Rolex men's watches first appeared in London in 1905, and the brand name Rolex came to be in 1908.
Since then, the brand name Rolex has become synonymous with luxury watches.
Ever since the Oyster—the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch—appeared in 1926, Rolex has led the horology world with clever innovations, classic styling, and richly appointed timepieces.
With their long history of style and innovation, a Rolex watch for men is a symbol of status, style, and confidence.
Each year Rolex often makes subtle, incremental improvements to its iconic designs. However, there are only a handful of assembled components that comprise any Rolex model.
Rolex makes sophisticated movements, produces five case alloys, and offers five kinds of bracelets, two types of clasps, several bezels, and dial varieties.
From these components, Rolex creates its entire line of iconic, luxury watches.
Rolex has unique terminology for various aspects of its watches.
Rolex has developed some of its alloys and other materials for use in its watch cases.
Rolex watches use standardized movements for different models.
Here is a round-up of the best Rolex watches.
Men have more options in the Rolex lineup, but some of these models are also popular with women.
The Rolex Submariner is the standard in diving watches.
Introduced in 1953, the Submariner Rolex was the first dive watch capable of withstanding pressures up to 100 meters (330 feet) in depth.
The Submariner comes equipped with a waterproof winding crown called the Triplock that includes a triple waterproof system.
The standard double expansion bracelet for the Submariner also includes the Rolex Glidelock clasp, designed for a secure and comfortable fit over thick diving suits.
The Rolex Explorer II watch has a storied history.
Introduced in 1953, the original Rolex Explorer accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the first ascent of Mt. Everest.
The Explorer II came about in 1971 and featured a date display and an orange 24-hour hand with a fixed bezel and 24-hour markers.
The additional 24-hour hand allows the wearer to track the hour in another time zone or distinguish day from night where that is otherwise impossible, such as the polar regions or inside a cave.
The original GMT-Master was introduced in 1955 and developed to aid professionals traveling around the world track time in two different time zones.
The GMT-Master II came about in 1982, adding a new movement and the ability to set the hour hand independent from the minute or 24-hour hand.
The two-tone ceramic bezel allows the wearer to differentiate day from night for the selected time zone.
The Rolex Datejust, introduced in 1945 to mark the 40th anniversary of the company’s founding, was the first self-winding wrist chronometer to display the date in a separate window on the dial.
Datejust gets its name from the way the movement changed the date “just” before midnight.
The Datejust is one of the more customizable Rolex watches available.
The Cosmograph Daytona, introduced in 1963 and conceived as a tool for professional motorsport racing drivers, is a high-demand Rolex wrist chronograph.
Its unique features include measuring elapsed time and average speeds.
The Daytona pays tribute to the racetrack in Florida, where American motorsport celebrates its roots.
The Day-Date launched in 1956 as the first waterproof, self-winding wristwatch displaying both the day and date on the dial.
Rolex only offers the Day-Date in 950 platinum or 18k gold.
The Day-Date is also known as the “presidents’ watch,” or the President, given its popularity among world leaders over the years.
Spelling out the day of the week was a horological first of its kind.
Rolex originally developed the Milgauss to serve the scientific community working in particle physics at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider.
The Milgauss can withstand a magnetic field of 50 to 100 gauss because of its movement shielding composed of ferromagnetic alloys.
The iconic orange lightning-bolt shaped second hand indicates the watch’s resistance to electromagnetic fields.
The Sky-Dweller is the next evolutionary step of the GMT-Master II.
It sports a second time-zone display on the inset dial ring.
The Ring Command bezel allows the wearer to select and adjust the date, local time, or reference time, then perform adjustments using the winding crown.
The Cellini collection—inspired by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini—is available in four models: Moonphase, Dual Time, Time, and Date.
Moonphase includes an inset inner disc with a lunar calendar and an actual slice of meteorite representing the full moon.
It also displays the date around the circumference of the dial using an additional hand with a crescent-moon shaped tip.
Dual Time features a simultaneous display of the local time and time elsewhere, complete with an AM/PM indicator.
Time is simply a timepiece with a second hand, and the Date includes an inset dial pointing to the current date.
The Rolex Yacht-Master II is the nautical watch for sailing and yachting enthusiasts.
It features a countdown timer as well as the standard chronograph.
The timer is programmed using the functional bezel to set the number of minutes (up to 10) for the countdown.
Rolex watches have an association with yachting dating back to the 1950s and to the global navigators who sailed the world in the 1960s.
Debuting during the mid-1940s as homage to British RAF pilots of World War II, the newest Rolex Air-King has a distinct, highly readable black watch face with prominent hourly 3, 6, 9, Arabic numerals, and a minute scale for navigational time notation.
The original Oyster launched in 1926 is the direct ancestor of the Oyster Perpetual, the original Rolex for men.
Classic styling, multiple watch face colors, and various sizes are the standard for this stunning original with all of the modern updates.
Some argue that the Rolex Day-Date President’s model in 18k gold is the best Rolex to buy for its classic style, elegance, and minimal but beautifully presented day and date presentations.
The following are some of our readers’ frequently asked questions about Rolex watches.
Horology enthusiasts interested in buying a Rolex new with a warranty can purchase one from an authorized Rolex retailer such as Amazon. There are also numerous other sources for pre-owned Rolex watches (including Amazon), but fake copies are everywhere, so make sure you trust the source.
The Rolex Submariner is considered a safe bet for investing in a Rolex watch. First produced in the 1950s, they are proven to increase the most in value. However, there have been many iterations of the Submariner since their inception. Typically, vintage Rolex Submariners within specific reference number ranges increase a lot in value.
The Rolex Submariner is also considered the most popular timepiece in the Rolex lineup. However, some may argue the Explorer and Explorer II with their rugged styling, the Cosmograph Daytona, or the GMT-Master II are the most popular in the Rolex line.
The least expensive in the Rolex product line is the Oyster Perpetual—the newest incarnation of the original 1926 classic. This timepiece is the original waterproof and dustproof sealed watch with self-winding (perpetual) movement. It’s the most basic, time-only chronograph Rolex offers.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Panda” edition is probably the best investment for a luxury watch enthusiast. These classic timepieces are challenging to find and in high demand. The Paul Newman-owned 1968 Daytona still retains the record for fetching the highest price at auction for a luxury wristwatch at $17.8 million. While you probably can’t expect to get that kind of return on your investment, the Daytona Panda edition is still a highly sought-after chronograph.