There’s no denying that a set of Rolex’s is a worthy investment in any watch collector’s arsenal. But which ones should you know about and try to get your hands on? We’ll cover 5 of the top models that should be on your radar. It’s worth noting that several of these watches are near impossible for you to just pick up at a store in passing. They have waitlists years-long and reserve only the best models for the clients that make several Rolex purchases per year. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a hold of them, you just need to be a little more creative in seeking them out and usually acquire the help of a trusted pre-owned dealer. Let’s see which models capture our attention on the regular.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The ultimate watch for any speed lovers and race car enthusiasts, the Rolex Daytona has a rich history and although not popular at first, ever since Paul Newman was spotted wearing one they’ve been a unicorn of the watch world. You’ll need a hearty budget too to get hold of this iconic timepiece with the all-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona priced at a comfortable £30,000+ with platinum options being POA. Baring in mind this is only if you find yourself at the top of a boutique’s elusive waitlist – a feat in itself for many.
The Rolex Submariner is a classic Rolex sports watch with a variety of models available and is the perfect way to dip into their sports watch collections; especially if you’re a diving enthusiast. Prices of models vary and some are considered more valuable than others. For example, the Rolex Submariner Hulk (116610LV) which was discontinued in 2020 – a nod to the end of MCU’s Phase 3 of their franchise perhaps – saw steady gains throughout its 10-year history. However when Rolex decided to discontinue the model the value increased around £3000 overnight, though some suggested the pandemic had a helping hand in this. Of course, it’s difficult to say exactly which models can experience increases like this but limited edition designs are always a good way to start. Nonetheless, if you can get your hands on any Submariner model – there are still sub-£10,000 options available pre-loved – you’ll have purchased a worthy investment.
Rolex GMT Master II
The ultimate watch for any traveller; the GMT Master II was designed to make frequent fliers a master of time. With its bi-colour “Pepsi” coloured bezel that made it far easier to distinguish day and night hours with just a glance and a singular rotating hand to track your home time-zone, you can instantaneously see if it’s an appropriate hour to call home or not. Instagram influencers seemed to make the GMT Master II(126710) a watch on every collector’s list and resell prices skyrocketed. Nowadays, if you want to become a master of multiple time zones it’ll cost you double the RRP on the pre-owned market.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual is one of the more affordable Rolex designs and is a model that you’re far more likely to be able to purchase off the bat when passing a retailer one day. This watch is nonetheless a classic and was actually the successor of the world’s first waterproof watch (the Oyster) making it a solid first-purchase item for your collection. A sturdy tool watch made from high-quality components that holds its value and is designed to last the wearer a lifetime.
The Air-King is another lower end investment for Rolex that comes with an impressive backstory and is often considered the watch that paid homage to the aviation achievements of its time. Its purposeful design allows accurate timekeeping whilst navigating from 30,000feet. In 2014 the Air-King was discontinued for a short period until 2016 when it was re-released with a new look and chronometer certification and it looked incredibly different to the original Air-King. The rumour was that Rolex took the idea for the new dial from a couple of the cockpit instruments they installed in the Bloodhound SSC Project back in 2006. It also came with the Milgauss anti-magnetic case which makes its movement impervious to magnetic fields.