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|
Late 20th Century Contemporary Rolex
Diamond, 18k Gold, Stainless Steel
20th Century Rolex
20th Century Rolex
21st Century and Contemporary Rolex
Early 2000s Rolex
2010s Swiss Contemporary Rolex
18k Gold, Rose Gold
1960s Swiss Vintage Rolex
1940s Vintage Rolex
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Rolex jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs
- Did Rolex make a quartz watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, Rolex made the Oysterquartz watch starting in the 1970s. Not many were made, with around an estimated 25,000 models making it to market. Shop a range of expertly vetted Rolex watches from top boutiques worldwide on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, Rolex joined the quartz movement popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The first Rolex quartz watch was the Date 5100. The company then released the Oysterquartz Datejust and the Oysterquartz Date-Date models. Very few Date 5100s were released, and the Oysterquartz models were only produced for 25 years. Find a collection of expertly vetted Rolex watches, including rare Oysterquartz models, from some of the world’s top reputable boutiques on 1stDibs.
- Can I trace a Rolex watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, a Rolex watch can be traced through the serial number. Rolex keeps a record of each watch sold, and the buyer or the gift recipient is given a guarantee card with information on that watch, including the serial number. If your watch is stolen or lost, you can contact a Rolex retailer and report this information. You will be notified if the watch is subsequently brought into any of their service networks. Shop a collection of expertly vetted vintage and new Rolex watches from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, all Rolex products have a serial number. You can find it engraved along the side closest to the six o’clock mark. If your Rolex is missing a serial number, it is likely not authentic. On 1stDibs you can shop a wide range of expertly vetted Rolex products from some of the best boutiques around the world.
- Can I wear a Rolex every day?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, you can wear a Rolex every day. This durable and high-quality timepiece is meant to withstand everyday use and wear. Shop a large collection of authentic Rolex watches from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- Can I overwind a Rolex?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022No, you can't overwind a Rolex watch. The winding crown only continues to wind the watch until it reaches its limit. At that point, the winding crown disengages and continuing to turn the crown won't keep winding the watch. Shop a wide range of Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- Can a Rolex watch get wet?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, you can get your Rolex watch wet. All modern Rolex watches are built with a water-resistant Oyster case. Rolex warns wearers to securely screw down the winding crown before any water exposure. If you have a vintage Rolex, you may need to have the water-resistant features refurbished before water exposure. On 1stDibs, find a collection of authentic Rolex watches from some of the world’s top sellers.
- Where can I buy a Rolex watch?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022You can buy a Rolex watch through an official Rolex dealer. To meet the demands of customers worldwide, Rolex partners with brick-and-mortar dealers in more than 100 countries. In addition, you can buy Rolex on numerous online platforms, including 1stDibs. To ensure that you receive an authentic Rolex, only buy from a reputable dealer or platform. Find a collection of expertly vetted Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- Does Rolex make Invicta?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, Rolex and Invicta are separate companies. While they both make timepieces, and at a glance have some visual similarities, their materials and manufacturing processes are very different. Shop a collection of authentic Rolex watches from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- Does Rolex make digital watches?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, Rolex does not make digital watches. The universally renowned luxury brand instead keeps its focus on creating classic mechanical timepieces that are designed to last, and promise exceptional quality and accuracy. And its work has endured — 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. Browse 1stDibs to find a range of expertly authenticated Rolex watches.
- Does Rolex make sunglasses?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, Rolex does not officially make sunglasses that are available for sale. They do however occasionally create promotional products, which have included sunglasses for sponsored events in the past. Browse a range of Rolex products that have been expertly authenticated on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, the Rolex Datejust does not have a battery. It is powered by a Perpetual rotor technology that collects the energy from the movement of the wrist and passes it on to a spring inside that powers the watch. Browse a range of authentic Rolex Datejust watches on 1stDibs.
- Does Rolex make quartz watches?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022No, Rolex doesn't currently make quartz watches. However, the company did in the past. The Rolex Oysterquartz is the name of that timepiece, which debuted in 1977. Rolex produced three models of the watch over a 25-year period and sold about 25,000 of them. Shop a range of Rolex quartz watches on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022No, today's Rolex watches do not have a battery. Instead, the watch harnesses kinetic energy generated by the motion of your wrist to power its movement. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual produced from 1970–2001 did have a battery. You’ll find a large selection of Rolex watches on 1stDibs.
- How are Rolex watches powered?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Most Rolex watches are powered by a Perpetual rotor which gently swings as you move your arm, transferring energy to the mainspring of the watch. This means that most Rolex watches are powered by the wearer’s movement. On 1stDibs, find vintage and contemporary Rolex watches from some top global sellers.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The world-renowned watchmaker started using 904L steel in 1985. 904L stainless steel is known for its anti-corrosion properties and gorgeous sheen. Previously, Rolex used 316L stainless steel. You can find an assortment of Rolex watches from the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The right time to buy a Rolex is really when you have the discretionary funds to purchase the model you want. Rolex produces its watches in limited quantities which can fuel cost increases, although the high-end retailer has not confirmed any increases in the near future. Shop a collection of Rolex timepieces from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021A contemporary Rolex Yacht Master costs around $11,000. However, a vintage model can cost up to $30,000.
- What diamonds do Rolex use?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Rolex uses only the highest quality diamonds in their watches and compares these stones against certified master stones. They are the most colorless, so in ranges D to G.
- 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a great entry-level Rolex to purchase. The perpetual refers to the ability of the watch to use the energy of the wearer's wrist motion to run. It is a popular starter Rolex.