When people think of a luxury watch they often think Rolex and then they think, “There’s no way I could ever own one!” But there are some really good sleeper models, as we like to call them. Now they may not garner the same attention as the Daytona’s or the GMT-Masters, but they are thoroughbred Rolex watches and they’re often more affordable. Here’s our pick for the best Rolex under $5,000.
The Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual has long been in the Rolex lineup and represents an entry-level timepiece from the brand. It comes in many sizes and dial variations to suit anyone’s taste. Here we’ll focus on two of our favorites The Oyster perpetual 116000 and the slightly larger Oyster Perpetual 114300.
The Rolex Reference 116000
We’ll start with the 116000, and we’ve featured this watch before and our “Top Starter Watches From Any Brand” because it’s just so good. It’s got a 36-millimeter case with a smooth bezel and an oyster bracelet. It’s powered by the Rolex caliber 3130 and has a stunning blue dial with an Arabic 3 6 and 9. This watch really begins to shine when you look at the details.
The 3 6 and 9 remind us of the Explorer and they are lumed. Until just recently this detail hasn’t been seen on the Explorer since the 80s. The watch maintains its brushed stainless-steel lugs and bracelet, which is actually a departure from most of the updates Rolex released in the 2000s. At that time, they trended towards more surfaces with high polish and watches with more prominent designs. The 116000 really feels like a modern-day blue Explorer, and you can easily find these watches in the pre-owned market for less than five thousand dollars.
The Rolex Reference 114300
Next up, the Oyster Perpetual 114300. Released in 2018 with a white dial, it’s a 39-millimeter case with a smooth bezel and an oyster bracelet. Not too different than the 116000 the watch is powered by the caliber 3132 so the performance is top-notch. This watch has the new white dial from Rolex, and this is a dial you just have to see in person because the camera just doesn’t do it justice. It’s not a glossy white dial that feels overly stuffy. It’s almost a matte finish sitting somewhere between satin and eggshell that in certain light appears cream. And it’s a perfect example of how Rolex gets the simple things so right. The stick indices and the traditional Rolex hands add to a reserved look and the use of an accent color is limited to some small black squares next to the indices. This is a Rolex that completely flies under the radar. Even with this newer dial variation you can usually find it right around $5,000 in the pre-owned market.
These are just two of the models the Oyster Perpetual has to offer they are both great choices for those looking for a Rolex and are weary of the high entry cost. This is an also watch that doesn’t scream “I’m wearing a Rolex”, which can be appealing to some. Let us know your thoughts on these two particular Oyster Perpetual, and if there are any other Rolex watches you’d like us to highlight.