While the rise in popularity of vintage Rolex watches is of no surprise to aficionados, collectors and industry experts, when it comes to contemporary luxury wristwatches, Rolex is also often the first brand that springs to mind. Not only is the company revered for its precision timekeeping and impeccable craftsmanship, but its name was designed to be memorable.
Rolex's enviable worldwide recognition can be credited in part to the genius of company founder Hans Wilsdorf. When the German-born watch dealer and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis, set up their London enterprise, in 1905, they called it Wilsdorf & Davis, according to the traditional formula.
But Wilsdorf was determined to come up with another name that was short, would look good on a watch dial and was easy to say and remember in several languages. In 1908, he trademarked the name Rolex, and by 1920, he had moved the company to Geneva and redubbed it as Montres Rolex S.A.
But the main reasons for the brand’s success are its aforementioned commitment to precision and unflagging pursuit of innovation. In 1926, the company introduced the aptly named Oyster model. With a screw-down crown and case back, both fitted with rubber gaskets, this was the first truly waterproof watch.
Five years later, Rolex upped the ante with the Oyster Perpetual. That model’s patented Perpetual movement contained a rotor mechanism enabling it to self-wind. In another trendsetting move, in 1945, the brand debuted the Datejust, with a date window prominently displayed on the dial.
The company’s two most iconic models are sports watches. Although the Submariner, which debuted in 1953, was developed as a dive watch, its waterproof case, solid construction and good looks made it a favorite of adventurers and urbanites alike, including James Bond, who wore it in classics like Dr. No and Goldfinger. The Daytona, the racing chronograph made famous by Paul Newman, is especially sought after by collectors. Newman’s personal Daytona, which hit the auction block in 2017, sold for $17.8 million.
Find vintage Rolex watches, bracelets and more on 1stDibs.
|Average Sold Price|
1960s Swiss Modernist Vintage Rolex
Rose Gold, 18k Gold
20th Century Rolex
20th Century Rolex
Yellow Gold, Steel
20th Century Rolex
20th Century Rolex
1970s Swiss Vintage Rolex
2010s Swiss Rolex
21st Century and Contemporary Rolex
White Gold, Steel
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Rolex jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs
- What is a Rolex GMT?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022A Rolex GMT is a wristwatch designed with jetsetters in mind. The watch features a bezel that can track both departure and destination times. Unlike standard watches, the Rolex GMT has a fourth hand set to GMT. GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, which is the standard to which all time zones are dictated. Find a selection of Rolex GMT watches and other styles on 1stDibs.
- What year is my Rolex?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022To determine what year your Rolex watch is, use the serial number. Normally, you will find the number engraved on the bottom half of the back of the case. Depending on the age and model, the serial number ranges from four to eight digits in length. You can contact Rolex to determine the year that corresponds to the serial number or use an online tool. On 1stDibs, find a variety of expertly vetted Rolex watches.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Rolex recommends getting service on your watch every 7 to 10 years by an authorized Rolex watchmaker. Many Rolex watches will run far longer if you service them as recommended to prevent problems and help minimize wear. Find authentic vintage and modern timepieces from Rolex on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The easiest way to adjust the time on the Rolex Oyster watch is by turning the crown. Turn it clockwise when you want increased hours or counter-clockwise for lower values, then push in until it clicks into place. On 1stDibs, you'll find a large collection of Rolex watches.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Ideally, to prevent damage to your watch, it’s best to visit a Rolex dealer to have your battery changed. If you need to change it yourself, loosen the screws, and carefully remove the old battery with a set of tweezers, install the new one, and tighten the screws. You'll find authentic vintage Rolex watches from top sellers on 1stDibs.
- How do I adjust a Rolex’s time?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022To adjust a Rolex's time, first unscrew the crown. Slide the crown to the second notch and wait for the second hand to stop moving before setting. The specific method varies from model to model. A user guide accompanies each Rolex watch sold and describes the correct time-setting process for that model in great detail. Find a large collection of Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, Rolex watches are not battery-powered, except for the rare Rolex Oysterquartz model. This model is no longer in production, but you can still find it in the second-hand market. Shop a collection of Rolex watches, including the rare Oysterquartz, from reputable dealers on 1stDibs.
- Are Rolex watches unisex?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Rolex watches have no specific unisex style, but Rolex does have both women’s and men’s versions. However, some women prefer to purchase the larger men’s watches, and some men opt for the smaller women’s Rolex brands. Shop a variety of luxury men’s and women’s Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- Are Rolex spoons worth anything?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022Rolex spoons are generally worth only a modest amount. Retailers once gave out these souvenir spoons along with the purchase of Rolex watches. Consult an experienced appraiser for specific information regarding the value of a particular spoon. You'll find a large collection of Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- Can a Rolex be traced?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, a Rolex can be traced using its unique serial number that is engraved into the watch. Noting down your watch’s serial number somewhere safe can help to identify it if it’s ever lost. Browse a collection of professionally vetted Rolex timepieces on 1stDibs from top sellers.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022To set the date on a Rolex, you must first identify the type of Rolex watch you have. Each style features different settings to set the date. However, all adjustments can be made with the winding crown notch on the side of the face. Shop a variety of authentic Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- How do I set a Rolex watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Setting your Rolex watch is an intricate process. You may need to wind your watch first — if you have gone several days without wearing your watch, you wind it before setting the day, time or date. With respect to setting your watch — for most Rolex watches, here are the steps: Pull the crown out to the first notch. Then, in order to set the date, turn the crown in a counter-clockwise direction (for the time, you’ll want to turn it clockwise until you find the accurate hour and minute). Pull the crown out to the last notch in order to set the day of the week. When you have the day, date and time set, you can push the crown to a closed position. On 1stDibs, find authentic Rolex watches from top sellers.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022To identify a Rolex serial number for a watch made before 2005, look on the lugs on the back of the watch body. The serial number is engraved at 6 o'clock. On post-2005 models, the number is also engraved on the inside flange between the dial and the crystal. On Rolex watches made in 2008 and beyond, the serial number is only located on the inside flange. On 1stDibs, find authentic vintage watches from Rolex.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022To set a date on a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, first set the crown to the last notch (the crown is unscrewed and pulled out). To set the date, turn the notch counterclockwise and to set the day of the week, turn the notch clockwise. Ensure that you reset the crown notch after setting the date. Browse a selection of Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watches and more styles on 1stDibs.
- How do I ship a Rolex watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022To ship a Rolex watch, use a reputable shipper, choose overnight delivery, and opt for full coverage insurance. Wrap your package carefully for shipment to avoid damage during transit. On 1stDibs, you'll find a collection of authentic Rolex watches.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Use tape to cover the brushed areas of the two-tone Rolex Oyster bracelet. Once they are covered, use a metal polishing cloth with a light polishing cream to polish the shiny areas of the bracelet. Remove the tape from the brushed areas once you are done polishing. Browse a selection of authenticated Rolex timepieces from top boutiques around the world with 1stDibs.
- How do I open a Rolex?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022To open a Rolex watch, you must have a die kit. Rolex designs these kits and sells them through authorized brick-and-mortar and online dealers. Place the die in the center of the case back, positioning it inside of the grooves. Then, twist the die clockwise with one hand and hold the watch steady with the other. Continue to twist until you unscrew the back completely. Shop a wide range of Rolex on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The easiest way to identify the year a Rolex is from is to first look at the warranty and authenticity card. When buying a preloved Rolex watch, access to a warranty and authenticity card may not be accessible. In this case, looking up the watch’s serial number on the brand’s website will help you determine the age of a Rolex. Browse a selection of well-vetted and authentic Rolex pieces on 1stDibs.
- How do I take off a Rolex band?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The best way to take off a Rolex band is to loosen the clasp and gently slide the watch off your hand. To ensure the longevity of your watch, place the watch back in the box or protective flat surface to minimize the look of any wear. On 1stDibs, find a variety of authentic Rolex watches.
- How do I wind a Rolex watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022To wind a Rolex watch, first fully unscrew the winding crown. Once it is in a raised position, carefully turn the crown clockwise. Most watches require 25 turns for enough winding to begin powering the watch. The instructions included with Rolex watches provide more information about how to wind specific models. Shop a large collection of Rolex watches on 1stDibs.