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From reputation, recognition and prestige to celebrating the highest sales number, there’s hardly any watch brand close to ROLEX. Therefore, the fact that the Crown always sits on the top is not a surprising thing. Whether it is a long-time watch enthusiast or a curious newbie wishing to purchase a luxury timepiece, Rolex will always be their first consideration above others.
However, the problem arises when you look at the options and find it challenging to pick just one. All Rolex watches are excellent and durable as ever! While the modern variants are impressive, the vintage Rolex watches have their own charm. They are unsurprisingly popular with every Rolex lover, which is why the watches could fetch you a great price if you ever sell a vintage Rolex in the pre-owned market.
Rolex has left a significant imprint on the watch industry from its beginning with numerous innovations. But, it was mainly during the 1950s and the 1980s that the Swiss watchmaker was at its peak!
During that span, Rolex created some of the most groundbreaking and creative timepieces that continue laying the foundation for this Maison.
Some of the best models created by Rolex during this era include:
So, to cherish and celebrate Rolex’s vintage creation, we’ve explored and compiled the best vintage models that definitely should be on your watch-out list!
Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of the ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona? One of the greatest watches created by Rolex so far is the Daytona which impressively came into the spotlight after famous actor Paul Newman gave it thumbs up by sporting it on numerous occasions.
The dial is the factor that differentiates a ‘Newman’ from the other regular Daytona models. The former has Exotic-looking dials, coming in panda or reverse panda combinations. In Paul Newman, whatever the predominant dial colour, the second chapter ring sports the opposite colour. For instance, if the dial colour is black, the chapter ring will be cream-coloured.
They further have square markings and Art Deco numerals on the sub-dials. All these attributes make it worth noticing. Due to the similar visual identity of the regular Daytona and the Newman Daytona models, except for the dials, purchasing one from an authorised dealer is recommended to ensure originality.
Rolex has always been an innovator, and the Explorer is a fine example of its creative excellence. The Explorer II made its debut in 1971 as a sequel to the Explorer and quickly gathered a fan base of its own. Rolex created the watch to help the cave explorers and those who worked in the darkness, allowing them to distinguish day from night.
The Explorer II Ref. 1655, relatively unpopular during its release, is now a hot commodity. Even though the watch’s association with the cool actor Steve McQueen continues to be a long discussion, the nickname is definitely giving the watch a shout-out now!
Rolex made the Explorer II 1655 in stainless steel with a black dial. The bright Orange GMT hand against the black background makes the watch easily distinguishable and highly legible for the cave explorers. Additionally, it has a fixed 24-hour bezel with lume at all 24 hours.
Even though Steve McQueen never really wore an Explorer, the watch is definitely garnering all the limelight for the moniker!
Many talk about how simple and basic the Rolex Explorer is. Well, we ask, what’s the problem with that? Don’t we all love a classic utilitarian timepiece with significant features that clearly tells the time? Those unaware of the history, the Explorer became a legitimate ‘legend’ after Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Tenzing Norway conquered Mount Everest in 1953 while sporting this ‘simple’ timepiece. Does it still sound so basic?
Rolex launched the Explorer in 1953 with Ref. 6350 and Ref. 6150, but the most popular Explorer is the Ref. 1016, which made its debut in 1960. You can find this achiever in various movements, dials, and other attributes.
Thanks to its not-so-overwhelming price, it’s one of the best buys amongst the vintage Rolex watches. You can easily recognise one when you see the 3/6/9 black dial with Mercedes’ hands. The 34mm model is sporty yet dressy and goes well with almost anything!
Rolex always has extended support to people of all sectors, including scientists, pilots, explorers, divers and others. In the early 1950s, the Pan AM pilots called out various Swiss watchmakers to design a timepiece that the pilots could wear during flying and track the time in two places.
Rolex came out with the GMT-Master in 1955 with the famous GMT complication. The Ref. 6542 had a red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel made of bakelite with a layer of luminous material underneath. This plastic material was not just prone to cracking but also gave cancer to an owner. Soon, Rolex changed the dramatic bakelite with non-luminous aluminium elements.
The reliable pilot’s wristwatch had a rotatable 24-hour bezel and an extra hour hand making it easy for the flyers to read the local and home time. The fine contrast of the Pepsi colour against the black dial secures the watch as an incredibly special timepiece.
Today, you’ll hardly find any bakelite GMT-Master models in the market. If you do, those are the ‘Pussy Galore’ GMT models. The watch became an icon after its feature in the James Bond movie Goldfinger.
After the drama created by Ref. 6542, Rolex released Ref. 1675 with a Pepsi bezel in 1959. It was one of the longest-running references, from 1959-1980. One of the first things we notice in a watch is the colour combination, and the GMT-Master featuring a colourful rotating bezel is an absolute classic.
The Ref. 1675 came with an aluminium insert and crown guards and was available in different attractive variants, like the two-tone ‘Root Beer’, the ‘Concorde’ with a brown bezel, and many others. In short, there’s a GMT Ref. 1675 for everyone!
All the variants are extremely popular amongst collectors and buyers because of their unique characteristics. Two of the most desirable ones are the early gilt-dial samples and the later radial dial options. The indices move towards the dial centre because of the chapter ring.
The abundance of variation secures the Ref. 1675 a highly respectable place in the world of vintage luxury watches.
The Submariner, as we all know, is the cult favourite diver watch. But the Sea-Dweller is the brand’s best dive watch, honouring its various standout characteristics from a diving perspective. The model came out in 1967 with a helium escape valve (the first-ever watch to have it), making it suitable for deep sea divers to wear. The valve allowed the helium atoms to escape without popping the crystal.
The Ref. 1665, nicknamed ‘Double Red’, came with two lines of red text on the dial. The watch has a larger case and a thicker crystal, and the additional RED lettering that states ‘Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000’ presents standout recognition.
Moreover, the usual Cyclops lens over the date window is absent. The Double-Red Sea-Dweller has thick-domed plexiglass designed to withstand the underwater pressure during deep-sea diving.
You must agree that Rolex presents some of the best nicknames in the industry. Another one presented with a catchy title is the Rolex Ref. 16760, famously named the ‘Fat Lady’ or the ‘Sofia Loren’. The body shaming nickname for the GMT-Master II model credits the thick and elegant curves that housed the new Calibre 3085.
The all-new movement and the separation of the hour hand from the GMT hand, made Ref. 16760 the ultimate traveller’s watch. Moreover, the 24-hour hand with an arrow tip could move back and forth independently. Apart from being the first original GMT-Master II model, the watch hosted alluring features like the red and black ‘Coke’ bezel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and white gold surroundings around the hour markers.
With all these attention-grabbing specifications, the GMT-Master II Ref. 16760 is truly a watch to remember!
You were waiting for this, weren’t you? Well, finally, the Submariner is here. The Sub never fails to amaze, be it a new model or a charming vintage piece. Even though all Sub models are exceedingly popular amongst fans, some enjoy considerably more interest, like Ref. 6538.
The ‘James Bond’ Submariner got its name when it first appeared on the wrist of James Bond in 1962’s Dr.No. The watch held a mid-century charm and instantly attracted attention as a ‘cool’ accessory to wear. Apart from its famous movie reference, the watch had a large (really large) 8mm crown with no crown guards. There are no minute markers on the bezel between 0 and 15, and you can see a large triangle at 12 o’clock.
With a short production span running from 1956-1959, the Submariner Ref. 6538 is one of the most desirable Rolex creations and the most expensive.
To the unknown and untrained, the MILSUB might appear like just another variant of the Submariner. But it’s so much more! ‘MILSUB’ is a combination of the words ‘Military’ and ‘Submariner’ and was only sold to the British armed forces and never to the general public. Rolex manufactured only 1200 pieces of this model (Ref. 5513/5517) during the early 1970s.
A few easily recognisable characteristics of the MilSub include stainless steel bezel with 60-minute graduations, Sword hands, T with a circle on the dial, fixed bars between the lugs, and a second hand with an arrow-shaped tip.
As the original owners of the Milsub modified the watches, it is difficult to find one in its original state. If you find yourself lucky enough to find one, don’t miss the opportunity to add it to your collection.
The Air-King collection has always fascinated Rolex lovers with its simplicity. After its release in 1945, the watch remained in production for over 30 years, making it another model with a long run. The Ref. 5500 comes in a sleek 34mm case and boasts qualities that qualify it as timeless elegance. The minimalist good looks of the 5500 featuring a silver dial, sharply applied indices, small lume plots and baton hands make the watch perfect for daily wear.
It’s a clean-looking vintage Rolex creation available in numerous dial colours. The most incredible ones are in the shades of black and blue. Many consider the Air-King an entry-level timepiece, making it all the more fascinating.
Picking the top vintage Rolex watches is a challenging task. You have to leave many models out. The watches in our list are the timeless presentation of Rolex’s excellence in watchmaking. They will not disappoint you if you ever want to sell your vintage Rolex in the pre-owned market.
It was pretty surprising to see how the luxury watch industry reacted instantly to the Covid-19 crisis. The leading Swiss giant Rolex saw a dramatic increase in its watch sales amidst the pandemic. And the good news for Rolex watch collectors, fans and owners in 2021 is that the market of vintage Rolex watches is booming.
Rolex is among the most famous luxury watchmakers in the world. All Rolex models have incredibly high demand in the second hand market. However, vintage Rolex watches have a different fan base, and they are indeed the best investment pieces. One of the significant reasons behind it is the principle of demand and supply.
Let’s continue with the principle of demand and supply. The Rolex models that are still in production are easy to get. However, in the case of discontinued models, it naturally becomes quite challenging to get the timepiece.
Rolex produces some models in limited numbers, and their demand is comparatively higher than others. They can be difficult to secure from an authorised dealer. Nonetheless, these timepieces are yet possible to get in comparison to the discontinued ones.
The significant factors that influence the price increase and investment potential of a Rolex watch include –
For example, the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona gained more recognition and desirability after the legendary actor and racer Paul Newman was spotted with one on his wrist. Thus, the watch also became historically significant.
For example, the Rolex “Red” Submariner stand apart from the standard Submariner models. This is because it has the “Submariner” text inscribed in red rather than white as found in the traditional Sub watches.
Another significant factor taken into consideration when it comes to vintage Rolex is the condition. With time, watches get signs of wear and tear (if you wear it regularly). Moreover, they also often break or undergo significant damages. However, in many instances, owners send their watches for repairing and servicing. And often old parts are replaced with new parts.
All these factors influence the value of vintage Rolex watches. However, keep in mind that vintage watch collectors always look for entirely original models – watches with all original parts.
However, due to wear and services, the number of vintage Rolex watches with entirely original parts and in good condition tends to decrease with time. Eventually, they get increasingly difficult to get hold of, and their prices increase as time passes.
Thus, if you buy a vintage Rolex for investment reasons, choosing a model with all original parts is essential. Otherwise, it may have a negative impact resale value of your vintage Rolex.
On the other hand, if you own a Rolex Air-King vintage, a vintage submariner or any vintage Rolex watch, make sure to ascertain its wear and tear before heading out to sell your vintage Rolex.
If you decide to sell your vintage Rolex, make sure to ascertain its wear and tear primarily. Suppose your watch, Rolex Air-King vintage or a vintage Rolex Explorer, retain all its original parts and is in good condition. In that case, it can fetch you a premium from professional Rolex buyers like The Luxury Hut.
A Rolex watch with exchanged parts like bezel and hands and the same timepiece with original parts usually have a significant price difference. This is because of mainly two reasons –
However, the accessories that come with a vintage Rolex timepiece at the time of purchase also affect its value in the second hand market. The accessories include a cardholder or a hand-tag or so. In most instances, owners unwittingly miss or lose these accessories.
Once a watchmaker discontinues a model, it becomes difficult to get the original parts. Thus, getting a vintage Rolex in its original state is challenging. However, they make excellent investments.
The vintage market for Rolex watches has been blooming in recent years and last year saw an unexpected upsurge despite the impact of COVID-19. Interestingly, rare and also the most common vintage sports watches are now fetching five-figure price levels.
However, not every vintage Rolex watch carries astronomical levels of resale value. But there are a few best vintage Rolex watches that serve as excellent entry points. Let’s here explore three of the excellent and popular vintage Rolex references that will not break your bank.
Nonetheless, if you want to ascertain your vintage Rolex worth, fill up our online form today and get a free accurate quote. Sell your vintage Rolex watch to The Luxury Hut and get the best possible price. Certain gold variants and rare dial models can fetch you a premium.
In 1958, Rolex produced the Air-King series as a subtle, durable entry-level watch. Without a date mechanism, the Air-King is among the most affordable Rolex timepieces. Whether vintage or contemporary, these watches offer some of the best value for money.
The Rolex Air-King flaunts minimalist features and a classic styling instead of flashy design, heavy-text dials and added functions. Many collectors relish the series’ simple, reliable design with a perpetual movement and a water-resistant Oyster case.
Moreover, the Rolex Air-King is available in various dial colours and two bracelet options – a dressy Jubilee or a sporty Oyster bracelet. The Air-King Reference 5500 enjoyed an astoundingly 37-year long production run. Eventually, the Reference 5500 model exists in the market today in decent numbers.
The Rolex Datejust 1601 was in production throughout the 1960s and 1970s. However, the unique vintage feel and appearance make the Reference 1601 a prototypical Datejust. The watch features a 36mm case size, fluted bezel and acrylic crystal with Cyclops lens above the date display.
Rolex also offered this ‘pie-pan’ dial style to the Day-Date models from the same period. The fact is that this dial design is symbolic of an earlier era in the history of Rolex, and it offers a vintage aesthetic to the Reference 1601.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 1002 watch houses a time-only movement and flaunts a 43mm case and smooth bezel. Moreover, the dial displays the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” text. Well, Rolex produced the Reference 1002 in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 1002 is available in different metal and dial options. For example, there are yellow gold, stainless steel and bi-tone models. Among the different dial colours available, champagne and silver-tone dials are the most common in the second hand market.
Are you looking to sell vintage Rolex watches? Call on 0207 242 9160 to get an instant valuation over the phone or fill up our form. The Luxury Hut can provide you with the best possible price for your vintage Rolex based on its model, condition, age, current market price and other essential features.
Rolex introduced the Submariner Reference 1680 in the late 1960s – nearly a decade after the brand unleashed its first Submariner. However, Reference 1680 was the first Submariner to feature date functionality.
More significantly, with the launch of this Submariner Date, this mainstay Rolex lineup started to diverge from its original roots and paved its way to becoming a status symbol.
Rolex also introduced precious metals to the Submariner collection with the Reference 1680 along with an 18ct yellow gold version. However, this Submariner is often considered as controversial, but its unleashing is fascinating as it divided the series into two. And the result is that the Submariner collection had both no-date and date versions.
Today, the Rolex Submariner 1680, especially the early rarest editions are among the most coveted vintage Rolex watches. So let’s today explore this iconic vintage Rolex Submariner watch.
Nonetheless, if you are planning to sell a vintage Rolex watch, fill up our online form to get a fair and competitive quote immediately.
The Rolex Submariner 1680 is a significant launch in the realm of sports watches. However, it is known to have some disparities on the officially debuted time of this watch. Rolex had most probably unleashed this Submariner in 1969.
But the serial numbers of many Submariner Reference 1680 models are known to date back to 1966. If this is the fact, then the Reference 1680 should belong to the era of the two Submariner No-date watches that were in production at the time – the Reference 5512 and 5513.
Well, the Reference 1680 was the third Submariner version that was available concurrently with these other two. When it comes to design, you won’t find any differences between them.
The fact is that the first few years of production were turbulent. Rolex was going through a continuous process of upgrading and revising, thereby launching and quickly ceasing the production of many versions.
However, after a time, the watchmaker finally offered an accepted form to the Submariner and released the Reference 5512 in 1959. The watch features a 40mm case, serrated bezel and crown guards.
Most significantly, the design became an instant hit, and Rolex kept this basic shape of the Submariner unaltered until 2010.
Rolex continued the production of the Submariner 1680 till 1979.
However, the gold editions flaunted applied luminescent gold index hour markers rather than the usual mixture of baton and dot hour markers.
Regardless, when it comes to vintage Rolex sports timepieces, gold versions are not much value in the second hand market. The fact is that the steel editions enjoy an extreme following from enthusiasts and command an excellent resale value.
With this in mind, if you own a vintage Rolex Submariner and want to raise some extra cash instantly, you can choose to sell your Rolex with full confidence. Vintage Rolex buyers at The Luxury Hut can offer you the best possible price for your vintage Rolex watch right away. Fill up our online form today or call on 0207 242 9160 now to get an accurate quote immediately.
Rolex is one of the world’s most famous luxury wrist watch brands that hold the 64th position on the ranking of Forbes. Since its introduction in 1905, the brand has dominated the market producing some of the most iconic watches that represent the ultimate luxury, precision and class. While Rolex watches are known for their top-notch design, high-end technology and eminent heritage, some of the vintage Rolex watches are indeed the most expensive and coveted luxury timepieces in the market.
Here are top five vintage Rolex watches that stand out from others for their superior grandeur and quality:
Considered as the archetype of classic divers’ watches, the Rolex Submariner 5513 is one of the most sought-after vintage Rolex watches of all time. The watch’s production started in 1962, but the Submariner 5513 was launched in 1984. Today, this particular Rolex model is considered as an intermediate watch because it featured the original acrylic dome crystal like its previous predecessors in replace of the sapphire crystal glass.
The Submariner 5513 also integrates the new Tritium gloss dial and white gold edgings. However, over the years the white gold edgings have been changing their colour to highlight a rich cream, thereby making it a discerning aspect for collectables.
The Rolex GMT Master is one of the most popular watches that expectedly enjoyed one of the most extended production runs in the brand’s history. While there are many variations of the Rolex GMT Master, the most famous model is the Rolex GMT Master 1675, especially the one that incorporates the red and blue bezel.
However, the pointed crown guards in the GMT Master 1675 offers a compact feel and look, but the most exceptional aspect is the Bakelite bezel. This bezel may not be as stable and rugged as a metal bezel; it is nonetheless highly coveted.
Although closely similar to the GMT Master, the Rolex Explorer II is unique and indeed, a collectable watch. The Rolex Explorer II 16550, in particular, underwent a profound update in its design and style. The timepiece featured an independent hour hand, a sapphire crystal glass, a quickset date component, chain wrist straps and a compact case, offering a rugged feel and look.
However, the most significant feature of the Explorer II 16550 was the dial. This model was introduced in two versions; one that has a black dial and the other with a white dial. But the fact is, today the ones with the white dials are reportedly more expensive than the black dials’ models. A chemical reaction is believed to have changed the dial’s ‘white’ colour to ivory or creamy colour, and most watch collectors consider it to be more alluring than the white dial.
Indeed, Rolex Datejust 1601 is one of the best and classiest vintage Rolex timepieces of all time. The watch comes in two versions; one made of gold and another is of stainless steel. In particular, this watch is designed to near-perfect and also, chronometer certified, featuring an efficient and complex movement.
Moreover, the Rolex Datejust 1601 is waterproof and possesses a compact yet sophisticated appearance. Unlike the Explorer II and Rolex GMT Master, the aesthetic appeal of this watch never fades or changes. The timepiece is expensive because of its smooth gold straps and case.
The Rolex Daytona is reportedly one of the best Rolex timepieces that yet influence some of the brand’s modern productions. The watch excelled at measuring speed precisely up to 400km/hr. The notable features of the Rolex Daytona include the intricate tachymeter and the detailed-dial that integrates the classic symbol of Rolex.
The straps and the case are built of high-quality material, thereby offering a sturdy look. The complex movement under the hood along with the classic Rolex appearance makes the Rolex Daytona a perfect luxury timepiece.
For those who are looking to sell your Rolex, or ‘sell your vintage Rolex watch’, complete our online form, providing all the details of your watch as much as possible and get an initial price quote shortly after. The Luxury Hut offers a quick and secure way to sell Rolex watches for the best market price. We will determine the actual value of your Rolex watch considering all the essential aspects and make a price offer that is ideally the best in the market.
The Luxury Hut ensures to make the process straightforward and hassle-free for you, be it is online or via appointment. Thus, fill up our online form now or call us on 0207 242 5411 today and arrange an appointment to visit us at our Hatton Garden office in London with your luxury watch.
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