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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.
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.
If you consider the design in general or technological innovation, the 1980s were not a good time for watchmaking.
However, the 1980s was life-changing for Rolex. The brand’s reputation built up slowly and meekly around several stylish and precise tool watches.
With the appearance of the quartz crisis, the brand was compelled to upturn its approach entirely.
But this Swiss-based manufacturer was never the one to set out to throw out the past designs.
However, many Rolex watches from the 1980s are not regarded yet as vintage. Thus, these watches ideally don’t bear similar prestige as the models from the 1960s and 1970s.
Moreover, they also don’t have the modern appeal of the contemporary or the late 1990s models.
Nonetheless, some of these watches from the 1980s are yet more desirable than its counterparts.
Let’s today have a look at 4 of the uncelebrated Rolex watches of the 1980s era.
The 1970s era wasn’t a time for over-bright and big things. However, a significant statement piece made its place in the 1980s in the form of gold Rolex Day-Date.
However, the solid gold Rolex Day-Date with Presidential bracelet was more cherished by collectors.
The watch featured bark-textured centre links, a Tiger’s Eye dial and bark-textured bezel.
What’s appealing of the reference 18078 is the dial’s simplicity.
The stone dial has only the printed text and applied crown without any indices.
The Rolex Submariner reference 16800 is a little confusing because of its price.
The ref. 16800 is known to be the best “old” Submariner in several aspects.
The watch was ideally the first model to feature the quick-set Calibre 3035 and also, a sapphire crystal.
Moreover, the Submariner 16800 also sported Tritium luminous plots.
Overall, the combination of the retro-elements makes the watch more valuable than the reference 5513 and desirable for regular wear.
The Rolex Datejust Reference 16234 can be considered as an ideal “first Rolex” for novelties.
The Datejust watches from the 1980s are robust and clean with exclusive variants.
For example, this Rolex Datejust 16234 features the exclusive Tapestry silver dial.
However, the watch comes with a 36mm case diameter.
Although it may not feel as firm as the vintage references of Air-King, the 36mm is yet a versatile case size that will ideally sit comfortably on all wrists.
Rolex introduced the GMT-Master II with the “COKE” bezel in 1983.
The GMT-Master Coke watch was not only a great thing to have in the 1980s but also a coveted model yet in the pre-owned market.
However, reference 16760 paved the way for independently adjustable hour hands in the brand’s lineup.
While the watch sported a slightly broader case, it became popularly known as the “Sophia Loren” or the “Fat Lady”.
However, Rolex offered the watch a thicker case to house the upgraded, new Calibre movement.
So the above Rolex watches are the major 4 uncelebrated Rolex watches and the models have a high demand in the pre-owned market as well.
Get in touch with one of the trusted watch buyers in London – at The Luxury Hut.
Simply, fill up this online form, providing all details about your luxury watch. Receive a free competitive quote shortly.
With The Luxury Hut, you can rest assured you will sell your Rolex watch in London for the best price possible in the second hand market.
Rolex has offered some of the best bezels to its exclusive Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II collection.
The manufacturer designed and developed the Rolex Yacht-Master watches exclusively for sea-faring. The model is indeed a proud member of the brand’s professional Oyster watch collection.
The Rolex Yacht-Master is unique with its larger hands and more prominent hour markers and all robust features that make it durable and legible in the harshest environmental conditions.
More significantly, the watch flaunts some bold, sporty yet sophisticated bezels that make it stand out of the crowd.
Thus, let’s today explore some of the favourite rare and modern bezels of the Rolex Yacht-Master.
Rolex began fitting its watches with Cerachrom bezels in 2005. The Rolex Yacht-Master II ref 116680 flaunts a bright and contemporary Cerachrom bezel.
The watch features a more substantial 44mm stainless steel, two-tone Everose or yellow gold case with blue ceramic bezel.
Overall, the bold size and colour of the Yacht-Master II reference 116680 capture everyone’s attention.
The Rolex Yacht-Master reference 116622 is indeed a luxury sports watch, featuring solid 950-platinum bezel.
Rolex is known to use this alloy very often in its watches. However, this rarely used alloy used in this sporty timepiece is beloved by many.
Rolex has also produced many iterations of Rolesium Yacht-Master, flaunting sand-blasted Platinum dials.
This matte black ceramic bezel is one of the most popular and coveted Rolex bezels.
The elegant black bezel on the Yacht-Master reference 116655 matches perfectly the flat black dial within the rose gold case, Everose pink gold-serrated ring, and black rubber strap.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 16623 flaunts 18ct yellow gold bezel that offers a sporty feel to the watch.
However, this yellow gold bezel is different from the ones used on GMT-Master II, and Submariner watches.
The gold bezel on the GMT-Master II and Submariner has ceramic inserts.
On the contrary, the bezel on the Yacht-Master 16623 watch is made of 18ct yellow gold. And it features high-polished, raised numerals on the matte sand-blasted surface.
The Luxury Hut offers you a quick and secure way to sell Rolex watches online or via appointment.
The process is simple.
Whether you are looking to sell a Rolex Yacht-Master or sell your Rolex Daytona, you are likely to obtain the best price possible for it without any hassle.
Thus, get in touch with today and sell your Rolex for a competitive price in London.
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