The Most Popular Rolex Watches

The Most Popular Rolex Watches

Rolex, often hailed as the King of luxury watches, reigns supreme in the world of Swiss watchmaking. Globally recognized as a symbol of success, prestige, and excellence, Rolex stands out as the pinnacle of high-end watches. While it's widely known as the top luxury watch brand, there's curiosity about which models from Rolex's collection are most sought after. To address this, we've curated a selection highlighting the most desirable Rolex watches. What makes a Rolex popular? Our criteria encompass a blend of sales figures, market interest, and value to identify the most coveted Rolex timepieces today. Delve into our list to discover the trendsetting Rolex watches that are capturing the market's attention. You might find a few surprises along the way.

Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona

Launched in 1963, the Cosmograph Daytona stands as the pinnacle of Rolex's chronograph collections.

Despite its initial struggles as one of the brand's least popular watches, the Daytona has now become the pride of Rolex and the entire luxury watch-collecting community. While every model in the collection is highly sought after, whether vintage, discontinued, or modern, these three stand out as the most coveted Rolex Daytona watches:

1. Stainless Steel and Ceramic Daytona

The Daytona ref. 116500LN, which features a stainless steel and ceramic build, is the most popular watch in the collection. It has been selling out quickly since it was first released in 2016. This watch boasts a stainless steel case, a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel, and a steel Oyster bracelet.

Rolex Daytona watches come in two dial options: a white "Panda" dial with black subdial rings and a black dial with silver rings. These ceramic and steel timepieces are highly sought after, often selling for over double their retail prices due to their scarcity at authorized dealers.

2. Yellow Gold and Green Daytona "John Mayer"

The yellow gold Daytona ref. 116508 was introduced in 2016, but it gained popularity after a few years. In a 2019 video, John Mayer predicted that the green dial yellow Daytona would be a future collectible, sparking high demand for this specific Rolex model.

The Daytona "John Mayer" is a luxurious 18k yellow gold model, featuring a vibrant green dial with red accents. This Rolex is highly sought after, commanding a price double its retail value in the secondary market. With its discontinuation in 2023, collectors speculate on the future prominence of the "Le Mans" Daytona in the gold watch category.

3. Everose Gold Daytona "Rainbow"

Rolex's release of the Everose gold Daytona ref. 116595RBOW in 2018 marked a significant shift in luxury watch trends. This stunning timepiece, adorned with diamonds and colorful sapphires, gained widespread popularity beyond collectors. The Daytona Rainbow became a sought-after choice not only among celebrities but also among watch enthusiasts who previously never considered a diamond Rolex.

The Daytona Rainbow in Everose gold comes in various versions, such as a black dial version, a full diamond pavé dial version, and a diamond pavé bracelet version. All these models feature an 18k rose gold case and bracelet, multi-colored sapphires on the bezel, and come with hefty secondary market price tags starting at over $350,000. As of 2023, Rainbow Daytonas have been discontinued.

Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner

The Submariner, introduced in 1953, has transformed from a vital diver's timepiece to an iconic luxury sports watch. While contemporary Submariner models retain excellent diving capabilities with 300m water resistance, luminous dials, and unidirectional rotating bezels, their popularity today is driven more by aesthetics than functionality.

The Rolex Submariner collection features a range of metals and colors, making it highly sought after. Discover the top fan-favorite Submariner models that stand out in this iconic line.

1. Stainless Steel Black Ceramic Submariner

The original Rolex Submariner debuted with a steel case, steel bracelet, black bezel, and black dial. This iconic material and color combination continues to be a timeless selection for the Submariner, with contemporary models featuring advanced Cerachrom ceramic bezels in place of traditional aluminum bezels.

For more than 60 years, Submariner watches featured 40mm cases until Rolex introduced an updated collection in 2020 with slightly larger 41mm cases. The current-production steel and black ceramic Submariner models available today are:

The final Rolex Submariner models in 40mm steel and black ceramic were:

  • No-Date Submariner 114060 40mm
  • Submariner Date 116610LN 40mm

Popular Rolex Submariner watches, regardless of the model, carry high resale value in the secondary market.

2. Green Submariner

In 2003, Rolex released the inaugural Submariner featuring a distinctive green bezel to mark the timepiece's 50th anniversary. Over time, green Submariner watches have surged in popularity, establishing themselves as highly sought-after models within the brand. Rolex has produced three stainless steel green Submariner references to date.

The Rolex Submariner line boasts iconic models like the Kermit and the Hulk. While the Kermit flaunted a classic black dial, the Hulk sported a captivating green starburst dial. In 2020, Rolex switched back to the black dial with the Starbucks edition. Green bezel Submariners tend to command higher prices than their black counterparts, both at retail and in the secondary market. The Hulk models, no longer in production, stand out as highly sought-after pieces among Rolex Submariner enthusiasts.

3. Submariner "Bluesy"

Two-tone Submariner watches have historically trailed behind the popularity of full steel or full gold models. Yet, a surge in demand for the revered "Bluesy" models has come to our attention. These timepieces are distinguished by their captivating blue bezels and dials. Among the most contemporary iterations boasting Cerachrom ceramic bezels are the present-day 41mm version and the now-retired 40mm variant.

When it comes to purchasing pre-owned two-tone Submariner Date watches, the landscape has evolved. Today, Rolex "Bluesy" timepieces command prices higher than retail on the secondary market. Explore more at Gotham City Timepieces.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex Sea-Dweller

In 1967, Rolex launched the Sea-Dweller, a premium diving watch surpassing the Submariner. Designed for saturation divers, the Sea-Dweller boasts a helium escape valve and superior water resistance. Today, the Sea-Dweller collection offers a range of high-performance diving watches with a dedicated fan base.

1. Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary

In 2017, Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 to commemorate the model's 50th anniversary. Distinguished by a 43mm case, larger than its predecessors, this anniversary edition stood out. A notable feature was the Cyclops magnification date above the date window, a first for Sea-Dwellers. The red Sea-Dweller name pays homage to the classic "Double Red Sea Dweller" models. Water-resistant up to 4,000 feet, the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 remains a highly sought-after Rolex professional model.

2. Sea-Dweller Deepsea "James Cameron"

In 2012, James Cameron set a historic record with his solo dive to the Mariana Trench, plunging 35,787 feet into the Pacific Ocean. Two years later, Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller Deepsea "James Cameron" watch to commemorate this feat. The distinctive James Cameron version showcases a unique D-Blue dial with a blue-to-black gradient and a green Deepsea inscription, mirroring the colors of Cameron's submersible.

Rolex has released three "James Cameron" Deepsea models, each featuring a 44mm steel case, water-resistant up to 12,800 feet, and Cerachrom ceramic bezels. These luxury timepieces combine durability and style for deep-sea exploration enthusiasts.

  • Deepsea 136660 James Cameron (2022 – Present)
  • Deepsea 126660 James Cameron (2018 – 2022)
  • Deepsea 116660 James Cameron (2012 – 2018)

Rolex GMT-Master II

Rolex GMT-Master II

The GMT-Master pilot watch, originally designed as a tool for a specific niche, has transcended its origins to captivate a wider audience. Its attractive design, coupled with the functionality of displaying two time zones simultaneously, makes it a truly exceptional timepiece.

The coveted GMT-Master II comes in various materials and colors. The latest models stand out with their dual-colored 24-hour ceramic bezels.

1. GMT-Master "Pepsi"

The "Pepsi" nickname is derived from the classic blue and red bezel of the original GMT-Master in the 1950s. Nowadays, Rolex provides the iconic Pepsi bezel in stainless steel and luxurious 18k white gold options.

  • Stainless Steel GMT-Master II 126710BLRO
  • White Gold GMT-Master II 126719BLRO

Rolex offers the steel GMT-Master II Pepsi in either the sporty three-link Oyster or the elegant five-link Jubilee bracelet, both paired with black dials. When purchasing from the secondary market, expect to pay around twice the retail price for these models.

The white gold GMT-Master II Pepsi features an exclusive pairing with an Oyster bracelet. You can choose between a blue dial or meteorite dial for this model.

2. GMT-Master "Batman" and "Batgirl"

The blue and black bezel GMT-Master II, a highly sought-after model, was introduced in 2013 as the inaugural bi-colored ceramic addition to the lineup. While the first blue and black GMT-Master II came exclusively with an Oyster bracelet, the latest iterations provide the option of an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet.

  • GMT-Master II 126710BLNR (2019 – Present)
  • GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (2013 – 2019)

The Blue and Black GMT-Master II watches, featuring Oyster bracelets, are affectionately known as the Batman, while those with Jubilee bracelets are referred to as the Batgirl. Both versions have a resale value of approximately 1.5 times their retail prices.

3. GMT-Master "Root Beer"

The Root Beer nickname has its origins in vintage two-tone and yellow gold GMT-Master watches featuring brown and gold aluminum bezels. Today's Root Beers are a modern twist, seen in Everose gold or two-tone steel/Everose gold GMT-Master II watches with brown and black ceramic bezels.

  • Everose Gold GMT-Master II 126715CHNR
  • Two-Tone Everose Gold/Steel GMT-Master II 126711CHNR

The Rolex GMT-Master II in full Everose gold is an exquisite choice, priced at $40,600. This luxurious timepiece appeals to enthusiasts of high-end Rolex sports watches.

Rolex Day-Date President

Rolex Day-Date President

The Rolex Day-Date, also referred to as the Rolex President, is renowned as the ultimate status symbol timepiece. Crafted exclusively in gold or platinum and complemented by its distinctive three-link President bracelet in matching precious metal, wearing the Day-Date is a definitive statement of personal achievement. This elegant Rolex watch, featuring a pair of calendar windows on the dial, has remained a popular choice since its introduction in 1956.

Rolex expanded its Day-Date watch sizes from the original version to include larger models in the 2000s. Presently, the Rolex Day-Date is offered in 36mm or 40mm case options.

1. Day-Date 36

The Rolex President collection offers various configurations, but the iconic choice is the 18k yellow gold Day-Date 36 with a fluted bezel and champagne dial. Recognized on the wrists of presidents, celebrities, and industry leaders, this classic timepiece exudes timeless elegance. For a contemporary touch, consider the Day-Date ref. 128238 with Rolex’s latest movement technology, available for $35,000.

2. Day-Date 40

Rolex introduced the Day-Date 40 collection in 2015, gaining popularity in the era of larger dress watches. The yellow gold Day-Date 40 ref. 228238 with champagne dials is a beloved choice. Currently, the anniversary olive green dials on white gold, Everose gold, and platinum models are highly sought after.

  • Everose gold Day-Date 40 ref. 228235
  • White gold Day-Date 40 ref. 228239
  • Platinum Day-Date 40 ref. 228236

Another noteworthy mention among Rolex President watches is the ice blue dial versions, a color exclusive to platinum Rolex models.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Rolex Sky-Dweller

The Rolex Sky-Dweller, launched in 2012, stands out as one of the brand's intricate timepieces. With dual time zones, a date display, month indicator, and annual calendar function, all housed in a spacious 42mm case, it epitomizes modern luxury watches.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller collection initially faced challenges but gained popularity with the introduction of more affordable stainless steel and two-tone models alongside the existing full gold range. Rolex further enhanced the collection by introducing new Oysterflex bracelet options and diverse dial styles. The Sky-Dweller has now become a key component of Rolex's elegant watch range, with certain references highly sought after in the market.

1. Steel Sky-Dweller in Blue

The highly coveted Sky-Dweller watch in steel, adorned with an 18k white gold bezel, known as Sky-Dweller ref. 326934, is currently experiencing high demand. Available in various dial colors, the blue dial emerges as the most sought-after option. Rolex offers the steel Sky-Dweller with a choice of either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, priced at $15,650 and $15,900 respectively. These legendary Rolex timepieces command premium prices within the secondary market.

Ladies’ Rolex Datejust Watches

Ladies’ Rolex Datejust Watches

Did you know that the best-selling Rolex watch is, in fact, the Datejust for women? It may come as a surprise, considering the brand's reputation for durable tool watches and extravagant men's timepieces. However, Rolex sells more women's Datejust watches than any other item in its collection.

Rolex offers the Lady-Datejust line tailored for female customers, but Datejust watches in 31mm and 36mm sizes are also widely favored choices.

1. Lady-Datejust

The Lady-Datejust, the smallest of all Rolex Datejust watches, was first introduced in 1957. It boasted the iconic date window and Cyclops magnification lens combination at 3 o'clock, similar to the men's version but nestled in a more petite case. Notably, the Rolex Lady-Datejust has always been equipped with a self-winding movement – no quartz variations in sight.

Throughout its history, the Lady-Datejust predominantly sported a 26mm case size. However, in 2015, Rolex made a slight adjustment, increasing it to 28mm. Irrespective of the dimensions, the Lady-Datejust stands out as a highly diverse collection. It not only provides a wide array of bezel options (smooth, fluted, or diamond), bracelet choices (Oyster, Jubilee, or President), and dial variations but also offers an extensive range of metals, precious stones, and dial hues.

It's important to highlight once more that a complete gold or platinum Lady-Datejust watch can be matched with a President bracelet, a design typically exclusive to the Day-Date collection.

2. Datejust 31

The Datejust 31, a step up from the Lady-Datejust, presents a wide array of configurations with a slightly larger 31mm case. Options range from more affordable steel or two-tone models with Oyster or Jubilee bracelets to luxurious full gold and platinum choices featuring President bracelets. For added glamour, diamonds can adorn the dial, bezel, or bracelet.

3. Datejust 36

Rolex's Datejust 36, traditionally known as a classic men's choice, has also become a popular pick among women. The 36mm size caters to a variety of wrist sizes, offering a slim design for comfortable wear. While the current Datejust 36 line excludes full gold or platinum options, the selection of steel and two-tone models provides ample choices for watch enthusiasts.

Other Popular Rolex Watches

When discussing a brand such as Rolex, it's challenging not to feature a wide range of its popular watches. Alongside iconic models like the Explorer, Oyster Perpetual, and Yacht-Master, there are also underrated favorites like the Milgauss, Air-King, and Cellini. Based on our analysis, these highlighted Rolex timepieces currently stand out as top choices among buyers.

In the world of luxury watches, Rolex stands unrivaled as a symbol of prestige, precision, and enduring sophistication. At Gotham City Timepieces in Middle Village, NY, we offer an exquisite selection of Rolex watches, alongside other prestigious brands, to elevate your style and make a statement of timeless elegance. Explore our collection today and discover the allure of luxury horology at its finest.

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