Last Updated: June 2015
Day-Date: The Oyster Perpetual Day-Date might be one of the most recognizable models from Rolex, but it also the most incorrectly identified.It is commonly called the President, however the model has never been termed this by Rolex. "President" is, in fact, only the name given to one of the bracelet styles offered on this model. Some incorrectly attribute the name of the watch to President Eisenhower, however while Eisenhower was one of the first U.S. Presidents to wear a Rolex, he actually wore a Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet. President Lyndon B. Johnson wore a Day-Date with the President bracelet.
The Day-Date was introduced in 1956 and has always been in precious metal, be it gold or platinum or sometimes a "Tridor" combination of yellow, rose and white gold. Early Day-Dates were not easy to set, having to manually wind through days. The model was finally given a partial quick-set feature in 1977 with the introduction of the 18038 and the Day-Date finally became double-quick set in 1988 in the 18238 model. This was probably not coincidental with the rise in popularity of the Rolex brand and the "President" in particular. In 2000 Rolex revamped the model with a significantly heavier gold bracelet and solid milled buckle, the 118238 currently retails at $31,350
Bowing to pressure to release larger watches, Rolex introduced the Day-Date II in 2008 with a massive 41mm case and a retail of $34,850. In 2015 Rolex announced the Day-Date 40 expected to replace the Day-Date II with a slightly less massive size of 40mm. - Rolex Day-Date Watches For Sale
Air-King: The Air-King could be considered the "entry level" model from Rolex. Current models retail for $5050 with the smooth bezel (114200) fitted or $6200 with the White Gold bezel (114234). It is 34mm in diameter and comes with an Oyster bracelet by default. The Air-King does not have a Date. In the 1970s, the Air-King was offered with a date (scarce!) and in gold & steel combinations. Those two variations likely ceased production since they are redundant next to the Date and Oyster Perpetual models. - Rolex Air-King Watches For Sale
Date: The Rolex Date is 34mm like the Air-King, but it obviously includes a date function. Its production began in the late 1950s, around the time the steel Datejust was introduced. Retails range from $6,300 with a smooth bezel and Oyster bracelet to $8,350 with an 18K white gold fluted bezel and diamond markers. The date model was once offered in 3 flavors: steel, 18k yellow & steel, and all 18k yellow gold. It is now only available in steel. - Rolex Date Watches For Sale
Datejust: The Datejust is the best selling Rolex model on the market, and has been for decades. It was first introduced in 1945. The gents model is 36mm in diameter and typically came on a Jubilee bracelet. Rolex seems to have changed their tradition on this and is sending more Datejust models out the door with the Oyster band. Models with domed (aka smooth) bezels are available, but less common. Most have the fluted bezel, which is 18k white gold on the steel model. In stainless steel, the gents with domed bezel (116200) run $6,600 on Oyster, or $6,700 on Jubilee. With 18k white gold bezel (116234) they run from $7,850 on Oyster to $9,900 with diamond markers and Jubilee bracelet. The 36mm Datejust is offered in more variations than any other model. In addition to all steel cases & bracelet, the Datejust can be bought in steel & yellow gold, steel & rose gold, or in all solid gold (white, rose, or yellow). Variants also include many dial choices and diamond bezels. The Datejust comes in 4 sizes, Lady 26mm, Mid-Size 31mm, Gents 36mm, and Datejust II at 41mm.
The Datejust was only available in gold until 1957 (conveniently a year after the release of the Day-Date which still has never seen a steel model). The steel Datejust was introduced and became an instant success. Rolex soon saw the steel variations selling much quicker than their gold models. Rolex countered this in 1962 when they introduced the gold and steel version.. - Rolex Datejust Watches For Sale
Ladies Date/Datejust: These two models use the same 26mm case mold and offer the exact same functionality. Rolex discontinued the ladies Date, there was so much overlap in the models that it seemed long overdue. Retails range from $6100 for the most current 171960 steel Datejust. The more popular Datejust with White gold bezel retails for $7,250. The Gold & Steel models start at $8,200 (179173) on Oyster and go up to $18,650 for a 179383 with yellow gold crystal & diamond marker dial and 46 diamond bezel.
Explorer: It was introduced in 1954, and has had one look through-out its life; a black dial with Arabic numbers at 3', 6' and 9', no date, smooth bezel, Oyster bracelet, and a stainless steel 36mm case. Except for the updates that all Rolex watches have received, it remained essentially the same watch. In Fall 2010, Rolex replaced their 14270 classic 36mm with the larger 39mm 214270 which retails at $6,550 and houses a unique Rolex 3132 caliber.
Explorer II: This model was introduced in the early 70's and was never widely distributed or popular until 1991. The original model was produced until the next generation model was released in 1985. The Explorer II uses the same movement as the GMT-II models and makes use of a secondary 24-hour hand that rotates once every day. The engraved steel bezel is stationary and was originally designed for speleologists (cave explorers) who can have a hard time determining if it is am or pm. The 40mm 16570 had a final retail of $6,325. A new 42mm version with an orange hour hand (216570) was introduced at BaselWorld in March 2011, and released to the public later that fall. It currently retails for $8,100. - Rolex Explorer Watches For Sale
Oyster Perpetual (No-Date): An odd name for a model considering every Rolex mentioned on this page is also an Oyster Perpetual... By itself, the "Rolex Oyster Perpetual" was basically the same as the smaller 34mm Air-King model. The Current Oyster Perpetual (no-date) is now the same size as the Datejust (36mm) and comes only in steel or steel with white gold bezel. Rolex has introduced several unusual dials for this model. Retails start at $4,350 for the simplest ladies Oyster Perpetual and $5,400 for the simplest men's Oyster Perpetual. All come standard with an Oyster bracelet. The Oyster Perpetual line is also available in 26mm Lady or 31mm Mid-Size. -
In 2015 Rolex announced the introduction of a 39mm Oyster Perpetual and a broad range of new dials for the 36mm Oyster Perpetual
Submariner: The Submariner was introduced by Rolex in 1954. The watch comes only on an Oyster bracelet and has a 40mm case. The steel model was historically only available with a black dial, and is one of the most recognizable Rolexes. Anniversary editions with green bezels can occasionally be found (made between 2003 and 2008) and a Green dial/bezel model (commonly called "The Hulk") appears to now be a permanent part of the Rolex Submariner offering. The Submariner has a single direction rotating diving bezel with minute markers for the first 15 minutes. The original models until 1958 are often considered "James Bond" models and have some easily recognizable differences. Primarily, they had a smaller crown, no crown guard, and the bezel only had minute markers every 5 minutes. In the late 70s the model 16800 was introduced. It sported the new sapphire crystal and quick-set function. In 1989, the 16610 was introduced with an improved movement and a more secure bezel. In 2010, the 116610 was introduced with a ceramic (Cerachrom) bezel and improved “Glidelock” buckle. The Submariner is one the most popular models and comes in a variety of styles: $7,500 for steel (no date), $8,550 for steel (with date), $9,050 for steel with date with green dial and bezel, $13,400 for 18k & steel, and $34,250 for the yellow gold (116618) model or $36,850 for white gold (116619). Diamond markers are available on the gold models. - Rolex Submariner Watches For Sale
Sea Dweller: The Sea Dweller was introduced in 1971 and discontinued in 2008. Prior to the release of the DEEPSEA, it was largely the same watch as the Submariner. The only real differences were the thicker and heavier steel case, thicker crystal with no magnifying cyclops, and the helium escape valve useful only to deep divers. In the late 60s, the original model was rated for 2000 feet and called the "Rolex Submariner 2000 Sea Dweller". It lost the "Submariner 2000" part of the title in 1973. The past issue, model 16600, was rated to 4000 feet and sold only in steel for a $6,400 retail until 2008. It was reintroduced in 2014 with Cerachrom bezel at a list price of $10,400.
The Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA, model 116660 was originally thought to replace the Sea-Dweller 4000. The DEEPSEA model offers a greater depth rating (to 12,800 feet) along with a thicker, larger case and the improved "Glidelock" buckle. It retails at $12,050 for the standard model. A new edition "D-Blue" with a black/blue dial remains hard to find. - Rolex Sea-Dweller Watches For Sale
GMT-Master: The 1950s were an exciting decade for Rolex and included the introduction of the classic GMT- Master. It was one of the first watches to utilize a second hour hand to indicate a second time zone. With the simple rotating 24 hour bezel, one could fairly easily tell the time in any time zone. The late 70s saw the introduction of the GMT-Master II which was basically the same, except now the user could easily adjust the 2nd hour hand with the crown in position 2. The steel models are only offered with black dials. The bezels are available in all black, red/ black, or red / blue. GMT's typically come with a Jubilee bracelet installed.
The original GMT-Master (16700) was phased out in the late 90s. The latest serial number Bernard's had for the 16700 was a U#, putting its birthday around 1997. With the flood of new models with a second time zone function from other manufactures, retiring it was a smart move, as most consumers will want to adjust the 2nd hour hand.
The GMT-Master II (16710) was discontinued in 2008 and replaced with the GMT-Master II (116710) The new version added the Maxi-case, the Rolex 3186 caliber movement with Parachrom Bleu hairspring, and if course the the ceramic (Cerachrom) bezel. Some late production 16710s have the 3186 movement.
Today, the GMT-Master II retails for $8,450 in steel (116710), $13,000 in steel & gold (116713), and $33,250 for solid yellow gold (116718)
In 2013 Rolex introduced the GMT Master II in Steel with a Black/Blue Cerachrom bezel (116710BLNR). Affectionately dubbed the "Batman", it retails at $8,950 ($500 more than the standard model) and remains hard-to-find.
In 2014 Rolex introduced a white gold GMT Master II (116719) with a red/blue bezel. The so-called "Pepsi" bezel has been missing from the Rolex GMT Master II since 2008. Aficionados have lamented that this beloved bezel is likely to remain only available in white gold (with a retail of $36,250) and not steel.
Daytona / Cosmograph: The story of the Rolex Cosmograph could be called the most chaotic of all the Rolex Oyster models. Rolex is keen on creating a winning product. The watch never really got off the ground until 1986 when the market for them exploded and the watches would often sell for double the retail price in Italy. The "Paul Newman" models manufactured around 1967 were and still are the most desirable of the Daytona models fetching prices in the many tens of thousands of dollars. It retailed for around $150 in 1967.
In 1989, Rolex replaced the Valjoux workhorse movement with the Zenith El Premiro movement. During the 1990s, the Daytona was the only Rolex model not using a Rolex movement. In 2000 came the newly developed Rolex caliber 4130 with a 72 hour power reserve.
Steel Daytona's have consistently sold for more than retail since the 1980s due to a policy which limits each authorized dealer to one or two steel Daytonas per year.
The current model 116520 retails at $12,000. Steel and Gold models retail for $16,900 and all 18K yellow gold for $34,650.
In 2008, Rolex introduced the 116505, an Everrose gold Daytona (Retail $37,450) and in 2013 Rolex introduced the 116506, a Platinum Daytona with Cerachrom bezel (Retail $75,000). - Rolex Daytona Watches For Sale
Last Updated: June 2015