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5 of the Finest Entry-Stage Rolex Watches · Easy Gent

5 of the Finest Entry-Stage Rolex Watches · Easy Gent

Written by Xavier— Posted in September 12, 2023

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Whether or not it’s the sky-high costs or plain lore, the world of Rolex watches can actually overwhelm first-time consumers. 

On this article, I showcase how accessible the model can really be if you happen to keep on with these 5 fashions. They’re among the many greatest entry-level Rolex watches, all issues thought-about. I promise you, shopping for your first isn’t as daunting because the cultural gatekeepers might have you ever imagine –and it’s additionally actually enjoyable. 

Proudly owning a fundamental Rolex watch provides you a simple choice to elevate even essentially the most thrown collectively mornings.

best entry level rolex - black dial submariner with vintage electronics
Rolex Submariner picture by Ern Gan on Unsplash

Nobody Rolex is inherently higher than one other, and there’s a mannequin for each kind of man. An entry-level Datejust is manufactured as discriminately because the Paul Newman Daytona that Phillip’s auctioned off for $17.8 million USD.

Selecting a Rolex is about what’s greatest on your wants, and the particular person you’re (or wish to be!). 

As such, I’ve chosen 5 iconic traces which are versatile and inexpensive, however differ of their historic significance, story and aesthetic. 

However first… 

Why Are Rolex Watches So Costly?

The science and artwork that go into fashioning a Rolex watch make something Q has ever given James Bond seem like a Chinese language finger entice. 

Rolex watches are costly for two basic causes: Due to their over 500 patented in-house improvements and since Rolex avoids quality-compromising shortcuts and supplies.

white dial rolex yacht master with blue bezel in snow
RolexYacht Grasp picture by Nicolas Cool

Some fast examples:

  • Rolex actions are unequalled in precision and longevity. The motion is a giant a part of what makes a Rolex a Rolex. They manufacture their very own automated mechanical actions in-house, a laborious ability. Most watch producers outsource their actions. 
  • Rolex has strict requirements in relation to uncooked supplies. Right this moment, Rolex makes use of a 904L stainless-steel, their proprietary Oystersteel, which is rust-resistant and shinier than the extra considerable 316L stainless-steel that many luxurious manufacturers use.
  • For the reason that ‘50s, almost all Rolex watches are licensed Chronometers. Right this moment, all trendy Rolexes are. The Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, topic every Rolex watch to fifteen days of testing for resilience and movement-accuracy in numerous situations together with temperature and air strain.

    Moreover, Rolex has their very own in-house “Superlative Chronometer” commonplace that goes past the COSC requirements. Modern fashions are sometimes correct inside plus or minus two seconds per day.”

So we all know they’re sturdy, which leads us to the subsequent query:

How Lengthy Do Rolex Watches Final? 

Your Rolex can someday be your son’s Rolex, and his son’s after. They should be serviced each 10 years, and Rolex watches are famously maintenance-friendly.


eBay simply rolled out its personal authentication service: Authenticity Assure. Now you should buy that unbelievable pre-owned, classic Rolex and really feel assured it’s the actual deal.

Are Rolex Watches Overpriced? 

If being a part of Rolex’s fabled world isn’t well worth the value of entry for you, the very best empirical measure is evaluating them to comparable luxurious manufacturers that likewise boast proprietary options.

A brand new entry-level Patek will set you again $10,000-20,000. The entire Rolexes on this listing are below $10,000. Not too shabby!

What’s the Least expensive Rolex? 

Relating to model new watches, the reply is commonly the Air-King. Even with entry-level Rolex traces nonetheless, “particular” options will pile on the zeroes to your invoice like including guac to a burrito order.

So if you happen to’re attempting to go as low-priced as attainable, then keep away from any frills:

  • Keep away from restricted version watches. A top quality as minute as a particular version bezel shade can simply quadruple the value of a Rolex, typically regardless of the situation it’s in.
  • All the time choose for chrome steel. Keep in mind, Rolex patented a superb Oystersteel. Any watch will be made from gold and silver, however a Rolex watch made from their proprietary materials is, in my view, extra of a Rolex. They’re additionally sturdier and can maintain their worth higher.
  • Keep away from ornamented dials. Value apart, easy steel dials are merely extra quintessential any manner!
  • Take into account trying on eBay first. You’re sure to seek out offers there, and with Authentication Assure, you don’t have to fret about duds or “frankenwatches”.
best seiko watches sport watches and dress watches

Rolex Sport Watches: The Finest Entry-Stage Rolexes

The most effective entry-level Rolex watches for males are usually sport watches. Why although? 

Properly, when watchmaker Hans Wilsdorf based Rolex in London in 1905, he imported Swiss actions to offer high-quality utilitarian wristwatches in a world of dressy pocket watches. This pillar carries on right this moment. 

black dial rolex explorer on black reflective table closeup
Rolex Explorer picture by Carlos Esteves

So, what makes up a superb entry-level Rolex? 

Until in any other case famous, all of the entry-level Rolex watches under function the next:

  • 904L stainless-steel physique AKA the proprietary Oystersteel.
  • Scratch-resistant crystal sapphire to guard the dial.
  • COSC certification.
  • Parachrom hair spring (for contemporary fashions). 
  • Paraflex shock absorber.

Now let’s see the watches!

Possibility 1: Rolex Oyster Perpetual

This watch modified the business, but it’s so understated. Unsurprisingly, the Oyster Perpetual is for the classicist. The minimalist.

rolex oyster perpetual steel watch with white dial
Rolex Oyster Perpetual picture through Jomashop

Whenever you put on an Oyster Perpetual as your first Rolex, it gained’t instantly come out to folks. It is going to be as if you happen to’ve been sporting Rolexes all alongside. 

Rolex claimed that the Oyster Perpetual was the world’s first patented automated winding wristwatch, a delusion that’s since been busted. Nevertheless, Rolex was one among many early adopters of the perpetual rotor, having vastly improved the unique designs.

The OPs rotor totally rotated and elevated its vitality in order that it may run as much as 35 hours — round double what the few different automatics have been doing on the time. 

As a result of it’s been round for therefore lengthy, there are a number of reference numbers. Nevertheless, I wish to direct entry-level consumers to trendy fashions of the road, the trail of least resistance. You may get an excellent cope with classic items, and classic positively has a cool issue about it, however it’s too straightforward to get ripped off. 

A brand new Oyster Perpetual is simply round $6,000-7,500, and pre-owned trendy Oyster Perpetual watches will be a lot much less. The Oyster Perpetual 39 mm 114300 is an effective start line. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

“This watch is the direct descendant of the unique Oyster launched in 1926, the primary waterproof wristwatch on this planet and the inspiration on which Rolex has constructed its repute.” –Rolex



Options and qualities of the Oyster Perpetual embrace:

  • Water-resistant as much as 100 meters; the Oyster Perpetual is a descendant of the 1926 Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof watch.
  • A minimalist, easy-to-read dial.
  • Every trendy OP runs on a distinct in-house calibre, relying on the dimensions. They’re all, after all, Rolex Superlative Chronometers.
  • Design highlights embrace an un-fluted bezel and 18k gold hour markers. 

Rolex additionally presents Oyster Perpetual reference numbers with a number of design tweaks corresponding to dial shade, Arabic and Roman numerals and measurement.

Possibility 2: Rolex Air-King 

This subsequent assertion goes to be controversial, however the Air-King is much less of a Batman, and extra of a Robin. Hear me out: A few of us are extra of a Robin, and happy with it.

best entry level rolex air-king with steel case bracelet and champagne dial
Rolex Air-King picture through Jomashop

Typically, collectors advocate Air-Kings with pause as a result of it’s thought-about an “ignored” line, and has been known as a “boy’s watch.” 

However I actually imagine there’s a Rolex on the market for each form of man, and a few males actually worth impish and boyish qualities. The Air-King is a classy method to specific these values. 

It’s arguably the most affordable entry-level Rolex, with pretty trendy, used references going as little as the sub-$5000 class. 

The Air-King was first launched in 1945 as a tribute to the pioneers of flight. Once more, I like to recommend specializing in trendy fashions of Air-Kings. The present reference quantity is 126900.

Options and qualities of the 40mm Air-King embrace:

  • Water-resistant for as much as 100 meters.
  • A daring dial with Arabic numerals, marked by a particular signature triangle marker on the 12 o’clock place, a daring inexperienced second hand and Mercedes-style hour hand.
  • Calibre 3230 automated mechanical motion
  • Design highlights embrace daring inexperienced accents, the title “Air-King” in the identical classic Nineteen Fifties font as the unique.

With the Rolex Air-King’s large Arabic numerals and daring inexperienced accents, it’s as in case your favourite toy airplane from childhood Autobot-transformed right into a smooth gentleman’s watch.

Possibility 3: Rolex Explorer I and Explorer II 

The Duke of Sussex wore two watches when he was in Afghanistan. One in every of them was a Rolex Explorer II. 

rolex explorer ii watch with white dial and steel case and bracelet
Rolex Explorer II picture through Jomashop

The Explorers are rugged sport watches recognized for sturdiness on the sector, however lately extra in a pheasant-hunting-in-the-English-countryside form of manner as a result of its wealthy heritage. The Rolex Explorer famously accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their historic climb of Mount Everest within the 50s.

I’ll lay my playing cards on the desk and point out that the Explorer II is my go-to on a regular basis watch, so I’m a bit biased. 

The 42 mm model will be polarizing; purists declare the Explorer lacks versatility as a result of it isn’t applicable for fantastic eating. I disagree with this (it’s a Rolex, folks).

At strictest, formal affairs technically name for watches with leather-based straps, however I don’t suppose anybody would bat an eye fixed at any well-kept Rolex both, notably one as good-looking as an Explorer.

The Oystersteel elevates the Explorer design, so I once more advocate going for the fashionable variations, with prices beginning at $7,250 for an Explorer I and $9,650 for an Explorer II, new.

Rolex Explorer

“Among the world’s most intrepid explorers, mountaineers and scientists took Explorer and Explorer II watches to locations that examined their reliability within the hardest situations.” –Rolex



Options and qualities of the Explorer II 216570 and Explorer I 214270 embrace:

  • Water-resistant as much as 100 meters.
  • The Explorer II includes a date Cyclops on a white or black face, and Mercedes-style hour hand.
  • The Explorer I doesn’t function a Cyclops and includes a black face.
  • 3187 calibre for the Explorer II, 3132 for the Explorer I.
  • The Explorer II includes a 24-hour bezel, whereas the Explorer I options Arabic numerals on the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.
  • The Explorer I has a 39 mm case, whereas the Explorer II has a 42 mm case.

Possibility 4: Rolex Datejust

The Datejust is the one gown watch on the listing and there’s actually one thing ceremonial about it. If the Datejust have been a celebration, it could be the White Home Correspondents Dinner.

best entry level rolex - vintage two tone gold and steel rolex datejust with gold dial
Two-tone Rolex Datejust through Jomashop

The Datejust was initially created to commemorate Rolex’s fortieth anniversary. Naturally, the date Cyclops that this upscale watch is related to is patented by Rolex and is the function that unifies the various iterations of this iconic line. 

The Datejust is a elaborate watch. It isn’t, nonetheless, only for fancy events. The fluted bezel is a flex, however for essentially the most half, in comparison with so many different luxurious watches, it lacks over-the-top accouterments. That is Rolex in any case. 

Partly for value causes and partly as a result of the Datejust is a conventional, timeless watch, I counsel entry-level consumers to hunt classic Datejust Rolexes from the 60s and 70s, such because the 1600 and the 1601. 

They have been extremely wanted and mass-produced, so there’s considerable provide. Used and classic Datejusts can price as little as $5,000 on the secondary market. 

Options and qualities of a classic Datejust embrace: 

  • Selection with each reference quantity: An countless choice of designs, bezels, dials, sizes, materials and bracelets.
  • The 1600 and 1601 classic Datejusts have a 1570 calibre. Rolex stopped utilizing this calibre within the 70s, however it’s completely dependable and is certainly an authorized Chronometer.
  • Design highlights embrace the attribute date window at 3 o’clock beneath the Cyclops lens and a fluted bezel. 

To be additional conventional in formal conditions, you could put on the Datejust with a leather-based strap. I feel it even seems to be good in a suede strap (pair with suede sneakers, maybe!). Very versatile!

Possibility 5: Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is like Sinatra: Commercially standard, immediately recognizable, however of real high quality and genuinely timeless.

rolex submariner with black dial and steel case and bracelet
Rolex Submariner through Jomashop

In the event you select a Submariner, you actually gained’t be the one one within the room with one on, however don’t let this deter you if you happen to suppose the Submariner is best for you. In spite of everything, Sean Connery and Steve McQueen aren’t unhealthy firm.

The Submariner was created in 1953 as a instrument for divers, the primary waterproof watch at 100 meters. This sport watch has been a staple of high-caliber watch public sale catalogs since then.

Relating to the unique Bond watch, I like to recommend each classic and trendy fashions of this archetypal line. The classic 5513 is commonly between $10,000 and $13,000, although it isn’t COSC-certified. The fashionable Submariner Date includes a date Cyclops, however the common Submariner, 124060, doesn’t. 

And never that I encourage entry-level Rolex consumers to consider this, however the Submariner is without doubt one of the safer bets in relation to funding. 

Options and qualities of the Submariner embrace: 

  • Water-resistant for as much as 100 meters.
  • A dial with contrasting colours from the fingers, a Mercedes-style hour hand, and luminescent markers.
  • The classic 5513 runs on calibre 1520, the fashionable Submariner 124060 runs on calibre 3230, and the Submariner Date has 3235.
  • Design highlights embrace efficient lume brightness even underwater.
  • Divers can time their dives utilizing the rotatable 60-minute bezel with scratchproof Cerachrom ceramic insert.

So, which entry-level Rolex is best for you? 

The one one who can reply that query, naturally, is you. All you should do is consider who you’re, what’s vital to you and what function this entry-level Rolex will play in your life. Most significantly although, have enjoyable.

I hope my recommendation was useful in your journey to your inaugural Rolex acquisition!

FAQs About Entry Stage Rolex Watches

What’s the most entry-level Rolex?

The Oyster Perpetual is essentially the most fundamental, stripped down Rolex mannequin. Arguably, all Rolex fashions use the OP as a template.

How do you bypass a Rolex ready listing?

Lately, you may get an entry-level Rolex from secondary markets and grey markets with out having to be subjected to a ready listing.

Be certain the market you’re utilizing is dependable and take the time to get to know their insurance coverage insurance policies, purchaser safety insurance policies, and in addition keep in touch with the vendor themselves.

Which Rolex holds essentially the most worth?

Chrome steel entry-level Rolexes have a tendency to carry their worth. The Submariner is a famously good funding, with the 16610 being a collector favourite.

What’s modified?
07/30/2023 Updates to pricing and reference numbers, fastened and added hyperlinks
02/24/2021 Updates to textual content, up to date hyperlinks
08/06/2020 Unique publish date






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