Guide to buying your first Rolex Part 2

Rolex watch

(Continued from part 1 - here)

There are endless models and variations of Rolex watches available so I am just going to cover the mainstream models and the most popular models here.

So let’s get into the models available from Rolex at an entry level up to around the £10,000 mark

What I consider the entry level Rolex models available as of writing on 27.02.18. (while high in the sky above the Atlantic Ocean on a flight to London from New York) are the Rolex Air King and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.

After these models there comes the Rolex Explorer I and Rolex Explorer II, Rolex have released a new version of the Explorer II with what they call the “Maxi” dial which came about when trends were going in the larger direction and these dials are 40mm. I personally own an old style Rolex Explorer II and I really love it, but I do love the new maxi dial too.

The Explorer series has a GMT function which allows you to set the time in another time zone while maintaining GMT on the actual watch face, this is achieved by a single hour hand marker (in a brighter colour than the normal hour and minute hand) which points at 24 numbers around the outer bezel (this is a fixed bezel) the minutes are still read from your normal watch dial but the GMT hour hand moves around at half the speed of the normal watch face hand to allow the single hand to mark every hour on the 24 hour bezel with a single hand allowing you to tell if it is am or pm in your chosen time zone, the normal minute hadn on your dial still does the minutes, clever eah? These kinds of functions are referred to as “complications” any function a watch has over its normal time telling function is considered a “complication”

Next up on a similar level to the Explorer are the Datejust II models, these are more dressy Rolex watches and are not classed as “sports models” as the others are which I have covered here. I personally love the Datejust II series especially with the fluted bezel (they are also available without flutes) Datejusts are not the most popular models, I don’t think they hold their value as well as the Rolex sports models, but my advice would be to buy a watch because you love it not because you want it to retain its value, it may retain its value, it may not it all depends on the market and the actual model you have purchased, but again that’s a whole other post I may blog about in the future.

So now we move into the most popular model from Rolex which is the Rolex Submariner I am sure you have heard of this one, it has featured in many films. Such as James Bond and has become the icon of the watch industry and is the “go to” Rolex for many first time buyers.

The submariner is a great purchase and comes in “date” or “no date” variations along with some other subtle variations. The date or no date option simply mean that the Submariner either displays the date function at the 3 o’clock hour marker under a cyclops (the cyclops is the term used for the magnifying glass which Rolex bond to the watch face to magnify the date window by 2x) on the no date version this is removed and you just see the normal 3 o’clock hour marker with no date. Submariners are used as dive watches and have a rotating bezel which helps you to track oxygen levels while diving.

I could get into all the different variations of the Rolex submariner which have an impact on the price but again I will save that for a later post, I want to keep this as a beginners guide to buying a Rolex.

On an even par (in my opnion) with the Rolex submariner comes the Rolex GMT Master II which also has a GMT function the same as the Rolex Explorer II series but this time the GMT has a rotating bezel, this allows you monitor 3 different time zones, the main time zone on your normal watch face, your second time zone using the GMT hand the third time zone can be checked by rotating the bezel. All clever stuff, this watch was aimed at commercial airline pilots to be able to always know the time in GMT but also monitor another time-zone when flying long distances.

Ok so next up is the Rolex Daytona, I absolutely love the Daytona and the new variations with the black dial dubbed by collectors as the “Darth Vader” as it resembles the character from Star Wars is my favourite, they also offer this with the white dial but these 2 references are very hard to come by and the current second-hand value is actually higher than a new one from an authorised dealer! That’s the crazy Rolex world for you. Anyways the Rolex Daytona is named after the Daytona car racing events in the USA as it was designed as a chronograph for timing racing events, it has the main time, no date and has split-second timer chronograph dials too for all the timing you need, be it running, swimming or car racing anything you need a stopwatch and accurate timing for. It was actually a version of the Rolex Daytona owned by Paul Newman (an American actor and race car driver) mentioned earlier which broke all records selling at auction in 2017 for $17.75 million!

Next is the Rolex Deepsea and this watch was born out of an experiment with explorer James Cameron who took a Rolex Deepsea watch strapped to the side of his submarine down to the deepest part of the ocean anywhere on Earth, breaking records for being the first human to explore these depths of the ocean. The actual watch used in the experiment was called the Deepsea Challenge which could survive a depth of 12,000m. They developed a more realistic version which is the Deepsea Sea-dweller which is capable of diving to 4000m, neither of these depths are achievable to the human for diving. They later released the Deepsea Sea-dweller Deep Blue which has a graduated blue dial and is in huge demand at present. You can see a short film about the making of this watch here

I will write some individual blogs on each of the models referenced above and link them into this article to give you a really in-depth look at each of the models form a collectors perspective.

I hope that has given you a basic insight into the main Rolex models and will help you to purchase your first model. Let us know which model you purchased in the comments below and if you feel this article has helped you and may help someone else please feel free to share on any of the social media platforms below.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have on any Rolex models if I can, or advice on buying, just comment below and I will try to answer for you as best I can, or you could tweet me @vulcanstraps

I will also be attending the Baselworld show hosted Basel, Switzerland in 2018 so stay tuned on social media, the blog and YouTube for some updates on what’s happening there along with the new releases from Rolex.

And don’t forget if you would like to customise your new Rolex purchase with one of the best vulcanised rubber watch straps on the market head here and you can customise your Rolex to match your style or your mood, along with buying some great accessories.

If you are interested in learning more about Rolex I highly recommend this book

Thank you

Lee Scott


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