What Are The Cheapest Rolex Models

by Barbara Wilson

Rolex is synonymous with luxury, precision, and timeless style. Known for their superior craftsmanship and elegant designs, Rolex watches are a symbol of status and sophistication. However, owning a Rolex doesn’t always have to break the bank. There are several models that offer the Rolex experience without the exorbitant price tag. This article delves into the cheapest Rolex models, focusing on the Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch, Rolex Oyster Perpetual, and Rolex Air-King 5500.


Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch

Best Overall Choice: Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch

The Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch is a standout model that combines classic design with exceptional functionality, making it a best overall choice for those seeking an affordable entry into the world of Rolex.



  • Stylish Stainless Steel Case: The 36mm stainless steel case exudes elegance and durability, making it suitable for any occasion.
  • Signature Automatic Movement: Equipped with Rolex’s renowned automatic movement, the Datejust 36 ensures precise timekeeping.
  • Luminous Hands and Graduated Hour Markers: These features enhance visibility, especially in low-light conditions, ensuring you can always tell the time, even at night in a bar.
  • Date Display: A signature feature of the Datejust series, the date display is prominently positioned at 3 o’clock, magnified by the Cyclops lens for easy reading.


The Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch is priced at about $6,500. However, savvy shoppers can find models for even less than $5,000, making it a highly desirable yet affordable luxury timepiece.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Best Entry-Level Rolex: Rolex Oyster Perpetual

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is widely regarded as the best entry-level Rolex, offering a blend of simplicity and elegance that is perfect for first-time Rolex buyers.



  • 34mm Stainless Steel Case: The classic 34mm stainless steel case is both robust and stylish, making it a versatile accessory for any outfit.
  • Single Time Display: The minimalistic design features a single time display, which is complemented by the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
  • Explorer Series Markings: Some models feature the distinctive 3, 6, and 9 markings typically found on the Explorer series, adding a touch of intrigue to the watch’s simple design.
  • Water Resistance: The Oyster Perpetual is water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet), making it suitable for swimming and snorkeling.


On Bob’s Watches, the average price of the Air-King ref. 5500 is about $6,500. However, it’s possible to find the Rolex Oyster Perpetual for less than $5,000, making it an accessible choice for those looking to own a Rolex without spending a fortune.

Rolex Air-King 5500


The Rolex Air-King 5500 is a classic model that has stood the test of time, offering a unique blend of style, durability, and functionality.

  • 34mm Stainless Steel Case: The 34mm stainless steel case is both elegant and durable, providing a timeless look.
  • Automatic Movement: The Air-King 5500 is powered by automatic movements such as the 1520, 1530, and 3130, ensuring reliable and accurate timekeeping.
  • Smooth Stainless Steel Bezel: The smooth bezel adds a sleek, minimalist touch to the watch’s design.
  • Scratch-Resistant Sapphire Crystal: This feature protects the watch face from scratches and maintains its pristine appearance.
  • Stainless Steel Oyster Bracelet: The robust Oyster bracelet is comfortable and stylish, making it a perfect complement to the watch.


The average price of the Rolex Air-King 5500 is about $6,500. However, collectors and enthusiasts might come across special editions, such as the Domino’s Pizza dial, which can fetch prices as high as $17,000. Despite this, the Air-King 5500 remains one of the more affordable Rolex options available.

Other Affordable Rolex Models

In addition to the Rolex Datejust 36, Oyster Perpetual, and Air-King 5500, there are several other Rolex models that offer affordability without compromising on quality or style.

Rolex Explorer

The Rolex Explorer is another affordable entry into the Rolex family. Known for its rugged design and association with adventurers, the Explorer is a favorite among those seeking a reliable and stylish watch for everyday wear.


  • Stainless Steel Case: Durable and elegant, suitable for all environments.
  • Automatic Movement: Ensures precise timekeeping.
  • Luminous Markers and Hands: Enhance visibility in low-light conditions.
  • Water Resistance: Up to 100 meters (330 feet).

Price: The Rolex Explorer typically retails for around $6,500, but can be found for less depending on the model and condition.

Rolex Submariner (Non-Date)

The Rolex Submariner is an iconic model known for its association with diving and underwater exploration. The non-date version offers a more affordable option while retaining the classic Submariner features.


  • Stainless Steel Case: Robust and stylish, perfect for both formal and casual wear.
  • Automatic Movement: Reliable and accurate timekeeping.
  • Luminous Markers and Hands: Enhance readability in dark environments.
  • Water Resistance: Up to 300 meters (1,000 feet).

Price: The non-date Submariner is typically priced around $7,500, but can be found for less on the pre-owned market.

Tips for Buying Affordable Rolex Watches

When shopping for an affordable Rolex, there are several tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the best value for your money.

1. Buy Pre-Owned

Purchasing a pre-owned Rolex can significantly reduce the cost while still providing you with a high-quality timepiece. Ensure that you buy from reputable dealers who offer authentication and warranty services.

2. Consider Older Models

Older models of Rolex watches often come at a lower price point than the latest releases. These watches still offer the same level of craftsmanship and reliability, making them a great option for budget-conscious buyers.

3. Look for Discounts and Sales

Occasionally, authorized dealers and online retailers offer discounts and sales on Rolex watches. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to purchase your desired model at a reduced price.

4. Verify Authenticity

Ensure that the Rolex you are purchasing is authentic by checking for serial numbers, certificates of authenticity, and purchasing from reputable sources. Fake Rolex watches are prevalent, so due diligence is essential.


Owning a Rolex doesn’t have to be an unattainable dream. With models like the Rolex Datejust 36 Automatic Watch, Rolex Oyster Perpetual, and Rolex Air-King 5500, you can experience the luxury and prestige of a Rolex at a more affordable price. By considering pre-owned options, older models, and staying vigilant about authenticity, you can find a Rolex that fits your budget and lifestyle.


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