Aside from their great looks and topnotch performance, a significant appeal of Rolex watches is their ability to hold their value better than watches from almost any other brand, writes Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of Bob’s Watches, one of the most respected traders of pre-owned luxury watches in America.
While resale value should never be your main priority when buying a luxury watch, it certainly is a bonus.
Although it must be said that not all Rolex watches appreciate in value, some certainly do — particularly over the long run. With that in mind, let’s explore the ageless value of Rolex watches with some of these top hits.
Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date President
Nicknamed the Rolex President thanks to its President bracelet and its popularity among some of the world’s most powerful individuals, the Day-Date has been the ultimate status symbol watch since its inception over six decades ago.
While the Rolex President is offered in a variety of precious metals and sizes, along with various bezel styles and dial designs, the classic choice is a yellow gold 36mm model with a fluted bezel and champagne dial.
A more recent iteration is this Day-Date 36 ref. 118238 from the mid-2000s, which features the archetypical Rolex Presidential style yet includes modern enhancements such as a sapphire crystal, Super-LumiNova, and the automatic Caliber 3155 movement with Double Quickset functionality.
Due to its precious yellow gold construction and enduring appeal, this President timepiece perfectly demonstrates the ageless value of Rolex watches.
Men’s Rolex Day-Date President in Yellow Gold – $16,495 on Bob’s Watches
Stainless steel Submariner
When it comes to premium diving watches, there’s no other model that is as coveted and recognizable as the Rolex Submariner.
Born in the 1950s as a tool watch for scuba divers and eventually evolving into a luxury sports watch with fantastic diving capabilities, the Submariner is popular amongst celebrities, collectors, and casual watch buyers alike.
Over the years, Rolex has made a bevy of different Submariner models in a variety of materials and colors. But for purists, the go-to Submariner is a stainless steel one with a black dial and black bezel – similar to the earliest models.
The current-production Submariner ref. 116610LN combines the unmistakable look of a classic Sub but packed with contemporary features like a scratch and fade resistant Cerachrom ceramic bezel, blue glowing Chromalight luminescence, and an updated Oyster bracelet complete with the Glidelock extension system.
And because this is a Submariner Date model, there’s also the familiar date window (complete with Cyclops magnification lens), powered by the in-house Caliber 3135 automatic movement. On the secondary market, the Submariner ref. 116610LN frequently sells above its retail price due to its demand far outpacing the current supply, despite the model now being a full decade old.
Men’s Rolex Submariner in Stainless Steel – $10,395 on Bob’s Watches
Stainless Steel Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi”
The GMT-Master also made its debut in the 1950s, developed specifically for Pan Am airline pilots to keep track of two time zones while on the job. Rolex made the very first GMT-Master watch in stainless steel and equipped it with a blue and red bezel to divide the 24 hours of the GMT indication into day and night hours.
That colorway eventually picked up the “Pepsi” nickname and despite other color choices, the blue and red combo became the quintessential look for the Rolex GMT.
So when Rolex unveiled the brand new stainless steel GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO “Pepsi” in 2018, there was no doubt that it would become a mega success, and continues to be a popular choice on the used secondary market.
Sporting a 40mm stainless steel case, a matching stainless steel Jubilee bracelet, “Pepsi” Cerachrom ceramic bezel, and powered by the new-generation Caliber 3285 automatic movement boasting major performance improvements, this is the model that brings the GMT-Master squarely into the 21st century.
And judging by its exceptional current demand and price point on the secondary market, this is one Rolex model that will likely hold on to its value for the foreseeable future.
Men’s Rolex GMT Master in Stainless Steel – $15,995 on Bob’s Watches
Yellow Gold Rolex Daytona
For the majority of its models, Rolex typically adheres to a fundamental design blueprint, which explains why so many of its watches are instantly recognizable, regardless of what era they were manufactured.
However, the Daytona chronograph is one that has evolved quite dramatically since its introduction in the 1960s.
Once a smallish manual-winding chronograph that never really took off during its time, to today’s perfectly-proportioned modern automatic luxury chronograph, the Rolex Daytona now stands out as the most famous model of its genre.
While stainless steel and ceramic Daytona references are unquestionably prized, there’s another, more lavish take on Rolex’s flagship chronograph that’s become the must-have model in recent years.
That’s the unapologetically opulent, yellow gold Rolex Daytona ref. 116508 with a brilliant green sunburst dial.
Solid yellow gold Rolex watches have always been ageless; but when we’re talking about a yellow gold Daytona paired with a dial in the brand’s signature green hue, the appeal is amplified. Forget being a future collectible; the four-year-old Rolex Daytona ref. 116508 is already a collectible right now.
Men’s Rolex Daytona in Yellow Gold –$44,995 on Bob’s Watches.
Men’s Rolex Datejust 41 in Stainless Steel
Often described as the quintessential Rolex watch, the Datejust has been around since 1945 and continues to be the brand’s mainstay model.
With its straightforward time and date dial, round Oyster case, and robust automatic movement, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust is the ideal luxury watch to wear just about all the time.
Although the Datejust comes in a vast assortment of metals, styles, and sizes, one of the best picks currently is the Datejust 41 ref. 126300 in stainless steel.
The Datejust 41 is a relatively new collection, first launched in 2016, and it has everything you’d want from the classic 36mm Datejust but in a larger, more contemporary size.
The minimalistic approach of a steel case, steel Oyster bracelet, silver dial, and smooth bezel is not only ideal for daily wear, but it will continue to look as fresh for decades to come.
Positioned as one of the leading luxury brands in the world thanks to a collection of iconic designs paired with topnotch technical performance, the ageless value of Rolex watches is one that has been in the making for over a century.
Men’s Rolex Datejust in Stainless Steel – $7,727 on Bob’s Watches.