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Rolex UK hikes new year prices

Prices of all Rolex watches will increase by an average of 7.4% in the UK from January 1, WatchPro can confirm, but there has been no news of rises in the United States.

The increase has been long-expected after several major watch brands hiked prices after the summer in the UK as continued weakness of the pound against other major currencies gave the UK a significant price advantage over rival markets.

People visiting the UK from outside the European Union can claim back the 20% VAT (sales tax) applied to watches, making the country particularly attractive to shoppers spending American dollars, or those from Asia and the Middle East where currencies are pegged to the dollar.

The price rise of 7.4% is not uniform across all SKUs, but WatchPro has used it as a guide to see the impact on key models for retailers in the United States.

A 40mm Rolex Day-Date in 18ct white gold is expected to increase in price by over £2,000 from £28,850 to £30,985. A white gold Daytona will go up by around £1,500.

The pound has strengthened against the dollar in recent months from a low of $1.2 to the pound to $1.3 today.

Even so, the UK will still be a less expensive place to buy a Rolex in the new year, although the price advantage will narrow considerably if the pound continues to strengthen.

Before the price rises, an American spending dollars in the UK could buy a 40mm Oystersteel Submariner (no date) for $8,970 at home. But, once VAT is taken off, the same watch in the UK could be bought for $6229, a $1,271 saving. The same calculation from January 1, if the exchange rate stays at $1.3 to the pound, will see that price difference narrow to a saving of $810.

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