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A Beginner’s Guide to Every Rolex Model

A Beginners Guide to Every Rolex Model

Rolex. The name says it all really. It’s the name of the most famous watchmaker in the world, hell one of the most famous luxury brands in history. Going by the numbers, your first watch was or will probably be a Rolex. However, while some models *cough* Daytona *cough* tend to jealously keep the limelight to themselves, how well do you know the extended Rolex range?

It’s a more diverse collection of watches than perhaps you know, with each piece suited to an entirely different personality. Well, to make sure you have the right Rolex for you, here’s our beginner’s guide to every model in the legendary watchmaker’s current collection.

The Professional Models

Cosmograph Daytona

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Platinum 126506

The Daytona is to all intents and purposes the most iconic timepiece ever released. Designed for the high-stakes world of racing, it wasn’t the first tachymeter-equipped watch but this has been the most successful by far. It’s three subdial layout is instantly recognisable, as is that engraved bezel and the 4130 calibre is one of the finest chronographs out there. What really sets the Daytona apart however is who wore it: Paul Newman.

The legendary Hollywood actor was the face of the Daytona, to the point of having a particular dial named after him. In case you were wondering, that dial is a stark black-white contrast with exotic dial and subdial-matched 60-second ring. His name is so inextricably linked to the Daytona that Paul Newman’s very own timepiece went for a world record £13.5m at auction. The modern versions are almost as hard to get hold of, but if you want to show off your horological heft, the Cosmograph Daytona has some serious cache. In 2023 the entire collection was updated with minor adjustment to the case and dial, with the most spectacular model being the platinum Ref. 126506.

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Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 40mm 126506

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 40mm

Ref: 126506
Case/Dial:
Platinum, chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel, ice blue sunray gloss dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 4131, automatic mechanical chronograph, 72h power reserve
Strap: Platinum bracelet
Price: £66,800

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Submariner

Rolex Sumbariner

The Submariner is the archetypal dive watch. It’s arguably the first true water resistant watch and, just as arguably, the watch that really put Rolex on the map. A spiritual successor to the original 1923 Oyster, when it was released back in 1953 it destroyed any and all competition. Today it’s still the reference dive watch, with all the professional touches that entails: a unidirectional rotating bezel, a rugged case and 300m depth resistance.

It also happens to be one of the most versatile Rolex models out there; the simplicity of the dial combined with the various metals and dial colours (the royal blue is an icon) means you can wear it with anything. Reliability being yet another necessity for a professional instrument, it’s also good to know that the in-house calibre 3130 (or 3135 for the date model) are ten times more precise than a traditional hairspring when it comes to bumps and shocks.

The most recent redesign saw a slight change in size to 41mm, slimmer and less chunky, and subtly re-designed hands. It’s available in date and time only versions with the 3230 calibre automatic movement for the non-date model and a 3235 calibre automatic movement for the dated version, both with a 70-hour power reserve.

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Rolex Sumbariner

Rolex Submariner 41mm

Ref: 124060
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black dial with 300m (30 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £8,050

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Rolex Sumbariner Date

Rolex Submariner Date 41mm

Ref: 126610LV
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black dial with 300m (30 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £9,450

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Sea-Dweller

Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm main image

The Submariner may have laid out the blueprint for the professional diving watch but in 1967 the Sea-Dweller pushed it to the extreme – 1,220m of extreme. Previously the Sea-Dweller range used to contain the Deepsea sub-collection but for 2024 Rolex has finally separated those watches out into a collection of their own. Which does rather leave the Sea-Dweller underrepresented with only a single model in two colourways.

When it comes to the standard Sea-Dweller, in style it’s similar to the Sub, but the bigger, bulkier case and the extra waterproofness that comes from Rolex’s patented Ringlock system makes it a few millimetres bigger. Even then, the 43mm diameter is more wearable than anything in that kind of depth range, showcasing the sheer level of engineering behind the Sea-Dweller. It’s a little less versatile than the Submariner, with just black and blue dials but when you’re thousands of metres underwater, that’s just what you need.

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Rolex Sea Dweller 43mm

Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm

Ref: 126603
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel and yellow gold, black dial with 1,200m (120 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Yellow Rolesor bracelet
Price: £15,950

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Deepsea

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea 136668LB

Rolex’s Deepsea watches used to be part of the Sea-Dweller family but were recently given the status of being a standalone collection. There are a handful of watches in the Deepsea line including the standard edition and the Deepsea Challenge which pushes Rolex’s depth ratings to the absolute limit. Interestingly, for 2024 Rolex have brought a hint of luxury to these extreme divers with a full gold edition with a blue dial I don’t know anyone who would be willing to risk a full gold watch at a depth of 3,900m but here we are.

The Deepsea Challenge is a very different beast, with a huge 50mm diameter built for the insane depths that it’s capable of withstanding. It has a water resistance rating of 11,000m. It was also Rolex’s first ever titanium timepiece, introducing the lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant material to the crown’s collections.

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller 44mm

Ref: 136668LB
Case/Dial:
Yellow gold, blue dial with 3,900m (390 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Yellow gold bracelet
Price: £45,700

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Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea Challenge 126067

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge

Ref: 126067
Case/Dial:
RLX titanium case, intense matte black dial with 11,000m (110 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, COSC-certified, 70h power reserve
Strap: Titanium bracelet
Price: £22,350

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Yacht-Master

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 RLX Titanium Ref. 226627

As the name hints, this is Rolex’s sea-faring watch, designed for life aboard boats and ships on the high seas. It’s nautical, but that doesn’t mean it’s suited for the depths like other Rolex pieces. It’ll be fine in the likely event you find yourself bobbing in the ocean, but if you prefer scuba gear to sailboats you’ll want to look elsewhere.

It’s the only Rolex model with a precious metal rotating bezel, giving it the kind of glamorous look an on-board cocktail party requires. At the same time, that bezel is a genuine tool and the watch is easy to use, easy to read – especially in the case of the Yacht-Master 42 that introduced RLX Titanium to the collection – and easy for any yachtsman to fall in love with. In 2024 Rolex discontinued the Yacht-Master II, the Regatta timer edition of the watch, which does rather beg the question of what niche is the standard Yacht-Master filling that the superior diving specs of the Submariner can’t also accommodate?

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Rolex Yacht Master 40mm

Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm

Ref: 126655
Case/Dial:
Everose gold, intense black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oysterflex bracelet
Price: £25,300

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Rolex Yacht Master 42mm Titanium

Rolex Yacht-Master 42mm

Ref: 226627-0001
Case/Dial:
RLX titanium, intense black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oysterflex bracelet
Price: £12,350

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Rolex Yacht Master 37mm

Rolex Yacht-Master 37mm

Ref: 268621
Case/Dial: Oystersteel and Everose gold, chocolate dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2236, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Everose Rolesor bracelet
Price: £12,700

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Explorer

Rolex Explorer 40

The name says it all. As early as the 1930s, Rolex was equipping explorers, mountaineers and adventurous masochists of all kinds with watches in their then-new Oyster case. The feedback from the tops of peaks and the polar ice caps is what directly led to the development of the Explorer in 1953 and the 1972 Explorer II.

The difference between the two (other than size) is that the Explorer II is fitted with 24-hour hand and fixed bezel, helping would-be adventurers tell the difference between day and night if, say, they’re caving. Both watches however are built to survive any and all conditions. That means a corrosion-resistant Oystersteel case and movements with Parachrom hairpsrings and Paraflex shock absorbers. Basically, either Explorer can take anything you care to throw at it and look good doing so.

Both Explorers received updates in 2021, following the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II, which received a small redesign. The Explorer on the other hand fought back against the size creep we’ve seen over recent years and returned to its vintage, original size of 36mm – kept fresh with a rolesor (bi-colour) look. However, in 2023 the standard 39mm edition said farewell to be replaced with the new 40mm version.

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Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer 36mm

Ref: 124273
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel and yellow gold, black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Yellow Rolesor bracelet
Price: £10,350

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Rolex Explorer 40mm 224270

Rolex Explorer 40mm

Ref: 224270
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £6,650

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Rolex Explorer II

Rolex Explorer II 42mm

Ref: 226570
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, white dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3285, automatic with GMT function, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £8,500

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GMT-Master II

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 GRNR

Originally designed for pilots, the GMT-Master was the first dual time zone wristwatch, using its 24-hour hand and rotating bezel to show any second time zone you so desired. The modern GMT-Master II perfected the mechanism, allowing the 24-hour hand to be set independently from the 12-hour, in effect allowing three different time zones to be displayed at once.

The most famous of the various two-tone bezel variations is the ‘Pepsi Cola’, so-called for its blue / red day / night bezel. There are other versions of course – the red and black ‘Coke’, the brown and black ‘root beer’ and the blue and black ‘Batman’ are the most famous – and all modern bezels are made from incredibly hard Cerachrom inserts rather than the original’s brittle Bakelite. A few years ago they introduced a destro model with a green/black bezel, although the latest addition is a black and grey colourway in steel. Finished with a Cyclops magnifier for the date, it’s the original jet-setting icon.

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Rolex GMT Master II

Rolex GMT-Master II 40mm

Ref: 126710BLRO
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3285, automatic with GMT function, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel jubilee bracelet
Price: £9,550

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master II ref. 126720VTNR

Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II

Ref: 126720VTNR
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3285, automatic with GMT function, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £9,800

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Air-King

Rolex Air-King Ref. 126900

When you’re in the cockpit, you need one thing from your watch above all else: legibility. That’s the foundation the Air-King was built on. The watch was first released in 1958, building upon the legacy of Rolex timepieces owned and used by aviators since the 1930s. Originally with a gold dial, the modern version’s distinctive black and white contrast, complete with the oversized 3, 6 and 9, make differentiating the hours from the minutes easy at a glance, vital in the cockpit. It was updated in 2022 with the addition of crown guards, a modern movement and a more balanced minute track design.

At 40mm it’s smaller than most modern pilots watches out there but the clarity more than makes up for that. Finished with a distinctive green hour hand, it’s the most elegant of Rolex’s professional timepieces, the perfect ‘watch for every occasion’.

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Rolex Air King 40mm ref. 126900

Rolex Air-King 40mm

Ref: 126900
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, black lacquered dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £9,550

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The Classic Models

Datejust

Rolex Datejust 31mm ref. 278274

The epitome of elegance, the Datejust is at once the paradigm of horological glamour and one of the most diverse models within the Rolex canon. First released in 1945 to celebrate the watchmaker’s 40th anniversary, it was at the time the first and only automatic watch with a date window. In the early models, that date would begin to change before midnight but since 1955 it’s been instantaneous.

The modern Datejust is as glamorous as ever, available in everything from 31mm to 41mm sizes, a surprising number of dial colours and all Rolex precious metals. Even the bezel comes in plain, crimped and diamond-set bezels. A standout is the yellow gold Rolesor (bi-colour) with an olive green dial, crimped bezel and jubilee bracelet.

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Rolex Datejust 31mm ref. 278274

Rolex Datejust 31mm

Ref: 278274
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel and white gold, Azzurro blue dial with floral motif and set with diamonds with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2236, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £9,000

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Rolex-Datejust-36mm

Rolex Datejust 36mm

Ref: 126234
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, mint green dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £7,650

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Rolex Datejust 41mm

Rolex Datejust 41mm

Ref: 128238
Case/Dial: Yellow gold, green ombré dial set with diamonds with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3255, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £10,700

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Day-Date

Rolex Day-Date 40mm

Yet another first for Rolex, the Day-Date was the first watch to showcase not only the date, but the long-form day on the dial. Released in 1956, it quickly became the Rolex flagship and just as quickly was taken up by a prestigious clientele, especially presidents. In fact, ‘President’, the name given to the Day-Date’s iconic bracelet has become the official moniker of the entire timepiece.

Over the last half a century the Day-Date has barely changed. It’s now available in a larger, 40mm size as well as the 36mm and is equipped with a new-generation 3255 movement, but is otherwise the same. It’s still only available in precious metals and, if you want the true presidents watch, the full yellow gold with gold dial is still the symbol of power and wealth it ever was.

For 2023 they released a new off-catalogue edition of the 36mm version with an enamel dial featuring a jigsaw puzzle motif in bright colours. It also features positive affirmations instead of the days and emojis instead of the date. All those things we said about the Day-Date being Rolex’s ultimate refined, smart, statesman-like timepiece, those don’t apply to this insane special edition.

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Rolex Day Date 36mm

Rolex Day-Date 36mm

Ref: 128238
Case/Dial:
18k yellow gold, green ombré dial set with diamonds with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3255, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: 18k yellow gold bracelet
Price: £33,300

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Rolex Day Date 40mm ref. 228236

Rolex Day-Date 40mm

Ref: 228236
Case/Dial:
Platinum, ice blue dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3255, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Platinum bracelet
Price: £54,400

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Rolex Day Date 36 Jigsaw 128238

Rolex Day-Date 36 Jigsaw

Ref: 128238
Case/Dial:
18k yellow gold, jigsaw patterned dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3255, automatic mechanical, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Yellow gold bracelet
Price: Price on request

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Lady-Datejust

Lady Datejust 28mm

All the glamour and elegance of the Datejust, downsized for a more feminine wrist. The Lady-Datejust first appeared in the 1950s and since then has been the quintessential women’s Rolex. It takes all the hallmarks of the original Datejust but compliments it with jewellery touches, such as diamond indexes, mother-of-pearl dials and smaller, more delicate features.

It still has all the technical innovations of Rolex, from the various in-house precious metals and unique settings to the latest calibre 2236 movement with its silicon balance spring. Yes it may be the smallest Rolex, but it shines all the more brilliantly for it – especially 2021’s new diamond encrusted version.

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Rolex Lady Datejust 28mm

Rolex Lady-Datejust 28mm

Ref: 279381RBR
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel & 18k Everose gold, white mother-of-pearl set with diamonds with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2236, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel and 18k Everose Rolesor bracelet
Price: £16,850

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Oyster Perpetual

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Celebration Bubble

If you’ve ever wondered what the first Rolex looked like, this is about as close a modern reinterpretation as you can get. The Oyster Perpetual traces its lineage all the way back to 1926 and the first waterproof wristwatch in the world, the watch that built Rolex. It’s the simplest, purest expression of that perfect combination of practicality and elegance that has come to define the Rolex name.

Not that Rolex hasn’t had some fun with the model of course. The Oyster’s innate minimalism lends itself to some funky dial colours, whether that’s olive green, blue or the incredibly cool turquoise – in 2023 they even combined several of the colours in the new Celebration dial at 31mm, 36mm and 41mm. Available in sizes ranging from 28mm to 41mm and equipped with a versatile array of ever-reliable in-house movements, the Oyster Perpetual brings Rolex watchmaking back to its purist fundamentals.

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 28mm

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 28mm

Ref: 276200
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, bright blue dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2232, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £4,850

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31mm

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31mm

Ref: 277200
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, turquoise blue dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2232, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £4,950

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34mm

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34mm

Ref: 276200
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, bright black dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 2232, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £5,000

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm 126000

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm

Ref: 126000
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, bubble dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3220, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 55h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £5,300

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41mm

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41mm

Ref: 124300
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, silver dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 70h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £5,550

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Sky-Dweller

Rolex Sky-Dweller

If the GMT-Master II is for the guys that fly in the cockpit, the Sky-Dweller is for the guys that fly first class. Rather than the practical rotating bezel, here the second time zone is read via an off-centre rotating disc at 6 o’clock. However, the Sky-Dweller goes far further than just a second time zone, by including a subtly integrated annual calendar.

Along with the cyclops-enhanced date, a red rectangle hops from hour marker to hour marker, indicating the month. It’s among the most sophisticated calendars ever built and one that detracts in no way from the elegance of the dial. The entire ensemble, local time, reference time and calendar, can all be set from the crown, simply by turning the so-called command bezel into different positions. It’s almost surprising that the most basic Sky-Dweller only has 11 patents.

For 2024 the precious metal Sky-Dweller collection was revitalised with golden Jubilee bracelets, adding a further refined attitude. Although they remain largely the same on an aesthetic level with the signature display and fluted bezel.

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Rolex Sky Dweller 336934

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Ref: 336934
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel and 18k white gold, mint green dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex 9002, automatic with dual time zones and annual calendar, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 72h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel three-link bracelet
Price: £13,650

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Perpetual 1908

Rolex Perpetual 1908 Gold 52508

Surprising many pundits, Rolex discontinued the Cellini collection in 2023, their heritage classical range. However, in its stead they revealed a new classical dress watch collection with many of the same aesthetic codes – the Rolex Perpetual 1908.

A tribute to the year ‘Rolex’ first started appearing on dials, the entire Perpetual 1908 is inspired by the first of the watchmaker’s creations to be fitted with a self-winding rotor. That means it’s about as traditional as you could hope for. A svelte 39mm case with a two-tiered bezel, the top part domed and tactile, the lower part opting for that signature fluted pattern. For 2024 they introduced a second edition with a guilloché dial, a technique not widely used by Rolex, that looks stunning.

Inside you’ll find the calibre 7140. It offers some serious finishing thanks to Rolex’s spin on the watchmaking staple that is Côtes de Genève, just with a polished groove between each bar. And yes, you can see that for yourself as the Perpetual 1908 features a sapphire caseback – which was a first for Rolex at the time of its launch. The movement features a Syloxi hairspring and has a 66-hour power reserve.

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Rolex Perpetual 1908 39mm 52508

Rolex Perpetual 1908 39mm

Ref: 52508
Case/Dial:
18k yellow gold, white dial with 50m (5 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 7140, automatic mechanical, 66h power reserve
Strap: Matte brown alligator leather with double folding Dualclasp
Price: £19,300

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Rolex Perpetual 1908 52506

Rolex Perpetual 1908 39mm

Ref: 52506
Case/Dial:
Platinum, ice blue Guilloche dial with 50m (5 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 7140, automatic mechanical, 66h power reserve
Strap: Leather
Price: £26,600

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Discontinued Models

Milgauss

Rolex Milgauss

Unless you have a killer sound-system, magnetism isn’t something that normally comes up in everyday life. For the scientific community however, strong magnetic fields are a regular occurrence, generated by plenty of necessary equipment and around the scientifically-valuable poles. The Milgauss, as its name suggests, was built to withstand magnetic fields of 1,000 Gauss, leading to its adoption by the European Organisation of Nuclear Research, CERN.

It’s by far the most modern of Rolex’s professional timepieces and not just chronologically. The distinctive lime green sapphire ring around the bezel, the signature lightning bolt second hand and the bright orange contrast – particularly paired with the medium blue dial – combine to make one of the most individual Rolex pieces there is. If you want your Rolex to stand out from the crowd, this is the one for you.

Unfortunately, with the general surge in anti-magnetic watches, the Milgauss’ party trick isn’t as special as it once was and as of 2023 the model has been discontinued. Which is a massive shame because it’s one of the most intriguing watches in Rolex’s back catalogue.

Rolex Milgauss

Rolex Milgauss 40mm

Ref: 116400GV
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel, Z-blue dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3131, automatic with a magnetic shield to protect the movement, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 48h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Price: £7,350

Cellini

Rolex Cellini Moonphase

Rolex don’t generally go in for fancy finishing or the kind of complications that Patek and Vacheron hold dear. Except, that is, in the Cellini, Rolex’s ode to a more classical school of watchmaking. Named after Italian Renaissance artist, Benvenuto Cellini, it’s the one place you can find guilloché, specifically Rayon lame de la gloire, and a moonphase. Even the watch’s fluted crown speaks of watchmaking from a time before Rolex.

Over the last few years more and more Cellini models found their way to being discontinued with the last surviving model being the Cellini Moonphase, although that too is now gone. The Cellini is a watch for people that appreciate both the Rolex name and the more traditional side of Swiss watchmaking – in this respect it finds a successor in the Perpetual 1908.

Rolex Cellini Moonphase

Rolex Cellini Moonphase 39mm

Ref: 50535
Case/Dial:
18k Everose gold, white dial and moonphase at 6 o’clock with 50m (5 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 3195, automatic, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 48h power reserve
Strap: Tobacco leather
Price: £21,450

Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II

While the Yacht-Master II is by no means the most aesthetically coherent of Rolex’s watches, it did serve an important function within the Yacht-Master line. Specifically, as a regatta timer, it justified the entire existence of a yacht and boating themed collection. Regatta timers feature a count down timer that marks the time leading up to the start of a race, allowing boats to perfectly time their starts. Now that there is no regatta timer across the yacht-master and indeed across the entire Rolex range, it does raise the question, why wouldn’t you just buy a submariner instead?

It’s powered by the calibre 4161, an automatic movement equipped with the regatta chronograph complication. The combination of white dial, blue bezel and red accents as well as a Rolesor case makes for a very busy visual aesthetic, though it does lend the piece the vibe of a nautical measuring instrument.

Rolex Yacht Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II 44mm

Ref: 116681
Case/Dial:
Oystersteel and 18k Everose gold, white dial with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
Movement: Rolex calibre 4161, automatic regatta chronograph, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing), 72h power reserve
Strap: Oystersteel and 18k Everose gold three-link bracelet
Price: £21,350

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  • Rolex Air-King doesn’t have distinctive green HOUR hand, it’s the only Rolex model that has SECOND hand in other color than other hands, and it is GREEN. I’m proud owner of the Air-King bought last October, 2023, at official AD “Urar Mamić” in Zagreb, Croatia, and it’s my favorite all day wearing watch for it’s accuracy, comfort on the wrist and legibility of a dial.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.