Rolex is, hands down, the most famous watch brand worldwide. Even people who know nothing about watches have heard of the name Rolex.
The brand’s recognition is attributed to many factors. One of the most important ones is the brand’s approach to design. Several of today’s Rolex watches still share a similar design with their ancestors from decades ago. This makes each model easily recognizable by people from different generations.
Rolex’s approach to new releases focuses on the small details, to perfect its already successful lines. This design philosophy makes each new reference highly sought after by watch enthusiasts and collectors. That’s why watch enthusiasts go wild every time there’s a new Rolex release, even if a lay person wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Rolex has also been at the forefront of technological innovation since its inception. It offered the first wristwatches with chronometer certification and designed the first fully water-resistant case. It also uses 904L stainless steel, which is higher grade steel with better corrosion resistance that shines brightly when properly polished.
You know you’re getting a good-looking, precise, and robust timepiece when you go with Rolex.
So then the question is, what is the best Rolex for you? To answer it, we’ve gathered the best Rolex watches in the market to suit every need.
Best Overall: Rolex Submariner
The Submariner is arguably the most famous Rolex watch. Even if you don’t know much about Rolex, chances are you’ve probably seen a Submariner on someone’s wrist. Since its first release in 1953, the Submariner has risen to prominence and has become a true icon.
There are several variations of the Rolex Submariner to choose from. The latest model has increased in size from 40 to 41 mm and features Rolex’s newest Caliber 3230. You can also choose between different dial and bezel colors including an all green one, aptly named “The Hulk.”
The Submariner combines everything a man needs from his watch. It features a masculine yet elegant design that can be worn with a variety of attires, from ultra-casual to a three-piece suit. Also, thanks to its water resistance of up to 300 meters and its overall robust construction, it can accompany you on all your activities including swimming and diving.
All of these factors make it one of the best Rolex watches money can buy.
Best Value for Money: Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual is the cheapest brand new Rolex watch you can buy. Does this also make it the best value for money Rolex you can buy? In this case, the answer is yes! Don’t be fooled by its lower price. Despite being relatively affordable, the Oyster Perpetual is one of the oldest and most successful Rolex models in existence.
The words Oyster and Perpetual refer to two of the biggest technical innovations Rolex ever achieved. The Oyster was the name of the first dust and water-resistant case and the Perpetual was the first automatic movement with a self-winding rotor.
Rolex wants all of its watches to be accurate and well-built. That’s why the Oyster Perpetual is crafted from the same Oystersteel as the more expensive Rolex models. It also features the Caliber 3230.
You can buy the Oyster Perpetual in a 36 mm or 41 mm form factor. There is also the discontinued 39 mm variation, a very popular size, that you can find in the used market. The latest 36 mm model also features dials with funky colors if you want something less traditional.
The Oyster Perpetual is the best Rolex to buy if you want great value for your money. If, instead, you’re looking at Rolex watches as an investment…
Best for Investment: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The Daytona is one of the best luxury chronographs you can buy. It’s also Rolex’s most complicated watch. Thus, it’s no surprise that it is one of the most sought-after Rolex models. What better candidate to invest your money in?
The Daytona was introduced in 1963. Its purpose was to help racers time their average speed using the tachymeter on the bezel. The watch is heavily associated with famous actor Paul Newman, who has a specific Daytona reference named after him. These factors, combined with Rolex’s craftsmanship, make it highly coveted by racing fans and watch enthusiasts alike.
Of course, you’ll need plenty of luck to find a brand new one from a Rolex boutique, as they are very rare. Even if you can’t find one, however, you can still look into the used market. Make sure to buy one in excellent condition with a box and papers included. A few years down the line, the watch’s value will shoot up, earning you a good amount of money.
Fun fact: The Rolex Daytona is actually responsible for the founding of Operandi. Jeff Mason Clifford, Operandi’s founder and CEO, started researching watch rolls after his precious Daytona got scratched inside a poorly-constructed watch roll from a luxury brand.
Best for Everyday: Rolex Explorer I
The Explorer was originally issued in 1953 to commemorate the conquering of Mount Everest. Like most Rolex watches, its design has not changed significantly since its inception.
The watch’s simple, unobtrusive design makes for an excellent everyday timepiece. You can wear it Monday to Friday in the office, as well as during the weekends. You can dress it up or down without it looking out of place. This unique design amongst the Rolex lineup is what makes the Explorer I one of the most popular Rolex models.
It can even accompany you in your sportier activities, thanks to its 100 m water resistance and tough build quality.
You can find the stainless steel Explorer I in two sizes: 36 or 39 mm. There is also a two-tone version with 18K gold if you want something flashier. The Explorer is one of the best Rolex watches to buy if you want a nice-looking and robust watch for all of your daily activities.
Now, if your daily activities involve a lot of traveling...
Best for Traveling: Rolex GMT Master II
The GMT Master II is the perfect watch for globetrotters. If you find yourself traveling frequently for business or even leisure purposes, this is the best Rolex for you.
What sets the GMT Master II apart from other Rolex watches is its ability to show different time zones. With the 24-hour markings on the bezel and the 24-hour hand, you can keep track of the time in two parts of the world simultaneously. If you also use the rotating bezel, you can read a third time, although you will have to change it manually.
Rolex designed the GMT Master II for professional use by pilots during the 1950s. As flights had started to become longer and, sometimes, intercontinental, pilots needed to keep track of different time zones.
Today you can enjoy the GMT Master II for its functionality and its good looks. You can choose the classic stainless steel model with a red and blue bezel (called “Pepsi”) or a black and blue bezel (named “Batman''). You can even go for something fancier like the “Rootbeer” in stainless steel and Everose gold.
Check out our guide on traveling with watches for tips on how to keep your watch safe when you travel.
Best for Women: Rolex Lady-Datejust
It’s not uncommon for women to wear men’s watches, as most of the designs are essentially unisex. However, if you want a watch with a more feminine design or a smaller size, you should look into the Lady-Datejust line of Rolex watches.
Rolex doesn’t skimp on the quality when it comes to its ladies’ watches. The Lady-Datejust is built using Oystersteel, just like every other Rolex. This ensures you get a tough watch with a shiny and elegant finish. Also, the watch is equipped with a high-grade automatic movement to give you precise timekeeping during your busy day.
Rolex offers a large number of variations of the Lady-Datejust model. These range from more simple and minimalistic designs to watches made from precious metals featuring diamonds on the dial and bezel for extra glamour. With so many options, you’ll surely find something that suits your style and sense of fashion.
Getting in the Know
Overall, Rolex’s superior craftsmanship and attention to detail make it one of the best watch brands to own. But, these qualities also make the brand one of the most expensive on the market.
Even the cheapest Rolex watch will set you back several thousand dollars. Thankfully, you can be sure that your watch will last you for many decades, even outliving you! For that to happen though, you’ll need to take really good care of it.
When you’re not wearing your watch, keep it stored securely, to avoid damaging it. This is even more important if you want to pass it down to your children or grandchildren.
Watches made with such craftsmanship demand only the best when it comes to storage.
That’s where Operandi Firenze comes in. A watch roll from Operandi Firenze is the perfect companion for your Rolex watch when it’s off duty.
Enjoy your Rolex, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!