Diving in and starting a luxury watch collection is an exciting time. Choosing a style, a theme, or a special vintage that has meaning and importance in your life are all great places to start, but the number one decision to make is the brand.
The number one brand that most people think of in luxury watches is Rolex, so when you are ready to get started on your collector’s bucket list, these are the first three Rolexes you should own.
Rolex is a luxury watch brand in a class by itself – it is arguably the most well known watch brand in the world.
Considered the go-to watch maker for luminaries such as spiritual leaders, heads of state, rappers, Hollywood elite types, and sports stars not to mention button-down Wall Street bankers, airline pilots, yachtsmen, and even your neighbor Bob who inherited his from a rich uncle, the Rolex brand is timeless.
Rolex watches enjoy a lively pre-owned market thanks to the reputation for the models retaining and even increasing in value.
The Rolex History
Hans Wilsdorf, only 24 years old at the time, founded Rolex in 1908 and over the ensuing century, the brand has written its own rules – which became the watch bible for other brands that could only hope to follow.
The company holds private status and keeps the day-to-day operations close to its vest, but certainly the brand Rolex speaks for itself. More than a status symbol, Rolex is also innovative and, in many respects, perfect for novice and veteran collectors.
Many serious luxury watch fans start their collections with the most iconic model of Rolex, the Submariner. Rolex Submariner is fully automatic, with the power coming from the movement of your wrist while wearing the watch. The Submariner is very comfortable, with a decent hefty weight that is not over the top for small to medium wrists.
Introduced to the market in 1953, the Submariner is the most recognized Rolex model in the world. Submariner was originally designed for divers, making the construction extremely durable and waterproof as well.
In fact, current models can be submerged in up to 1,000 feet of water (if buying your Rolex from a pre-owned Rolex retailer like Chronoexpert check specifics for that model). The unidirectional bezel is used by divers to help remember how much oxygen they have left before they need to surface.
Rolex Day Date
Making its first splash onto the scene in 1956, the Rolex Day Date is the last Rolex model designed by the founder of the company, Hans Wilsdorf. The Rolex Day Date is also the first watch in the world that included the day and date on the dial. The watch, considered Hans Wilsdorf’s crowning achievement, today features the day of the week in 26 different languages.
Rolex Day Date models have the same reputation for durability as all Rolex watches, including an impressive waterproof rating of up to 165 feet. Rolex Day Date models are available in a wide variety of colors including stainless steel, yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, and combinations of metals. There are also versions available with diamond or ruby hour markers. With all the choices available, it is certainly easy to find a Rolex Day Date that fits your personal taste.
Dressier than Rolex’s typical diving or aerospace designs, Rolex Daytona is a favorite among the “in” crowd. Available in a range of styles, Rolex Daytona is a chronograph model that averages 40 mm wide, giving it a sleek, subtle appearance. Since its debut in 1963 as a race car driver’s watch, the Rolex Daytona is a sexy, luxurious Rolex that is known to hold its value on the vintage market.
Originally introduced as a manual winding model, the Rolex Daytona was made fully self-winding by 1988 after Rolex brought the full production of the watch movement in-house.
Rolex Daytona models include small seconds, hour, and minute dials as well as a rotating bezel designed for drivers to measure how fast they are going. Solid on the wrist and available in a multitude of finishes, the Rolex Daytona is a good gateway collector’s watch, as the value will hold over time.
Go Find Your Rolex
Spend some time in the vintage market to familiarize yourself with the models, the styles and finishes, and the size of the bezel. Keep these three Rolex models in mind – the Submariner, the Day Date, and the Daytona, and get ready to dip your toe into the world of luxury watches!