Fashion Watches

The Complete Rolex Buying Guide • Gear Patrol

The Complete Rolex Buying Guide • Gear Patrol

Deciphering the nuances that distinguish, say, a 1970 Rolex Submariner from a 1980 model can require the sharp eye of a forensic analyst and the endurance of a analysis librarian. Certainly, Rolex specialists have a tendency towards detailed taxonomies of minuscule modifications, and Rolex does certainly introduce these incremental annual updates to the purpose the place many modifications appear extra legendary than materials. Individuals new to Rolex face mountains of such info, and that may make attending to know the model intimidating and complicated.

If we drop the year-to-year evaluation, nevertheless, and stick with the present choices, the Rolex catalog is definitely fairly straightforward to know. Rolex makes comparatively uncomplicated actions, formulates 5 case alloys, presents 5 kinds of bracelet, two kinds of clasp, a handful of bezels, some dial variations, and with simply these elements the Crown builds out its whole catalog. Get a unfastened grip on the essential constructing blocks, and the complete Rolex oeuvre turns into surprisingly easy to navigate.

Mannequin or reference numbers inside a specific collection of watch (Submariners, say) are likely to comply with an evolutionary scheme (to wit: the fashionable Rolex GMT Grasp II with Pepsi bezel is the 126710BLRO, which seems like a mouthful — however once you understand that the ref. 16710 was the final era of the “Pepsi” bezel-quipped GMT Grasp II that Rolex produced earlier than the present one got here out, you possibly can see how one reference quantity advanced into the subsequent one).

Rolex Terminology

Oyster: That is the identify that Rolex’s founder, Hans Wilsdorf, gave to the earliest waterproof watches from the 1920s. “Oyster” stays the important metaphor for Rolex, and it exhibits up in various phrases, mannequin names, and neologisms.
Cyclops: Patented by Rolex within the early 1950s, this can be a magnifying gadget that makes the date seem bigger. Initially a part of the crystal on early plexiglass fashions, the Cyclops later turned an added piece of glass on sapphire crystal-equipped fashions that was glued to the primary crystal.
Helium Escape Valve (HEV): Initially co-developed by Rolex and Doxa, this can be a small, spring-loaded one-way valve that’s built-in right into a watch case and permits helium and others gasses to flee the watch as a SCUBA diver ascends following a dive to nice depths. Initially developed for business saturation divers who discovered that the crystals on their watches have been popping off in decompression chambers because the strain inside the watch equalized to that of the outer surroundings.

The 9 Primary Rolex Supplies

Rolex formulates and produces most of its supplies in-house. Discounting various esoteric supplies used particularly in Rolex actions, almost all Rolex watches are created from simply 9 supplies.
Oystersteel: As a part of the 904L household of metal, Oystersteel can obtain the corrosion resistance and excessive polish of valuable metals.
Everose Gold 18okay: By including copper and silver to its method, Rolex achieves its uniquely heat rose gold.
Yellow Gold 18okay: This alloy is proprietary, trusted, and has an iconic hue.
White Gold 18okay: Rolex’s white gold appears to radiate mild.
Platinum: Rolex makes use of 950 platinum solely (and sparingly). 950 is a high-concentration alloy that features ruthenium for power and shine.
Rolesor: Not likely its personal metallic, this can be a identify Rolex provides to its patented technique of mixing Oystersteel and gold in its many two-tone fashions.
Cerachrom: Rolex’s proprietary ceramic is scratch-proof, impervious to UV rays, and is the present commonplace for the bezel inserts on Rolex’s sport watches.
Valuable Stones: Identify it, and Rolex has possible mounted it to a watch, however diamonds are commonest.
Chromalight: Rolex’s lume. Blue by night time, vibrant white by day.

The two Rolex Clasps

Crownclasp/Crownlock: The dressy and complicated bracelet-locking mechanism that nearly disappears as soon as secured.

Oysterclasp/Oysterlock: That is what Rolex calls its hottest and most safe deployant clasp. In features a secondary locking mechanism that folds over the primary clasp.

The two Rolex Clasp Expanders

Easylink: This easy mechanism help you increase a bracelet by 5mm, useful when swelling happens on an airplane or, maybe, after an enormous meal.

Glidelock: Rolex’s patented bracelet extension mechanism that permits for as much as 20mm of adjustment in 2mm increments to be used over moist fits.

The 6 Rolex Bracelets

Jubilee Bracelet: The refined five-piece hyperlinks make for a dressy look, however the Jubilee stays a staple of Rolex sport watches, too. Provided within the numerous metals plus the three Rolesor mixtures, the Jubilee could be fitted with both an Oysterlock or a Crownlock clasp.

Oyster Bracelet: The bigger three-piece hyperlinks make for an easier, sportier look. Oyster bracelets solely ship with Oysterlock clasps.

President Bracelet: Much less widespread, the President makes use of elegantly rounded three-piece hyperlinks and solely comes with a Crownlock clasp.

Pearlmaster Bracelet: The refined five-piece hyperlinks make the Pearlmaster Rolex’s most elegant bracelet. Crownlock clasp solely.

The Rolex Leather-based Bracelet: Provided in quite a lot of colours and hides, Rolex’s in-house leather-based straps are fitted with Oysterlock clasps.

Oysterflex Rubber Bracelet: Few rubber straps will blow your thoughts, however the Oysterflex simply may. The eye to element and progressive design add as much as suppleness, consolation, and elegance. Oysterflex bracelets are fitted with Oysterlock clasps.

The 6 Rolex Bezels

Plain Bezels: As primary as you’ll discover on a Rolex, plain bezels may be had on various fashions in metal and in valuable metals.
Fluted Valuable Metallic Bezels: Iconic and arduous to overlook, in the present day’s fluted bezels are provided in valuable metals solely.
Engraved Fastened Bezels: Discovered solely on the Explorer II and the Daytona Cosmograph, demarcations are engraved into both Oystersteel, a valuable metallic, or Ceracrom.
Rotating Bezels with Inserts: The basic for the Skilled watches, scratch-proof Ceracrom inserts are the norm.
Rotating Valuable Metallic Bezels: Unique to the Yachtmasters, these deeply engraved bezels obtain a compelling stability of sportiness and magnificence.
Bejeweled Bezels: Rolex has encrusted nearly each bezel with valuable stones sooner or later.

The 5 Important Trendy Rolex Actions

You’ll be able to just about get by understanding solely about Rolex’s 3000-series auto-winding mechanical actions and some smaller 2000-series variations. Past that, we’re actually solely speaking concerning the Sky-Dweller’s Ref. 9001 and the Dayton’s Ref. 4130.

3255: Launched in 2015, the core applied sciences of the 3255 will possible quickly be the idea for a majority of Rolex’s actions. Rolex claims that the 3255 handily doubles the accuracy of +6/-Four secs/day set out by Switzerland’s official accuracy testing program, COSC.

3135: Solely incrementally modified since 1988, the 3135 nonetheless varieties the idea of most trendy Rolex actions. It consists of an instantaneous date change at midnight, a basic Rolex function. The 3135 is the idea for a lot of variations.
3155 — day-date complication
3130 — no date
3131 — no date, with anti-magnetic defend
3132 — no date, with Paraflex anti-shock system
2235 — smaller with date (2236 will get an up to date hairspring)
2230 — smaller with out date

3186: Rolex’s 24-hour GMT motion (the 3187 picks up the Paraflex anti-shock system).

9001: Rolex’s most intricate motion with two time zones and an annual calendar (Sky-Dweller solely)

4130: No-date chronograph motion (Daytona solely)

The three Trendy Rolex Watch Classes

Oyster Perpetual Skilled (7 fashions): Rolex’s most strong, purpose-driven sport watches.
Oyster Perpetual Basic (6 fashions): Dressy but sporty, all the time waterproof, all the time basic.
Cellini (Four fashions): Conventional, typically difficult, reasonably waterproof.

Shopping for Information: The eight Rolex Skilled Fashions

Cosmograph Daytona

Get on the ready record or rush and get gouged on the used market, Rolex makes too few Daytonas to fulfill what appears to be an countless demand. Paul Newman’s classic mannequin stays the costliest watch ever bought at public sale in North America.

Case Measurement: 40mm

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 4130 with a-magnetic Parachrom hairpsring and vertical clutch

Motion Options: three sub-dials present operating seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers

Bezel Sort: Fastened bezel with tachometer scale

Bracelet Sort: Oyster or Oysterflex bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $12,400 (Oystersteel — out there with many valuable metallic variations at greater costs)

Learn our historical past of the Rolex Daytona right here.


Rolex’s largest watch, the Sea-Dweller sports activities skull-crushing underwater functionality. All the time striving towards the last word in Oysterness, Rolex additionally makes the Deep Sea model, which went to the underside of the Mariana Trench with James Cameron.

Case Measurement: 43mm (Deep Sea: 44mm) solely obtainable in Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 1,220 meters / Four,000 ft (Deep Sea: three,900 meters/12,800 ft)

Motion: 3135

Motion Options: Fast-change date with cyclops magnifier

Bezel Sort: Unidirectional rotating 60-minute dive bezel with Ceracrom insert

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp and Glidelock extension mechanism

Base MSRP: $11,350 (Deep Sea: $12,550)

Take a look at our temporary on the ref. 126600 Sea Dweller right here.


The granddaddy of all dive watches, the Submariner stands out as the single most iconic wristwatch the world has ever recognized.

Case Measurement: 40mm

Water Resistance: 300 meters/1,000 ft

Motion: 3135 for date fashions; 3130 for no-date

Bezel Sort: Unidirectional rotating 60-minute dive bezel with Ceracrom insert

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp and Glidelock extension mechanism

Base MSRP: $7,500 in Oystersteel with out date (out there in lots of configurations)

Take a look at the historical past of the Rolex army Submariner right here.

GMT Grasp II

Rolex’s pilots watch exudes the arrogance and ruggedness of a world traveler. Well-known for nicknames involving soda, like Pepsi (purple and blue bezel), Coke, (pink and black), and Rootbeer (two totally different gold/brown tones).

Case Measurement: 40mm

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3186

Motion Options: 24-hour hand and date complication

Bezel Sort: Bidirectional rotating 24-hour bezel for monitoring a number of timezones

Bracelet Sort: Oyster or Jubilee Bracelet

Base MSRP: $9,250 in Oystersteel (obtainable in lots of configurations)

The Rolex GMT Grasp II 126710BLRO was one in every of our favourite watches of 2018.


When Sir Edmund Hillary’s group took some Rolex Oysters up Mt. Everest in 1953, Hans Wilsdorf was fast to capitalize on the achievement and rebranded an Oyster with numerals at three, 6 and 9 o’clock because the Explorer. Easy, rugged, legible, and able to search our the corners of the world, the Explorer stays a staple of the Rolex catalog.

Case Measurement: 39mm case in Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3132

Motion Options: No date and strong anti-shock system

Bezel Sort: Fastened

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp and Easylink expander

Base MSRP: $6,550 (just one model obtainable)

Explorer II

The Explorer II, which was developed for spelunkers and different adventurers who may want to inform the time in an always-dark surroundings, is bigger than its older brother, and it incorporates a 24-hour GMT perform with fastened 24-hour bezel. One other shining instance of a device watch developed for a really particular, area of interest objective to at least one job very, very properly.

Case Measurement: 42mm Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3187

Motion Options: 24-hour GMT perform and Paraflex anti-shock system

Bezel Sort: Fastened 24-hour bezel

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: Base MSRP: $eight,100

Learn our historical past of the Rolex Explorer II right here.


A lightening-bolt formed orange seconds hand signifies that the Milgaus can stand up to electromagnetism in excessive conditions like, say, when one is working round a particle accelerator or an electrical plant (its unique meant objective when the road debuted within the 1950s). Presently fitted with inexperienced tinted crystals, the Milgauss is, a minimum of aesthetically, maybe Rolex’s most playful watch.

Case Measurement: 40mm Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3131

Motion Options: no-date with anti-magnetic defend

Bezel Sort: Fastened metal

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $eight,200 (selected both blue or black dial)

Learn our introduction to antimagnetic watches right here.


The Air-King was marketed after WWII as an aviation watch as a result of so many WWII pilots purchased themselves a Rolex Oyster for the superior (learn: lifesaving) legibility and accuracy. As we speak’s Air-King sports activities a divisive dial in two senses of the phrase: (1) it divides its markers between hours and minutes, and (2) Rolex aficionados are likely to argue divisively about that dial.

Case Measurement: 40mm Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3131

Motion Options: No-date with anti-magnetic defend

Bezel Sort: Fastened metal

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $6,200

Learn our story on branded Rolex Air Kings right here.


The Yacht-Grasp can be a dive watch if it’s bezel solely turned in a single course, however this bezel turns each methods for fast alignments with beginning weapons and buoy passes aboard big racing boats which are, on a great day, passing inside inches of one another whereas heeled over and crashing via ocean swells.

Case Measurement: 37mm or 40mm in quite a lot of metals

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 2236 in 37mm; 3135 motion in 40mm

Motion Options: Time; date complication

Bezel Sort: Bidirectional 60-minute timing bezel produced from valuable metallic

Bracelet Sort: Numerous bracelets obtainable

Base MSRP: $11,zero50 (37mm); $11,550 (40mm)

Yachtmaster II

When racing sailboats, all boats keep behind the beginning line jockeying for place, they usually all attempt to cross the the road second the race begins. If you hear a gun go off, somebody on board higher begin a 10-minute rely down, as a result of that’s precisely when your boat shall be allowed to cross the road. The Yachtmaster II is all about that essential 10 minutes. Cleverly, the countdown chronograph is programmed by rotating the bezel and crown.

Case Measurement: 44mm in numerous metals

Water Resistance: 100 meters / 330 ft

Motion: 4161

Motion Options: Regatta chronograph with countdown timer

Bezel Sort: Rotating bezel packages the timer, out there in Ceracrom or valuable metallic

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $18,750 (obtainable in numerous metals)

Learn our story on the Rolex Yacht Grasp II in Portugal right here right here.

Shopping for Information: The 6 Rolex Oyster Basic Fashions

Oyster Perpetual

Rolex’s most elementary watch can also be the direct descendant of the unique Oyster watches that put Rolex on the world’s stage. These three-hand, time-only watches are as stylish as they’re sporty.

Case Measurement: Oystersteel in 26mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, and 39mm

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 2231 (26mm and 31mm fashions); 3130 (34mm and 36mm fashions); 3132 motion (39mm mannequin)

Motion Options: Time-only

Bezel Sort: Fastened metal

Bracelet Sort: Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $Four,850 to $5,700 (worth will increase with measurement)

Learn our protection of the Oyster Perpetual right here.


Like most Rolex names, the Datejust is a cute neologism, this one shorthand for “the DATE modifications JUST earlier than midnight.” And that’s what it does, moderately than taking hours to vary like most date wheels. The Datejust is perhaps the quintessential Rolex gown watch, however it has the identical adventure-ready know-how discovered within the Oyster Perpetual.

Case Measurement: (28mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, 41mm) obtainable in numerous metals

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 2236 (28mm mannequin and 31mm mannequin); 3135 (34mm mannequin); 3235 motion (36mm mannequin and 41mm mannequin)

Motion Options: Date complication

Dial: Differ extensively, and one can configure one’s personal Datejust on-line

Bezel Sort: Choices differ from clean metal to basic fluted fashion to diamond-encrusted

Bracelet Sort: Numerous bracelets out there

Base MSRP: $6,300+


Add the day of the week to a Datejust and also you’ve obtained the Day-Date. Usually provided in fancier configurations than the Datejust, the Day-Date is usually referred to as the President as a result of so many world leaders wore them (although there’s sometimes a selected bracelet sort related to a “President”. Word that the 40mm model is the one one sporting Rolex’s latest motion, the Cal. 3255.

Case Measurement: 36mm and 40mm obtainable solely in 18okay gold and platinum

Water Resistance: 100 meters/330 ft

Motion: 3155 (36mm mannequin); 3255 (40mm mannequin)

Motion Options: Day and date problems

Bezel Sort: Clean, fluted, or bejeweled bezels

Bracelet Sort: Numerous bracelets obtainable

Base MSRP: Beginning at $23,550 for a 36mm mannequin on leather-based


These are Datejusts with a ton of jewels on them. Costs are sometimes outrageous, and the look may be, too. Rolex is an moral purveyor of valuable stones, meticulous in choosing them, and their stone-setters are thought-about a few of the greatest in enterprise.

Case Measurement: 34mm and 39mm (in valuable metals solely)

Water Resistance: 100m/330 ft

Motion: 2235 (34mm mannequin); 3235 (39mm mannequin)

Motion Options: Date complication

Bezel Sort: Numerous, with valuable stones

Bracelet Sort: Pearlmaster bracelet

Base MSRP: $36,100


Novelist Gary Shteyngart wrote in The New Yorker that, “If you would like a watch that appears like a Russian oligarch simply curled up round your wrist and died, you may be within the newest mannequin of Rolex’s Sky-Dweller.” Rolex’s most intricate watch, the Sky-Dweller makes use of a non-concentric 24-hour GMT disc to point a second time zone, and the annual calendar cleverly makes use of the 12 hour markers to point the month. Surprisingly, the Sky-Dweller is just not all that costly (comparatively talking, in fact).

Case Measurement: 42mm, obtainable in Oystersteel with gold bezel or in all gold

Water Resistance: 100m/330 ft

Motion: 9001

Motion Options: Second time zone with GMT disc; annual calendar

Bezel Sort: Fluted gold

Bracelet Sort: Oyster or leather-based bracelet with Oysterlock clasp

Base MSRP: $14,400

Learn our temporary on the Sky Dweller right here.

The Cellini Assortment

Although Rolex is notable for being a maker of hard-wearing software watches, additionally they have a gown watch line, referred to as Cellini. As Rolex places it of their catalog, the Cellini Assortment makes use of “sober and refined strains, noble supplies, high quality finishings: each element respects the codes of the artwork of watchmaking.” Notably, Barak Obama wears one.

Case Measurement: 39mm in valuable metals

Water Resistance: 50 meters/165 ft

Motion: 3132 (time-only); 3165 (date); 3180 (dual-time); 3195 (moon part)

Motion Options: Time-only; date; dual-time; moon part

Bezel Sort: Numerous (fluted; valuable stones)

Bracelet Sort: Leather-based bracelet with conventional pin-buckle

Base MSRP: $15,200

Learn our temporary on the Rolex Cellini Moon Part right here.

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