Some of the models have changed gradually over time. Learn to understand vintage Rolex movements. Be smart and do research before purchasing.
A photo cannot capture the beauty of a watch. The best place is to go to dealer to try the watch. The watch should fit snugly on your wrist and have a nice feel. The only way to know whether your watch fits is to try it. Rolex doesn’t change its models very much. The Datejust has a very timeless design. Rolex has a rich history.
Why Rolex? Rolex is known as a luxurious item and many people associate the brand with a gold watch. They were known for making technically superior timepieces. In 1953, their watches were waterproof. In 1953, the Rolex Submariner was introduced and it was useful for military divers. This is the strong heritage that Rolex is based on. The brand is just over a 100 years old. Despite other brands having a richer history, Rolex rose up the ranks because they made high quality tool watches. They use white gold for the hands on the dial to prevent corrosion. Rolex made the steel models popular. A tool watch is made for a special purpose. The Explorers are known for rough environments. The GMT Master II are good for travellers. The Submariners, Sea-Dwellers and the Deep Sea are good for diving. The timing bezel can be used to time other sort of events too. The Daytona is used for timing the speed of things and is associated with Paul Newman and racing. The Milgauss is associated with anti-magnetism and scientists. Rolex is actually an innovative company which kept improving on their movements.
The Rolex (Sports) Models. The Oyster is the waterproof case. Every Rolex tool watch is an Oyster watch. Perpetual means automatic. Although Rolex didn’t invent the first waterproof case, they made it so well that they were so renowned at producing it. The Explorer 2 has an orange GMT hand. Both the Explorer 1 and 2 are very versatile Rolex watches. The Datejust is one of the most successful models around. The Submariner is one of the most iconic watches around. Ref 6200 was introduced in 1953, ref 1680 in 1966. Some people prefer the Submariner without date because of the symmetrical dial. The Sea-Dweller has a depth rating of up to 1,200 metres. The Deep Sea can go up to 3,900 metres, an incredible feat. The GMT Master II ref 16710 has the Pepsi, Coke and Espresso models. NR = noir, BL = bleu, RO = rouge. You can identify the GMT model with a GMT hand. The Pepsi is one of the most iconic colours in the Rolex line-up of watches. The Blue represents night and the Red represents daylight. For the modern models, the Pepsi is only available in white gold. The Batman is a popular model too.
The Speed-Freak. Before 1989, Rolex obtained their movements from Zenith. Because Zenith was a small manufacturer, people had to wait before they could get a Daytona. In 2016, Rolex introduced a scratch resistant ceramic bezel for the Daytona, making it more reminiscent of vintage ‘Paul Newman’ models. Should one get black or white? White dials are more feminine and elegant to the touch. Black dials are more tool like and rugged. The black dial is better for formal clothing and the white dial works better in summer and with light coloured clothing. The black one is similar to the Ref 1655 in 1970. The white one is more suited for mountains. There is an orange 24 hour GMT hand. The white dial Daytona is very uncommon. Black dials have better readability. The white dial is more eccentric and jewellery like.
Precious Metals. The author does not like two-tone watches. It is lukewarm and looks gay. White-gold is understated and subtle and cool. The Yacht Masters are for sailors. It has polished centre links, white gold hands and a platinum bezel. The watch is also very comfortable to wear. The sunburst dial is also a thing of sheer beauty. There are also white gold submariners, GMT Pepsi and the Daytona. Having a pure gold watch is a strong statement. Only wear a full gold Rolex when you are filthy rich. The platinum Daytona is downright beautiful.
To be honest, I don’t like two-tone at all. It is not precious metal and not steel, it’s somewhere in between, somewhat undecided, lukewarm and gay. Two-tone for me is like gold plated: it tries to be more than it actually is. And that is completely uncool. – Leonard Lowe
Historical Rolex Models. Some vintage Rolex will appreciate in value due to how robust they are. You buy the Rolex for your next generation as well. Sometimes, even after 10 years of daily wear, the watch can still run accurately. There is also the story behind the previous collector, making the watch even more precious. Rolex doesn’t change their designs very much. From 2005 to 2015, Rolex introduced their supercase and maxi-dial. These changes make the watch appear larger. The clasp and bezel have also been improved. Ceramic bezels are being used now. Some people did not like these new changes, as they felt it changed the character of the watch. The vintage models, being limited in numbers, started to appreciate. Now, super-luminova replaces old tritium dials. The old bracelet had hollow end-links, but were lighter and more comfortable.
The real (modern) Rolex Classics. The Explorer 114270, being 39mm, might seem too big to some. Small watches were the in-thing between 1920s to 1970s. However, smaller watches might make a come-back next time. Small watches are also more comfortable and wear lighter. Simplicity is indeed timeless. The new Explorer II 116570 is 42mm and is quite large. The author prefers the older 16570. Even for the Sub, some people still prefer the 14060, rather than the newer 114060. The older GMT, 16710, appears more elegant and dressy. The latest Daytona, 116500, appears classier than the 116520. Both of them share the same case. The new one looks more like a Paul Newman.
The (old) vintage Rolex Classics. This refers to watches in the 1960s and 1970s. There is patina developing on such dials because the aged tritium. No two watches age in the same way. Some of the old Rolex Explorer models are the 6610 and the 1016. The first Bond submariner was the 5510. Roger Moore, from 007, wore the 5513 in the film, Live and Let Die. The Pussy Galore is the GMT master II ref 6542, worn by the Bond Girl. The circa is 1959. Paul Newman wore the Daytona in the 1970s. The ref 6262 goes for at least USD 25,000. The Explorer II, ref 1655, is particularly beautiful. They go for about at least USD 15,000 each.