Cheapest Rolex Watches: The Updated Guide (2024) - Morpher

Cheapest Rolex Watches: The Updated Guide (2024)

Author Image Esin Syonmez

Esin Syonmez

Cheapest Rolex Watches

We all know that Rolex watches are like the holy grail of timepieces, right? They exude an iconic status and carry a prestigious reputation, but let’s face it, they often come with a hefty price tag. However, if you’ve set your sights on a Rolex but your wallet gives you a sceptical look, don’t despair just yet. 

In this article, we’re diving deep into the world of the “cheapest” Rolex watches. Now, we use the term “cheapest” with a playful nudge because, truth be told, those coveted Rolex models are about as attainable as spotting a unicorn riding a rainbow for most of us. However, if you’ve caught the Rolex bug and are determined to own a piece of this legendary brand without emptying your bank account, you’re in luck. We’ve got you covered. 

This article updates last year’s insights on the most affordable Rolex watches, aiming to show you the quickest ways to get your hands on one. We’ll debunk common misconceptions and explain why these watches command such high prices. Stay with us until the end, and we’ll reveal how you can start investing in top-tier models from just $1.

The True Worth of Rolex: The Factors That Make Rolex Watches Expensive

If you’re part of the online watch community, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the debate about whether Rolex deserves its prices is widespread. Rolex watches are synonymous with luxury, precision and status, but what exactly justifies their high prices? Before we dive into the list of the cheapest Rolex models, let’s explore why Rolex watches have such high price tags to clearly show what you are paying for.

Several factors contribute to the cost of a Rolex, making them much more than just a timekeeping device you just carry around on your wrist.

One of the main reasons for their high price is the top-quality craftsmanship involved in their creation. Every Rolex watch is classified as a masterpiece of engineering, meticulously assembled by hand. Each timepiece goes through a series of intricate steps, from the precise cutting of parts to the hand-setting of precious stones. This attention to detail is a big part of the fine craftsmanship that ensures that every Rolex runs smoothly and lasts a lifetime.

In addition to craftsmanship, Rolex uses only the finest materials in its timepieces. Oystersteel, the brand’s special alloy, is durable and also resistant to corrosion. Models such as the Rolex Submariner, for example, are made from 904L stainless steel, which is more expensive and more difficult to machine than the typical 316L steel used by other watchmakers. In addition, Rolex designs often incorporate 18-carat gold, platinum and high-quality ceramics, making them very costly in terms of raw materials alone.

Another important factor is Rolex’s commitment to in-house production. Unlike many other luxury watch brands, Rolex manufactures almost all of its components in-house, from movements and cases to dials and bracelets. Rolex maintains control over the entire production process, guaranteeing the highest quality standards. Models such as the Daytona are equipped with a Cerachrom bezel, which is manufactured entirely in-house and offers an unrivaled resistance to scratching and fading.

Rolex watches are also subjected to extensive testing to guarantee their performance and durability. Each watch is subjected to extreme conditions such as exposure to salt water, high pressure and intense temperatures. The Rolex Deepsea, for example, has been tested to withstand depths of up to 3,900 meters, making it one of the world’s most durable diving watches.

Beyond its technical features, Rolex’s historical significance and prestige also add to its value. In the brand’s own words, to own a Rolex is not just to wear a watch, but to be part of a legacy. Iconic figures such as Paul Newman, Sir Edmund Hillary and James Bond have all worn Rolex watches, cementing the brand’s place in history. It is a recognized fact that the story behind each model adds an intangible value that resonates with collectors and enthusiasts.

Rolex undeniably lives up to its price tag. The exceptional craftsmanship, premium materials, and remarkable longevity alone justify the cost. When you factor in the brand’s value and its status as a social symbol, it’s clear that the investment is worthwhile. Now that we’ve established why spending money on a Rolex is justified, let’s find the cheapest model that suits your budget.

Cheapest Rolex Watches

Alright, let’s dive into the world of the cheapest Rolex watches. Today, we will explore specific models that won’t break the bank and will still give you that coveted Rolex experience. Without further ado, let’s discover the more affordable side of Rolex.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

First up, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The Oyster Perpetual is often considered as the first step into the Rolex world as one of the more accessible options in the Rolex lineup. It combines that timeless Rolex DNA with a price tag that won’t make your wallet cry. In fact, you can already find used Oyster Perpetual models starting at around $2,000. Not too shabby, right?

Rolex Oyster Perpetual price

Here’s the interesting thing about the Oyster Perpetual: it comes in various reference types, each with its unique characteristics. We’ve got references like 1500, 114300, 124300, and 126000, just to name a few. These references differ in terms of materials, dial colours, and sizes. You can go for a sleek stainless steel case with a vibrant blue dial or a more understated black one with a classic silver case. The options are there, and it’s all about finding the perfect combination that speaks to your style.

But why was the Oyster Perpetual developed in the first place? Well, picture this: it’s the 1920s, and the world is excited about the possibilities of adventure and exploration. Rolex, always at the forefront of innovation, wanted to create a watch that could withstand the rigours of these escapades. And thus, the Oyster Perpetual was born. Its Oyster case brought a new level of water resistance, and the perpetual movement ensured accurate timekeeping even in the most challenging conditions. It was a watch built for those who dared to push boundaries and embrace the spirit of exploration.

Rolex Datejust

Rolex Datejust

Now, let’s turn our attention to the iconic Rolex Datejust. Just something about its classic design and versatility speaks to you. The Datejust is another model in the Rolex lineup that offers more affordable options without compromising on quality or style. You can already find used Datejust models starting at around $3,000, which is a pretty sweet deal considering the craftsmanship and prestige that come with a Rolex.

Rolex Datejust price chart

Regarding the Datejust, Rolex sure knows how to spoil us with choices. Look at references like 1601, 116200, 126200, and 126334. These references vary in materials, dial options, and bracelet types, allowing you to find the perfect combination that suits your taste. You can opt for a timeless stainless steel case with a classic white dial or a two-tone version with a captivating champagne dial. The Datejust allows you to express yourself while maintaining that unmistakable Rolex elegance.

But why was the Datejust developed in the first place? Here’s an interesting tidbit: Rolex introduced the Datejust in 1945 to celebrate their 40th anniversary. It was the first self-winding wristwatch to display the date in a window on the dial. Back then, it was a groundbreaking innovation that revolutionized the watch industry. Today, the Datejust continues to be a symbol of timeless sophistication and technical prowess.

Rolex Air King

Rolex Air King

Remember, sometimes, the best discoveries are the ones that fly under the radar. If there’s one watch that’s as reliable as a trusty pilot, it’s the Air King. It may not be as well-known as its Rolex siblings, but don’t let that fool you—it might be a hidden gem in the Rolex collection and won’t break the bank.

When it comes to affordability, the Air King delivers. You can already find used models starting at around $2,500, which is a steal considering you’re getting a genuine Rolex timepiece. The price won’t have you grounding your dreams of owning a Rolex.

Rolex Air King price chart

Now, let’s talk about the different reference types within the Air King family. We’ve got references like 116900 or 5500, each with distinct features and characteristics. Some may sport a bold black dial with large hour markers, while others may opt for a sleek white dial with a more minimalist design. The Air King offers a variety of styles that cater to different tastes, whether you prefer a sporty aesthetic or a more refined look.

But why was the Air King developed in the first place? Well, here’s an interesting fact: Rolex initially created the Air King as a tribute to the pioneers of aviation. It was a watch designed to honour those courageous individuals who took to the skies, conquering the vast expanse above us. The Air King’s robust construction and aviation-inspired design reflect that spirit of adventure and exploration.

Rolex Cellini

Rolex Cellini

Now, let’s venture into elegance and refinement with the Rolex Cellini. When it comes to affordability, the Cellini is a true gem. You can already find used models starting at around $1,500, which is quite a steal considering the craftsmanship and prestige of a Rolex.

Now, let’s explore the different reference types within the Cellini collection. We’ve got references like 50505, 5112, and 50525, each with a unique charm. The Cellini offers a range of designs, from classic round cases to more contemporary interpretations. You can choose a model with a traditional white dial and a timeless black leather strap, or perhaps go for a bold rose gold case with an eye-catching blue dial. The Cellini allows you to express individuality while maintaining that refined Rolex aesthetic.

But why was the Cellini developed in the first place? Here’s an interesting fact: Rolex introduced the Cellini line as a tribute to Benvenuto Cellini, a renowned Italian artist and goldsmith from the Renaissance era. The Cellini collection embodies the spirit of artistic excellence and attention to detail, much like the work of its namesake. It’s a testament to Rolex’s commitment to craftsmanship and the pursuit of timeless beauty.

Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer

Now, let’s embark on an adventurous journey with the Rolex Explorer. If there’s one watch that’s ready to conquer the great unknown, it’s the Explorer. Strap it on your wrist, and you’ll feel a surge of exploration coursing through your veins.

Regarding affordability, the Explorer offers a good opportunity on the higher end. You can already find used models starting at around $4,000, which is quite a reasonable price considering the heritage and ruggedness that come with this model, especially as many references of this model go for much more. 

Rolex Explorer chart price

Now, let’s navigate the different reference types within the Explorer family. We’ve got references like 214270 and 216570, each with distinctive characteristics. The Explorer offers a variety of options, from classic black dials with luminous hour markers to bold white dials that exude a modern flair. Whether you’re seeking a timepiece that echoes the spirit of the original Explorer or one that adds a contemporary twist, the Explorer has you covered.

But why was the Explorer developed in the first place? Here’s an intriguing fact: Rolex introduced the Explorer to commemorate the successful ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. It was a watch designed to withstand the harshest conditions and accompany explorers on conquering the world’s highest peaks. The Explorer’s robustness and reliability make it a trusted companion for those who dare to venture into uncharted territories.

What Is the Best and Cheapest Rolex You Can Get?

First, all Rolex watches are already better in quality than most of the watches out there, whether it’s a cheaper or more expensive Rolex model. Also, as it is still a collector’s piece, it is probably impossible to say which is the best and the cheapest model, as everything comes down to preference. 

Also, when finding the best and cheapest Rolex watch, we quickly realize that “best” is subjective, varying from person to person. While iconic models like the Submariner and Daytona may be widely considered the best in terms of investment, they come with a hefty price tag. On the other hand, models like the Datejust or Oyster may be more affordable but may not necessarily be regarded as the best. In our quest for the perfect mix, we delve into the realm of underappreciated Rolex models. While investing in these timepieces outside the popular Daytona or Submariner collections may be a gamble, their uniqueness could garner renewed appreciation from the collectors’ community. Thus, currently priced at their cheapest, these often overlooked models hold significant potential for value appreciation, making them valuable and arguably the best choice for discerning buyers.

In our endeavour to find the best and cheapest Rolex watch, we have identified two intriguing models that stand out in their own right. The first model we present is the GMT-Master II “Fat Lady” reference 16760. This timepiece holds a special place in history as it was the first GMT-Master to feature a larger case size, earning it the moniker “Fat Lady” among collectors. Due to its unique and distinctive design, this watch has the potential to appreciate in value as collectors embrace its historical significance.

The second model we highlight is the “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller 16660. This timepiece holds great appeal for enthusiasts due to its historical importance as the last of the single red Sea-Dwellers and the first to introduce the iconic Helium Escape Valve. While it may not be as well-known as the Submariner or Daytona, its historical significance and limited production make it an intriguing option for collectors and investors alike.

We specifically selected these two models because they offer a combination of historical significance and unique features that set them apart from other Rolex watches and their affordability. Investing in these timepieces represents an opportunity to own a piece of Rolex history that may be undervalued in today’s market. History shows that collector’s items with unique features and historic importance often appreciate value over time. While there is always a level of uncertainty involved in predicting market trends, these distinct models have the potential to gain recognition and appreciation within the collectors’ community – thus considered to be the best & cheapest models by us.

GMT-Master II “Fat Lady” reference 16760

In watch collecting, enthusiasts often pursue rare and prestigious timepieces like the Submariners and Daytonas, overlooking underappreciated classics that excel in their own right. Enter the Rolex GMT-Master II reference 16760, a gem from the often-dismissed 1980s era.

During the 1980s, brands like Rolex embraced modernization while maintaining their commitment to craftsmanship. This “neo-vintage” era faced criticism, but the GMT-Master II reference 16760 exemplifies the horological importance and quality of the time.

The 1980s brought significant progress to horology. Brands focused on their strengths, producing exceptional timepieces that showcased technical expertise.

The turning point came with the introduction of the GMT-Master II reference 16760 in 1983. This model featured the independent 24-hour hand, allowing pilots to set it separately for multiple time zones. The red-black “Coke” bezel added modernity, and updates like a sapphire crystal elevated luxury and functionality.

Rolex GMT-Master II reference 16760

Its vintage charm and technical superiority set the GMT-Master II reference 16760 apart. It retains the allure of a bygone era while offering affordability compared to sought-after models.

Though it may not hold the same collectibility as other models, the GMT-Master II reference 16760 deserves recognition as a remarkable timepiece. Its technical mastery, affordability, and vintage appeal make it a standout choice. Let’s appreciate the often-overlooked classics of the 1980s and embrace their historical significance and timeless allure.

The “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller 16660

The “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller, also known as reference 16660, is a notable watch within the vintage Rolex market. Considered a transitional model, it has often been overlooked and underappreciated by collectors. The reference 16660 is characterized by its unique features and historical significance.

The “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller represented an important evolution in the Sea-Dweller line. It introduced several advancements, including an increased water resistance rating of up to 4,000 feet (1,220 meters). This significant improvement was made possible by adding a thicker sapphire crystal and a helium escape valve, allowing professional divers to safely decompress during saturation diving.

The "Triple Six" Sea-Dweller 16660

Despite its technical achievements, the “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller has not received the same recognition as other vintage Rolex models. However, its scarcity and distinct design elements make it a compelling choice for collectors seeking a unique timepiece.

The “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller represents an interesting period in Rolex’s history, bridging the gap between earlier vintage models and the subsequent generations. Its underappreciated status adds to its allure for those who appreciate exploring overlooked gems within the vintage Rolex market.

Don’t Be Fooled by a Fake Rolex!

If we accept that the cheapest Rolex model costs at least 2 thousand dollars, we can say that even these models are not very accessible to everyone unfortunately. In such cases, you may be tempted by knock-off models because of the significant price advantage they offer. But as expected, a fake Rolex model will usually not deserve even the nominal price, as it will not have any of the quality factors we examined in the first section.

To help you avoid falling into the trap of counterfeit Rolex watches, here are some essential tips:

  1. Examine the Quality
    Rolex watches are known for their impeccable craftsmanship. Look for any signs of poor quality such as rough edges, uneven fonts, or a lack of precision in the detailing. Authentic Rolex watches are made with the highest level of detail and perfection.
  2. Check the Weight
    Genuine Rolex watches are made from high-quality metals and are noticeably heavier than their counterfeit counterparts. If the watch feels too light, it might be a fake.
  3. Inspect the Movement
    One of the best ways to spot a fake Rolex is by examining its movement. Real Rolex watches have smooth, sweeping second hands, while fakes often have a ticking motion. If possible, open the case back and look at the movement – Rolex movements are known for their intricate craftsmanship.
  4. Look for the Cyclops Lens
    Rolex watches with a date feature will have a Cyclops lens that magnifies the date by 2.5x. If the date is not magnified or the lens looks off, it’s likely a fake.
  5. Serial and Model Numbers
    Check the serial and model numbers engraved on the watch. These should be finely etched and not sand-blasted or acid-etched. Compare these numbers with Rolex’s database to ensure authenticity.
  6. The Logo and Fonts
    Examine the Rolex logo and the fonts on the dial and other parts of the watch. They should be clean, sharp, and precise. Blurry or poorly executed fonts are a red flag.
  7. The Sound
    Listen to the watch. A real Rolex should not make a loud ticking noise. If you hear loud ticking, it’s likely a fake.
  8. Purchase from Reputable Sources
    To minimize the risk of buying a fake Rolex, always purchase from reputable sources. Authorized Rolex dealers, well-known jewelers, and certified pre-owned watch dealers are your safest bets. Be wary of online marketplaces and individual sellers unless they have a solid reputation and provide verifiable authenticity guarantees.

Our personal recommendation to you, if you still haven’t raised the capital to buy a Rolex, is to explore investment models that can provide you with financial benefits in the long run and bring you closer to your goal. By making wise financial decisions now, you can work towards owning a genuine Rolex watch, which will not only hold its value but also give you the satisfaction of owning a piece of horological excellence.

One such investment opportunity is through platforms like Morpher. With Morpher, you can invest in premium watches, including Rolex, with as little as $1. It allows you to access a diverse range of Rolex models and potentially benefit from their value growth without needing a large capital upfront. Morpher opens up new possibilities for watch enthusiasts and investors to enter the world of luxury timepieces and make smart investments that can bring you closer to owning a Rolex.

Are Rolex Watches a Good Investment Now?

When it comes to Rolex watches as investments, the lower-priced models can sometimes be a hit or miss. More often than not, the higher-priced models offer a greater potential for value retention and appreciation, presenting a compelling investment opportunity. Pieces like the Submariner or Daytona can be likened to the high-growth tech stocks of the watch market, such as Apple or Google. 

Investing in other models or specific variations requires thorough research and a bit of luck to find that hidden gem. The quality and condition of the watch often take precedence over rarity alone. Even then, one must hope that their choice aligns with the opinions of others, acknowledging that the specific model was indeed under appreciated—a bit like investing in penny stocks. 

Nevertheless, the numbers speak for themselves. Over the past decade, luxury watches, particularly Rolex watches, have outperformed traditional investment avenues, exhibiting remarkable growth rates of over 100%. Compared to other investments in downturns, Rolex watches can outperform and hold their value much better. 

Watches as investment

The combination of timeless craftsmanship and the potential for significant financial returns has made luxury watches an appealing option for discerning investors. Rolex’s long-standing reputation and allure have attracted some of the world’s best investors, while the company’s private status ensures continued quality and brand control for the foreseeable future. Hence, if there are no drastic changes, watches, especially Rolex watches, will likely remain a solid investment. 

However, for those with limited funds looking to diversify, it may be advisable to consider investing in a watch index or utilizing platforms like Morpher, which offer exposure to the best Rolex models, such as Submariners and Daytonas, with minimal capital requirements. Morpher allows investors to participate in the entire collection rather than focusing on individual timepieces, providing more control and reducing risk in the investment process.

With Morpher, watch markets are introduced, representing the average price of several watches. Instead of investing in individual timepieces or even figuring out how to invest in watches, you can now profit from the price movements of multiple sought-after models. This approach provides more control and reduces risks associated with investing in a single brand or specific watch.

  1. Register on Morpher and verify your account
  2. Choose the Unique Markets and select Watches
Unique Markets on Morpher
  1. Choose a collection and start trading
Unique Markets Watches on Morpher
  1. Enjoy the convenience of trading with various indicators and tracking price movements of the highest ROI Rolex watches like Daytona and Submariner
invest in Rolex with Morpher.com

The appeal of investing in entire indexes of exclusive watches is undeniable. Rather than allocating your investment to one or two watches and hoping for their appreciation, you can diversify your investment across different indexes. This allows for broader exposure to a range of watches, even with a small investment of less than $1. The flexibility of buying and selling your investments anytime adds to the convenience and liquidity, making it similar to stock trading. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, while it is true that some Rolex models can be considered more affordable or entry-level within the brand’s lineup, it does not diminish their quality or craftsmanship. Owning a Rolex watch, regardless of its price range, means owning one of the highest-quality timepieces in the world. However, it is worth noting that certain models, often the higher-priced and more exclusive ones, have shown remarkable growth in value over time. Investing in these models has proven to be a lucrative opportunity for buyers, providing substantial returns on investment. 

The exciting news is that now, through platforms like Morpher, even with limited funds, you can become a proud owner of a Rolex watch, potentially the most prominent brand in the watch industry, and participate in the investment potential it offers. Morpher allows individuals to access a diverse range of Rolex models, including those with significant growth potential, without requiring a large capital investment. It opens up new possibilities for individuals to enter the Rolex ownership and investment world, making it a more accessible opportunity for watch enthusiasts and investors.

If you’re still working towards saving enough for the cheapest Rolex model, it’s worth starting somewhere. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to dive into the world of Rolex investments. Discover Morpher today and begin your journey to capitalize on the value and allure of one of the most iconic brands in the watch industry. Sign up now to see how you can start investing in premium watches with just $1 and enjoy your welcome bonus!

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Disclaimer: All investments involve risk, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, financial product, trading strategy, or individual’s trading does not guarantee future results or returns. Investors are fully responsible for any investment decisions they make. Such decisions should be based solely on an evaluation of their financial circumstances, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs. This post does not constitute investment advice.

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