For many, Rolex is the king of all watch brands. Some consider owning a Rolex or a particular Rolex model a crowning achievement. A Rolex is an excellent watch to start or complete any collection. It’s the perfect timepiece to celebrate a milestone or an anniversary. Rolex makes their watches for every occasion and every type of collector. The brand has been time-tested for over a century.
Whether you’re looking for your first Rolex or your grail Rolex, it’s no simple matter. Purchasing a Rolex is an investment in something you’ll likely wear every day or might even become a family heirloom. However, making that investment should be exciting, not overwhelming. So, we’ve compiled seven of our favorite Rolex models to help narrow your search.
The GMT Master
The 1950s were the decade where intercontinental travel first started to boom. This meant an increased number of people were journeying through different time zones. In response, Rolex created the GMT Master in partnership with Pan Am in 1954. The GMT Master was the first watch of its kind. It features a 24-hour hand and specially designed bezel. These help travelers keep track of time at home and their destination. The variation we picked showcases a handsome two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel bracelet and complimentary 18-karat yellow gold bezel.
The Red Submariner 1680
There are two types of Rolex Submariners: the original and the Submariner Date. The Red Submariner 1680 was the first model to come equipped with a date window and magnifying Cyclops lens. Since the watch’s debut, it’s become one of the most collectable Rolex models. The red variation is aptly nicknamed for the red color of the word “Submariner” on the dial. Rolex switched to white writing in 1973, making the red versions highly prized. Though the model is a vintage piece, it comes equipped with a modern, oversized 40mm case. It features a stainless steel construction in addition to a classic black dial and bezel.
The patented Oyster case wasn’t just the world’s first water resistant case. It helped put Rolex on the map as a producer of highly functional and durable sports watches. Though the brand developed the Daytona as a chronograph for automobile racing, it came equipped with the iconic Oyster case. The model’s full and proper name is in fact the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. The iteration we chose is especially sleek. It features an all-stainless steel design with a crisp white dial. The contemporary, oversized 40mm case and chronograph registers give the model its distinctively fun and sporty feel.
The Datejust Pearlmaster
The Pearlmaster is Rolex’s premiere jewelry watch. The collection is ultra-feminine, with a soft, curvy design. The models feature uniquely rich dials and display high-level gem setting techniques. Some models in the Pearlmaster collection are more refined while others are more elaborate. The particular iteration we chose is delicate, sophisticated, and understated. It showcases an 18-karat yellow gold construction and mother of pearl dial. A single diamond perfectly accents the bezel at the twelve-o’clock position.
The Air-King is one of the oldest Rolex models. Its rich history began in 1945 in the midst of WWII. After the war, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf wanted to create a new collection. His vision was a set of models to honor the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. He called these watches the “Air” models, and the Air King is the only one still in production today. We selected a version of the Air King that reflects the model’s simple and highly legible design. It features a chic stainless steel construction with a complementary silver dial and baton hour markers.
Prior to the debut of the Sky-Dweller in 2012, Rolex hadn’t released a new model in twenty years. That model was the Yacht-Master in 1992. The sport of sailing demands extremely precise timekeeping. Yacht watches help skippers measure the critical countdown interval leading up to the race. Just two years after the introduction of the original Yacht-Master, Rolex released a ladies’ version. The particular variation we’ve chosen for our roundup features a striking combination of stainless steel and platinum. The watch seamlessly combines fashion and function, culminating in a stunning model for a day on the high seas.
In the 1950s, the world was on the cusp of a scientific revolution. As a result, scientists, doctors, and researchers were often in areas with strong electromagnetic fields. At the same time, this pivotal work required precision and accurate timekeeping. Yet, electromagnetic fields can severely damage most mechanical watches. So, Rolex saw an opportunity to create a timepiece designed specifically for these professionals. The Milgauss was the world’s first highly antimagnetic watch.