In a world where many Rolex stainless steel sports models are either not available from the concessionaire at all or only after years of waiting, some of us may have already carefully adjusted the target – from stainless steel to gold models.
After catching ourselves letting a quiet “Well, why not?” slip from your lips, most of us probably came back to our senses after seeing the price tag: Way too expensive! Nevertheless, in the event of a potential lottery win, it would be interesting to know how much gold you actually get for your money if you buy a solid gold Rolex, wouldn’t it?
Rolex is known to have its own in-house foundry, where the brand exclusively casts 18-carat yellow, white and Everose gold alloys with the help of experienced foundrymen.
Also the indication “18 carat”, referring to the actual gold content of the final gold alloy, is crucial. Rolex uses mainly 18-carat gold for its watches, which has a purity of 750 ‰ (thousandths) of pure gold, i.e. three quarters. The remaining 25% consists of other elements such as silver, copper, platinum or palladium, depending on the alloy to be achieved.
However, Rolex does not do this to save money, but to make its gold watches more robust: 999 fine gold / 24 carat gold – virtually pure gold, of which 99.9 percent per gram is pure gold – is considered the highest quality gold alloy, but would be far too soft for a wristwatch in everyday use.
Gold watches are heavy, but not the entire weight traces back to the shimmering precious metal. Components such as the sapphire crystal, the dial or the caliber must of course be taken out of the equation – although François-Paul Journe would certainly disagree with the latter. In a solid gold Rolex, the case and its back, the bracelet and the bezel are thus the most important components.
Members of the English-language The Rolex Forums picked a Rolex Day-Date and determined the weight of its gold components. (Note: These are only approximations, as the exact weight varies from reference to reference). Attached is an overview of the corresponding gold values:
Based on a current market price of EUR 52.97 per 1g of fine gold (as of August 2020), the following prices result:
In purely mathematical terms, this results in a gold material value of EUR 3,967.93 for a Rolex Day Date with a total of 74.91 g of fine gold (and almost 100 g of 18-carat gold).
It goes without saying that the RRP of a gold Rolex is not the result of its raw materials. Nevertheless, the delta of almost 30,000 EUR between the material value and the current list price of a Gold Day-Date is astonishing. The reasons for this are manifold:
At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is what the customer is willing to pay – and in the case of gold Rolex watches, that is quite a lot.