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Adding aftermarket diamonds to a Rolex...Is it still a Rolex?

Aftermarket Rolex
Aftermarket Rolex
Bob’s Watches

If you are considering buying a Rolex from watch or if you already own one, you may have thought about taking advantage of certain aftermarket customization options. At Bob's Watches, they get questions about replacing the bracelet portion of the watch, changing the dial or adding aftermarket diamonds to the bezel. We understand that everyone wants his or her Rolex to be just perfect. They understand and appreciate the sentiment.

However, while you may accomplish that perfect look you like or want in a Rolex by adding those aftermarket diamonds to the bezel, they could have a significant impact on a number of other factors including the value of your Rolex. It could even raise the question of whether your Rolex is still a Rolex.

Why the Fuss?

According to Forbes.com, the Reputation Institute, which has been measuring the reputation of the world's largest corporations for the last 20 years, has rated The Walt Disney Company and Google right on top as the most reputable companies in the world followed by BMW and Rolex tied in second place. According to the Reputation Institute, what each of these companies has in common is a high degree of trust among consumers. For a luxury watch company to rub shoulders with Disney, Google and BMW is simply remarkable and speaks volumes about the qualities of precision, efficiency and integrity that goes into each one of these watches. The reason Rolex discourages aftermarket additions is to preserve this reputation they have earned over a century.

If you are thinking about adding aftermarket diamonds or making any changes to your Rolex, here are a few factors to consider so it doesn't come back to bite you:

  • Vintage Rolex Watches: If you own a vintage Rolex watch, it is highly advisable to leave a tarnished original piece as is rather than replace it with a new one. It is important to note that vintage watches are devalued even more so than newly modified watches. In the case of a vintage Rolex, another complication that might arise is that it might be difficult or even impossible to restore it to its original condition once it has been modified.
  • Diminishing Value: You'll often hear those who know Rolex watches say: "You don't want to mess with a Rolex." And they are absolutely right. There are a number of disadvantages to aftermarket Rolex customizations including adding diamonds. Regardless of the mines where your diamonds come from or how high-end your customization is, it is going to diminish the value of the watch.

Rolex USA cautions buyers against purchasing watches with aftermarket modifications, or adding them, classifying them as "counterfeit." This is because Rolex's factory-authorized options are created to uphold the highest standards of precision. If you make your customizations, it may be better suited to your taste. However, it will lose its resale value because a prospective buyer may have different tastes or reject your watch because it is no longer "the real thing."

  • A Voided Warranty: When you make your own customizations and modifications to your Rolex, the factory-issued warranty becomes void. Rolex adds a disclaimer to all of their service estimate documents, which reads: "The addition of non-genuine parts to any Rolex watch renders it a counterfeit as defined by federal law. It is therefore unlawful to sell or offer such modified watch for sale. Rolex will not service watches altered with non-genuine parts or accessories. All parts and accessories are replaced on a trade-in basis." So, there you have it. Not only will your Rolex become a "counterfeit," but also Rolex will not work on your watch.
  • Understanding the Difference: Adding aftermarket diamonds to the bezel or dial of your Rolex is not quite like adding aftermarket rims to a Mercedes. In that case, Mercedes will still honor your warranty. Your car will remain a genuine Mercedes and your dealer will still repair your Mercedes, should a problem arise, and perform routine maintenance work. But that's not the case with the Rolex. Your watch loses its value. It's considered a counterfeit and Rolex will not honor its warranty. This is a difference between a Rolex and other luxury products that most buyers fail to understand.

There is a Way

If you would like to add diamonds to your Rolex watch, there is a proper way to do it. You could buy a Rolex with a factory diamond bezel and/or dial which will cost you significantly more than one purchased aftermarket, but the timepiece will ultimately hold its value (rather than drive the resale value down with aftermarket diamonds) and may even appreciate over time.

Aftermarket Rolex
Aftermarket Rolex Bob’s Watches

Aftermarket Rolex

One of the primary reasons many people decide against making these changes is because regardless of how high-end the customization is, it’s going to diminish the value of the watch in the majority of instances.

Aftermarket Rolex
Aftermarket Rolex Bob’s Watches

Aftermarket Rolex

Diamonds overlap “day” window.  Something Rolex would never do.   Diamonds on dial are of poorer quality color and clarity, again something Rolex would never do.  They only use diamonds of the highest quality.

Diamonds on the dial are NOT set in a radius orientation like that of a genuine factory one.  The prong settings on the bezel are not nearly to the same craftsmanship.

Factory Rolex
Factory Rolex Bob’s Watches

Factory Rolex

Factory example of same watch:  courtesy of Bob’s Watches: http://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-presidential-day-date-ii.html When you purchase a Rolex with aftermarket options or you make your own changes, another significant pitfall is the fact that the factory issued warranty becomes void. When you’re investing in a Rolex, the factory warranty may be a pivotal part of your decision, which is why it becomes important to weight the costs and benefits of aftermarket changes.