A Rolex is undoubtedly forever. People rarely sell their Rolex, unless you are the lucky few who are in possession of multiple versions of the same models. At the same time, it is a great investment as well. Rolex watches command the best prices in the resale market. In fact, there is a whole international industry built around vintage Rolexes. Within the vast range of the brand, there are some iconic models that have, over the years, acquired the iconic status. Here’s five of them
Launched in 1953, it became famous as the watch that Sean Connery wore in his first James Bond role, in 1962. Since then, it has also been known as the Bond Submariner. It stands out for the big crown, black dial, the distinct red triangle at 12 o’clock on the bezel, the triangular indexes, and the screwdown caseback. It was also the first Submariner to enjoy chronograph certification.
GMT-MASTER II ‘PEPSI’
The famous cola moniker of this watch comes from its red and blue bezel. Originally developed in 1955 in collaboration with Pan Am, it adorned the wrists of pilots of transatlantic flights. The latest version comes in white gold with an Oyster bracelet. The resale value of this watch sometimes surpasses the price of the original, which makes it a great investment. The recent Jubilee bracelet version was sold out before most Rolex lovers got to know about it.
COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA ‘PAUL NEWMAN’
The original Cosmograph Daytona from 1963 — with its distinct three sub-dials and tachymetric scale on the bezel — was targeted at racing car drivers. Rolex, in those days, was the official timekeeper for the races at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. It was called the watch with the ‘exotic’ dial, and became famous after Paul Newman wore the 6239 version in his 1968 racing film Winning. The movie experience turned him into a passionate racing car driver, and a big fan of the watch. It is said that he wore them every day. The 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264, and 6265 versions have since been known as Paul Newman Daytona. The original 6239 version that he gifted his daughter’s boyfriend James Cox, in the 1980s, sold for an astounding $17 million two years ago. According to auction house Sotheby’s, a Paul Newman Daytona is distinguished from the regular Daytona by its characteristic 3-coloured dial, the art deco-style font, and the small squares in the subsidiary dial.
DAY-DATE REF. 6611
Launched in 1956, the DayDate was the first watch to display the date and the day of the week written in full, at 12 o’clock. Ref. 6611 came a few years later in 18K gold, and became a mainstay of the line for many years. It was nicknamed the ‘President’ because both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson wore them. Powered by Rolex’s calibre 1055 movement, its accuracy earned it the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” accolade.
SKY-DWELLER REF. 326934
The Sky-Dweller is the most recent of the Rolexes in this list, having been launched only in 2012. It is also the most complicated watch in the Rolex stable, with a dual time zone and an annual calendar. It is powered by the self-winding Rolex Caliber 9001. The 42 mm size and fluted bezel makes it a bold and imposing watch. The all-steel Sky-Dweller Reference 326934 launched in 2017, with an 18K white gold bezel and blue dial, and has become a collector’s item in the short time that it has been around in the market.