I like the hypothetical and that brings us to a seemingly outlandish question that may become a little less so. By the end of this article, you will get to answer whether you’d put down your hard-earned money to buy a steel sports Rolex even if you don’t want it. It seems like an easy one, but let’s see…

I don’t daydream enough, but when I do it’s often about scary great white shark encounters or hitting a World Series deciding homer in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a full count. Sometimes, though, I think about watches. And when I do, it’s a thought that’s probably not too original. I’ve got this wild plan where I’m in some sort of out of the way town and there just so happens to be a Rolex AD. I decide to walk in and have a look in the showcase and I find either a brand new Rolex Submariner, Pepsi GMT-Master II or a stainless steel Daytona staring right back at me. I pine for neither of these steel sports Rolex models, but I’m confronted with a question. Should I buy one (or both) even if I don’t want to own either?

Steel sports Rolex here and now

Now, if we are talking right here and right now in 2021, the answer to the question seems pretty obvious. If you have the money, you go for it simply to flip it for a profit. If you don’t have the money but have the credit the decision starts to get a little grey. Well, it does for me because I simply don’t do debt unless it’s for a house or a car. And then, there’s the super grey area where perhaps I had another watch in mind. I’ve saved for it, I’ve had my heart set on it, and then this horological fly in the ointment appears. A salesperson is happy to take your money irrespective of the watch, so he or she isn’t of much help. So what do you do?


Let’s go back to 2011 in Europe

Travel back with me to 2011 and I’ll paint a picture that actually wasn’t a daydream. I moved to Germany during the Summer of 2011 and I found myself downtown in Frankfurt looking through the windows of the many watch shops here. I went into one shop and tried on something and I asked about the steel Rolex Daytona availability. Genuine curiosity drove this because this was really the only steel sports Rolex in high demand. I got a proper chuckle and was told five years. Well, I returned his chortle with one of my own and told him that the USA was a far easier situation.

You see, in 2011, the world was still coming out of one hell of a global recession. The debt hungry US consumer was still on hold and struggled to get cheap credit. As a result, it was pretty damn easy to score a Daytona. My Dad, who loves his watches but isn’t a flashy high roller VIP at any boutique, even got a call during 2009 (and, yes, he bought it). So yes, steel sports Rolex models were good and plenty in the land of opportunity.

And then to…Louisiana

I flew back to the USA in December for Christmas feeling great. I had met my future wife, things were still exotic and new for me in Europe, and I was giddy. Translation: I was ready to spend some money! My first stop on the trip was to see family in Shreveport, Louisiana. It may well be the third most populous city in Louisiana, but it isn’t exactly a tourism hotspot. However, it does have two Rolex AD’s. This was a good thing because somewhere over the Atlantic, I decided that I wanted to buy a steel sports Rolex. My aim was true, though, and I wanted the Rolex Submariner 14060M. You can read why here, but that’s not the point of this story.

I left my sister’s house with my Dad to go kick tires at the watch shops in search of the Sub. I walked into the first AD — a beautiful store. Front and center in the showcase stood a different steel sports Rolex. There, looking rather pedestrian, was a black dial stainless Daytona. All at once, the time-space continuum shrunk. Five years in Europe had transformed into a potential five-second swipe of the credit card in Louisiana! I swallowed hard in the face of unobtanium and uttered a seemingly ridiculous question. “Uh, that Daytona is nice, but do you have the steel Submariner without a date?” Amazingly, the answer was no and I did what almost no person would do. I left…

How much is that Daytona in the window?

Now, before the story continues, let’s level set on a couple of things. First, current steel sports Rolex models were not selling for a premium in 2011. Even a steel Daytona was at or near retail during that period with some even a touch below. So, buying a Daytona and assuming it would sell for a premium any time soon was not a sure bet. It was precarious then and I think people forget this. Second, I could have afforded a Daytona and a Submariner ten years ago, but it would have been uncomfortable. Plunking down something like $17,000 in one fell swoop would have made me nervous in light of the economy. And remember, this was the height of the Euro Crisis. Your comfort level with being cash poor may differ!

Returning to our story, my Dad and I then drove across town and hit the second Rolex AD in Shreveport. Here again, there were plenty of steel Rolex models, but the experience was different. Instead of a black Daytona, I came face to face with a white dial steel Daytona. Yes, it was just sitting there like a puppy in the window. However, this AD did have the Submariner of my dreams. Resolve left intact (I never liked the former white Daytona anyhow), I signed on the dotted line and took the Sub home. For me, it was the right choice, but I had a mission. Without a mission, it could have been very different.

Let’s return to 2021

Steel sports Rolex watches are more popular than ever, but maybe things will change for a bit. Let’s just assume that, for whatever reason, these watches do become more available or one shows up in the window. Here are the scenarios to consider:

  1. A great investment! I don’t need a watch, but I’d definitely buy a steel sports Rolex because this is a great investment and I will sell it for a profit — if not now then later.
  2. I went into the store for another watch and I am leaving with a steel sports Rolex because I will sell it and buy my dream watch with the money and head out for a great dinner/vacation/pocket the money with the leftover funds.
  3. I’ve always wanted a steel sports Rolex and thankfully my day is here.
  4. I marched into my AD for another watch (steel sports Rolex or another watch entirely from any brand) and I am walking out with the watch I originally wanted.
  5. Steel sports Rolex watches aren’t my bag and seeing them for sale wouldn’t phase me in the least.

Of course, we love your comments, and don’t forget to have some fun whether you’re daydreaming or typing here!

    Buying a steel sports Rolex - what would you do?

*Yes, you might have noticed it! We published this article in October 2020 as well, but we would like to analyze the poll results and see if there has been a shift in behavior & thinking. We will share the results soon with you.