In this article we’re going to look at, what we believe are the Best Rolex Watches To Buy In 2023. When it comes to luxury timepieces, Rolex is ubiquitous as the most iconic brand in the world. It is perhaps fitting that the company logo is a crown, because Rolex - founded by Hans Wilsdorf back in 1905 - has been considered as one of the high kings of watchmaking for well over a century.
So if you are looking for the best Rolex watch to buy or the best Rolex watch to invest in, please read on.
If you were to conduct a survey and ask one hundred people to name a luxury watch brand, most of them would reply with “Rolex” - it’s that simple. Rolex is respected, admired and desired in equal measure, and it’s easy to see why: the Rolex reputation isn’t built on marketing alone. Rolex is revered because it creates unique and peerless timepieces and a lot of collectors see Rolex watches as a good investment.
Put simply, Rolex watches don’t just look good - they’re manufactured for specific purposes, and built for durability. When you buy a Rolex, you’re not just buying a commodity - you’re getting your hands on a piece of history, a piece of art, an heirloom, an investment and a functional unit all at once.
So what is the best Rolex to buy and why are Rolex watches so popular?
The beauty of buying a Rolex product is that you are buying a timeless timepiece. The classics never truly go out of style, and it’s difficult to improve upon perfection. It’s therefore not unusual for a Rolex Submariner from 2023 to resemble an original model manufactured more than half a century ago.
Each Rolex watch design is iconic - and while you may see minor aesthetic updates with each redesign of an old classic, the company tends to concentrate more on engineering and research. What’s inside the watch is constantly improving, which means you can expect even greater accuracy, durability and movements with increased power reserves, equating to longer running intervals between taking the watch on and off your wrist for sometimes up to 70+ hours.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best Rolex watches to buy in 2023, and why you should consider each one. Whether you’re simply looking for a piece to accentuate your wardrobe or steadfastly require a technical instrument to brave the elements with, these Rolex timepieces will not only meet but exceed your expectations:
The Rolex Submariner is one of the best Rolex watches to buy and could also be considered as one of the best Rolex watches to invest in. The Rolex Submariner set the standard for diving watches when it was launched back in 1953. It was the first wristwatch to be certified waterproof down to 100 metres in depth. The Submariner has evolved technologically since the 1950s, and the latest models now boast innovative features which have improved the overall accuracy and functionality of the watch. Despite minor aesthetic changes over the years, such as subtle alterations to the iconic Oyster case, the Rolex Submariner retains its classic look and feel, even in 2023. Some of the best Submariner models to look out for at the moment include the following:
The first Submariner on our list of the best Rolex watch to buy is the Submariner Hulk was introduced back in 2011, replacing the commemorative 50th-anniversary release of the legendary model that preceded it, the (ref. 16610LV) known as a ‘Kermit’. This newer model, commonly referred to as the “Hulk” on account of its green hue, this 116610LV model is the first Submariner available with a dial which is neither black nor blue. Another reason why the 116610LV Rolex Hulk is one of the best Rolex watches to buy is because it has now been discontinued, you can no longer buy this watch from Rolex and will only be available on the pre-owned market. Its successor is the 126610LV. This watch was one of the best Rolex watches to invest in prior to it being discontinued in 2020.
The Rolex Submariner ‘No Date’ has made it on to the list of the best Rolex watches to buy as a Rolex Submariner watch with no date display is quite a rarity, which therefore increases its provenance. From an aesthetic perspective, something is pleasing about a watch face with no date on: it simply looks more symmetrical and refined. The Black ‘No Date’ Sub (ref. 114060) currently retails for over £9,500 on the secondary market, and its rarity means this figure is only likely to increase in the future, which means it could be a great investment.
The Rolex Submariner-Date (ref. 116610LN) has to be on the list of best Rolex watches to buy as Rolex’s Submariner-Date 116610LN combines the best of traditional design and contemporary engineering. It’s a real workhorse which boasts long-lasting luminescence, a corrosion-resistant polished case and 18-carat white gold hands. It’s elegant yet modern, and is suited equally to adventurous activity and formal engagements.
Perhaps the best Rolex to buy would be the newly released 126610LN with its slightly larger case measuring 41mm and slimmer lugs, some may say that this is a more refined and best version of the Rolex Submariner to date, do you agree?
For those of you that prefer a mix of gold and steel the Is the mixed gold Submariner 116613LB is the best Rolex to buy. The muscular Super case of the Mixed Gold 116613LB Submariner has a larger wrist presence than normal. In 2009, chunkier watches were on-trend - and some critics suggest that Rolex succumbed to peer pressure but didn’t go far enough. What remains is something of a curio: a watch which sticks to the 40mm Submariner dimensions while somehow appearing to be more prominent in stature, mainly due to its angular design features.
The new Kermit on the block could take the title of the best Rolex watch to buy or certainly the best Rolex Submariner to buy, It's made a splash during its release in 2020 and if the previous older Kermit is anything to go by the 16610LV then we think it may be one with a very very long waiting list. If you are thinking of investing in a Rolex watch, this is definitely one that is worth considering.
If Solid Gold is more your style then Submariner 116618LB could be the best Rolex to buy. Launched in 2008, the Rolex 116618LB Yellow Gold Submariner Blue features slim lugs, an elegant yellow gold/silver bracelet, the classic “cyclops” date window and a vibrant blue dial. It’s essentially an update on a 90’s favourite (the similarly-labelled 16618LB). Yes, it’s opulent - and some might say garish - but it’s a definite conversation starter for those who want their wristwatch to draw attention. As a Rolex watch to invest in we're not sure this will be the right watch to go for but it is certainly a stunner.
Without a shadow of a doubt the Rolex Daytona is definitely one of the best Rolex watches to buy, it's certainly the most desirable. Now if you are looking for the best Rolex watch to invest in it doesn't get much better than the Daytona, if you manage to snag yourself one of these at the retail price I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that you'd be able to sell it for nearly double that in the pre-owned market. The Rolex Daytona is a chronograph timepiece designed to meet the needs of the motor racing industry. Launched in 1963, the Daytona is purpose-built to allow drivers and pit crew to calculate average racing speeds and measure elapsed time. Famed actor and erstwhile racing enthusiast Paul Newman popularised the Daytona, after he received a specially-commissioned variant of the watch as a gift from his wife. The Rolex Daytona is still hot in demand in 2023, and these are the models you should be keeping an eye out for this year:
Out of the two steel Rolex Daytona models the white dial pictured above seems to be more sought after and is definitely one of the best Rolex to buy and without any doubt one of the best Rolex watches to invest in. Launched in 2016, the Rolex Daytona Steel Ceramic White Dial 116500LN is a solid timepiece. It’s an immaculately finished, modern take on an old classic. It’s also hugely in-demand - on the secondary market, you can expect to sell a Rolex Daytona 116500LN for upwards of £23,000.
While it might be slightly less flashy than its white-dialled counterpart, the Rolex Daytona Steel Ceramic Black Dial is nevertheless a sleek, smart and in-demand chronograph. Like the white dial version, it can command upwards of £23,000 on the secondary market making it a great Rolex watch to invest in and is firmly on the list of the best Rolex watches to buy this year.
When Rolex unveiled the stainless steel and ceramic version of the Daytona, it breathed fresh new life into what some considered to be a tired model. However, the original stainless steel model - reference 116520 - is still a popular choice among Rolex fans. The 116520 is more practical, more comfortable to wear and a bit less formal than its younger brother. Some watch enthusiasts would say that the 116520 is ahead of its successor on the list of best Rolex watches to buy, but we'll leave that up to you to decide.
The black dial version of the 116520 is more popular on the secondary market than the white model. This is largely because black accessories work with practically all colours and clothing styles. Whether you’re attending a formal function or simply keeping things smart-casual in the office, the Rolex Daytona 116520 will stand you in good stead.
For those who want to make a statement with their wristwatch can do worse than buy a Rolex Daytona 116509. With a beautiful white gold case, stunning deep blue dial and red highlights on the counters, it will surely go down in history as one of the most attractive Rolex products on the market and it is certainly one of the best Rolex watches you can buy. There are rumours that this could be discontinued so that could make this model even more desirable.
The Rolex Daytona 116508 is a rare find indeed. It pairs yellow gold with an attractive green dial to create an elegant, decadent and desirable timepiece. On the secondary market, you can expect to sell a Rolex Daytona 116508 for upwards of £40,000, and it’s easy to see why: not only is it scarce, it’s also hugely in demand which makes it one of the best Rolex watches to invest in. If you have deep enough pockets this is a Rolex watch that you would not regret buying and certainly one worthy of this feature on the list of best Rolex watches to buy.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is one of the best Rolex watches to buy, it is a dual time-zone timepiece which was first introduced in 2012. It is one of the few complicated watches produced by Rolex, and features an annual calendar, 24-hour display and a special “Ring Command” bezel for easy adjustment. The Sky-Dweller makes use of the classic Rolex Oyster case in a choice of steel, white gold, yellow gold or rose gold. If you’re looking to buy a Rolex in 2023, the following Sky-Dweller models come recommended:
As one of the most polarising Rolexes in recent times, the Rolex Sky-Dweller 326924 is either loved or hated by collectors. A combination of Oyster Steel and white gold (Rolex likes to term this mixture as “Rolesol”), it’s an attractive wristwatch with a gorgeous blue dial, 9001 calibre movement and high-performance shock absorbers. We think it's definitely one of the best Rolex watches to buy, once you get it on your wrist we're sure you will agree. If you are looking for the best Rolex watch to invest in or more specifically the best Rolex Sky-dweller to invest in, this blue dial model is certainly one you should consider.
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A black dial is always a safe bet, and if you are looking for one of the best Rolex watches to buy then this version of the Sky-Dweller is admittedly a little more staid, but pairs well with almost any outfit imaginable. With its stainless steel finish, the black dial 326934 model can be considered as understated but classy.
Image by Rolex
The Sky-Dweller is a mean feat of technological prowess. Each of these models has the same specifications, although the dial colour is simply a matter of taste. Here, a simple white dial works well with the steel casing to create a simplistic, contemporary watch.
Image by Rolex
For those looking for the best Rolex watch to buy and who want a little more luxury from their Sky-Dweller, the Rolex 326935 certainly delivers. It combines the engineering brilliance of this in-demand design with a sumptuous Everose Gold finish, dark rhodium dial and classic Oyster bracelet. On the secondary market, you can expect to spend upwards of £37,000 on a Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Gold Rhodium Dial 326935.
There is an argument for the Rolex GMT Master ii to be the best Rolex to buy this year. Initially designed as part of a collaboration with Pan American Airways, the Rolex GMT Master II series brought a much-desired update to a 1954 classic. Since 1983, the GMT Master II has been a mainstay in the Rolex catalogue and is instantly recognisable by its two-tone design. The following models are highly sought-after in 2023:
This timepiece gets its nickname from the colours which bear a resemblance to the iconic Pepsi logo. However, the colours aren’t merely for aesthetic purposes - they are designed to distinguish between the day/night times of the second time-zone. It’s a feature which is particularly useful for pilots.
In keeping with colour scheme nicknames, the 126710BLNR is affectionately known by Rolex fans as the “Batman”, on account of its blue/black two-tone bezel. It’s a water-resistant timepiece with a classic Cyclops magnifier and an in-house 3285 calibre. It also comes with Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” tag, which supersedes third-party chronometer testing. Just like pretty much all steel sports watches you'll not find this watch in a Rolex shop window, it will have a long waiting list. The Rolex GMT Master ii "Batman" is a front runner for the best Rolex watch to buy this year.
This “root beer” take on the GMT Master II combines yellow steel/gold and 18-carat Everose gold. Just like the drink itself, this model might not be to everybody’s tastes - but there’s a market for it: the Rolex GMT Master II Steel and Everose Mixed “Root Beer” 126711CHNR can command up to £25,000 in 2023.
For those who want a GMT Master II with a slightly more glitzy appearance, the White Gold Meteorite Dial 126719BLRO is perfect. While it’s not quite as classy as other meteorite Rolexes (it doesn’t have the Roman numerals of the meteorite Daytona, for example), it’s nevertheless a glamorous take on an iconic design. After all - who wouldn’t want to own a watch manufactured from space rock?
Essentially a slightly higher spec version of the GMT Master II “Pepsi” model, this is another Rolex for those who want to make an impression with their timepiece. The blue dial is certain to capture the attention of all those who catch a glimpse of this casual yet classy sports watch.
For a more luxurious take on the GMT Master II, look no further than the Full Everose “Root Beer” 126715CHNR model. This model could set you back over £50,000 on the secondary market, and it’s easy to see why: it combines sumptuous rose gold and fine steel with a black dial and “root beer” bezel. All of the GMT ii Models would fall into the category of one of the best Rolex watches to invest in.
The Rolex GMT Master ii Green and Black 126720VTNR is the latest Hot Rolex watch to be released. Making it's debut at watches and wonders in Geneva in March 2022 it has been an instant hit. The crown is on the left side of the case to cater for the left handers so maybe Rolex will only be letting left handed people on the waiting list for this one, you better get practising!
Some say that this could be the best Rolex to buy, The Day-Date 40 is a relatively modern update on a 1956 design. As the name suggests, the watch displays the day (in full) along with the date. Calendar display is available in 26 different languages. The Day-Date 40 is essentially a 40mm redesign of the original 36mm Day-Date. It’s one of the more recent additions to the Rolex catalogue and is proving hugely popular amongst luxury watch aficionados. Here are some of the hottest models on the market at present:
An olive-green dial, 40mm Oyster case, rose gold, Superlative Chronometer-certified 3255 calibre movement and a combination of high-quality metals all make the Rolex Day-Date 40 228235 one of the best Rolex watches to buy. While some Rolex watches are designed for traversing the elements, this one is all about elegance.
While rose gold can be a controversial choice for some luxury watch fans, it seems that white gold is a far safer option. It’s less flashy, and therefore works with a wider range of outfits - and for that reason, it’s no wonder the Rolex 228239 is in such high demand.
Image by Rolex
It seems that Rolex has catered for everybody’s tastes with the updated Day-Date 40. Here, a striking blue dial contrasts well with the white gold case and bracelet, and the classic Roman numerals work well to create a classic yet contemporary appeal.
Could this be the best Rolex watch to buy? The Rolex Sea-Dweller is affectionately known as the watch that conquered the deep of the oceans. It’s an ultra-resistant diving watch which is waterproof up to 1,220 metres. The Deepsea variant goes even further and is certified waterproof for up to 3,900 metres. The Sea-Dweller is a true example of how professional collaboration can yield game-changing results.
In 2014, James Cameron released a documentary which showcased his journey to the depths of the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest known part of the ocean. Rolex was involved with the expedition, and the Sea-Dweller Deepsea James Cameron 126660 is a 2018 updated version of a watch designed to commemorate Cameron’s feat. It boasts a blue-black gradient on the dial, which represents the journey to the bottom of the ocean. As something of a curiosity, it should come as no surprise that there is huge market demand for the 126660 and its predecessor, the 116660.
2019 saw the release of a Rolex Sea-Dweller which keeps the original black dial but mixes things up with the addition of red writing. As something of a rarity, this timepiece is in-demand and can command high price tags. It’s possible to buy or sell an unworn Rolex 126600 with red writing for upwards of £14,000.
It appears that two-tone watches are back, if this mixed Sea-Dweller from 2019 is anything to go by. It’s powered by the latest 3235 movement, is built for ruggedness and the addition of golden hues makes it perfect for formal occasions.
For many, the Rolex Datejust 41 is the perfect watch for everyday wear. Sure, it might not be flashy - but perhaps that’s the point. It’s the perfect all-rounder that exudes class whether you’re in the office, attending a black-tie event or enjoying cocktails on the beachfront. It’s well-balanced, well-proportioned and has just enough appeal to turn the heads of fellow timepiece enthusiasts. Below are some of the most sought-after Datejust 41 models in 2023:
This steel Datejust 41 is more versatile and more affordable than ever before. Yes, it might hold less provenance than the classics, but it’s the perfect all-performance watch that is neither too formal nor too casual. That’s why it’s one of the most popular Rolex models on the market right now.
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Want to keep things even simpler? Opt for a Datejust 41 with a black dial and you’ve got yourself a watch for practically all occasions. This is the ideal timepiece for somebody who wants to demonstrate that they can remain humble, despite having style and success.
Image by Rolex
Perhaps the only criticism that can be levelled at the Datejust 41 series is that they don’t “stand out” in comparison to some of Rolex’s more iconic products. However, that’s a statement that doesn’t hold water with the Wimbledon Steel 126334 edition meaning that this could be one of the best Rolex watches to buy. It features a classic “Wimbledon” dial in addition to a slimmed-down case and fluted bezel in white gold.
This model adds additional flourishes to the typical Datejust 41 design with a slate-grey Wimbledon dial and striking gold detail on the bracelet, case and hands. It’s arguably the least understated of the Datejust 41 catalogue and offers a refreshing combination of familiarity and flair.
Could this be the best Rolex to buy? Having initially launched in 2007, the Yacht-Master II is marketed as the ultimate tool for the modern mariner. Elegant yet sporty, this series combines utility and luxury in equal measure. Rolex and sailing go hand-in-hand, and it’s refreshing to see a modern update which builds upon the brand’s rich seafaring and explorative history. Yacht-Master II models make use of Rolex’s patented 4161 movement, which is the result of over 35,000 hours of painstaking research. Here are some of the most popular Yacht-Master II models in 2023:
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This incredibly luxurious timepiece features a 44mm case manufactured from 18-carat solid yellow gold. It boasts a white dial complete with chromalight display and long-lasting blue luminescence. The traditional Rolex “Mercedes” hands are present here, and the watch case is paired with a gold oyster bracelet complete with a fold-over clasp. It’s possible to buy a Rolex Yacht-Master II 116688 for just less than £42,500 on the secondary market.
For those who want a more utilitarian Yacht-Master II, the steel variation is the perfect choice. It combines the impressive engineering prowess of the Yacht-Master II with a simpler case and bracelet design. It’s also marginally cheaper too: you can usually buy a Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 for approximately half the price of the solid gold edition.
The 40mm version of the Rolex Yacht-Master is chunkier without straying too far into classic Submariner territory. While the Yacht-Master 40 might be one of Rolex’s simpler designs, what it lacks aesthetically it makes up for in engineering. It’s a sturdy, durable and above-all reliable timepiece. Here are some models to keep an eye out for:
2019 saw the release of the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 126622. It’s powered by the 3255 calibre movement, is certified as a chronometer and can hold power for up to 72 hours. With a deep blue platinum dial, it’s certain to catch the attention of fellow Rolex enthusiasts.
The rhodium dial brings a cooling, pastel feel to the classic Yacht-Master template, and the rubber ‘Oysterflex’ strap brings a more modern, sportier quality to proceedings. It’s slightly more casual than the platinum blue edition but still exudes class and quality.
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Arguably the most elegant of the Yacht-Master series, this two-tone wonder is a luxurious and decadent take on what is usually a utilitarian model. The brown “chocolate” dial contrasts nicely with the rose gold case and yellow gold crown logo, which reflects beautifully in natural sunlight.
Science buffs will want to own a piece of history with the Rolex Milgauss. The model was first introduced in 1956, having been designed to meet the demands of the scientific community: specifically those working within and around electromagnetic fields. It is capable of withstanding up to 1,000 gauss, and is renowned for being worn by physicists at CERN. Here are some of the most in-demand models this year:
The Rolex Milgauss 116400GV houses a 3131 incredibly accurate movement. It also boasts a Faraday cage which prevents the watch from being affected by electromagnetic fields. While it’s unlikely that you’re going to run into this sort of exposure unless you’re an experimental research scientist, it’s nevertheless a cool and unusual touch which increases the provenance of this model.
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While the original Milgauss might have been somewhat sterile, it’s fantastic to see that the updated versions bring colour and design flair to the table. Here you’ll find an orange lightning bolt which represents the second's hand atop a rather impressive deep blue dial.
Aimed at adventurers and world travellers, the Rolex Explorer II features a second time-zone, arrow-shaped 24-hour hand and a rather iconic bezel. It’s heavy on luminescence, which is fitting considering it’s designed for all-hours travel. While subtle changes have been made to the Explorer II over the years (it first launched in 1971), many of the fundamentals have stayed the same. It’s always made from stainless steel, and always has a water resistance rating of at least 100 metres. It’s comforting to know you can rely on a Rolex Explorer II even in 2023, and these are some of the most in-demand models this year:
It’s amazing to see how little has changed on the 2011 Rolex Explorer II 216570 in comparison to the original. If anything, it’s testament to how Rolex got things right the first time around. It’s built for rugged conditions (the original was designed to withstand the harsh climate of Mount Everest) and is likely to retain its value in years to come. If you’re looking to buy a Rolex in 2023, the Explorer II 216570 would certainly be a worthwhile investment.
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The Explorer II is also available in a classic black dial finish. It’s smart, it’s sleek, it’s built for rough terrain - and if history is anything to go by you can expect it to hold its value well into the future. Again, this is another potential great investment, despite not being quite as exuberant as other classic Rolex models.
Inspired by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini, this collection combines traditional elegance with contemporary mechanics to create something truly special. Sober, noble and refined, the Cellini range showcases the true meaning of luxury while respecting the art of watchmaking. The one to look for in 2023 is:
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As a high-end dress watch, the Rolex Cellini Date 50519 has little in common with rugged designs like the Submariner. The Cellini Date is certainly not the kind of watch you’re likely to strap onto your wrist before you go diving, adventuring or high-speed racing. Instead, what you get here is a classic timepiece complete with a slim profile, leather strap and white gold finish.
What you should realise by now is that Rolex watches remain in style for years and even decades after their initial launch dates. In addition to this, the varying amount of options available on the primary and secondary markets mean that there’ll always be a Rolex to suit your style, taste and budget.
Whether you’re interested in the mechanics of complex timepieces, or simply want a luxury watch to treasure for years to come, it’s fair to say that Rolex has it all. The brand has firmly held its own as the most iconic watchmaker of the last 100 years and looks set to do so for another 100 years - and beyond. When you purchase a Rolex, you’re investing in a high-end, premium quality watch which will hold its worth and even increase in value and provenance as time goes on.
If you’re looking to buy a Rolex, why not contact us today for more information on what to keep an eye out for in terms of provenance, quality and value for money? Likewise, if you’re wanting to sell a Rolex in 2023, we’re also here to offer guidance and appraisals.