market but given that those prices are well-above those in the secondary market, it seems clear that this might not work out as hoped.