In the world of horology Rolex is one of the most coveted and prestigious brands. To most people owning a Rolex watch signifies the epitome of success. Recently I saw an excerpt from a forthcoming episode of ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ which featured the United States Air Force Veteran from North Dakota.
Whilst this gentleman was in active service (1970’s) he decided to purchase a Rolex Oyster Paul Newman ref. 6263. Even though the watch was manufactured in 1971 he finally received it in 1974. At the time he paid $345.97 (nearly a month’s salary) and always intended to use it for Scuba diving. However, the timepiece was never worn and is still in pristine condition, with all original packaging, paperwork, etc. The current valuation for this particular watch is estimated to be between $500,000 and $700,000.
This story illustrates how desirable Rolex watches are and why they are so collectible, as seen on sites like this one. Certainly, you can pay big money for rare models, especially if they go to auction. However, Rolex does offer several enticing entry-level watches that won’t break the bank. Here are four of my recommendations for discerning buyers.
Best Entry-Level Rolex Watches
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is one of the brand’s more understated offerings and has a traditional appearance. Dimensionally the watch has a 36mm Oystersteel (904L steel alloy normally used in the aerospace industry) case that should appeal to the unisex market.
My personal favorite within the range is the red grape dial version with contrasting 18-karat white gold markers. In my opinion, this combination gives the timepiece a really elegant appearance. Powering the watch is the chronometer-certified (COSC) Calibre 3130 self-winding movement, which is entirely manufactured in house. This watch currently retails for around.
Rolex has enjoyed enormous success with the Explorer models dating back to 1953. In this year Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first adventurers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. During the expedition, Sir Edmund Hillary wore a very similar version of the present-day Explorer.
This watch has a beautifully formed 39mm Oystersteel case and complimentary black dial. Other features include luminous markers and a durable Oyster steel bracelet. Beneath the refined façade is the Calibre 3132 self-winding movement, which features Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.
One massively impressive feature of the Rolex Milgauss is it designed to withstanding magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gausses. That is why it became a preferred choice of at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Within the range, I prefer the 40mm Oystersteel version with the electric blue dial.
I feel this gives the watch a more distinctive appearance that is sure to attract attention. Other features include green sapphire crystal and a really cool orange lightning bolt style second hand. At the heart of the watch is a patented (chronometer-certified) self-winding movement called the Calibre 3131.
The Rolex Submariner is one of the main reasons I became so fascinated with watches. This iconic timepiece was first introduced in 1953 and the first divers’ wristwatch waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (present models 300 meters). Over the years it has never +lost its popularity and in my mind is still synonymous with the brand.
Within the range, my personal favorite is the 40mm Oystersteel model with Emerald green dial and contrasting 18-karat white gold markers. Other features include a matching Cerachrom unidirectional bezel, cyclops date window, and Oyster bracelet. Powering the watch is a chronometer-certified Caliber 3135 in house self-winding movement.