The watch with a corona symbol is one of the most recognized and recognizable watch in the world. In the world of horology, it combines the highest technicality with aesthetics that have been the envy of other horologists. While not within the reach of everyone, we feature this list of the best Rolex watches both as an aspiration and an ambition. Enjoy.
1. Rolex Day-Date 40 in 18 ct Everose gold 228235-0003
Known widely as the President’s watch, the Rolex Day-Date 40 has a patented 18 ct pink gold alloy cast in Rolex’s very own foundry. And it’s called the President’s watch owing to the fact that more Presidents, world leaders and heads of states have worn this model than any other watch.
And it’s no coincidence that it’s the choice of watch for Presidents as the bracelet constructed with a three-piece semi-circular link is called the President’s bracelet. Powered by Rolex’s 3255 calibre, this model comes in a 40 mm Everose case and has a power reserve of about 70 hours. With a sun-burst chocolate dial set with 10 baguette-cut diamonds, this handsome watch is surely a beauty to behold.
For the pleasure of ownership, this Rolex will set you back approximately $42,000.
2. Rolex Datejust 36 M126200-0002
Our second pick takes us to a starter model that was first released in 1945 to celebrate the watchmaker’s 40th anniversary.
Encased in Rolex’s proprietary Oystersteel, this Datejust has graced the wrists of many a watch enthusiast and is one of the most recognized and recognizable of watches.
Powered by its 3235 caliber, it comes in a 36 mm size case with a sunray finish and Rolex’s traditional Oystersteel bracelet. The date is magnified by a cyclops lens.
A good and solid starter Rolex for anyone new to horology. Retails at about $9,000.
3. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 (2020 edition)
With dials of red, yellow, pink, green and light blue, Rolex’s new Oyster Perpetual 36 was released in 2020 to much acclaim. Powered by its new 3230 movement, which is an upgrade from the previous 3130 which was introduced about 20 years ago. Its longer power reserve of 70 hours also means less winding-up, but personally, we like to wind-up our watches as that to us is half the fun of owning an automatic.
Already, collectors are betting that the light blue or tiffany blue as it’s popularly referred to will become a collector’s item. This bust of fresh colors was a great attempt by Rolex to chase away COVID blues and put something dazzling on your wrist without breaking the bank.
Priced at $5,600, this is a surprisingly affordable watch to own, and it’s a Rolex!
4. Rolex Sky-Dweller (2020)
This watch belongs to Rolex’s classic category and is the first to be fitted with an Oysterflex bracelet which is flexible metal blades overmoulded with high-performance elastomer.
Crafted from 18 ct yellow gold, this new version features a bright black, sunray-finish dial with hands and hour markers in 18 ct yellow gold. The light reflections on the case sides and lugs highlight the refined profile of the 42 mm Oyster case.
Equipped with caliber 9001, which is a movement recognized to be at the forefront of watchmaking technology.
Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist. It also comes in Everose gold and is an upscale traveler’s watch that will regain its traveling creds when COVID eases up. Dials come in bright-black, chocolate, or white and the case size measures 42 mm.
At $42,000, this is a watch to drool over even if it is on the higher end of the price range.
5. Rolex Submariner Dive Watch M116610LN-001
The latest generation of Rolex’s Submariner and Submariner Date remain as close to the original model launched in 1953 as possible. The Submariner is the blueprint for almost all mechanical dive watches that we see today.
This version features a black dial (for legibility underwater) and a black bezel and has a date window with its classical unidirectional bezel. Its crown is a screw-down with triplock for triple waterproofness.
A classic diver’s watch, this new version launched in 2020 has a case size of 41 mm. Priced at a reasonable $9,000 and up, this is a watch that performs superlatively in and out of water.
6. Rolex Air-King M116900-0001
Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf created the Air-King to honor RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain, and it was the last of the Rolex models with ‘Air’ in the title: Air Lion, Air Tiger and Air Giant, all appeared in the Thirties and Forties.
Rolex introduced this redesigned Air-King in 2016 in a larger 40mm size and an anti-magnetic case copped from its Milgauss line. The second hand features Rolex’s corporate color, the bright green is unique to this watch.
Powered by its 3131 movement and oystersteel case and bracelet, this watch has a dial that divides between hours and minutes
The dial divides the markers between hours (on 3rd, 6th, and 9th hour) and minutes replacing the usual other hour indicators. Some admittedly find it a bit busy, but we think it strikes the right amount of function versus style.
Priced at about $6500, it’s a good alternative to the Datejust or Perpetual versions.
7. Rolex Explorer 1016
A sports watch by day and a dress watch by night, the Explorer 1016 was in production for almost 30 years when it was retired in 1989.
As the name suggests it was made for explorers and comes equipped with Paraflex shock absorbers to give it a higher shock resistance. Ian Fleming owned a Ref 1016.
The dial is the distinctive face of a Rolex watch, the feature that is really its identity and readability.
The latest Explorer model’s characteristic 3, 6, and 9 numerals are now filled with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting blue glow, like the hour markers and hands. Like all Rolex timepieces, the Explorer’s dial is designed and manufactured in-house, largely by hand to ensure perfection.
The Explorer 1016 is now a collector’s item, although prices can range from $14,000.
8. Rolex Perpetual Milgauss
Created in 1956, it can withstand magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss. Hence “mille”, French for one thousand. The first watch of its kind, the Milgauss combines unique aesthetics and scientific heritage.
Housed in a 40 mm Rolex’s proprietary Oystersteel case, and covered with a unique green sapphire glass, it comes in either an intense black or z-blue dial.
We like the z-blue dial for its brightness and perfect aesthetics, particularly the orange zig-zag arrow second hand.
This beauty can be yours for about $8,200.
9. Rolex Cellini
Inspired by Benvenuto Cellini, this renaissance inspired classical watch is as elegant as watches come. It comes in moon phase, dual time, and date in white, blue, and brown dials.
The guilloche dial of the Cellini Dual Time and Cellini Date pays tribute to the timeless principles of classic watchmaking but has an elegant modernity. The stylized, stretched applique hour markers are divided by a minute track that has been moved toward the center of the dial, closer to the tips of the hands. Like on all Rolex watches, the appliques and Rolex crown are crafted in 18 ct gold or white gold.
To own this renaissance beauty, one has to make an investment of approximately $20,000.
10. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Oystersteel M116500LN
Paul Newman’s 1968 model is the most sought after and most expensive wristwatch ever sold in an auction which went for $17.8 million in 2017. This chronograph is also one of the most advanced Rolex has produced.
More than 50 years after its creation, the Cosmograph Daytona remains in a class of its own among sports chronographs and continues to be as sought after as when it was first created.
A distinctive feature is the high-tech ceramic bezel molded with a tachymetric scale for measuring average speeds of up to 400 miles or kilometers per hour. Blending of high technology with sleek aesthetics, the black bezel is reminiscent of the 1965 model that was fitted with a black Plexiglas bezel insert.
This version retails at about $14,000 and has a power reserve of 72 hours, one of the highest reserve power of watches.