Creating eternal timepieces that don’t just crown your watch collection but also last for generations, Rolex exemplifies the art of tasteful watchmaking in every way as being perpetual is the core of its spirit. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf over a century ago, the brand is home to some of the most opulent and stellar watches ever created. Not to forget the notable Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch released in 1926, leading the brand towards unending success.
Rolex watches are known for their signature understated flamboyance that reflects the finesse of hand craftsmanship, years of innovation, design and functionality. An ode to the plush contemporary finery that’s traditional as well, each watch is a telltale of the brand’s expertise and stories built over the years. While each design is also admired for its sartorial look, it is majorly lauded for the specific purpose it fulfils. Be it the Air-Kings that make for a great choice in aviation, the Explorers that are meant for people who’re into adventure or the Sea-Dwellers and Submariners that are an ideal companion for divers.
Similarly, while the GMT-Master is a perfect choice for travellers for how it aids in navigation and keeping track of different time zones, the Yacht-Master is just the right blend of nautical style and functionality a sailor needs. And, just like there’s more to each Rolex watch than just its reliable mechanism and durable exterior, the brand’s esteemed footing in the watch landscape is for numerous reasons.
For how fast and steadily their models gain value over time, for how continuous research and engineering leads to constant technology upgrades and for how their repertoire is brimming with plenty of classics, professional pieces and iced-out versions, Rolex watches are every collector’s passion and undoubtedly worth the investment. Besides, the pre-owned market where one can sell guaranteed Rolex timepieces is a niche in its own. In fact, we’re totally in awe of Wilsdorf’s foresight for aptly choosing the crown logo for the brand.
Well, if you’ve been planning your next watch splurge, our list with a blend of some new and some classic Rolex pieces is what you should be skimming through right now.
Check out these top Rolex watches to add to your collection
(All Images: Courtesy Rolex)
This article first appeared on AugustMan Malaysia.
Rolex Explorer II — Reference 226570
Fashioned in a classic design created in corrosion-resistant Oystersteel with a 42 millimetre black dial, the Explorer II is built to withstand extremes. It features the brand’s classic Oyster bracelet that enhances the watch wearing experience and comfort with its form, function and technology. Equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link to increase the bracelet length and the Oysterlock folding clasp to prevent accidental opening, the ease is absolutely ensured.
The highly legible black dial with its many features has made this watch a favourite choice of polar explorers, volcanologists and speleologists. The dial features a date display, an additional orange 24-hour hand and a fixed bezel with 24-hour graduations to make it easier to distinguish between day and night. Additionally, the hands and arrow-shaped hour markers are created in a Chromalight display with blue luminescence to ensure clarity.
Named after Cyclops, the one-eyed giant from Greek mythology, the magnifying Cyclops Lens is Rolex’s signature — the most distinctive and recognizable feature that magnifies the watch’s date display two and a half times for easy reading. With the new-generation, self-winding calibre movement of 3285, a guaranteed power reserve of approximately 70 hours, resistance to shocks and temperature variations as well as water for 100 metres, this is one of the most reliable watches ever.
Priced at RM 41,150 approximately, this watch can be purchased from any official Rolex retailer as per availability.
Rolex Air-King — Reference 126900
Perpetuating the aeronautical heritage of the original Rolex Oyster, the Air-King is a homage to the explorers of skies and the brand’s presence during the golden age of aviation in the 1930s. For instance, several pilots set records while wearing an Oyster, while others like Owen Cathcart-Jones and Ken Waller used a Rolex as an on-board Chronometre.
This 2022 launch is redesigned to lend a professional appearance with a straight-sided case and a winding crown guard. Inspired by aircraft instruments, the emblematic 40 millimetre black dial, introduced in 2016, has been reimagined for this model. Made with reliable and robust Oystersteel, the Chromalight display dial features the model’s signature oversized three, six and nine numerals containing an optimised luminescent material for enhanced navigational time readings. The hands and triangular hour marker at 12 O’Clock too contain the same material. To further improve the balance and legibility, a zero has been added before the five on the minutes scale and the crystal display has been enhanced with anti-reflective coating and virtually scratchproof sapphire.
This waterproof (up to 100 metres) Rolex watch features the signature Rolex Oyster bracelet ensuring comfort under any circumstance. It’s equipped with calibre 3230 that offers excellent performance in terms of shock and magnetic field resistance (with Paraflex shock absorbers), precision, convenience and reliability and power reserve (extending to approximately 70 hours). It is priced at RM 32,000 approximately and can be purchased from official Rolex retailers as per availability.
Rolex Submariner Date — Reference 126610LN
Let your style speak volumes with this Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date watch that’s a new-generation take on the original 1953 model. Setting a standard for divers’ watch ever since, this Rolex watch has been a hit since its first model. This version of the Submariner has a rotatable bezel as its key highlight. Its 60-minute graduations allow a diver to monitor their diving time and decompression stops safely, and with proper accuracy.
While the watch is designed in the signature anti-corrosion Oystersteel, the Cerachrom bezel insert is manufactured using a hard corrosion-resistant ceramic and is scratch proof. This unidirectional rotatable bezel has numerals and graduations all coated in platinum and its knurled edge offers an excellent grip even with gloves on, while underwater. The dial’s Chromalight display ensures visibility in the darkest environments; the hour markers in shapes of triangle, rectangle and circle lend legibility without any confusion underwater.
With the Oystersteel bracelet and the Cyclops Lens making up for the staple Rolex watch features, this model is specifically waterproof up to 300 metres. Priced at RM 43,900 approximately, the watch offers superlative performance with its calibre 3235, has a power reserve of approximately 70 hours and also resists magnetic interference.
Rolex GMT-Master II — Reference 126720VTNR
A perfect choice for travellers to help them navigate around the globe, the GMT-Master II is designed to showcase two different time zones simultaneously during intercontinental flights. Echoing the robustness and versatile look of the 1955 GMT-Master, this new re-imagined version is both modish and classic.
Crafted in corrosion-resistant Oystersteel, the watch’s monobloc Cerachrom bezel insert is designed in a never-seen-before black and green colourway. This bidirectional rotatable bezel has 24-hour graduations that enable reading the second time with a green, triangle-tipped 24-hour hand. Setting the local time and the reference time is easy owing to its ingenious mechanism operated via the winding crown with precision. While the 40 millimetre case has the crown and the crown guard on the left, the date aperture and the Cyclops Lens are also at 9 O’Clock. The watch is waterproof up to 100 metres and has a Chromalight display promising optimum legibility even in dark environments.
The watch is equipped with calibre 3285 (that incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement), a movement developed and manufactured by the brand itself back in 2018. Due to the barrel’s architecture and escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve extends to 70 hours approximately. The watch is priced at around RM 48,050.
Rolex Sky-Dweller — Reference 326938
If dressing up like royalty suits your style and persona, this Sky-Dweller model fashioned in 18 carat yellow gold with a champagne-hued dial and Oyster bracelet should be on your wishlist. Standing out for its second time zone display on an off-centre disc on the dial simultaneously in the 24-hour format, the local time is indicated with the conventional hour, minute and second hands. Setting the time on the watch is effortless and fuss-free and the fixed inverted triangle points to the chosen reference time with easily legible difference between the daytime and night-time hours.
Encased in the signature fluted bezel, the 42 millimetre dial with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal also displays the current month indicated by a red rectangle around the dial apart from the date. Waterproof up to 100 metres, the watch is powered by calibre 9001, a mechanical self-winding movement developed and manufactured by Rolex itself. It is one of the most complex calibres ever to be created by Rolex and was first introduced in 2012. The watch has a power reserve of approximately 72 hours and details related to its price and availability can be received upon request.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 — Reference 124300
Oyster Perpetual is a symbol of universal and classic style with timelessness and functionality at its very core. An Oystersteel watch with a 41 millimetre silver dial encased in a domed bezel, the watch features hour markers made from gold to prevent tarnishing. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass enhances its beauty further.
Waterproof up to 100 metres, this model has a calibre 3230 movement that was first launched by the brand in 2020. It offers precision, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, reliability and convenience with a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. It is priced at around RM 26,500.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona — Reference 116508
Crafted in 18 carat yellow gold with a bright green dial and the signature Oyster bracelet, this Cosmograph Daytona is the modern-day iteration of the classic chronograph designed as a timing tool for endurance racing drivers. This Rolex watch is one of the most popular sports chronographs that delivers an exquisite look and high performance.
The 40 millimetre green dial with snailed counters, hands with a Chromalight display and gold applique hour markers is highly legible owing to the presence of luminescent material. To aid drivers in precisely mapping out their track times and tactics, the central sweep seconds hand allows an on-point reading of 1/8 second whereas, the two dial counters display the time lapsed in hours and minutes.
Surrounding the striking dial is the yellow gold bezel engraved with the tachymetric scale that makes for an ideal instrument to measure speed up to 400 units per hour indicated in kilometres and miles. While the Rolex Daytona is waterproof up to 100 metres and has a power reserve of around 72 hours, it runs on calibre 4130 movement and is priced at RM 1,63,700 approximately.
Rolex GMT-MASTER II — Reference 126710BLRO
Yet another GMT-Master II that deserves a place in this list and your collection is this version in a stunning red and blue colour paired with a black dial. This watch is known for displaying two time zones simultaneously — either the local time and that of an alternative time zone or the local time and the reference time. It features the conventional hour, minute and second hands, a triangle-tipped 24-hour hand and a bidirectional rotatable bezel with 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert.
Like all professional Rolex watch models, this piece also has remarkable legibility under all circumstances owing to the Chromalight display. What additionally makes this watch stand out is the Oystersteel Jubilee bracelet — initially created specially for the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust model in 1945.
Supple and comfortable, the bracelet is equipped with Oysterlock folding safety clasp designed and patented by the brand. Priced at around RM 46,700, the watch features the new-generation calibre 3285 that guarantees a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
Rolex Day-Date 40 — Reference 228236
Yet another great pick among other recently launched Rolex watches is this new Day-Date 40 crafted in 950 platinum with an ice-blue dial. The Day-Date was first launched in 1956 and was the first calendar wristwatch that also spelt out the entire day of the week, apart from the date, in an arc-shaped window at 12 O’Clock.
What makes this version stand out is the fluted bezel in Platinum that’s the first ever for Rolex. Producing perfectly-shaped and luminous fluting for this metal is an aesthetic and technical feat for the brand that involved years of research and expertise. Adding distinctiveness to the piece is the blue seconds hand and faceted Roman numerals and hour markers made in 18 carat white gold.
While the 40 millimetre Oyster case is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres, its middle is crafted from a solid block of 950 platinum and the scratch-proof sapphire crystal has the statement Cyclops Lens at 3 O’Clock.
The Day-Date is also referred to as the presidents’ watch due to its emblematic President bracelet and eminent figures including John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, and Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president, wearing it. The bracelet on the new version includes a sophisticated concealed folding Crownclasp and ceramic inserts inside the links to boost its longevity and flexibility.
It is equipped with calibre 3255, first unveiled on a model in 2015. Incorporating patented Chronergy escapement, it ensures efficiency, dependability and a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
Details related to the price and availability of this model can be received upon request.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42 — Reference 226658
A professional category watch by Rolex, first launched in 1992, the Yacht-Master was specifically designed to aid navigators and skippers on their sailing journeys. It’s an emblematic timepiece that is now available in an 18k yellow gold make.
Additionally, on this new version, the signature bidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a Cerachrom insert in matte black ceramic with 60-minute graduations. Not to forget the knurled edge offering excellent grip and the bezel’s ability to calculate, for instance, the sailing time between two buoys. The 42 millimetre Oyster case of the watch is waterproof up to 100 metres while its middle case is designed from a solid block of 18 carat yellow gold. Made of virtually scratch proof sapphire topped with an anti-reflective coating, the crystal is fitted with the signature Cyclops Lens at 3 O’Clock for easy reading.
The Oysterflex bracelet of the watch combining durability of a metal bracelet and the comfort of an elastomer strap is an innovative one developed and patented by Rolex. Made of flexible curved metal blades over-moulded with black elastomer, the bracelet is further lined with longitudinal cushions to enhance comfort. The patented Oysterlock too is made in 18 carat yellow gold and prevents accidental opening.
This watch is powered by calibre 3235, a movement that was developed, manufactured and released in 2015 and has been equipping this model since 2019. It’s a self-winding mechanical movement that offers outstanding performance while its power reserve extends to around 70 hours. The watch is priced at RM 1,23,500 approximately and can be bought from official Rolex retailers subject to availability.
Rolex Sea-Dweller — Reference 126603
Engineered for deep-sea exploration, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is a diver’s favourite. Inspired by the original, this watch has a 43 millimetre black dial with large hands and indices, purely meant for Rolex professional models. While the innovative Chromalight display enhances visibility in dark environments, its unique blue glow lasts up to eight hours with a uniform luminosity.
Waterproof up to 1,220 metres, the design is crafted in the brand’s signature Rolesor material combining the lustre of gold and strength and reliability of steel. It features a unidirectional 60-minute rotatable bezel that aids divers in monitoring their dive and decompression timings. The graduations on the Cerachrom bezel are further coated with a thin layer of gold via Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD).
Protecting the watch is the Helium gas escape valve fitted with a spring in the design that ensures no harm is caused to the watch when the divers are in a decompression chamber before returning to open air. The watch is equipped with calibre 3235 movement that has a power reserve of up to 70 hours. The watch is priced at RM 74,100 approximately.