Founded in 1905, Rolex has become an iconic luxury watch brand synonymous with quality. Since its beginnings, the brand has created the first certified chronometer, self-winding wristwatch, and water-resistant case. Rolex has achieved many milestones, while establishing their reputation for precision and accuracy. Whether you opt for a new or vintage Rolex watch, their timepieces symbolize success, prestige, and luxury. Vintage Rolexes can be found on the wrists of many watch enthusiasts, collectors, and pop culture icons. Stars like John Mayer own several vintage Daytona chronographs and Adam Levine’s collection features a Day-Date Stella, and Submariner 6538. Want to learn more about highly sought-after Rolex watches? Read this article on Rare and Revered Rolex Models.
Is a Vintage Rolex a Good Investment?
As a rule of thumb, a Rolex is one of the best luxury watch investments you can make—and vintage models are even more valuable due to their exclusivity. These pieces are known to hold their value and often sell for more than their original retail price on the pre-owned market. But, how much is a vintage Rolex? As with all pre-owned watches, prices vary widely depending on condition, reference, movement, and material just to name a few factors. While some rare collectors pieces can be worth millions of dollars, other vintage models are a bit more affordable. For example, many vintage Oyster Perpetuals and Air-Kings range from $3,500 to $9,500. On the other hand, in-demand vintage Daytonas, GMT-Masters, and Submariners are more expensive, ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000.
Purchasing a Vintage Rolex from WatchBoxOur selection of pre-owned vintage Rolex watches is ever-changing, with new pieces joining our inventory at any given time. Because we are committed to the integrity of the luxury watch industry, each of our watches are evaluated, authenticated, and brought to manufacturer operating standards without compromising value or provenance. Explore other highly sought-after vintage Rolex models like the Coke, Kermit, and Root Beer. Whether you’re interested in pre-owned vintage timepieces from other luxury watch brands or our entire collection of Rolex watches, delight in endless discovery and excellence at WatchBox.
Discover Vintage Rolex Models
Because the Rolex catalog is so expansive and brimming with history, many collectors ask, “what is considered a vintage Rolex?” It’s difficult to pinpoint and many have differing opinions, but a standard guideline is this—if a watch was produced more than 30 years ago, it can be considered a vintage Rolex. Learn more about a selection of the most popular vintage references by collection.Air-King and Datejust
Rolex’s Air-King and Datejust models were released in 1945. The Datejust was the first self-winding wristwatch to display the date on the dial. The Air-King, at 34mm was considered large at the time of its launch, giving it the “King” moniker. Tangentially related, there are several vintage Rolex references that feature a date window, like this Date Engine Turned Bezel ref. 1501.Explorer and Submariner
Released in 1953, the Rolex Explorer and Submariner models are still beloved tool watches today. The Submariner was the first dive watch that was waterproof up to 100m. Vintage Reference 6538 is known as the “James Bond Submariner” seen in the popular 1963 James Bond movie, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. The Explorer is thought to have traveled to the summit of Mt. Everest on the wrist of climber Sir Edmund Hilary. Reference 6350 was the first official Explorer, favored for its honeycomb dial. Interested in other vintage Rolex Submariners? Watch these expert reviews of the classic ref. 16800 and ref. 5508.
The original GMT-Master was released in 1954 and was the first aviator’s watch to allow pilots to tell time in multiple time zones at once. Vintage Reference 6542 was the first “Pepsi” model, known for its red and blue bezel.
Introduced in 1956, the Day-Date was the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week in a window on the dial. In the 1970s, Rolex introduced bright enamel dials on Day-Date models, known as “Stella” dials.
Designed for professional racing, the Daytona was released in 1963. Iconic vintage models include the Paul Newman Daytonas from the 1960s and 70s, References 6239, 6240, 6263, 6265.