Well, you’ve arrived. Whether out of years of hard work, or simply good fortune – you’re ready to buy a Rolex. Considered the king among watches, Rolex provides an extensive line-up of timepieces that can suit any need. Their models have adorned the wrists of everyone from celebrities to high-level executives. Owning a Rolex is simply purchasing a piece of history. You’ll undoubtedly love and enjoy it, potentially for the rest of your life. However, it’s also something you can pass down to the next generation. Unlike luxury shoes or suits, this watch has the ability to carry on your legacy on the wrist of a loved one. The Submariner is likely the best-known piece in their catalog. Yet, Rolex offers a host of other great watches to get you started.
The Minimalist: Oyster Perpetual
For those who love functional items with no frills, the Oyster Perpetual is the watch for you. Available in both 36mm and 39mm, the OP is the Porsche Cayman of the watch world. Usually offered on Rolex’s sportier Oyster bracelet, this is a watch fit for just about anything. The clean design of the traditional Oyster case and bracelet give you the ability to wear it with just about anything. This watch can do it all and is perfect for the “one watch collection”. In addition to the traditional white and black dials, Rolex also offers a sleek grey dial. For those wanting something even more unique, they also have blue and purple dials. While these will be less versatile for daily use, they provide something a little less serious.
The Traditionalist: Datejust
Since it debuted for Rolex’s 40th anniversary in 1945, the Datejust has graced some of the world’s most iconic wrists. From Presidents like JFK and Regan to movie stars like Paul Newman, this watch is synonymous with success. Available in endless variations, the Datejust is most iconic in two-tone stainless steel and gold on a Jubilee bracelet. While still fit for the majority of situations, this is less sporty than the Oyster Perpetual. The Datejust walks the line of sport and dress, but, in my opinion, it’s really more of a dress watch. For those wanting to maximize value, look into the vintage models. You can easily find them for under $4,500, and they offer the most bang for the buck.
The Adventurer: Explorer II
For those who travel, swim, and are just generally active, the Explorer II is the watch for you. This is the most similar to the Submariner in design but offers the extra functionality of a GMT hand. It allows you to track a second time zone using the orange or red (depending on the model year) hand. From a design perspective, the largest departure from the Submariner is the stainless steel 24-hour bezel. While more susceptible to scratches, it gives the watch a more rugged look. The modern orange hand version comes in at 42mm with solid end-links on the bracelet. For those wanting something a little more modest, check out the previous version of this watch. It features a red GMT hand, and the 40mm case is noticeably smaller on the wrist than the new variant. While similar in appearance, the bracelet of earlier models has hollow end-links on the Oyster bracelet, making it significantly lighter. For dials, you’re a bit more limited here than the other two watches in this list. Rolex only offers the Explorer II in white or black dial versions.
At the end of the day, the most important decision in buying a Rolex, or any watch for that matter, is getting the one you like. Though trends and resale value can play a small part in the process, ensure you always go with your gut. The upfront cost of getting into a Rolex can be a bit of a sticker shock at first. However, with a Rolex, you’re investing in something from one of the top luxury brands in the world. If properly taken care of, a Rolex can last over many generations, creating a common bond and something that’s priceless.