There can be no doubt that Rolex – as one of the most sought-after names in watchmaking – is a significant proposition for any investment buyer. However, it would be a mistake to think that all Rolexes, or all luxury watches for that matter, will always accrue in value. Like all collector’s items, there are fluctuations in market prices. Demand for one particular model might wane just as another takes off. Trends among wearers of Rolexes affect the prices that investors can demand.

Indeed, given that the most expensive Rolex ever sold was a one-of-a-kind, there is no way you could duplicate those record-breaking conditions. That particular timepiece had belonged to Paul Newman and was considered a design classic among collectors. No wonder it fetched in the region of £15.5 million when it was auctioned back in 2017. Therefore, there is little point in offering investors a straightforward list of which Rolex models they should buy and which to avoid. Instead, you should look at what you can afford to spend, what you can afford to lose – potentially, at least – and what suits your wider investment portfolio best.

Let’s deal with the last point first. To spread risk, it is probably better to buy two or more Rolexes that have a lower value than to put all of your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. This way, if one model doesn’t perform that well or even enjoys negative growth for a time, you won’t be as bad off as you otherwise would be. That’s just sensible investment advice, of course. The trouble is that Rolexes are so glamorous that buyers sometimes stop thinking like investors.

According to a Rolex trader and specialist in luxury watches, Bonds of Brentwood, many investors choose to turn to the used marketplace to get the most for their money. These days, you can wait years to buy a new Rolex and the most desirable models – from an investor’s point of view, at least – tend to have the longest lead times. Set a second-hand investment budget and stick to it. Rolex Submariners have performed well in recent years but if you cannot afford one, then don’t break the bank to purchase one. The same goes for Rolex Day-Date watches. They may have accrued in value well over the last five to six years but it doesn’t necessarily mean buying one today will see further growth.

Instead, seek out a Rolex model that is accruing value but not necessarily as fast as others. Assess whether there is room for more growth from the point at which you invest in it. Models that are soon to be discontinued or that recently have been tending to fall into this category. The ‘headline’ performers seldom do. Buying at peak valuation is inadvisable whether you opt for a new or used Rolex, of course.

Finally, remember that the used market is split in two. Investors who want to also wear their Rolex shouldn’t choose a worn model since any marks they make on their watch – no matter how small – will affect the value greatly. Second-hand but unworn watches can devalue even if the box they come in shows signs of use, ideal if you are a pure investor but not necessarily a fan of watches. In the end, Rolexes offer a lot of enjoyment. As such, the best investment could be the model you simpler prefer the most.