The Most Collectable Vintage Rolex Watches of All Time
April 7th, 2021
Rolex watches remain timeless and stable in value over the years. Some models even increase in value depending on several factors.
However, there are some vintage Rolex watches that have stimulated the industry in recent years. Few models have been even sold at famous auction houses like Christie’s at record-breaking prices.
So let’s delve into some of these vintage models from Rolex that are worthy of the ‘holy grail’ status.
Rolex Daytona Reference 6263
The Rolex Daytona is an icon in the vintage watch world and a mainstay of the Rolex collection. Rolex introduced the Reference 6263 in 1969, available in yellow gold or steel.
The watch stands out from its predecessors because of its wide array of technical upgrades and a sportier design. The brand has offered the timepiece in many variations, thereby enticing collectors over the years.
Rolex Submariner Reference 5513
Another cornerstone of Rolex, the Submariner, enjoys a cult status. One of the most iconic models of this collection is Reference 5513. Rolex produced the watch for more than 25years. Interestingly, many collectors consider the Reference 5513 as the archetype of all modern diving and sports watches.
However, its prolonged production span manifests that this timepiece is a piece of history. The earliest Submariner Reference 5513 was the most expensive model that enjoyed a production run until the 1960s. What characterises the model is its high-gloss, gilded dials.
Rolex modified the watch offering a matte dial in the 1970s. After ten years, the watchmaker released the last generation that featured indexes with white gold border and a contemporary-styled high-gloss dial.
Rolex GMT-Master 6542
The largest airline in the world in 1954, Pam Am, commissioned a timepiece that helped pilots track the time of two different time zones simultaneously. With this in mind, Rolex created the GMT-Master featuring a 24-hour bezel and a GMT hand that revolves every 24-hour.
However, the most sought-after GMT-Master watch is the vintage Reference 6542. Rolex equipped the model with a Bakelite 24-hour graduated bezel. The watchmaker chose Bakelite because of its high legibility and low reflectivity.
Interestingly, the Bakelite bezel is fragile, and thus, it is tough to find out iterations of Reference 6542 in excellent working condition. Thus, you should not be surprised to see a GMT-Master 6542 Bakelite Bezel sell for nearly £72,575 at auction.
Rolex Sea-Dweller COMEX Reference 1665
Rolex designed the Sea-Dweller as a sturdy and durable wristwatch to combat the incredible water pressure at great depths. Following the Submariner’s success, the brand developed the watch to rectify one significant Submariner’s shortcoming.
The fact is that the Submariner’s crystal would pop out many times in decompression chambers at extreme depths and exposed to a prolonged time. Thus, Rolex furnished the Sea-Dweller with a unique helium escape valve on the case’s side that characterises the lineup today.
Thus, the first Sea-Dweller debuted as the Reference 1665. However, Rolex made several versions of it over time, including a COMEX model – a professional diving agency of Marseilles. So this reference can only ensure to increase in value.
Christie’s auction house sold this Reference 1665 for about £97,740 in 2017.
Rolex Day-Date Reference 1803
One of Rolex’s most prestigious timepieces, the Day-Date debuted in 1955. Rolex offered the watch in different materials and with several dial choices, making it a watch of choice for many celebrities, sportspeople and Presidents.
However, the most sought-after versions include the ones with vibrantly coloured Stella dials and hard-stone dials. Rolex released the Reference 1803 in 1959 and is recognised as the most successful and enduring Day-Date model.
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