When it comes to luxury, prestige and timeless class, one brand that inevitably springs to mind is Rolex. Synonymous with superior quality and exceptional finish, Rolex watches are more than just a fashion accessory; they are a status symbol and an object of admiration. Contrary to what many investors think, you don’t need to invest tens of thousands of dollars to enter the world of Rolex owners: the brand offers a range of models at affordable prices. Let’s find out which Rolex is the cheapest and how to get it.
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The cheapest Rolex in the Swiss watchmaker’s catalog is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
It is available from $6,050 for men and $5,500 for women (prices as of July 2023 on rolex.com for the 36 mm and 28 mm models).
These prices apply only to new models, available from a retailer. On the second-hand market, prices vary considerably depending on the condition and rarity of the model.
Here are the top 6 cheapest Rolex watches:
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual
- Rolex Air-King
- Rolex Explorer
- Rolex Datejust
- Rolex Submariner (No-date)
- Rolex Milgauss
Rolex Oyster Perpetual: the cheapest Rolex
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is an emblematic model that represents the very essence of the Rolex brand thanks to its signature Oyster case and bracelet.
This model is often considered the brand’s most accessible in terms of price, offering a gateway for those wishing to acquire their first Rolex without having to fork out huge sums.
The price of the watch will obviously vary depending on the exact model and size you choose, but you can expect to pay between $5,500 and $8,000 for a new Oyster Perpetual in 2023.
Please note that prices can fluctuate according to demand and supply. Read our full article on investing in watches to become an expert on the subject.
On the second-hand market, prices will be much higher (this applies to all the models we are going to present). Depending on the rarity of the watch, and the reference (3, 4 or 5 digits), you may see Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches, considered to be the least expensive model, with prices reaching much higher sums.
The 3, 4 or 5-digit references are key indicators of the age of Rolex watches. The fewer the digits and the lower the number, the older and therefore potentially more valuable the model.
In technical terms, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is characterized by its stainless steel Oyster case, water-resistant to 100 meters, making it a diver’s watch.
The clock is powered by a Rolex automatic movement, certified as a Swiss chronometer for its precision.
It’s called “Perpetual” precisely because it features Rolex Perpetual technology, which enables the movement to wind itself automatically thanks to the wearer’s wrist movement.
Finally, the bracelet is also in stainless steel (typical of Oysters), with an Oysterclasp for greater comfort and security.
The Oysterclasp is this “folding” bracelet that prevents your watch from literally falling off your wrist, making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for a pickpocket to spot your watch.
As far as value appreciation is concerned, vintage models or those whose production has been discontinued can be particularly sought-after by collectors. Even if Perpetuals are not the Rolex that see their market value explode, a well-maintained model is likely to maintain a good part of its price over time.
The Rolex Air-King is another classic model that offers great value at a relatively affordable price.
In 2023, a new Rolex Air-King generally costs between $7,500 and $8,500. It’s the second-cheapest Rolex model.
What does the Air King represent?
The Rolex Air-King is a tribute to the golden age of aviation and the pioneers of flight.
With a 40mm case, the watch is designed to be both robust and legible, with large numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock to mark the hours, and a minute indicator for time navigation.
The Air-King features a stainless steel Oyster case, water-resistant to 100 meters, and is also powered by a Rolex automatic movement.
Like the Oyster Perpetual, it features Perpetual technology for automatic winding.
A small technical nuance for this model: the watch is fitted with an Oyster bracelet with an Oysterlock safety clasp, adding an extra layer of security to the watch.
In 2023, you can expect to pay around $11,000 for a new Explorer watch (available at $11,350 for the Explorer 36 on the official Rolex website), although, as always with Rolex, prices can vary depending on demand, supply, and retailer.
The Rolex Explorer is a watch that embodies the spirit of adventure and exploration. Designed to be robust and reliable, it was inspired by the successful ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, both of whom were equipped with Rolex watches!
The watch features a 36 mm or 39 mm (depending on the model) stainless steel Oyster case, water-resistant to 100 meters.
As with the 2 previous models on our list, the Rolex Perpetual technology is present and allows the movement to wind itself automatically thanks to the movement of the wearer’s wrist.
The Explorer is designed to be easy to read in all conditions, with luminous numerals, hours and minute hands for optimum legibility even in the dark: it’s designed for all explorers working in sometimes extreme conditions!
The watchband is also in stainless steel, with an Oysterlock clasp to prevent accidental opening.
The third-cheapest Rolex watch: the Datejust.
One of the most popular watches in the range, the Rolex Datejust is an iconic model that has marked the history of watchmaking.
This is the first automatic wristwatch to display the date in an aperture on the dial, hence the name “Datejust”: it shows the date and month.
Introduced in 1945, this watch has long been associated with elegance and sophistication, and is quite popular with women, probably due to its reduced thickness, so much so that the watchmaker decided to release an entirely feminine model: the Lady Datejust.
A new Datejust is generallypriced between $11,000 and $13,000 (available from $12,250 in July 2023 on the Swiss brand’s official website).
The Datejust is available in different sizes (from 31 to 41 mm), with adaptable materials and dial colors, enabling each owner to tailor a watch that best suits his or her personal style. Once again, Rolex’s signature Oyster case ensures water resistance to 100 meters.
In terms of movement, the Datejust is equipped with caliber 3235, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured for Rolex watches.
This movement is quite special for several reasons: it offers excellent performance in terms of precision, autonomy, shock resistance and… magnetic fields!
Focus on technical specifications
One of the Datejust’s distinctive features is its Cyclops magnifier on the date window, which amplifies the numerals for much faster and easier reading.
The Datejust can be fitted with a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet.
If you’re not a connoisseur, you should know that the Jubilé bracelet was specially designed for this model when it was launched: it’s a five-link bracelet that offers greater comfort on the wrist.
comparison, theOyster bracelet, with its three wide links, is less supple but more robust.
Rolex Submariner (No Date)
The Rolex Submariner No-Date is an icon among diving watches, renowned for its elegant design and exceptional underwater performance.
The price of a new Submariner No-Date in 2023 varies, but you can expect to pay around $9,000, again of course depending on the retailer and availability.
In July 2023, the watch sold for $9,050 on the website. Despite its popularity, the Submariner is one of the least expensive Rolex watches.
Technically speaking, the Rolex Submariner No-Date is a true diver’s watch, which is literally what it’s called and what it was designed for.
With its 41mm Oyster Steel case, the watch is water-resistant to 300 meters! That’s why it’s so popular with professional divers and water sports enthusiasts.
The movement is caliber 3230, a self-winding mechanical movement offering exceptional precision with a power reserve of around 70 hours.
In terms of styling, the watch features a classic black dial with luminous hour markers for underwater visibility. The unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic Cerachrom disc is a key feature of the Submariner, enabling divers to accurately track their time underwater.
Finally, the bracelet is an Oyster with the Oysterlock safety clasp and a Rolex Glidelock link extension system, making it easy to adjust the size of the bracelet without the use of tools, very practical for divers with little room to maneuver once underwater.
Here’s the 6th and final watch in our top 6 cheapest Rolex!
The Rolex Milgauss is a watch designed for scientists and those who work in environments where strong magnetic fields are common, such as research laboratories or power plants.
Less popular than its predecessors, its name is derived from the French word “mille”, meaning thousand, and “gauss”, a unit for measuring magnetic fields.
In July 2023, the price of a Rolex Milgauss starts at $11,000 and can rise much higher depending on the rarity of the reference, which is not uncommon with this model since Milgauss are no longer manufactured and sold new by Rolex retailers!
if you want aRolex Milgauss, you have to go to the secondary (or second-hand) market, so prices can rise very quickly.
Milgauss technical specifications
The Rolex Milgauss features a 40 mm Oyster case in Oystersteel stainless steel, offering water resistance to 100 meters.
The heart of the watch is what makes it so special: its movement is Calibre 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement specially designed to withstand magnetic fields, with a soft iron Faraday cage surrounding and protecting the movement.
In terms of design, the watch features a black or blue dial with luminous hour markers and a distinctive orange lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand, a tribute to its scientific heritage.
The bracelet is a stainless steel Oyster with Oysterclasp.
A distinctive feature of the Milgauss is its green sapphire crystal, unique among Rolex watches! This green glass, combined with the color of the dial, gives the Milgauss a singular appearance that makes the watch easy to identify at first glance.
You now have an overview of the most interesting models if you want to invest in the famous Swiss brand. Remember, however, that all these prices vary according to a number of criteria that change quite rapidly. Don’t hesitate to do your research, both on the second-hand market and in official catalogs, as this will increase your chances of finding the cheapest Rolex!
What is the basic price of a Rolex?
The base price of a Rolex depends on the model, but it generally starts at around $5,000 for basic models like the Oyster Perpetual.
Why is it impossible to buy a new Rolex?
It’s not impossible to buy a new Rolex, but high demand and limited supply can make it difficult to purchase some popular models directly from authorized retailers.
What’s the cheapest new Rolex?
In 2023, the cheapest new Rolex is generally the Oyster Perpetual, with prices starting at around $6,000.
What’s the cheapest Rolex watch for men?
For both men and women, the least expensive Rolex is the Oyster Perpetual model. For men, sizes range from 36 mm to 41 mm. Women’s models start at 28 mm and go up to 36 mm.
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