Unlike many modern luxuries, a Rolex watch embodies a remarkable history of risk-taking, innovation, and incredible stories. When Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis began assembling Rolex watches back in 1905, they could hardly imagine that one of their timepieces worn by Paul Newmanwould fetch $17.8 million at auction in 2017. That would be over $524 million today.

Since the inception of the Rolex brand, a name that at the time of its choosing meant nothing but sounded good rolling off the tongue, the moniker has become synonymous with world-class engineering and quality.

Those with economic means and an affinity for a certain degree of quality have readily met the impressive asking price for these beauties time and time again. If you’re in the market for one of your own, we’ve done the homework for you, and believe that this list contains the creme-de-la-creme of Rolex’s already exceptional collection.

Don’t pull your credit card out just yet. Pour yourself a drink (not too much), sit back, and peruse the selections we’ve collated for you. You might find something you fancy, and with a few clicks, your wardrobe will take one more step towards ultimate sophistication, world-class engineering, and a story worth sharing. Let’s dig into the Best Rolex Watches.

The Best Rolex Watch

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Automatic Men’s Chronograph WatchRolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Automatic Men’s Chronograph Watch (BEST CHOICE)

This Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is our best choice because it’s got all the bells and whistles, and it features that beautiful ice blue dial. The Daytona, as the name suggests, is a nod to motorsports. The watch was designed specifically for automotive racing and offers a driver the ability to record lap times with its tachymetric bezel.

This model boasts a 40 mm bezel, which is the classic width for a watch of this prestige. It’s not too big, but big enough to see at speed. The band and oyster shell are 950 platinum steel, which resists corrosion and maintains its shine. Should you need to take a break from auto racing, it also features a water-resistant rating up to 300 feet.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of the most expensive watches on our list, but it can do it all.

Model: 116506IBLDO

Band Material Type: Platinum

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Blue

Band Color: Silver

Weight: 15.84 ounces

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Perpetual Datejust Rhodium Dial Stainless Steel 18kt White Gold Mens WatchRolex Perpetual Datejust Rhodium Dial Stainless Steel 18kt White Gold Men’s Watch

With a 36 mm case size, this Rolex Perpetual Datejust is a bit slimmer than the more common watch models. What it lacks in width, it makes up in subtle elegance.

The early Datejust model was the first wristwatch in the world to display the date. In 1945 the founders of Rolex thought that the aspiring business person would want quick access to the day’s date, and thus a new category of watches was born.

This model’s date window sits atop a beautiful silver-tone stainless backing, set inside the Oyster case. There’s a lot to love about this particular model.

Model: 116234RRO

Band Material Type: Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Rhodium

Band Color: Silver-tone

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Datejust 41 Steel and White Gold Blue Diamond Dial Jubilee Bracelett 41mmRolex Datejust 41 Steel and White Gold Blue Diamond Dial Jubilee Bracelet 41mm

It’s not hard to imagine this Rolex Datejust hanging off a wolf of Wall Street. There’s a striking contrast between the blue dial and the 904L stainless steel and white gold combo.

If you do decide that this particular Rolex is the one for you, allow the 300-foot water-resistant rating and a sapphire crystal to boost your confidence. This thing is as tough as it is flashy. How could you go wrong?

Model: 126334-0016

Band Material Type: Oystersteel

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Blue

Band Color: Metallic

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Yacht-Master Platinum Dial Stainless Steel Automatic Men’s WatchRolex Yacht-Master Platinum Dial Stainless Steel Automatic Men’s Watch

Do you fancy yourself as a sailor? Or a business tycoon who’s also up for dawn patrol? The Yacht-Master has all of the features that a member of the salty crew would look for with that ultra-premium finish only Rolex can provide.

With a lithe width of just 35 mm in width, this watch is excellent for sport and an active lifestyle. The bidirectional rotating bezel is native to the Yacht-Master and allows users to track total time on the ocean by aligning the ring with when they first hit the water.

Once that bezel lets you know that it’s time to get back to dry land and conduct business, this watch retains its luster even with extended saltwater exposure. Rolex’s stainless steel holds a reputation as some of the most corrosion-resistant metal in the watch business, so fear not. Wear this thing on your next surf and then take it into the boardroom. Just don’t forget to exchange your wetsuit for a button-down.

Model: 168622PLSO

Band Material Type: Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Platinum

Band Color: Silver

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Milgauss 40 mm 116400GV Stainless Steel Black/Green OysterRolex Milgauss 40 mm 116400GV Stainless Steel Black/Green Oyster

The Milgauss is one of the few watches on earth manufactured specifically for the rigors of science but made famous by celebrities. Highly resistant to magnetic interference, the Milgauss is not affected by high powered scientific instruments, which was the original intention of the design. However, the unique characteristics of this watch have attracted some serious Hollywood support.

One unique element to this line of Rolex timekeepers is the lightning bolt-shaped second hand, surely a nod to the electric nature of scientific discovery. Zoom out a bit, and the next thing you notice is a crystal green rim set just inside the bezel. This unique feature stands out amongst watches of this caliber and ensures that the user is instantly recognizable as a watch connoisseur.

If you fancy yourself a supporter of science and someone who loves a little recognizability for your wrist candy, the Milgauss is your watch of choice.

Model: 116400GV

Case Diameter: 40 mm

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Rolex GMT-Master II Automatic Mens Steel and 18 ct Everose Gold Oyster WatchRolex GMT-Master II Automatic Mens Steel and 18 ct Everose Gold Oyster Watch

Of the GMT-Master watches on the market, we find this model quite striking. The blend of Rolex’s proprietary Rolesol Everose Gold and stainless steel, coupled with the matte black background of the timepiece, is an exquisite set of colors.

The functionality of the GMT line originated in service to globetrotters who wanted to keep two separate time zones in view. The bezel has a 24-hour timestamp so that the user can line up the dueling timezones.

Band Material Type: Rolesor Everose Gold & Stainless Steel

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Black

Band Color: Everose Gold and Stainless Steel

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Black Dial Automatic Mens 18 Carat Yellow Gold President WatchRolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Black Dial Automatic Men’s 18 Carat Yellow Gold President Watch

This watch does not hide its vibe. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date features some wonderful features, and this model wraps them in bright bling.

With a 40 mm casing, this watch is not the largest, but it speaks the loudest. You only find this 18-carat gold in Rolex models. The diamonds encrusting the bezel suck the eye straight into the deep abyss of the black watch back. And for those who want both the day of the week and the date available, both are present, loud and clear at a glance.

This one is an eye-catcher, and if that’s your thing, this is your watch.

Model: 228348BKDP

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Black

Band Color: Black

Display: Analog

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex New Daytona 116503 Steel Yellow Gold 2019 Black Box/Paper/5YrWTY #RL274Rolex New Daytona 116503 Steel Yellow Gold 2019 Black Box/Paper/5YrWTY #RL274

One does not need to be a car enthusiast to recognize the name Daytona. The Daytona brand is known world-round for speed, precision, and risk. Rolex’s Daytona line is a tribute and a testament to the fury and frenzy of a weekend of racing at one of America’s fastest tracks.

This timepiece offers the owner the functionality of a motorsport watch with the good looks that only Rolex can deliver. A clever blend of 18-carat gold and proprietary stainless steel, this watch offers an eye-catching blend of sparkle and durability.

Model: 5YrWTY #RL274

Watch Movement: Swiss Automatic

Dial Color: White

Band Color: White

Display: Analog

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Day Date Champagne Dial Automatic 18K Yellow Gold Automatic WatchRolex Day-Date Champagne Dial Automatic 18K Yellow Gold Automatic Watch

James Bond might pass on this model given his desire to keep a low profile, but you, you devil, you want to stand out. And that’s exactly what Rolex’s Day-Date Champagne offers you. This 18-carat gold watch, with automatic winding and beautiful deep-black face, is prestige personified.

This timepiece measures a svelte 36 mm and speaks more in color than it does in size. A beautiful linked Gold Rolex President band connects the watch to the owner’s wrist and matches the material of the Oyster case. The yellow gold of this timepiece will never fade. This one will look good on your kid, and your kid’s kids.

Buy it if you’re looking to pass down luxury for decades.

Model: 118238GNSP

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Beige

Band Color: Yellow Gold

Display: Analog

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Sky-Dweller Black Dial Automatic Mens Oyster WatchRolex Sky-Dweller Black Dial Automatic Men’s Oyster Watch

This is the only Sky-Dweller to hit our list, and it is one of the classics. This distinctive Rolex is designed specifically for world travelers. Featuring an innovative annual calendar called Saros, this timepiece wants to keep you grounded in time while allowing you to roam the earth. This watch also features an elegant but useful dual time zone display, so you can keep track of whether your loved ones are winding down for the night or getting ready for the day.

Model: 326934BKSO

Watch Movement: Automatic

Dial Color: Black

Band Color: Silver-tone

Display: Analog

Water Resistant Depth: 300 feet (100 M)

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Rolex Watch Buying Guide

Features to Look for in Rolex Watches

With over 115 years in business, Rolex has produced a wealth of colors, styles, and special editions. Due to the brand’s rich history in aviation, auto racing, diving, and adventure, it is important to know which model suits which activities.

The first thing you should take note of when you pick up a Rolex is the incredibly smooth movement of the second hand. Each Rolex contains hundreds of internal parts and mechanisms which deliver that silky glide. Each timepiece features mechanisms both hand-assembled and pieced together by machine.

The second thing that all Rolex watches have in common is the Oyster Shell surrounding the watch hands and date bubble. The Oyster Shell design comes together in four distinct parts: the bezel, bubble case, winding, and middle case, each forged from 904L steel, 18-carat gold, or platinum. This patented design creates a water-tight seal around the bezel, ensuring the watch doesn’t allow any water to enter even at depths of up to 300 feet.

Here, in no particular order are the nine different materials that make up all Rolex watches:

Platinum — Rolex utilizes a 950 platinum, which has very high concentrations of alloy and exceptional properties for shine and strength.

OystersteelRolex is the only watchmaker to use this version of 904L steel. It features high corrosion resistance and has an incredible finish when polished.

Everose Gold 18k A unique blend of copper and silver create the Everose gold alloy.

ChromalightThis photoluminescent material holds a bright-white luminescence for up to eight hours at a time.

CerachromThis is a ceramic that Rolex employs as its standard for bezel inserts on their sports watches. Impervious to scratches, UV light, and other abrasions, it keeps the timepiece looking premium long after purchase.

White Gold 18kExtremely bright and unique, Rolex’s white gold has a look all its own.

Yellow Gold 18kThis blend of yellow-gold is unique to Rolex and sets it apart from other watches.

RolesorThis is a combination of Oystersteel and gold that gives many of Rolex’s two-tone models their look and appeal.

RoleiumThis is the combination of platinum and steel, an alloy as elegant as it is durable.

JewelsWhile diamonds are the most common gems, Rolex is no stranger when it comes to meticulously putting a wide array of precious stones to work.

Size — Moreso than other articles of jewelry, watches have size inflation over the years. Rolex, while seeing some level of sizing inflation, has stuck to their guns for the most part and retained their timeless styling.

There are two size factors to concern yourself with when searching for a wristwatch. You need to consider the watch’s width, measured by the bezel, as well as the diameter of the band. For men, Rolex watches range from a bezel width of 31 to 44 mm, with the most common options right around the 40 mm mark. The women’s line runs from 24 to 34 mm, with 28 to 30 mm size being the most popular.

The band itself is adjustable, and a fine jeweler is your best option for customizing the appropriate length for your wrist. If you plan to buy a previously-owned model, try to obtain additional links. If not, make sure that the watch will not need any links added back in to fit your wrist size.

StyleFor years, Rolex has employed a relatively limited number of style options. The options available for the clasp, clasp expander, bezel, movements, and adorning jewels have always been quite limited.

Rolex’s contemporary watches come in three categories that are easily understood by their function.

The Cellini line is their traditional design but tends to have the appearance of a very complicated build. These are typically only moderately waterproof but can put up with light rain or the occasional splash of water.

The Oyster Perpetual Classic has a more professional look that would fit in at a tennis match. These models are waterproof and tend to be the most popular line for their versatility.

Finally, the Oyster Perpetual Professional collection is Rolex’s purpose-driven sports watch lineup. These watches are waterproof and have several features specific to a sport.

Case Material Rolex’s case material is one of their defining selling points. Case materials include a variety of metals: 950 platinum, stainless steel, and of course, gold. Way back in 1985, the UK-based manufacturer moved to a 904L stainless, and in 2018 they coined the term ‘Oystersteel.’ Oystersteel is now the primary metal for all of Rolex’s stainless watches, and they are the only manufacturer to use such a premium metal.

If gold is more your taste, Rolex has built a foundry. Their 18k gold is all poured in-house, which not only helps them ensure quality but allows them to innovate. Back in 2005, they used their in-house smelter to produce a metallurgical gold hybrid called Everose, which is a rose-gold finish they claim never fades.

Strap Material — With all of the aftermarket companies producing straps these days, the opportunity to customize your Rolex is nearly endless. Rolex strap material is often the same metal as that of the watch. The Rolex Perpetual Datejust Rhodium Dial featured on our list here has a stainless steel strap, which matches the stainless steel bezel.

Older models of Rolex watches have holes in the lugs of the watch face, which allow for quick and easy strap swapping. Newer models do not feature this, likely as a way to keep the lugs cleaner looking. Both offer the option for swapping straps, however, but the later models do require a bit more effort.

The aftermarket business for Rolex accessories is a booming business. A quick web search for nearly any of Rolex’s thousands of models over the years turns up a bevy of options for straps. Many athletes and sport-focused people prefer a molded rubber or nylon strap, which works a bit better with sweat and tends to weigh less. These aftermarket straps also offer a great way to color coordinate an outfit for the day or match the color of your Bugatti if you wish.

History of Rolex Watches

It’s hard to believe that one of the world’s most valuable luxury brands began with a 24-year-old kid and his brother-in-law tinkering with watches in their home in 1905. It wasn’t until 1908 that Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis devised the name for the now-ubiquitous brand, Rolex.

Between the years of 1910 and 1914, Wilsdorf and Davis submitted many watches to the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, or COSC, in Switzerland. Fortunately, the duo had the talent and temerity to produce watches good enough for the COSC’s gold seal of approval, so they were off to the races.

Late in 1926, the team created the Oyster case, which still lives on in the Rolex lineup today. The Oyster case was the first dustproof and waterproof casing in the world. Soon after that, in 1931, the incredible “automatic perpetual caliber” was patented, which are the mechanisms that allow the second hand to rotate smoothly and silently.

Rolex introduced the Datejust in 1945, which was the first watch to display the date. In the decade to come, the growing brand would introduce the Submariner, the GMT Master, and the Milgaus. All of these incredible contributions to the market still live on in Rolex’s brand catalog to this day.

In the half-century that would follow, Rolex would introduce numerous category-changing metals, design features, build styles, and more that would cement their position as the world’s premium timepiece maker. Worn by heads of state, professional athletes, Formula One drivers, and many more across the globe, Rolex continues as a beacon of adept Swiss engineering and the finest metallurgical craftsmanship.