Which is the cheapest country to buy Rolex watches in?
Rolex works hard to try to have the same prices in the whole world in order to avoid arbitrage and stock moving from one market to the other due to it being cheaper in one market and more expensive in another.
Rolex’s ultimate goal is to have the exact same price all around the world, but balancing the retail prices with each other across the world is not an easy task. Naturally, what affects the retail price is the current situation of the currency in which the respective authorized Rolex retailer trades. If all countries would use the same currency, this wouldn’t be an issue because Rolex would simply be able to set the same recommended retail price across the world. But this isn’t the case. Instead, you have countless local currencies that Rolex has to pay attention to. If one such is devalued, buying a Rolex watch in that country can, therefore, be a good idea.
Let’s look closer at what the cheapest country to buy Rolex is.
The currency affects the most
Rolex’s goal is to have the same retail prices across the world. But since it is not possible to adjust the retail prices based on today’s currency every single day, the price you will pay for a Rolex watch varies across the world.
Rolex does occasionally increase the retail prices in some markets when a local market has become too much of an arbitrage and is much cheaper than most other places in the world.
With that said, it’s difficult to list specific countries where it is the cheapest to buy a Rolex watch in because, in theory, they should have the same retail prices. Furthermore, since the currencies are constantly changing, a country that may be arbitrary today may not be tomorrow.
If you want to find the cheapest country to buy a Rolex watch, you should follow the local retail prices around the world and compare the prices with your own currency. If one currency dumps, the retail prices there can remain low compared to the rest of the world until Rolex deems it appropriate to increase the retail price in that local market.
Can you negotiate Rolex prices?
Another thing to consider is discounts. As Rolex has grown in popularity and the waiting lists for many models have grown rapidly, authorized Rolex retailers become less and less inclined to give discounts. Simply because they don’t have to in order to sell.
But the discounting culture varies a lot around the world and can affect whether you will get a discount or not on your purchase. It’s difficult to say in which countries you will have a higher chance of getting a discount because it depends on so many factors such as:
- The model you buy
- How well the store has sold that month
- Who you are buying from
- How much you spend
And have in mind that on popular watches, you should never expect a discount because these get sold for the full price in today’s market. Of course, the more expensive and the less popular models you buy, the greater the chances that you will be able to negotiate a discount.
Can you buy tax-free?
This is without a doubt the factor that affects the price of a Rolex watch the most.
Buying tax-free is like getting a discount only you won’t have to negotiate the price. How much the tax/VAT depends on which country you buy from. You should also bear in mind that this is only possible if you are not locally residing in the country (or, if it is in the EU, in the whole of the EU). Furthermore, not all countries or continents have a tax scheme that allows tax-free purchases. However, buying tax-free can also be possible if you are living in the EU and are flying to a country outside the EU, or the reverse, assuming there is a Rolex boutique at the airport.
In many cases, you won’t get the full tax back since services like Global blue charge a fee.
The best place to buy Rolex watches tax-free is in Europe. This is because of the high VAT (Value Added Tax) that the EU has. The lowest rate of VAT is 15%, but most countries have a VAT of about 20%.
The countries with the highest VAT are:
- Denmark: 25%
- Sweden: 25%
- Norway: 25% (Note, Norway is not in the EU, but you can still purchase tax-free if you are residing outside the EU).
- Finland: 24%.
When you buy tax-free, you will get either the full VAT back (or less the fee), depending on which tax-free system the authorized Rolex retailer uses.
Today, getting a discount of 15-25% on Rolex watches is extremely difficult due to the current state of the market, so getting “up to 25% discount” when buying a Rolex watch can make it a very good deal. Research the countries that allow for tax-free purchases, and have a look at which currency their use and how it holds up against the rest of the world. A weak local currency (low retail price compared to a different currency), together with a tax refund will result in a low price compared to the rest of the world.