Which Rolex To Buy First: Everything You Need To Know

by Barbara Wilson

Choosing the right Rolex for your first purchase can be an exciting yet daunting task, given the brand’s extensive history and diverse collection. Rolex watches are renowned for their precision, craftsmanship, and timeless design. This guide aims to provide you with comprehensive insights to help you make an informed decision on which Rolex to buy first.


Rolex is synonymous with luxury and precision in the watchmaking industry. Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, the company later moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where it became a hallmark of Swiss watchmaking excellence. The brand has pioneered several advancements in horology, such as the first waterproof watch, the Oyster, and the first watch to display the date, the Datejust. Understanding Rolex’s history and its milestones can give you a deeper appreciation of the brand and its watches.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Your First Rolex

1. Purpose and Lifestyle

Your lifestyle and the intended purpose of the watch should heavily influence your decision. Are you looking for a daily wear watch, a dress watch, or a sports watch? Each Rolex model caters to different needs:

  • Daily Wear: Consider the Rolex Datejust or Oyster Perpetual, known for their versatility and timeless elegance.
  • Dress Watch: The Rolex Cellini, with its classic design, is perfect for formal occasions.
  • Sports Watch: The Submariner or GMT-Master II are excellent choices for those with an active lifestyle or a passion for diving and travel.

2. Budget

Rolex watches come in a wide range of prices. Establishing your budget is crucial as it will narrow down your options. Entry-level models like the Oyster Perpetual start at a lower price point compared to the more luxurious Day-Date or Sky-Dweller.


3. Size and Fit

The size of the watch case is an important consideration for comfort and style. Rolex offers various sizes, typically ranging from 31mm to 44mm. It’s essential to try on different sizes to see what fits best on your wrist.

4. Materials and Design

Rolex watches are crafted from a variety of materials including stainless steel, gold, and platinum. The choice of material affects the watch’s durability, weight, and appearance:

  • Stainless Steel: Models like the Submariner and Explorer are durable and versatile.
  • Gold and Platinum: For a more luxurious feel, consider models like the Day-Date or Yacht-Master.

5. Movement and Complications

Rolex is known for its precise and reliable automatic movements. Consider if you want additional features or complications such as a date function, dual time zones, or a chronograph.

6. Resale Value and Investment

Rolex watches are known for retaining their value over time, with some models even appreciating. Models like the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master II are particularly sought after in the secondary market.

Popular Models to Consider for Your First Rolex

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is arguably the most iconic and recognizable Rolex model. Originally designed for diving, it features a robust stainless steel case, a rotating bezel, and water resistance up to 300 meters. It’s a versatile watch that can be worn casually or with formal attire.

Rolex Datejust

The Datejust is a classic and elegant choice, known for being the first watch to display the date on the dial. It’s available in various sizes and materials, making it a highly customizable option. The Datejust is perfect for those seeking a timeless and versatile watch.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

For those seeking simplicity and reliability, the Oyster Perpetual is an excellent choice. It’s one of Rolex’s most affordable models and features a clean, minimalist design. The Oyster Perpetual is available in multiple sizes and dial colors.

Rolex GMT-Master II

The GMT-Master II is designed for travelers, featuring a dual time zone function. It’s known for its colorful bezels and robust build. The GMT-Master II is both a practical and stylish choice, especially for those who frequently travel across time zones.

Rolex Explorer

The Explorer is a watch built for adventure, with a history rooted in mountaineering. It features a durable stainless steel case, a clear and legible dial, and is designed to withstand harsh conditions. The Explorer is perfect for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Rolex Daytona

The Daytona is a legendary chronograph watch, originally designed for racing drivers. It features a tachymetric scale on the bezel and is known for its precise timing capabilities. The Daytona is a prestigious and highly sought-after model.

See Also: Are All Rolex Watches Waterproof

How to Buy Your First Rolex

Authorized Dealers vs. Grey Market

Buying from an authorized dealer ensures authenticity and provides a warranty. However, the grey market can offer more availability and potentially lower prices. It’s crucial to do thorough research and buy from reputable sources.

Pre-Owned vs. New

Pre-owned Rolex watches can be a great option if you’re looking for a model that’s hard to find or want to save money. Ensure the watch comes with its original box and papers, and verify its authenticity through a professional.

Research and Patience

Take your time to research different models and understand their features and history. Visit watch forums, read reviews, and seek advice from experienced collectors. Patience is key to finding the perfect Rolex for you.

Authentication and Documentation

Ensure the watch you’re purchasing is authentic. Check the serial and model numbers, inspect the movement, and look for the Rolex crown logo. Buying from reputable dealers and getting a professional appraisal can help ensure authenticity.

Caring for Your Rolex

Regular Servicing

Rolex recommends servicing your watch every 5 to 10 years to ensure its precision and longevity. Regular servicing includes cleaning, lubrication, and replacement of worn-out parts.

Proper Storage

Store your Rolex in a safe, dry place when not in use. Consider using a watch winder to keep automatic models running when not worn.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Clean your Rolex regularly with a soft cloth and soapy water. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures and strong magnetic fields.


Buying your first Rolex is a significant milestone and an investment in a piece of horological history. By considering your lifestyle, budget, and preferences, you can find the perfect Rolex that will bring you joy and satisfaction for years to come. Whether you choose a classic model like the Datejust or a sports watch like the Submariner, your Rolex will undoubtedly be a cherished addition to your collection.


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