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The 5 Most Popular Rolex Watches: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Lucy Ferris on Jan 8, 2018 4:24:55 PM


Rolex is the most iconic watch brand in the world. Famed for its distinctive designs, mechanical precision, and impressive heritage, Rolex is a must-have brand for watch lovers everywhere.

Rolex is also a celebrity favourite, appearing on the wrists of everyone from Eric Clapton to Roger Federer and Victoria Beckham.

When it comes to buying a luxury watch there is a whole host of brands to choose from, but there is a magic that surrounds a Rolex - no single watch brand has spawned so many ground-breaking models.

In love with the Rolex brand but not sure where to invest? Check out 5 of the most popular models below.


1. Rolex Datejust


Rolex Datejust watch


The Datejust is one of the founding fathers of modern watches. In 1945, it introduced both a date to the watch dial and an automatic winding feature that allowed the date to be updated automatically at midnight each day.

Its impressive mechanics became a model for many modern wristwatches and it still looks every bit as sleek as it did over 50 years ago. The Datejust is recognisable by the distinctive magnifying date bubble called the Cyclops.

The great thing about the Datejust is its versatility. Over the years it has been adapted with different luxury materials and embellishments while retaining a distinctive, classic look. This means when you buy a Datejust, or slightly more petite Lady Datejust, you can choose a model that reflects your style and personality.

In 2009 Rolex released the Datejust II offering a larger size and updated features.


Famous Datejust Wearers

Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama


How Much Can You Expect To Spend?

Prices vary steeply depending on material and design as well as the desirability of vintage models. A new Rolex Lady Datejust starts at £4750 while a Datejust 41 in steel and white gold is £6900. Designs crafted in more expensive materials can exceed these prices to anywhere upwards of £50,000. You can pick up a pre-owned Datejust from around £3500.


2. Rolex Submariner


Rolex Submariner watch


One of the most recognisable Rolex watches, the Submariner was the first watch to stay waterproof up to 330 feet. It was immediately popular on its release in 1954 and although new editions have been released - its aesthetic remains close to the iconic 1950s design.

Solid, clean and masculine, modern designs feature a distinctive ceramic bezel and solid bracelet complete with folding clasp.

The Submariner is as practical as it is handsome and a multi-directional bezel allows divers to monitor diving time and depth. It’s designed to be operated safely with gloves even when underwater. Submariners have also been some of the most sought-after vintage Rolex designs, with a rare model selling for more than half a million dollars in Geneva in 2017.


Famous Submariner Wearers:

Che Guevara, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr.


How Much Can You Expect To Spend?

New Rolex Submariners start at £5450 while pre-owned models can be found for around £4500 – making them a very attractive option. Desirable and high-end models can easily stretch into tens of thousands of pounds.


3. Rolex Daytona


Rolex Daytona watch


If you are looking for something a little sportier from your Rolex then the Daytona may just be the watch for you.This chronograph watch evolved from Rolex’s partnership with the Daytona Beach Road Course where the brand served as official timekeepers.

Launched in 1963, the Daytona was designed for racing drivers and was capable of measuring speeds up to 400km per hour. The Daytona has an elegant and unmistakably sporty design featuring three small sub-dials to measure minutes, seconds and hours.

Sturdy and waterproof, the Daytona enjoyed a huge surge in popularity when it was worn by Paul Newman on the cover of an Italian magazine and later, some Daytona models were named after the actor and racing car driver. These Paul Newman Daytona watches are one of the most valuable vintage Rolex designs.

In 2017, a Daytona once owned by Paul Newman fetched a staggering 17.75 million dollars at auction. In 2013, a platinum version of the Daytona was released to celebrate the 50th birthday of the watch.


Famous Daytona Wearers:

Paul Newman, Elle MacPherson, Daniel Craig


How Much Can You Expect To Spend?

Rolex Daytona watches are highly sought after and there is often a waiting list for the purchase of new designs. Prices start around £9100 new and from around £8000 for preloved. As with all Rolex watches prices can easily extend to tens of thousands for sought-after models and much higher for rare vintage finds.


4. Rolex Yacht-Master


Rolex Yacht-Master watch


A relatively new addition to the list, the Yacht-Master was unveiled in 1992. Designed with sailors in mind it is waterproof and easy to read in difficult weather conditions.

The Yacht-Master is a little more indulgent than the Submariner in its design features but remains highly practical with impressive strength and durability.

The Yacht-Master II models released in 2010 offered even more sailing based functionality with a countdown feature geared towards regatta use - controlled through the adjustable bezel. A stainless-steel band and clean white dial make it hard-wearing and easy to use.

Today, the Yacht-Master remains a true utility watch with bags of design appeal.


Famous Yacht-Master Wearers:

Eric Clapton, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt


How Much Can You Expect To Spend?

A pre-loved Yacht Master can be picked up from a budget-friendly £3500 while a brand-new Yacht Master II will set you back £8150 and upwards depending on the design. The white gold and platinum model costs a cool £33,350.


5. Rolex GMT-Master


Rolex GMT-Master watch


Like many Rolex watches, the GMT-Master started life with a very specific function or consumer in mind. For the GMT-Master this focus was pilots and navigators.

The watch was designed in collaboration with Pan Am Airways in 1954 and had the unique feature of being able to display two different time-zones at once.

Although the initial GMT-Master was designed for functionality, its aesthetic soon became a hit with watch lovers. A combination of sleek utilitarianism and impressive function has made it an enduring Rolex favourite. A signature black dial with white embellishment is easy to read in the dimly lit cabin of a plane or train.

The GMT-Master was updated in 1985 as the GMT-Master II with an improved movement and saw further releases in 2007. It’s the ideal multi-functional watch for globetrotters.


Famous GMT Master Wearers:

Orlando Bloom, Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone


How Much Can You Expect To Spend?

A new GMT-Master II with steel bracelet will cost you around £6550 while white gold models rise to more than £28,000. Second-hand examples start around £6000. The most desirable models can go for more than £70,000.


Do you Have any More Questions for our Experts?

Looking to buy a Rolex? Or perhaps upgrade your current model? We have a wonderful collection of pre-owned Rolex watches, as well as a brilliant team of watch experts, who are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.


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