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Rolex Announces Its Official Certified Pre-Owned Programme

The Crown now officially enters the ever-growing second-hand watch market, and it is very important news.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |
Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme

The second-hand watch market is growing rapidly, becoming a segment of the industry that brands can’t overlook anymore. According to consulting firm Deloitte, the market is growing steadily, with a current value in the region of CHF 20 billion. And the potential is huge, as it could be worth CHF 35 billion by 2030. As with such a large segment of an industry, it has to be controlled in certain ways, and this is when watch brands and top-tier retailers enter the room. Their idea to control the market, to offer security and to grab a slice of this immense cake is named CPO or Certified Pre-Owned (a term already familiar in the car industry). A few brands and established retailers have already announced such programmes, but today the situation is getting an entirely new face, as the world’s largest watch brand shows up. Meet the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme. Big news… Very big news. 

The market for second-hand watches is huge and it shows rather incredible potential for growth. Of course, the situation isn’t perfect, with a wide typology of actors, from privately-owned local shops selling vintage and used watches, to large retailers offering watches with certifications and warranties, and finally, watch brands themselves starting to offer pre-owned watches – think about F.P. Journe, Richard Mille, MB&F or De Bethune. In order to bring some security to potential customers, and to control some of this market, watch manufacturers, just like car manufacturers, have decided to create CPO or Certified Pre-Owned programmes. A common thing in the car industry, such as Porsche Approved or Ferrari Approved, it has started to spread around the watch industry in the past few years.

What is CPO or Certified Pre-Owned? Basically, a stamp of approval of the authenticity, of the quality and of the proper functioning of a watch, which often comes attached to stringent inspection and a warranty programme. It, of course, comes at a cost, but also should on the principle reassure potential customers before deciding to acquire a used/second-hand watch. The main problem here is that anyone can claim to have their own Certified Pre-Owned programme. Your local retailer could easily create one, even your local used watch shop… The important thing with CPO isn’t really the programme itself, it’s about who is backing it up.

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Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme

The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme

The market for used watches, and specifically those that are the most often seen and most coveted on this market, is about to change drastically. Rolex has just announced its own Certified Pre-Owned programme. According to the brand, “the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme now enables retailers in the brand’s official distribution network to sell second-hand models that are certified as authentic and which come with a new two-year international guarantee.

Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme

What is the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme about? The Rolex CPO programme concern only watches that have been purchased from authorized retailers, and that are more than three years old. The idea here is to prevent flippers and speculators from bringing back “unworn” watches to have them part of the CPO programme. In the very near future, customers who will acquire a watch from the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme will benefit from a certificate of authenticity and a newly issued warranty card, valid for a 2-year period. The latter is marked “Rolex Certified Pre-Owned” and is issued by Rolex themselves, not by the retailers part of the CPO programme. In addition, Rolex will also guarantee the authenticity of the watch subjected to the programme.

Rolex Certified Pre-Owned watches will initially be available at Bucherer boutiques in six countries (Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark and the UK) from the start of December 2022. Other Official Rolex Retailers who choose to be part of this programme will be able to do so from spring 2023. The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme equally concerns modern pre-owned watches and vintage models.

What to think about it?

The Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme is of immediate advantage for the customer. It brings an incredible level of reassurance to potential buyers, who until now might have been slightly reluctant to acquire second-hand watches, having low faith in this relatively complex market. With the Rolex CPO Programme, there’s a tangible guarantee of the authenticity of the watch, of its origin and of its proper functioning. A warranty also is major security for those reluctant to jump into the wagon of pre-owned watches.

Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme

The fact that a brand of the size of Rolex acknowledges the importance of the pre-owned market is also a sign of the evolution of the watch industry. This segment of the market, which is fast growing, will now inevitably become even more scrutinized by brands since the main actor of the industry has decided to jump onboard. It has to be said that Rolex doesn’t really need, business-wise at least, to invest such efforts in a Certified Pre-Owned programme. This could mean that the brand has certainly other intentions behind this newly announced CPO strategy. Cleaning the market from fake, badly restored or partially inauthentic watches, lowering the effect of speculators, decreasing the effect of the grey market…

For more details about the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned Programme, please visit

15 responses

  1. Welcome move I feel and will await more details before forming a full opinion. Initial thoughts are:
    1) The risk of being conned into buying a fake Rolex goes down significantly, but there will be no financial benfit to the end customer. Yes, the customer will get the guarantee of the watch being “approved used” by Rolex but the actual price will be the same (if not more) than what you pay at a reputable second hand watch dealer at the moment. Buyer pays the same or more $$s but the $$s go to Rolex instead of a second hand dealer or a private individual.
    2) As the program only covers watches that are 3 years or older, I’m not sure this resolves the biggest issue of new watches ending up in the hands of flippers who will continue to charge 2/3x the RRP for in-demand models.

  2. The ADs have proven incompetent in determining certification. Rolex HQ or specialized teams will have to execute the certification. They actually do already by the current Service Team for watches going into service.
    It should basically be nothing new, other than that margins are doubled by Rolex and sold with the Brands’ name to the many many folks that are not networked with the grey-market but are vary of the risk buying fakes.

    Thus there’s reason enough to think it’s not pure Rolex greed to play in an inflated market and get more out of it, but the result will just be that, first, second, it allows Rolex with their 2nd-hand market pricing to control the market to their liking, likely to avoid too much spikes and allow new watches be sold to their customers and them keeping them for longer.

    1st thought: greed
    2nd thought: market management in favor of long-ownership customers

    will it get away with the silly waiting list and bad-model spending to climb the ladder up to the target watch?

    I doubt so very much.
    But I hope to get a chance into a more reasonably (less inflated) priced example purchase.

  3. The issue is price. The ADs play you to buy stuff you don’t want or need to get a CHANCE to buy a Rolex at MSRP. The whole thing has become a scam. If I didn’t already have a Rolex, I would buy one.

  4. I thought Rolex wasn’t worried about making money and now they see they potential for used market ?..Just show how skatter brain this company really is. . Will I need to put my name in a list for a stainless steel model ? Will the used stock be kept in the back ?

  5. It seems a bit like the government creating laws to stop criminals. Those who follow laws will continue to do so, and criminals who don’t will find ways to work around them since the penalties and rewards remain the same. The real advantage to this is that Rolex can now cash in on some of their second hand market profits. I’m sure it won’t be long before you can purchase fake preowned certifications, and the validity of those will come into question.

  6. why woud the AD now offer you a rolex at retail when they can sell you a second hand older version for significantly hire prices. makes no sense to mee

  7. But what will they do with their ‘wait list’ for new watches? Will they transfer those on the new watch waitlist as priority in the CPO programme, or will it have its own list?🤔

  8. Een Rolex zo goedkoop mogelijk om het even bij wie zolang het een beetje redelijk goed bekend bedrijf is grijs of wit, dan zal de prijs doorslaggevend zijn. Bij Rolex een tweedehands kopen betekent gegarandeerd een hogere prijs tegen een gegarandeerde garantie. Ongetwijfeld is hier een doelgroep voor, maar daarmee de markt kunnen domineren is een utopie. Liever had ik gezien dat Rolex zich met een inventief plan of noviteit was gekomen om diefstal van Rolexen tegen te gaan met technische marks etc. Dit is de grootste bedreiging en uitdaging van het merk, wie wil er nog mee lopen, of alleen thuis met de gordijnen dicht?

  9. As it plays out (Rolex referring to Bucherer as progam participant in 2022, more to follow 2023) it changes NOTHING! for the consumer.

    The prices are aligned 50% higher than a reputable Chrono24 Brick-and-Mortar dealer.

    Who buys that sehit?
    Go home Rolex!

    They have no interest in controlling grey market other than to ride the wave, too!
    As expected. Sadly confirmed.

  10. confirming that ADs now go into _triple_-margin business, collecting margin from selling to the collectors who buy themselves up the ladder and then milking them buying the watch back way low and selling it to the used-market collector (soon with waiting lists, too, otherwise the page will show “sold” 24×7) at big margin again. Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Lose-Lose-Lose-Lose, 3x win for Rolex, 3x win for their ADs, 2x lose for the first customer, 2x lose for the second customer.

    Thank you – No!

  11. It all depends on the price compared to all of the pre-owned dealers out there including eBay, which now offers certified authentication services.

  12. As if not enough skullduggery is happening, now more opportunity for scamming, given the players involved, from the brand to the retailer, under the guise of CPO. Does one have to spell it out? It’s obvious what’s going on here. The brand wants in on what’s happening in the secondary market where prices are more than a new watch, and where the profits are more. The retailers will mark up the watches with the CPO moniker tag, while the brand gets its cut. And that’s just the beginning. These people are operating like mafioso. And, like the gambling and drug trade, there’ll be customers.

  13. I have Rolex watch ⌚️ op8 72200
    If serious customer I have to sell it
    Please contact me pm

  14. If Rolex wanted to earn more money, they could just sell their watches at a higher profit margin to (much) more customers not wanting to pay grey dealers. This is my simplicity view lol.

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