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Rolex Root Beer Guide

Discover the captivating world of the Rolex Root Beer in this comprehensive guide. Delve into its rich history, explore previous models, and uncover the allure of the current Root Beer released in 2018.

Should you buy a Rolex Root Beer? We provide valuable insights to help you decide. Additionally, explore alternatives to the Root Beer for a wider range of choices.

Embark on this horological journey as we unravel the significance of the Root Beer and reveal everything you should know about this uniquely interesting timepiece.

About the Rolex Root Beer

The Rolex Root Beer is a beloved and iconic model with a fascinating history. The Root Beer name refers to specific Rolex GMT-Master models.

The first GMT-Master, reference 6542, was released in 1954 and featured a two-tone red and blue bezel inspired by the colors of Pan American Airways. Over time, Rolex experimented with different bezel colors, and the Rolex Root Beer emerged and gained a dedicated following among collectors.

The original Root Beer model featured a brown dial and a bezel crafted from both gold and brown elements, earning it the soda-inspired nickname. Although Rolex never officially adopted the Root Beer name, it has become widely recognized in the watch community.

The Root Beer GMT-Master also acquired other intriguing monikers over the years. Some enthusiasts refer to it as “Tiger Eye” because the dial’s rich brown hue resembles the captivating chatoyancy seen in tiger eye gemstones.

Another nickname associated with this model is “Clint Eastwood” due to the GMT Master 1675/3 being the renowned actor’s preferred Rolex watch. Clint Eastwood frequently wore the Root Beer in his movies, further cementing its iconic status.

Although production of the original Root Beer GMT-Master ceased in 2006, its desirability and collectibility have only grown stronger. The demand for this model has resulted in appreciating prices in the pre-owned market, reflecting its enduring appeal among watch enthusiasts and collectors. In 2018, Rolex reintroduced the Root Beer bezel in their GMT-Master II collection with the ref. 126711CHNR.

This modern iteration pays homage to the legacy of the Root Beer, incorporating contemporary enhancements while staying true to the model’s iconic design. The reintroduction of the Root Beer bezel further solidifies its status as a coveted and sought-after timepiece, captivating the hearts of watch enthusiasts worldwide.

A Primer on Rolex Watches’ Nicknames

Rolex watches have earned such a prestigious status in the luxury world that they have garnered a fascinating array of nicknames. These playful monikers have been created by the passionate collector community and have become widely recognized, even among those who aren’t watch enthusiasts.

The practice of giving Rolex watches nicknames has become a trend in itself, creating a circular effect where the desire for these timepieces leads to the invention of catchy aliases, which in turn increases the brand’s visibility and demand.

While Rolex has not officially sanctioned these nicknames, they have become part of the watch culture and add an element of enjoyment to the brand.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most commonly used Rolex nicknames:

  • Batman: Rolex GMT-Master II reference 116710BLNR (2013) and upgraded to 126710BLNR in 2019.
  • Batgirl: Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710BLNR with Jubilee bracelet (2019).
  • Coke: GMT-Master II with a red and black aluminum bezel insert (references 16760 and 16710).
  • Green Lantern/Sprite/Destro: Left-handed GMT-Master II with a green and black bezel insert (2022).
  • Hulk: Green Submariner reference 116610LV with green Cerachrom bezel and dial.
  • Kermit: Submariner Date reference 16610LV with a green bezel insert (2003).
  • Paul Newman: Hand-wound Daytona with an “exotic” dial featuring blocky indices and funky Arabic numerals.
  • Pepsi: GMT-Master or GMT-Master II with a blue and red bezel (from 6542 in the 1950s to modern 126710BLRO).
  • Smurf: White gold Submariner with a blue bezel insert and either a blue or black dial (references 116619LB and 126619LB).
  • Starbucks: Submariner with a Super case, green Cerachrom bezel, and black dial (ref. 122610LV, 2020).
  • Steve McQueen: Explorer II reference 1655, despite no evidence of the actor wearing one.

These nicknames have been coined by the collector community and have become widely recognized, adding an element of fun and distinctiveness to the Rolex watches.

Rolex Root Beer Models

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675/3

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675/3

The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675/3 holds a significant place in the history of the Root Beer models. It was introduced in the 1970s and became the first-ever Root Beer watch. This particular model was available in two bezel color variations, but it was the version with the brown-and-black bezel that earned it the nickname “Root Beer”.

The combination of the brown bezel with the stainless steel and exquisite yellow gold case and bracelet created a unique and captivating aesthetic. The original Root Beer model featured a brown dial adorned with luminescent hands and hour markers in various shapes.

The dial also included a magnified date window, adding practicality to the timepiece. Powering this watch was the caliber 1575, which enabled GMT functionality, allowing the wearer to track two timezones simultaneously.

The watch’s vintage charm, along with its discontinued status, has made it highly sought-after among collectors. The Rolex GMT-Master 1675/3 embodies the spirit of the Root Beer models with its distinctive design and timeless appeal.

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16713

In the late 1980s, Rolex introduced an upgraded version of the Root Beer model with the GMT-Master II reference 16713.

This timepiece marked the next chapter in the evolution of the Root Beer watches and showcased Rolex’s commitment to innovation. The 16713 retained the essence of its predecessor while incorporating notable enhancements to offer a more versatile and modern timepiece.

The GMT-Master II 16713 featured a 40mm stainless steel and gold case, complemented by a matching bracelet. The bi-directional bezel, a defining characteristic of the GMT-Master models, was updated with brown and gold aluminum inserts, giving it a distinct Root Beer appearance.

The brown dial, similar to the original 1675/3, featured luminescent hands and hour markers, ensuring optimal legibility in any lighting conditions. However, what set this model apart was its ability to display three timezones. Thanks to its adjustable 12-hour and 24-hour hands, wearers could easily track an additional timezone, adding a practical function to the watch.

Powered by the caliber 3185, the GMT-Master II 16713 delivered precise timekeeping and reliability. The sapphire crystal provided enhanced durability and scratch resistance, further solidifying its status as a reliable companion.

The watch was available with both Oyster and Jubilee bracelets, allowing wearers to choose their preferred style and comfort.

The GMT-Master II 16713 represented a significant milestone for the Root Beer models, incorporating modern advancements while paying homage to its roots.

This model appealed to individuals seeking a timepiece that effortlessly combined functionality with style. Today, the 16713 Root Beer model remains a sought-after watch, cherished by collectors and enthusiasts for its unique design and enduring appeal.

Rolex GMT Master II “Root Beer” ref. 126711CHNR

Rolex GMT Master II “Root Beer” ref. 126711CHNR

In 2018, Rolex delighted fans of the Root Beer watch with the introduction of the 126711CHNR, a new iteration that breathed new life into the iconic timepiece.

This release marked a triumphant return for the Root Beer, which had momentarily disappeared from the horological scene. The Master II Root Beer, often hailed as the second version of the Root Beer, brought a fresh set of features and upgrades, reigniting the passion of watch enthusiasts.

With its blend of timeless design and modern enhancements, this model aimed to captivate both loyal fans and new admirers, solidifying the Root Beer’s status as a true Rolex classic.


While maintaining the bi-colored scheme that distinguished the original Root Beer, there are notable differences in the materials used. Rolex opted for their proprietary 18K Everose gold for the case, a departure from the traditional yellow gold found in the vintage model.

This choice imbues the timepiece with a warm and elegant hue, elevating its overall aesthetic appeal. The Oyster case, with its 40mm diameter and 12.5mm thickness, exudes a sense of robustness and durability.

It is meticulously crafted to ensure precision and reliability, reflecting Rolex’s unwavering standards. The screw-down case back and winding crown, coupled with a water resistance rating of 100m, ensure that the timepiece can withstand the rigors of daily wear and aquatic adventures.

With its impeccable design and attention to detail, the case of the relaunched Rolex Root Beer exemplifies Rolex’s commitment to creating watches of exceptional quality.


Departing from the brown dial of the vintage Root Beer, this model features a striking black dial that serves as a captivating backdrop for intricate details. The hour markers and hands, adorned with 18K rose gold accents, create a stunning contrast against the dark dial, infusing the watch with a touch of opulence.

This careful attention to detail extends to the text “GMT Master II,” elegantly printed in gold just above the 6 o’clock position. This additional detail sets the Root Beer apart from other GMT Master II models, which typically feature white markers and hands.

The combination of the gold accents with the bezel is truly jaw-dropping, giving the watch a warm and retro feel. Despite its toned-down appearance, the 126711 can still stand out and make heads turn.

Rolex ensures exceptional legibility with its Chromalight display, a proprietary feature that emits long-lasting blue luminescence. This allows the wearer to easily read the time, even in low-light conditions.

The dial becomes a focal point of admiration for watch connoisseurs, combining style, functionality, and impeccable craftsmanship.


Like other GMT models, this watch features a bi-directional bezel with a distinctive black and brown Cerachrom insert. Rolex’s use of ceramic material for the bezel is a groundbreaking achievement, known for its exceptional scratch-resistant properties.

This particular color combination in their patented ceramic material had never been produced before, making it an exclusive feature of the Master II Root Beer. The upper half of the bezel is black, while the lower half is brown, creating a visually captivating and dynamic effect.

The bezel’s molded Arabic numerals and graduations are coated with pink gold via PVD, adding a touch of elegance and functionality. As light plays upon the bezel, the black and brown tones come alive, providing a mesmerizing and ever-changing appearance.

The bi-color Cerachrom bezel exemplifies Rolex’s mastery of materials and design, adding a touch of sophistication to this exceptional timepiece.


At the heart of the 126711 beats the caliber 3285, a marvel of watchmaking technology developed exclusively by Rolex. This self-winding movement is a testament to Rolex’s unwavering pursuit of precision, reliability, and innovation.

The caliber 3285 incorporates several advanced features that enhance the watch’s performance. Equipped with Paraflex shock absorbers and a Parachrom hairspring, the movement boasts exceptional resistance to shocks and magnetism, ensuring reliable timekeeping in any situation.

The inclusion of the Chronergy escapement in this GMT Master II further enhances its precision and efficiency, with a 15% improvement in energy efficiency compared to previous movements.

These innovations result in an impressive power reserve of 70 hours, a significant improvement over its predecessors. The movement is COSC-certified, meeting the stringent standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.

With its unparalleled precision and reliability, the caliber 3285 enhances the overall appeal and functionality of the Master II Root Beer, solidifying its status as a superior timekeeping instrument.


Departing from the Jubilee bracelet found in previous Root Beer models, this timepiece features an Oyster bracelet that exudes a sporty and robust character.

The two-tone design combines satin-finished stainless steel outer links with 18K Everose gold center links, creating a harmonious blend of materials.

The bracelet’s craftsmanship ensures a perfect fit on the wrist, while the Easylink 5mm comfort extension link system allows for easy adjustment, providing unparalleled comfort and versatility.

The Oysterlock folding clasp adds an extra layer of security, ensuring the watch stays firmly in place during everyday activities.

With its exceptional design and engineering, the bracelet of the 2018 Root Beer embodies Rolex’s commitment to both form and function.

Pros and Cons


· Accurate Timekeeping: The 126711 is powered by the COSC-certified caliber 3285, ensuring precise timekeeping with a precision rating of -2/+2 seconds per day.

· GMT Functionality: The GMT function allows for tracking multiple timezones, making it convenient for frequent travelers.

· Exceptional Legibility: The Chromalight display and gold accents on the dial ensure clear and easy time reading, even in low-light conditions.

· Superior Movement: The caliber 3285 boasts advanced features like Paraflex shock absorbers, Parachrom hairspring, Chronergy escapement, and a 70-hour power reserve, ensuring reliability and precision.


· Limited Availability: The popularity of the Root Beer model and its status as a “hot watch” make it challenging to acquire, often resulting in long waiting lists or inflated prices in the pre-owned market.

· Deviation from the vintage aesthetic: The modern design of the Rolex Root Beer, including the metal bracelet, dial color, and bezel shade, may not appeal to purists seeking a faithful recreation of the original vintage model. However, for those looking for a modern and trendy interpretation, this watch offers a unique charm.

In conclusion, the Rolex GMT Master II Root Beer is a remarkable timepiece that pays homage to its iconic predecessor while introducing modern features and materials.

From the exquisite case and dial design to the innovative movement and bracelet, every aspect of this watch showcases Rolex’s commitment to craftsmanship and precision.

While it may have some limitations in terms of availability and deviation from the vintage aesthetic, the 2018 Root Beer remains a sought-after model that appeals to both watch enthusiasts and discerning collectors.

Should You Buy a Rolex Root Beer?

The Rolex Root Beer is a timepiece that appeals to a specific audience that appreciates its unique features and distinct design elements. For fans of the iconic Rolex Root Beer, the reference 126711CHNR offers a new breed of the classic watch, capturing the essence of the vintage model while incorporating modern upgrades and features.

It presents an opportunity to add a unique and sought-after timepiece to your collection. The popularity and limited availability of the Rolex Root Beer make it a highly desirable and sought-after timepiece. Its distinct design, rarity, and exclusivity contribute to its appeal for those who appreciate owning a watch that stands out and makes a statement.

While there are some considerations to keep in mind, such as the challenge of acquiring the watch and the deviations from the vintage model, the 2018 Rolex Root Beer remains a timepiece that combines the allure of heritage with modern advancements, making it a worthy investment for those who value quality, originality, and exclusivity.

Alternatives To The Rolex Root Beer

If you want the look of the Root Beer but can’t find one for a reasonable price, there are a few decent alternatives with similar looks at different price points:

Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G (ref. M79833MN-0001)

Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G (ref. M79833MN-0001)

The Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G “Root Beer” is a compelling alternative to the Rolex Root Beer, drawing inspiration from vintage Tudor and Rolex models. With its two-tone design and vintage flair, the Black Bay GMT S&G offers a touch of nostalgia.

The Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G provides a more accessible price point compared to the Rolex Root Beer. Its vintage aesthetic with gold accents and a Root Beer-inspired bezel appeals to those seeking a classic look. However, some may argue that the Tudor lacks the prestige and finishing of Rolex. Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preference, budget, and the significance of brand heritage.

The Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G retains the same dimensions as the steel version, with a 41mm diameter and 14.6mm thickness. The case combines brushed and polished surfaces and features a screw-down crown and solid steel caseback. The watch offers a balance between presence and wearability.

The Black Bay GMT S&G features a domed matte black dial with applied hour markers and a vintage-inspired Snowflake handset. Super-LumiNova luminescence ensures legibility in low-light conditions. The dial design blends seamlessly with the two-tone aesthetics of the watch. 

The standout feature is the 18K yellow gold bezel with a matte brown and black anodized aluminum insert, paying homage to the Root Beer models. The Tudor interpretation offers a retro look with a matte finish, distinguishing it from the glossy Rolex bezel. The bi-directional rotation and 24-hour scale facilitate tracking multiple time zones.

The Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G is powered by the reliable MT5652 movement. It features a silicon balance spring, operates at 28,800vph, and provides a 70-hour power reserve. 

The GMT function allows for easy tracking of different time zones. Tudor offers a choice of a riveted steel and yellow gold bracelet, a fabric strap, or a leather strap for the Black Bay GMT S&G. The two-tone bracelet complements the watch’s aesthetics, while the fabric and leather options provide versatility.

Squale 20 ATMOS Root Beer Ceramic – 1545 – SEL Bracelet

Squale 20 ATMOS Root Beer Ceramic - 1545 - SEL Bracelet

The Squale 20 Atmos Root Beer Ceramic model offers a compelling alternative to the Rolex Root Beer with its upgraded case construction, unique brown ceramic bezel insert, and overall value for money. This timepiece combines quality craftsmanship, reliable movement, and an aesthetically pleasing design, making it a standout choice for watch enthusiasts.

When comparing the Squale 20 ATMOS to the Rolex Root Beer, there are several pros and cons to consider. The Squale 20 ATMOS Root Beer offers a more affordable price point while maintaining high-quality construction. However, it may lack the prestige and finishing of the Rolex counterpart. Ultimately, the decision between the two will depend on personal preference and budget.

The Squale 20 Atmos Root Beer Ceramic features a 40mm stainless steel case with improved case construction and a screw-down crown. The short curved-down lugs ensure a comfortable fit on any wrist size. The mixture of satin brush and polished finishes adds to the overall quality and appeal of the watch.

The highlight of the Squale 20 Atmos Root Beer Ceramic is its beautiful brown sunburst dial, which dances with different lighting conditions. The dial is complemented by round indices, gilt Mercedes hands, and a magnified date window with a Cyclops eye. The sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating enhances clarity and visibility.

The standout feature of this model is the brown ceramic bezel insert with gold gilt numbers. The bezel is meticulously engraved and heated to harden and purify the ceramic before being filled with gold gilt. The result is a virtually indestructible and scratch-resistant bezel that exudes a sense of luxury and durability.

Powered by either the ETA 2824 or Sellita SW200, the Squale 20 Atmos Root Beer Ceramic ensures reliable timekeeping with approximately 40 hours of power reserve. The movement operates at 28,800 BPH, offers hacking and hand-winding capabilities, and features 25 jewels for smooth and precise functionality.

The watch comes with a straight brushed stainless steel bracelet with solid end-links and screw-in links. The twin-lock clasp offers a secure closure, although it may be slightly difficult to unclip for those with short fingernails. The bracelet adds to the versatility of the timepiece, making it suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Venezianico Nereide GMT (ref. 3521504C)

Venezianico Nereide GMT (ref. 3521504C)

The Venezianico Nereide GMT black dial model offers a compelling alternative to the Rolex Root Beer with its combination of Italian chic, timeless elegance, and modern form.

This timepiece showcases the brand’s commitment to draw inspiration from traditional watchmaking values and mix them with innovative ideas, resulting in a unique and versatile watch. 

When comparing the Venezianico Nereide GMT to the Rolex Root Beer, there are several pros and cons to consider.

The Venezianico model stands out with its Italian design, clean aesthetics, and slim shapes, offering a sense of timeless elegance. It also features a reliable Seiko NH34A automatic movement with a GMT function, allowing for precise timekeeping and the tracking of multiple time zones. 

However, it may lack the prestige, quality, investment value, and recognition of the Rolex brand, and enthusiasts will prefer the brand with the crown, even if that means waiting a bit longer to be able to afford it.

The Venezianico Nereide GMT boasts a versatile 39mm case size, catering to demanding individuals who appreciate both travel functionality and reliable dive watch capabilities. With a water resistance of 20 ATM, this timepiece is designed to withstand severe stress and pressure changes. The carefully engraved caseback, depicting the globe and time zones, adds a touch of craftsmanship to the overall design.

The Nereide GMT features a black dial with polished, hand-applied indices coated with luminescent BGW9 Super-LumiNova pigment for excellent legibility in dark conditions. The hard sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating ensures durability and clarity, while the glossy finish of the dial and bezel adds a touch of elegance.

The watch showcases an eye-catching unidirectional black and light brown rotating sports bezel with BK7 optical glass inserts, known for its lightness and low-dispersion properties. The glossy finish of the bezel complements the overall aesthetics of the timepiece.

Powered by the Seiko NH34A automatic movement, the Venezianico Nereide GMT offers reliable timekeeping and a power reserve of 41 hours. The inclusion of the GMT function allows wearers to track a second timezone independently.

The Venezianico Nereide GMT features the Canova silver bracelet made of 316L stainless steel, known for its durability and elegance. The registered design of the bracelet includes 16 different parts with an integrated butterfly clasp, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit on the wrist.


The Rolex Root Beer holds a significant place in the world of luxury timepieces, with its rich history and enduring appeal. Whether you opt for the vintage models or the modern iteration, the Root Beer offers a unique combination of style and functionality.

Use this guide as a reference to make an informed decision that aligns with your individual style and aspirations and embark on a horological journey that resonates with your unique personality.

rolex oyster perpetual datejust Guide

Rolex is the most well-known luxury watch brand in the world. Selling well over a million units a year, ranked number one in Swiss watch exports by overall revenue, and ranked as the number one most reputable company by RepTrak 2016 through 2019, and again in 2022, they have built a seemingly bulletproof reputation. 

While it is a reputation the rest of the watch industry is surely envious of, what is seemingly more impressive is that they have managed to build this reputation in its relatively short history. A large part of their storied history and success depends on one model, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust.

About the Rolex Datejust

With the many advancements of modern watchmaking, it is easy to take the Datejust for granted. In its most famous form, the Datejust is a 36mm wide steel case watch with either a smooth steel or fluted gold bezel and a steel bracelet or two-tone steel and gold bracelet. The only functions are the time, running seconds, and the date.

Aside from the prestigious brand, little sets it apart from more common and attainable watches. However, if it were not for Rolex producing the Datejust, the modern concept of a timepiece that was functional, durable, and fashionable (the “go anywhere, do anything” watch) would likely not exist. 

Now, every brand has an equivalent timepiece. While other brands have made watches similar in function to the Datejust, Rolex managed to produce both quality, volume, and effective advertising to allow it to be at the forefront of the public’s mind when it comes to a luxury watch suitable for daily wear.

History of the Rolex Datejust

Building on their prior innovation of producing one of the earliest self-winding water-resistant watches, titled the Oyster Perpetual, Rolex introduced the Datejust in 1945. The Datejust was the first automatic watch to have a date that changed autonomously at midnight. To become the icon we know today, Rolex added the magnifying cyclops to the model in 1953. 

In 1957, a ladies’ model was introduced. Since then, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust has been a mainstay in the Rolex catalog. While the sport-oriented models (referred to currently as the Professional Line by Rolex) get the bulk of attention from enthusiasts, the classic models like the Datejust are the most popular overall in terms of sales. 

What Makes a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

Often imitated and with numerous variations, it is impressive how Rolex has managed to make the Datejust an easily identifiable icon distinguishable from imitators, regardless of variations and updates over the years.

The Oyster Case

While easy to take for granted, the Oyster case for the Classic models has a curved and polished case side. The case design wears more like a cushion case than a traditional round case, as the lugs are large and extend from the case side down to the bracelet, giving the watch an integrated bracelet look with the metal bracelet options while using traditional lugs and spring bars. 

It is worth noting that the spring bar holes are drilled quite close to the case, making some aftermarket straps difficult to fit. The most popular material option has been stainless steel, but the Datejust was originally released in gold. Throughout the years, Rolex has offered the watch in steel, two-tone steel, and gold, and a variety of gold options. Ladies Datejust watches have also been offered in platinum. 

Bracelet Options

Arguably the most iconic bracelet option for the Rolex Datejust is the Jubilee bracelet. Released as part of Rolex’s jubilee celebration (along with the Datejust), the five-link design with two larger outer links and 3 small inner links, making the bracelet robust yet dressy. 

The center links have always been polished throughout the bracelet’s history, with the outer links being brushed. Originally offered only in solid gold, the Jubilee bracelet has been offered in steel, two-tone, and gold. 

The other metal bracelet option for the Datejust and equally iconic for Rolex is the Oyster bracelet. A three-link design with three larger sections, this is the bracelet design that is most commonly associated with the Professional models. Preferred by some collectors for its more substantial presence, the Oyster bracelet is more casual/sporting in its appearance.

On more contemporary precious metal references, there have been leather strap options, and references with the President style bracelet, mainly the smaller 31mm and 27mm models. The leather strap options have a metal end-link that the strap attaches to, further emphasizing the modern integrated look.

The most outlandish option is a diamond set rubber strap on the 116189BBR. If you love zebra print, this model is worth a look. 

Bezel Options

When it comes to the Classic line of Rolex watches, part of the iconic look is the fluted bezel. 

The fluted bezel is made out of gold, and the polished bezel has alternating raised and lowered sections that reflect well in a variety of light, making the watches very eye-catching. Most commonly associated with the two-tone steel and yellow gold models are steel watches with white gold fluted bezels, and more contemporary references have offered steel and rose gold. 

The bracelet will always match the bezel, with the steel and white gold references having steel bracelets. Entirely precious metal references have been offered with both fluted and smooth bezels. 

The smooth bezel is another popular option, usually seen on all steel references, but has been offered in the two-tone and precious metal references as well. If the fluted bezel is the most jewelry oriented and formal, the smooth bezel is more subdued. 

On older references, the bezel is relatively flat, with it sloping upwards toward the crystal from the case. Modern 6-digit references have bezels that are more domed than flat, which give a more substantial and contemporary look to the timepiece. 

Additionally, there are engine-turned bezels. Made out of steel, these watches have either a fine groove texture or a wider, less polished texture similar to the fluted bezel. These models offer a way to add interest to the watch without the added cost.

Particularly of note of the metal bezel options, there are the Turn-O-Graph models. Made with precious metal bezels, these models have a bi-directional rotating bezel that can be used to time events. Initially intended for pilots, these watches offer a slightly more sporty take on the Datejust that still keeps the sartorial flexibility associated with the model. 

Finally, on the jewelry-oriented pieces, there is the option of a diamond set bezel, which is always set in the corresponding precious metal on the watch. 

Dial Variety

Where prospective Datejust owners are really spoiled for choice is in regards to dial options. Over the years, there have been a wide variety of dial options with varying textures, including honeycomb in some vintage models, vertical striping, sunbursts, matte, glossy, and sun-ray, to name a handful.

More contemporary jewelry-oriented models have what Rolex calls the “Jubilee Dial,” which has a Rolex motif printed on the dial and some diamond settings on the dial. Speaking of gemstones, there are many iterations ranging from diamond hour markers to full pavé dials covered in diamonds. There are also a number of variations of mother-of-pearl dials.

Besides diamond-set indices, there are numerous iterations for indices, including stick indices, Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, and sometimes combinations of different styles. The only way collectors may feel some limitation is in regard to dial colors.

Recent collections have included green dials with palm leaf motifs, and there have been some that have had more subtle pink and salmon hues. Most of the history of the Datejust has consisted of conventional dial colors; black, silver, white, and blue.

These more conservative dial tones speak to the intended purpose of the watch, the ability to go anywhere and do anything and look the part while doing it. A Datejust worn in confidence will look great with a bathing suit and a boardroom suit. 

Should a bold dial be desired, the textured dials and a few bolder colors are available. Full precious metal Datejust watches have some more outlandish dial offerings. Additionally, popular aftermarket customization is to have boldly colored dials. While not always desired by hardcore collectors, a custom dial will make your Datejust stand out. 

Rolex Datejust Reference Numbers

With Datejust’s long history, there have been numerous reference numbers associated with the model. For the sake of this article, we will give attention to the 36mm models. 

Broadly speaking, there are 4-digit, 5-digit, and 6-digit references, each referring to a general period of production. 4-digit references were produced before the late-1970s. 5-digit references were produced from the late 1970s to 1999, and finally 6-digit references began in the year 2000.

The first Datejust 36 reference numbers start with 6XXX, followed by 16XX. The five digit reference number Datejust watches start with 162XX. The six digit references start with 1162XX, and the most modern Datejusts start with 1262XX. An early Datejust example would be the 6304, and then the generations following are the 1601 and 1603. 

After the four-digit references, the last two digits were codified to describe other aspects of the watch. The second to last number dealt with the bezel style, with 0 meaning smooth, 1 meaning engine-turned, 3 meaning fluted, and 6 referring to the Turn-O-Graph models. 

The last digit refers to the material of the watch, with 0 corresponding to steel, 1 referring to two-tone steel and Everose gold, 3 referring to steel and yellow gold, 4 referring to steel and white gold, 5 being solid 18k Everose gold, 6 being platinum, 8 referring to 18k yellow gold, and 9 referring to 18k white gold.

To give an example, a six-digit two-tone Everrose and steel Turn-O-Graph would have the reference number 116261.

Current Rolex Datejust Pricing

With limited availability for Rolex watches across the board causing historically high prices, even accounting for some recent adjustments as of Summer of 2023, Datejusts are not spared from this. Still widely popular compared to the Professional models, the Datejust does not get the same amount of media attention, and their large overall production numbers mean that they are more readily available on the second-hand market. 

Again, focusing on the 36mm models, a vintage steel 1603 can be found as low as around 3000$, but one in better condition, and maybe some original paperwork would be closer to 4000$. Two-tone four-digit references start at around 3600$, with better examples starting again at around 4000$. Solid gold examples on a strap can be found for about 6400$, but jump to over 10,000$ for examples with a solid gold bracelet. 

Early five-digit references start around 4000$, again rising depending on condition and materials. Models with a sapphire crystal (starting in the late 1980s/early 1990s) start at around 5000$. As of July 2023, a five-digit Datejust tops out at approximately 55,000$ for a full gold case and bracelet example with diamonds on the dial from the factory. 

The six-digit references top out at around 65,000$ for the 116189BBR already mentioned. A full gold 116208 can be had for about 28,000$.  Two-tone 116XXX references, including white gold bezeled models, seem to stay between 10,000 and 16,000$ depending on the condition and box and papers. Full steel models start at around 7500$. 

The most modern 126XXX models start at around $7500 on the secondary market, and that includes box and papers. The most expensive two-tone models with diamond bezels and dials are currently trading for around 36,000$. As part of the current collection posted on the Rolex website, there are no full precious metal models being offered. 

As with almost any Rolex currently, more desirable models and configurations will carry a premium compared to their original retail price and/or less desirable iterations. Regarding vintage models, condition and documentation play a big role. If you are looking to achieve the lowest price possible, a common dial configuration in worn but good condition will be a good and safe option. 

With well-worn pieces, it is best to do a good amount of research and pay accordingly if they interest you. The older a watch gets, the less important having the original box and papers is. It would be very cool if a 6305 could be found with all of the original boxes and paperwork, but expect to pay a corresponding premium for that watch. 

Who Is the Datejust for?

The versatility of the Datejust is its greatest selling point. The combination of good looks and durability makes it suitable for almost every occasion a normal person will encounter. While Rolex watches are seen as status symbols of success and achievement, the Datejust is oddly as close to the watch for everyman as a Rolex will get. With the wide variety of case, dial, bezel, and bracelet options, there is likely a Datejust that will interest almost every collector. 

If the Datejust is just too clichéd for you, there is also the Oysterquartz Datejust. More of an enthusiast favorite and definite oddity, these overbuilt quartz watches are nothing to look down at, as an Oysterquartz Datejust accompanied Reinhold Messner on his 1978 climb of Mt. Everest without oxygen.


While not entirely comprehensive, this guide should equip readers with enough information to confidently enter the world of Rolex Datejust watches. The many iterations over the decades that this model has been in production means that there is likely a model for everyone. There are many more complicated, robust, and unique watches out there, but a Rolex Datejust is often the only watch one needs. 

rolex batman ultimate guide

Rolex is a brand that has achieved legendary status. If you ask someone on the street to name a luxury watch brand, almost everyone will default to saying “Rolex”. Having a Rolex is a testament to success, and with so many models available, the perfect Rolex is out there waiting for you. 

One of Rolex’s most desirable models is the GMT-Master II, a statement piece that shines in the light. Over the years, fans have given various nicknames to different colorways. For example, a sleek red and black colorway is affectionately known as “Coke,” while a red and blue colorway is the “Pepsi”. 

Besides fizzy soft drinks, fans also love superhero nicknames. The main focus of today will be the “Batman”, a blue and black GMT-Master II. Let’s dive into the world of superheroes, watches, and more! 

About the Rolex Batman 

The Rolex GMT-Master has been around since 1954 and is one of the most famous watches with a GMT feature. The GMT is an extremely useful complication because it lets users track a second time zone. Originally designed for world travelers and pilots, now the GMT complication is something everyone can enjoy.

Rolex dominated the GMT watch category for many years, and in 1983 they released the second version of their GMT watches. The watch we are interested in, the Rolex Batman, swooped into Baselworld in 2013, delighting everyone with its modern upgrades, sleek design, and premium materials. Fans dubbed the new blue and black GMT Master-II the “Batman”, after Gotham’s famous caped crusader. 

Rolex Batman Models

The original release of the 116710BLNR took the watch world by storm in 2013. Not only did Rolex release a new color variation that fans raved about, Rolex packed the watch with every modern luxury that they had at the time. 

One of the most important innovations was the dual-color ceramic bezel made out of Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom material. The ceramic bezel is virtually scratch-proof and will look brand-new for years to come. The dual-color ceramic was one of the first to use the dark blue and black colorway, which helped the watch stand out even more. 

The original “Batman” also exclusively came fitted with Rolex’s famous oyster-style bracelet. This is in contrast to the later 2019 release, the 126710BLNR-003. This later model came fitted on the classy jubilee bracelet. The bracelet is the main difference between these two watches. 

They are virtually identical, except for the small dial signature on the 2019 watch. The latest black and blue GMT-Master II has been dubbed the “Batgirl”, after Batman’s occasional ally and sidekick. Both the Batman and Batgirl are extremely similar, and either model is a winner to any watch collector. 

Rolex GMT Master II “Batman” ref. 126710BLNR-003 


The case is very similar to the previous version. The lugs are shaped slightly differently, so it hugs the wrist a little better. Both watches are 40mm in diameter, a perfect size for nearly any wrist. The case is a combination of brushed detail work and shiny polishing. Every edge gently slopes and looks superb in the light.

Finally, Rolex’s very own Oystersteel is used for the entire case construction. This hardy material is tough enough to handle any of life’s challenges. Regardless of these modifications, the original is still a contender for perfect case design. 


The dial is classic Rolex styling. Legibility is absolutely king on this watch. Instead of Arabic numerals, Rolex uses a combination of circles, triangles, and rectangles to create a super clean dial. This design has seen very little change over the years and has never lost its appeal.

One of the big differences between this newer version of the Batman and the original 2013 release is the small crown between the “Swiss Made” stamp at the 6 o’clock position. This small detail is an added touch of flair to an already stylish watch.

The Mercedes-style hands are as reliable as ever, and the large, blue GMT hand will remain one of the watch’s most popular features. The wonderful contrast between the jet-black dial, the blue seconds hand, and the half-blue dial are stunning. Overall, the dial is a master class in classic design. 


The latest version of the Batman uses Rolex’s latest GMT-focused movement, the Caliber 3285. This new movement replaces the older movement, the Caliber 3186. The new movement is slightly larger than the old one and has a larger power reserve at 70 hours. The GMT function is further improved with this new movement, and Rolex uses it in numerous other watches as well. 

Another innovation in this movement is Rolex’s new Chronergy escapement. This updated technology is claimed to improve the movement’s already impressive mechanical efficiency. Finally, as a Superlative Chronometer, the Batman is guaranteed by Rolex to be extremely accurate and precise. Most measurements put the watch at +/- 2 seconds per day.


Of course, the most noticeable change from the 2013 release is the jubilee bracelet. Some people prefer the elegant and refined look of the jubilee over the utilitarian and blocky oyster bracelet. In general, a Rolex with a jubilee bracelet is seen as more classy and sophisticated. Indeed, the stepwise, geometric pattern of the jubilee bracelet is extremely pleasing to look at. 

The bracelet is also extremely comfortable and can easily conform to any wrist shape due to the flexibility of the links. However, future owners should be aware that this flexibility may also become a weakness in the future. Many jubilee bracelets eventually develop a very noticeable curve or stretch to one side, caused by friction and wear over time. Proper care of this elegant bracelet is essential to maintaining the look of this amazing timepiece. 

Should You Buy a Rolex Batman?

A Rolex Batman is an easy choice for a gentleman that wants a functional, stylish, and luxurious timepiece. The bright pop of blue is easy to spot across the room, and people will definitely notice the amazing quality and premium feel.

The Batman is an extremely practical timepiece that could easily be a one-watch collection. The GMT is as functional as ever, with a buttery smooth mechanism that helps track a second time zone. The large date at the 3 o’clock position is greatly magnified by the crystal clear cyclops. The silky oyster or jubilee bracelet fits perfectly on the wrist.

It will conform to the shape of your wrist and be securely fastened, thanks to the ultra-secure clasp that Rolex is famous for. Anyone lucky enough to have the Batman on their wrist will notice the hardened ceramic, amazing color contrast, and jet-black dial. 

Adding a Batman to the collection is a natural decision for a fortunate watch lover. This watch is the perfect watch for daily wear. The bezel features a combination of black and blue colors, which adds a sense of refinement and versatility to the accessory. 

Whether in a formal event or a fun excursion on the beach, the Batman will look good with any outfit and in any situation. The universal appeal of classic Rolex design philosophy and perceived status make this an enticing choice for anyone looking to buy one. 

Rolex Batman Price Guide 

The Rolex Batman has an MSRP of $10,900. However, you would definitely be lucky to snatch one of these watches for its retail value. The extremely high demand has shot the Batman’s prices through the roof, easily ballooning to nearly double its MSRP. Getting one at retail is going to involve an agonizing wait on an Authorized Dealer’s waitlist. Some of these waitlists are backed up for a year or longer. 

The Rolex Batman is a hot model in one of the most attractive colorways. The price will only go up, so keen buyers will need to monitor the price on the secondary market carefully. In regards to value retention, the Batman seems to be a good investment and will keep its value. Given how popular the model is, the demand is always going to be high.

Alternatives To The Rolex Batman 

The Rolex Batman is a dream for many people. It is a big commitment to spend so much on one watch. The ultra-cool blue and black ceramic bezel is highly enticing. There’s just something about that color combo that really makes it stand out.

Luckily, there are other options out there that are similar to the Rolex Batman. The following three watches are much more affordable and still have the awesome colorway that everyone loves. 

Timex M79 Automatic (ref. TW2U295007U)

Timex M79 Automatic (ref. TW2U295007U)

Timex is the first on the list and is easily the most affordable. In recent years, Timex has really stepped up its game and offers great timepieces for an affordable price. The M79 is one such example, which takes classic designs and puts its own unique spin on it. This watch comes in a variety of popular colors, like a “root beer” and “Coke” variety, but of course, we are interested in the “Batman” model. 

This 40mm automatic watch is slim, functional, and stylish. The mesh bracelet is stretchy and easily adjustable. There is no GMT hand on this watch, but it does have a useful day and date window at the 3 o’clock position. In addition, there is an exhibition caseback and the famous Mercedes hands that everyone loves. 

Yema Superman 500 GMT Batman (ref. YGMT22C39-AMS1)

Yema Superman 500 GMT Batman (ref. YGMT22C39-AMS1)

The Yema Superman is one of the French brand’s flagship models. This 39mm GMT watch is a little more understated than the Rolex Batman due to the less bold bezel around the dial. The numbers are much smaller, and the bezel itself does not sit as tall on the watch. There is a unique mechanism near the crown, which Yema calls the bezel-lock. This improves the smoothness of the bezel and keeps the watch extra secure.

Yema has also achieved this by redesigning the crown and bezel to improve functionality. In addition to the GMT function, the watch is water resistant to up to 500 meters. The Superman really can do it all, all while wearing the colors of Batman! 

TAG Heuer Aquaracer GMT (ref. WAY201T.BA0927)

This stunning GMT from TAG Heuer is our final recommendation for an alternative to the Rolex Batman. With the Aquaracer, you are getting an elegant GMT with plenty of visual appeal. The beautiful sunray blue dial is definitely one of the highlights of the watch.

The deep, grooved horizontal lines on the dial are equal parts exciting and mesmerizing. The bezel is very similar to the Batman, with its bold and chunky numbers, but the shape is more angled. The Aquaracer even has the Cyclops magnifying the date and a similar stainless steel clasp. The Caliber 7 automatic movement powers the Aquaracer with a respectable 50 hours of power reserve.  


The Rolex Batman is going to be popular for a very long time. Discontinuing the Batman with the oyster bracelet only further magnified its popularity. No matter which watch you choose, you will have an investment piece that will always fit in any collection.

The timeless design will keep you delighted for many years to come. Plus, with the Batman’s premium materials, it will look just as good as the day you bought it. It’s easy to see why Rolex is the king of modern luxury, with its timeless design, legendary status, and amazing watchmaking.  

Why are rolex so expensive

When it comes to luxury watches, few names command the same level of admiration and recognition as Rolex. With a history spanning over a century, Rolex has established itself as a symbol of precision, craftsmanship, and enduring style.

Long desired by horologists and casual watch-wearers alike, Rolex remains the number one timepiece watch enthusiasts want to own when they “make it.” They may purchase all the Rolex wannabes from low and mid-range brands at first, but when they finally become successful, they buy a Rolex watch.

However, entering the elevated world of Rolex ownership is expensive. Very expensive. Below we will take a look at the reasons for the high prices of Rolex watches and all the factors influencing them.

About Rolex Watches

Wilsdorf’s relentless quest for excellent watches in both form and function paved the way for a unique kind of watchmaking. Currently, the luxury watch giant produces about a million timepieces each year, dominating a quarter of the luxury watch market, but Rolex had a very humble beginning. 

The plan of action to boost Rolex watches from time-telling devices to luxury collectibles can be traced to some marketing decisions made in the 1960s. From the onset, Wilsdorf understood the appeal of essential precision watches for professionals and adventurers and secured the brand’s link with luxury. 

Beyond its horological significance and investment potential, owning a Rolex watch is a truly immersive experience. Rolex has meticulously crafted its brand image and customer experience, ensuring that every aspect of owning a Rolex reflects the values of luxury, precision, and timeless elegance.

From the elegant boutiques designed to exude sophistication to the attentive and knowledgeable staff, Rolex strives to create a seamless and exclusive shopping experience. The brand also emphasizes customer service and after-sales support, offering maintenance services and warranties to ensure that Rolex watches continue to perform at their best for generations.

On average, the price range for most Rolex stainless steel watches falls between $7,000 – $12,000 MSRP. Different factors ranging from collection popularity to materials, complications, and movement all affect the price of a Rolex watch. 

Rolex remains the leader in the luxury watch market despite many prestigious high-end Swiss watch brands crafting tons of highly coveted watches. As a family heirloom, the longevity of each Rolex watch is a testament to its quality and craftsmanship.

Rolex watches are crafted from some of the best materials and can be obtained from any of the brand’s 1,816 authorized retailers around the world. However, it is very difficult to buy most models directly from authorized dealers. As a matter of fact, one can spend months or even years on a waiting list, making prospective buyers flock to the secondary market. 

The secondary market has been a thorn in the flesh of many luxury watch manufacturers, but it contains an endless selection of new and secondhand watches at prices not bound to the MSRP.

In addition to the prestige and cult following status that specific models have gained, fans of the brand as well as newcomers, are willing to invest large amounts of money in a single Rolex watch.

Rolex’s commitment to philanthropy is worth mentioning as well. The brand has established various partnerships and initiatives to support environmental conservation, scientific exploration, arts and culture, and more. This dedication to making a positive impact adds a layer of significance and pride to owning a Rolex watch.

Rolex is ranked the third most recognized Swiss brand, only behind Nescafe and Nestle, and is the 57th most powerful brand in the world. 

The History of Rolex

Rolex was founded in 1905 in London by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis under the name “Wilsdorf and Davis” in London, England. The company initially focused on the distribution of watches, sourcing movements from Swiss manufacturers. However, Wilsdorf had the vision to create wristwatches that were not only precise but also reliable and durable.

In 1908, Wilsdorf changed the name of the brand to Rolex. He desired a name that was short enough to fit on the dial and easy to pronounce. Rolex was chosen because, in addition to meeting the aforementioned criteria, he thought it was onomatopoeic, sounding like a timepiece being wound.

Wilsdorf’s commitment to accuracy made the British government award a Class A precision certificate to a Rolex watch as early as 1914. This made it the first wristwatch to pass stringent durability and precision tests, traditionally given only to marine chronometers.

Wilsdorf’s early display of considerable talent for publicity was an exciting distinction that paved the way for Rolex’s unsurpassable recognition. In 1919, operations were moved from England to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and a year later, the company’s name was officially changed to Rolex SA.

Rolex’s reputation for producing robust tool watches began to take shape in the early 20th century. They introduced the Oyster case in 1926, a significant innovation in watch design. This achievement demonstrated their commitment to accuracy and set the stage for their future advancements in watchmaking.

The Oyster case featured a hermetically sealed and waterproof system, protecting the watch’s movement from dust, moisture, and shocks. This launch was a game-changer, as it made Rolex watches highly reliable and suitable for various demanding environments. In 1927, Rolex achieved another milestone when Mercedes Gleitze, a young English swimmer, wore an Oyster watch while attempting to swim across the English Channel. 

This event marked the first successful demonstration of the Oyster case’s waterproof capabilities and solidified Rolex’s reputation for producing durable timepieces. While Rolex initially focused on creating reliable tool watches, the brand’s reputation gradually evolved and began to be associated with luxury and prestige. 

This transformation was driven by a combination of factors, including advancements in design, marketing strategies, and influential partnerships. In the 1930s, Rolex introduced the Rolex Perpetual movement, which featured a self-winding mechanism powered by the wearer’s wrist movements.

This innovation eliminated the need for manual winding and further enhanced the convenience and practicality of Rolex watches. The introduction of the Perpetual movement solidified Rolex’s position as a pioneer in watchmaking technology.

During the mid-20th century, Rolex established its iconic status by creating timeless and distinctive watch models. The Rolex Submariner, released in 1953, was the first timepiece to be rated water-resistant up to 100 meters. It quickly gained popularity among professional divers and watch enthusiasts, becoming an emblem of adventure and exploration.

In 1956, Rolex unveiled the Rolex Day-Date, the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week spelled out in full. This watch became a symbol of success and prestige, often referred to as the “President’s watch” due to its popularity among world leaders, celebrities, and influential figures. Rolex’s association with high-profile individuals and events further elevated its status as a luxury brand. 

Over the years, Rolex watches have been favored by prominent personalities, including actors, athletes, and politicians, further cementing their reputation as status symbols. The brand’s marketing campaigns have also played a crucial role in shaping its luxury image. 

Rolex has consistently emphasized the craftsmanship, precision, and elegance of its timepieces through carefully curated advertisements and sponsorships of prestigious events. These innovative efforts solidified Rolex in the Horological world as a symbol of excellence and success.

8 Reasons Why Rolex Watches Are So Expensive

1. Brand Recognition

Rolex watches are so expensive because they are crafted by Rolex, the apotheosis of Haute Horology. In case you didn’t know, Rolex is the single most recognizable brand in the world. It is the number one producer of G.O.A.T. models aplenty, the peak of all that luxury stands for, the symbol of class and prestige. 

Rolex is representative of precision, functionality, timeless design, elegance, and sophistication in the world of Horology. All of their watches command such high figures because it is Rolex! Rolex has created many cult collectibles for over 100 years and many coveted novelties.

Hans Wilsdorf labored intensely to build a solid brand reputation, and today, over a century later, it shows no sign of slowing down as there is an ever-increasing demand in timekeeping circles.  

The company’s outstanding commitment to branding, unsurpassable quality, elegant designs, first-rate accuracy, and super reliable luxury timepieces places it in the highest echelons of watchmaking and craftsmanship. Understandably, this affects the price point of all its watches. 

I bet Hans Wilsdorf could never have guessed that a couple of years into the future, people would be willing to spend 1,000 times the original price on a vintage Daytona. 

According to Statista, an online portal specialized in data gathering and visualization, brand awareness of Rolex in the United States is at 87%. It is also ranked as the most reputable watch company in the World. 

2. Materials

If you’ve ever flicked through Rolex’s vast watch catalog, I’m sure you wanted to know what on earth was used to make such exquisite watches. From lustrous gold to sturdy platinum, Rolex watches are made with some of the best materials on earth. It’s hard to find watch manufacturers who guarantee excellent standards over a long period, but the Swiss giant has consistently stayed ahead of the curve through constant innovation. 

Apart from having several proprietary materials produced entirely in-house, the brand rigorously selects the materials for each timepiece. These materials are more expensive than traditional watchmaking components.

Oystersteel is the first and most ubiquitous material used for Rolex watches. It is a high-performance in-house steel of grade 904L, that the brand began using in the year 1985. It is particularly resistant to corrosion and offers an exceptional finish once polished. 

It is used primarily in the chemical and aerospace industries and is what guarantees the robustness of Rolex steel watches.

In the early 2000s, the Swiss Marque began creating exclusive 18kt pink gold alloy in its foundry. Gold is combined with elements such as copper, silver, and platinum to form proprietary gold alloys such as Everose gold or with stainless steel to form Rolex Rolesor.

Platinum, an exclusive valued metal, which is more discreet than gold, is also used in many Rolex watches. Sometimes it is mixed with ruthenium or Oystersteel for enhanced robustness and radiance.

A proprietary luminous material called Chromalight is used to enhance legibility in low-light conditions, while Cerachrom is used to create extremely hard ceramic bezels. The versatility of Oystersteel, the elegance in platinum, and the opulence found in the gold alloys, drive the appeal of these precious timepieces and result in high prices.

3. Durability

According to Rolex, all its timepieces are built and designed to test their mettle further than anything they may ever endure. If you want the very best, you must be willing to pay for it.

A favorite quote frequently used by the brand is “tested to the extremes“. Rolex watches might be synonymous with luxury, but at the core, they are tool watches designed to withstand extreme temperatures, horrible impacts, collisions, extreme depths, magnetic fields, etc. 

The toughness, durability, and robustness of their watches meet and exceed the demands of professionals. We have already looked at some of the materials used in the construction of these time-telling machines and that is a key factor contributing to their durability. 

In addition to that, Rolex is famous for its quality control measures, so the superiority of each timepiece is the result of a strict methodology. The watches get tested at several points during development and production, and there are testimonials and real-life tests to back up their toughness, durability, and longevity. 

From Mercedes Gleitze swimming across the ice-cold waters of the English Channel in 1927 with a Rolex Oyster to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay taking an Oyster Perpetual watch on their ascent to the top of Mount Everest, Rolex has outstanding testimonies to prove the durability of its timepieces.

4. Movements

The unsurpassable quality of Rolex movements is uncontested. With its focus on superlative quality, the Rolex movement is regarded as almost unparalleled in durability and precision. According to the COSC certification statistics, the luxury watch giant manufactures more chronometers than any mechanical movement manufacturer. 

The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute is an organization that certifies the accuracy and precision of Swiss watches using several parameters. All Rolex movements are produced in-house and are accurate to −/+2 seconds a day. 

A unique feature of contemporary Rolex movements includes the Parachrom hairspring, which is over ten times more precise than a traditional hairspring when influenced by shocks, magnetic fields, and temperature variations.

Major components of a Rolex movement, like the balance wheel, pallet fork, escape wheel, etc are typically made of materials such as Glucydur. Glucydur is a highly elastic, hard, and non-magnetic alloy of beryllium, copper, and iron. It possesses excellent mechanical properties in addition to a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Rolex also uses its Everose gold for the balance wheel in some of its movements to help prevent corrosion and render a unique rose color to it. Modern movements like the Caliber 3235 and the Caliber 3255 boast up to 14 patents for enhanced precision, reliability, and durability.

The combination of high-quality materials, rigorous testing processes, and quality control measures add to make the watch prices expensive.

5. Research & Development

Another reason why Rolex watches are so expensive is that mediocrity and commonplace can never be found at Rolex. Rolex has submitted more than 400 patents since its founding and is known to engage scientists in addition to certified watchmakers, mechanics, and engineers. The brand strives for extremely high-quality, accurate, and robust watches. 

To guarantee the superlative quality of Its watches, research and development activities that are crucial to the genesis of avant-garde timepieces are carried out consistently. Rolex’s headquarters in Geneva-Acacias has various professional labs and facilities where researchers and scientists work on new Rolex watches and manufacturing processes.

Rolex designs, assembles, and tests all its watches exclusively in Switzerland, thanks to over 9,000 employees at the brand’s four sites. Each of these profoundly knowledgeable staff plays a role in the different stages of tests and protocols to guarantee the reliability and robustness of its timepieces.

6. Assembly

All Rolex watches are developed and assembled in its world headquarters in Geneva. The movements are manufactured in Bienne, while the watch cases and bracelets are produced in Plan-les-Ouates. 

Other components like the dials, Cerachrom bezels, and Cerachrom bezel inserts in ceramic are crafted in Chêne-Bourg, where the brand’s gemmology and gem-setting expertise is located.

It is here that the final assembly of the watch components is made in two production units. Even though Rolex uses machines to assist in the assembly process, the majority of the work done is human-operated.

Everything from movements to bracelets is all hand-assembled and evaluated by skilled engineers with the utmost care to ensure exceptional quality.

The watches then go through a series of tests, after which the Superlative Chronometer certification, which attests unparalleled precision, power reserve, waterproofness, and self-winding, is awarded.

7. Low Supply

The limited supply of Rolex watches is a global phenomenon. Despite Rolex being among the highest producers of Swiss watches per year (Rolex produces about a million watches annually), demand has always outstripped supply.

The number of available watches from the brand is grossly insufficient to cope with the growing demand, making the timepieces from the luxury watch giant rare and expensive. Many models had already been increasingly scarce for years, and when COVID caused Rolex to halt production for some time, the situation was exacerbated.

The constrained supply of Rolex watches has also caused an explosion of prices on the secondary market, as purchasing a brand-new Rolex watch from ADs can take up to two years on a waiting list.

8. High Demand

There is an astronomically high demand for Rolex watches across the globe that even the production of one million new watches per year can’t meet. The demand is genuine and not due to mismanagement or customer manipulation by the brand.

The prestige, excellent quality, and elegant designs reinforce the dominance of Rolex watches, and when you add that to the shortage in circulation and high demand, a hike in price is bolstered. Apart from representing a statement of power, prestige, and opulence, Rolex watches hold the potential to be lucrative investments.

All these factors make Rolex the go-to brand for people who have ‘made it’ and want to purchase their first luxury watch. As a result of the global demand from enthusiasts, collectors, and investors, prices are affected significantly.

What’s The Most Expensive Rolex Watch?

The Ice Platinum Daytona ref. 126506-0001, one of the most sought-after timepieces in the world, is the most expensive Rolex watch. Crafted in platinum, this Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona showcases a mesmerizing ice-blue meteorite dial complemented by a chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel with an engraved tachymetric scale. 

The watch features chronograph counters, 18 ct gold applique hour markers, and luminous hands for enhanced legibility. The watch is powered by Rolex’s new caliber 4130, a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement famous for its accuracy and ruggedness. 

The movement incorporates innovative technology, including a Parachrom hairspring and a Chronergy escapement, ensuring optimal performance and a power reserve of approximately 72 hours.

The Ice Platinum Daytona holds a special place in the hearts of collectors due to its exclusivity. Rolex produces limited quantities of the Daytona collection, causing their value to skyrocket on the pre-owned market. 

With a retail price reaching as high as $75,000, this extraordinary timepiece reflects Rolex’s commitment to precision, luxury, and undeniable allure. The combination of platinum, diamonds, and the unique ice-blue meteorite dial adds to its desirability and contributes to its high price tag.

While the Ice Platinum Daytona is among the most expensive Rolex watches, it is worth mentioning the record-breaking sale of Paul Newman’s Daytona. In 2017, Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona reference 6239 was auctioned by Phillips and set a new record for the most expensive Rolex ever sold. 

The watch fetched a staggering $17.8 million, making it a symbol of both horological significance and historical value. This specific Daytona gained fame as the “Paul Newman Daytona” due to the actor’s association with the watch and his passion for motorsports.

The astronomical price achieved by Paul Newman’s Daytona demonstrates the collector’s market’s fascination with rare and historically significant timepieces. The watch’s provenance, unique dial configuration, and association with a prominent figure in popular culture all contributed to its extraordinary value.

What’s The Cheapest Rolex Watch?

The Oyster Perpetual serves as the entry-level collection in Rolex’s current catalog and is known for its accessibility in terms of price compared to other Rolex models. 

While Rolex is often associated with luxury and high-end timepieces, the Oyster Perpetual allows individuals to own a Rolex watch at a relatively more affordable price. Available in various sizes, the Oyster Perpetual watches showcase dials in subtle or vibrant colors, ensuring a contemporary and versatile look. 

With a price range starting from $6,400, the Oyster Perpetual offers the timeless Rolex design and quality at a more accessible price point. In addition to the Oyster Perpetual, it’s worth noting that older Rolex watches can also be more affordable options for those seeking a Rolex timepiece. 

The pre-owned market offers a range of vintage and discontinued Rolex models that may be obtainable at lower prices compared to their newer counterparts. The availability of affordable older Rolex watches is influenced by various factors, such as the specific model, condition, age, and rarity. 

Vintage Rolex watches, particularly those from the mid-20th century, can be appealing to collectors and enthusiasts. These watches may possess unique design elements, historical significance, and a charm that sets them apart from contemporary models.

It’s important to note that even though these older Rolex watches might be more accessible in terms of price, they still exhibit the brand’s renowned craftsmanship and durability. Rolex’s commitment to precision and reliability transcends time, making vintage models a viable option for those interested in owning a Rolex watch without breaking the bank.

Are Rolex Watches a Good Investment?

There’s not been a time in the past 100 years when Rolex watches weren’t in demand. As the supply and demand gap widens for the most popular luxury watch brand in the world, prices keep soaring uncontrollably, making them a viable asset.

Increased scarcity results in greater exclusivity, and the brand has officially stated that current production cannot meet the prevailing demand in an exhaustive way without a reduction in the quality of Its watches. This means Rolex does not plan to increase its production capacity anytime soon, so we can be sure the supply shortage will keep growing. 

Studies from a global consulting firm (Boston Consulting Group) reveal that between August 2018 to January 2023, the secondhand market for timepieces from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet rose at an annual rate of 20% despite COVID-19. At the same time, the US S&P 500 (Standard and Poor’s 500) stock index rose by only 8%. 

S&P 500 is a stock market index that tracks the 500 leading publicly traded companies in the U.S. With pre-owned sales of Rolex watches accounting for almost one-third of the overall $75 billion luxury watch market, people are beginning to consider buying a Rolex as a better investment than stock, and the statistics reveal this truth very clearly.

Many investors have also seen the possibility of diversifying their traditional assets (stocks, bonds, and currencies) by purchasing luxury watches because of their strong price performance in the market. Rolex watches have proven to be a sound investment for collectors and investors, appreciating significantly in value over time. Average buyers of Rolex watches regard their purchase as a stable investment because it is a reputable brand with a consumer base of high-net-worth individuals.

Rolex watches have also demonstrated resilience to economic downturns and market fluctuations. During times of financial uncertainty, luxury goods like Rolex watches tend to hold their value or even appreciate, making them a stable investment option.

Again certain Rolex models carry historical significance or have been associated with iconic individuals, events, or achievements. These watches become coveted collector’s items, commanding higher prices due to their historical context and storytelling potential.

The meticulous attention to detail and use of high-quality materials ensure that Rolex timepieces age gracefully and retain their value over time. These materials not only contribute to the watches’ durability but also add intrinsic value, enhancing their investment potential.

However, it’s essential to note that not all Rolex watches will appreciate at the same rate. Factors such as model, rarity, condition, and historical significance play a significant role in determining a watch’s investment potential. It’s advisable to consult with experts, research market trends, and consider long-term investment strategies before making a purchase solely for investment purposes.

Highly coveted models like the Rolex Daytona, the Submariner, and the GMT-Master II fetch up to 200% of firsthand market prices on the secondhand market. For instance, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, which has an MSRP of $15,000 for stainless steel models, can be seen on the gray market for $25,550 to $55,500, well above their official list prices. 

Rare vintage editions also enjoy excellent value increases, attracting collectors and investors to the profitability of the Daytona.


Rolex continues to be at the pinnacle of the watchmaking industry, an exemplar of exceptional craftsmanship and a true icon of timekeeping excellence. Owning a Rolex watch is more than just possessing a timekeeping device; it’s a statement of refined taste, a connection to history and tradition, and an investment in a piece of enduring luxury. 

It might be expensive, but it has been reported to outperform gold, real estate, and stocks over the past decade. That said, if you have the money for it, don’t hesitate to purchase a Rolex watch, as you’re not likely to lose. Check out our collection of pre-owned Rolex watches here and place your order immediately!

Ultimate Guide to Iced Out Rolex

It’s true most luxury watches are not blingy timepieces and could pass as regular watches to the uninitiated eyes. But at the top of the food chain are the iced-out, bust-down, or diamond-studded watches only a few people ever dream of owning. 

Made popular by hip-hop culture, Rolex has a handful of iced-out watches in its collections. They aren’t exactly eye candy like bust downs from personal jewelers like Ice Box, but an ode to the art of gem setting. 

Rolex makes the mark in the top 1 percent of horology and is a relatively affordable manufacturer of diamond-encrusted or gem-adorned timepieces. It’s aftermarket retailers that make outrageous amounts on them by hiking prices because of their exclusivity. In this article, I’ll share their journey into making iced watches and the most notable models available for investment. 

Understanding Factory Iced Out Rolex Watches

Iced-out watches are only considered statement fashion pieces. But while they might be a showpiece of class, wealth, and power, they’re also solid lifetime investments. Apparently, in the resale market, diamonds really are forever; the price for Rolex stones can only go up. 

The Origins

Rolex started dishing out iced-out watches during the 60s and 70s. As you’d imagine, these orders were restricted to notable individuals; athletes, government officials, and tycoons. Shortly after, they were introduced to their catalog for anyone who could afford them to buy around the 80s. 

Now, Rolex offers hundreds of iced-out watch models, mostly dress watches, available to anyone at authorized dealers. They are categorized as “gem-set” but with varying degrees, from diamond-set bezels and dials to fully iced-out models with diamond or precious stones all around. 

There’s a caveat, though; although Rolex actively produces iced-out watches for the public, they’re extremely rare to find at authorized dealers. But they are more readily available on the resale market, with most going for six figures. 

The Process

Like most watchmakers, we can’t really tell the exact process that goes into their production. Well, maybe you can see it for yourself if you find yourself privileged to go on an exclusive excursion into the Rolex factory.

However, Rolex is generous enough to give us a tasteful idea of precious stone selection and gem setting. Unsurprisingly, the diamonds and stones that make the cut – pun intended – meet the highest standard of the jewelry industry. 

The in-house Rolex gemmology department has only one job – picking the “best of the best” gems. More specifically, they are of the highest ratings for clarity, color, and cut. Rolex, for example, uses only IF (Internally Flawless) stones, which are high up in the grading scales of gemmology. 

In this light, their diamonds fall in the D to G, and gemstones are hand-picked for color consistency. The kicker is these are rare stones to get a hold of and the most expensive any custom jeweler could probably use. When it comes to luxury, the only thing better than pristine craftsmanship is rarity. 

Rolex is one step ahead of hiring only masterful gem setters to create almost perfect iced-out watches.  While the Swiss watch company is proud of its culture, its world-class craftsmanship was never a debate. Iced-out Rolex watches are an eye candy when you consider the precise alignment of gems, their positioning, size, and refreshing aesthetics. 

The Oyster Perpetual Rainbow Daytona Cosmograph 116598RBOW is a great example. It’s a handcrafted Daytona with a rainbow graduated bezel set with 36 baguette-cut sapphires and 56 pure diamonds adorning the lugs of its yellow gold case. It retains pristine functionality, which is a testament to the perfection of Rolex gem setting. 

Rolex Gem-Setting Techniques 

Bead Setting – this is the most gem-setting technique you’ll see in an iced-out Rolex. It simply involves fixing the stones into holes drilled in the surface with a setting bur. Then three to five small bead-shaped metals hold them in place. Rolex has a liking for this technique, particularly in their watches with paved or encrusted surfaces.

Claw setting – It’s similar to the bead setting, but the metal prongs are longer. It involves three to six evenly spaced prongs placed around the stone or at its four corners. It makes the gem more visible and is usually used for round stones. 

Closed setting – is usually found on the hour markers of iced-out Rolex watches. A metal band encircles the stone to keep it in place. 

Channel or “baguette” setting – as its name implies, is used for a baguette or octagonal cut diamonds that can be set side-by-side. A precious metal is used as a channel to lay the gems without any prongs or beads holding them in place – it’s why it’s also known as the invisible setting.

Caring for Iced-Out Watches

Even knock-off iced-out watches require proper maintenance to keep that shine and not fall out with use. The good thing is that factory-set and aftermarket diamond Rolex watches can take a beating. Keeping the watch and stones in good condition only takes simple but essential best practices that you must be consistent with. 

The first one is to keep the watch in its original box any time it’s not in use. A harmless behavior of placing a diamond watch on a coffee table may cause a scratch that’ll shave thousands off its after-market value. Call me weird, but I’ll never take off a diamond watch if the case isn’t nearby, not for security, but for safety reasons. 

Also, among others, is to clean the watch with a lint-free cloth. Depending on how dirty it gets, you can wash a diamond Rolex in a soap and water solution using a soft toothbrush to get the gunk out. 

Ultimately, the safest and best way to clean your iced-out watch is to visit your dealer occasionally. You can take it as an opportunity to scope out what’s new in-store and build a relationship with the dealer and find deals faster. 

Factory Iced Out Rolex Watches vs Aftermarket Diamond Rolex Watches

Ha! The age-long beef between the purists and enthusiasts who really don’t care about how the bling gets on a watch. A factory-iced-out Rolex is adorned by the gem artists at Rolex with the purest of diamonds and retains the design and functionality of the standard models.

At the same time, an aftermarket diamond Rolex watch is a base model embellished with diamonds or gems by a third-party jeweler. Sounds harmless right? The most obvious issue pressing the purists is how it’s done. While we can argue that there are talented gem setters outside Rolex, the aftermarket can’t say the same.

A non-Rolex Jeweler has to break down (bust down) the watch before they can set the stones. The watch’s value significantly drops the instance any part is modified by anyone other than a Rolex engineer. And it’s not hard to see why. 

An aftermarket diamond Rolex puts authenticity into question and sometimes, may alter the structural design and functionality of the original. See this Cartier de Santos designed by celebrity jeweler Ze Frost for NBA superstar Lamelo Ball for example. While it’s extremely iced out, he received heavy backlash from fans and the watch community for ruining a perfectly good watch.

Nonetheless, good riddance to the purists; if you’re interested in an artistic, custom-iced-out Rolex than buying a factory-produced one, go for it. Depending on your taste, you’ll get an authentic aftermarket iced-out Rolex for cheaper than a factory iced-out equivalent. 

Factory-set Rolex diamond watches, on the other hand, are tested, trusted, pure, and rare. Even simple factory iced-out Rolexes (dial only) usually cost an extra $2,000 or 2-6x more than the standard model but retain value better in the resale market. 

Iced Out Rolex Collections 

Now let’s get familiar with factory-iced-out Rolex watch models. 

Rolex Datejust 

Iced out rolex datejust

The Datejust may be the most affordable Rolex, but the iced-out models from the Swiss watchmaker are anything but cheap. A simple yet extremely well-engineered iced-out model is the DateJust 36 126284RBR. It’s nothing like the “blingy” models you’d see in hip-hop videos, but classy nonetheless. 

This watch has an Oystersteel and white gold case, which should be the highlight of its simplicity, but that’s not the case. It’s the pure mother-of-pearl dial that is unique to only one owner – authentic, handmade mother-of-pearls are never the same.

Next, the hour makers on this one-of-a-kind dial are embellished with 18-carat diamonds in white gold settings (the entrapment holding the diamonds). Perhaps the most obvious “ice” on this DateJust 36 are the 18-carat diamonds on the bezel. But this artistic infusion of white gold, mother-of-pearl, bedazzled by diamonds cost a whopping retail price of $41,000. 

Rolex Daytona

iced out rolex daytona

The Daytona is a classic Rolex chronograph and racing watch attributed to fine life and the stars. World stars like Davido and Harry Kane can casually rock a factory-iced-out Rolex Daytona Rainbow because this half-a-million-dollar watch remains functional in the presence of gems. 

And it’s been spotted on celebrities like Post Malone, Mark Wahlberg, and David Beckham. We never drool over the paparazzi in our articles, but I’m making a point that they often rock the iced-out Rainbow Daytona as an everyday watch. 

This is the level of engineering and precision in gem setting that you can expect from every factory iced-out Rolex. The structure of the model is untainted, and there’s a machine-like alignment of the gems on the parts. The Daytona 116598RBOW-0001 is a true testament to this culture. 

The bezel is fitted with rainbow-patterned sapphire crystals that will leave a mistress bedazzled. And you’ll see 56 diamonds of varying sizes cut into its everose case along the lugs, cut with 36 rainbow-colored sapphire crystals and 56 18-carat diamonds of varying sizes adorn the case and lugs; it’s just as sporty as an Oystersteel Daytona. 

Rolex Day-Date 

iced out rolex day date

The Iced Out Day-Date, “The President”, is arguably the genesis for mainstream iced-out watches. The most influential hip-hop stars have worn an iced Rolex Presidential at a point in their career. During the 80s and 90s, the new-generation rapper even made it a rite of passage to own one. Coincidentally, the Day-Date is one of Rolex’s most produced factory iced-out models.

There are so many variations with diamonds, but I’ve fallen in love with the Day-Date 128348RBR. This timepiece has a sunset orange dial set with diamond Roman hour markers and is finished in a yellow gold case and oyster bracelet with diamond-adorned center links. 

Rolex Yacht-Master

iced out rolex yachtmaster

The Yacht-Master is another iconic watch that every enthusiast wants in their collection. It’s a core sports watch, so it’s very easy to disrupt the original design with over-the-top gem-setting. The Yacht-Master is the first chronograph with a bezel connected to the movement, which requires mind-blowing engineering. Rolex designers understood this assignment and simply stuck with a minimalist design. 

So, they placed all the jewels that would otherwise affect its functionality inside the factory iced-out mode. The Yacht-Master 268655 has a dial paved with dozens of diamond stones – and an everose gold rimmed bidirectional bezel to sail or play in class. And there’s this custom Ice Rolex Yacht Master II 44mm, though expensive, which is less valuable on the aftermarket and evidently less functional than the original.

Rolex GMT Master II 

Iced Out Rolex GMT Master II 

The GMT-Master II is a luxury tool for professionals who want to keep track of local time in two to three time zones. It achieves this with a 12-hour graduation bezel and an extra (GMT) hour hand.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no factory-iced-out model of this watch in production. However, there are many custom iterations of this watch. Cagau makes some nice ones, like sapphire cut bezels matching the original colorway and diamond cases and bracelets. 

Rolex Submariner 

Iced out Rolex Submariner 

The Submariner is Rolex’s flagship diving watch and one of the more renowned timepieces ever. While it’s a spectacular diving watch with 300-meter water resistance and is highly corrosion resistant, owners rarely ever take a swim with it. The Submariner, even in stainless steel, is an everyday watch, statement piece, or collectible for enthusiasts. That said, copping an iced-out model, like the Submariner Ref. 116659SABR-0001 isn’t farfetched.

It’s set in a 40mm 18k white gold case and matching white gold oyster bracelet. The gem setting design is brilliant: white diamonds on the lugs and beautiful blue sapphire and diamond bezel. While it’s not practical to dive with a bust-down Submariner, you can comfortably rock one as a statement piece at events or even casual wear. 

Getting An Iced Out Rolex is a Lifestyle Choice 

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Getting an iced-out Rolex watch is a choice of taste and has no clear benefits over the regular stainless steel or precious metal models. Most custom-iced-out Rolex watches end up dropping in value, but their owners love them regardless.

Final Thoughts

Iced-out Rolex watches have come a long way as a statement timepiece for the affluent. Whether it’s a factory set Rolex Daytona, custom GMT Master, or a replica DateJust with fake zirconia diamonds, the goal is to stand out and be classy. And cutting your style according to your budget and taste. But like for the enthusiast looking for a blingy Rolex to add to their collection, your choice is limited.

You want an authentic factory-set Rolex that retains its value on the market, either for future swapping purposes or to avoid the risk of buying a custom model with fake or inferior stones. Shop the Exquisite Timepieces store for exclusive factory-iced-out Rolex watches. 

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