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Zaeger

How much is the cheapest Rolex watch? [2022 prices]

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Updated Fri 13th May 2022 by Craig Gibson

How much is the cheapest Rolex? How much does a Rolex cost? Why are Rolex so expensive?

These are questions we get asked all the time, because – unsurprisingly – Rolex is our most popular brand – and people are crazy for these timepieces.

Why? Let’s take a closer look at the world’s best known watch brand.

Summary

  • The most affordable new Rolex watches are models in the Oyster Perpetual range, which is the brands entry-level model. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual comes in a no-date stainless steel version with a variety of dial colours in 34mm, 36mm and 41mm.
  • The next ‘cheapest’ Rolex is the Datejust, which comes with a smooth, domed or fluted bezel, and wide variety of dial designs. Available in ladies-friendly Datejust 31mm, Datejust 36mm and Datejust 41mm, all in stainless steel.
Rolex Datejust Slate Diamond Dial 41mm (ref: 126334)

When it comes to Rolex the fact is you are buying so much more than a watch. According to Forbes, Rolex is one of the top 100 most recognized and most powerful brands in the world, with close to 100% brand recognition.

Rolex is one of the top 100 most recognized and most powerful brands in the world, with close to 100% brand recognition

Forbes

They have a long history of innovation in their field – having registered some 400+ patents – so you are assured of superlative quality, with hand made materials and decades of in-house research and development when you purchase a Rollie.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

At the end of the day wearing a Rolex on your wrist is like saying, ‘I have made it!, or ‘I am successful’, or ‘I have good taste’ – and it also feels good to have such a fine piece of craftsmanship on your wrist. You are also keeping company with some pretty famous faces. Past and present Rolex ambassadors include Roger Federer, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Arnold Palmer, Mark Webber, Sir Edmund Hillary, Martin Scorsese and Placido Domingo to name a few. You get the idea…

The passion of Rollie fans is so strong that various Rolex watches have also generated a whole range of nicknames over the years. None are official, which gives you an idea of the love and awe these watches are held in with fans and collectors.

But back to the questions.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get about Rolex is around price, but also why they cost so much – relative to other brands of course and quoted here in Aussie dollars.

Why are Rolex so expensive?

This is an easy one to answer. Supply and demand – people vote with their wallets/credit cards/PayPal/bitcoin – and are prepared to pay top dollar to get their hands on a quality timepiece with almost unparalleled brand recognition. Global brand consultancy Interbrand, publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands report – ranked Rolex at number three in their ‘Best Swiss Brands 2016’ review, with Omega 7th and Patek Philippe a distant 15th. And not forgetting why there is this level of demand – people know quality craftmanship when they see it.

rolex-explorer-ii-zaeger
Rolex Explorer II

This is largely why there is currently unprecedented demand for Rolex watches, with many models retaining or even increasing in value. The current market value of most professional models are above retail prices as there are waiting lists at official Rolex outlets, and why the secondary market for re-selling unworn versions means some models can sell for double or even triple the retail price.  According to Rolex they are just struggling to meet demand, though they are estimated to be producing close to a million watches a year – though some models have over a 10 year waitlist (Good luck even getting onto a waitlist in the first place).

Just take a look at this 2014 graphic by Ablogtowatch, which tracks the price of a Rolex Submariner no-date over 60 years (black) verses the increase of the same watch adjusted for inflation (red). They found that this Sub should cost US$1,265 today, while the watch actually costs in the region of US$7,500 – when the research was conducted.

Rolex also – cleverly – keeps a tight lid on supply (including spare parts) and there are waiting lists for many Rolex models. Want to jump the queue? Then be prepared to pay more for a Rolex online – including pre-owned models – than it’s official listed price.

How much is the cheapest Rolex watch at 2022 prices?

Rolex Oysterquartz White Dial Black Roman 36mm Stainless Steel 1982 (ref. 17014)

Looking for the cheapest Rolex model in Australia?

If you are on a tight budget then you need to look at the entry-level Rolex offerings, which are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual and Rolex Datejust. Let’s take a closer look at these two models:

  • The most affordable Rolex watches are models in the Oyster Perpetual range, which is the brands entry-level model. The original Oyster was first released in 1926 and was the first mass produced water-resistant (100m) and dustproof watch with a 904L stainless steel case. This houses the in-house self-winding caliber 3130 which carries official Swiss chronometer certification – for exceptional precision and reliability. The Oyster Perpetual name designate that the model is self-winding and has Rolex’s waterproof Oyster case. The latest Rolex Oyster Perpetual range comes in a no-date stainless steel version with a variety of dial colours – 9 currently – in 34mm, 36mm and 41mm sizes. There is high demand for some new coloured dial Oyster Perpetual, including the Tiffany/Turquoise Blue, Bright Blue, Green and Bright Black.
  • The next ‘cheapest’ Rolex is the Datejust range, which comes with a smooth or fluted bezel, and wide variety of dial designs and colours. Available in ladies-friendly Datejust 31mm (small), Datejust 36mm (mid-size) and Datejust 41mm (large), all in stainless steel. Popular dial colours include Bright Blue, Azurro Blue, Olive Green and Golden. You also have the option of a simple index dial or Roman numerals.
  • The underrated Rolex Air-King is the next most affordable Rolex, a superbly versatile timepiece that have everything you expect from the Five-Point Crown.
Rolex Datejust 36mm Blue Motif Dial ref.126200

How much is the cheapest Rolex? It depends if you buy new or pre-owned, but the most affordable Rolex watch is the entry-level Oyster Perpetual range. At 2022 prices you can expect to pay:

  • $3,750 for a pre-owned 1982 Rolex Lady-Datejust 26mm (with no box and papers)
  • $7,500 for a 2009 model Rolex Datejust 26 Black Dial Fluted (ref. 179174)
  • $10,900 for a 1982 Rolex Oysterquartz White Dial Black Roman 36mm Stainless Steel (ref. 17014)
  • $10,995 for a 2013 Rolex Air King Black Roman Diamond Dial Fluted Stainless Steel 34mm (ref. 114234)
  • $11,995 for a 2020 model Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Stainless Steel Silver Dial (ref. 116000)
  • $13,995 for a 1996 model Rolex Explorer II Black Dial 40mm (ref. 16570)
  • $18,995 for a 2021 Rolex Datejust 41 Blue Index Dial Oyster Bracelet Smooth Bezel (ref. 126300)
  • $19,995 for a 2019 Rolex Datejust 41 Two Tone Rose Gold Sundust Dial Smooth Bezel (ref. 126301)

Of course are the prices we quote are approximate, and they do and will change over time according to market forces.

The most affordable Rolex watches are models in the Oyster Perpetual range, which is the brands entry-level model. They come in a no-date stainless steel version with a variety of dial colours – 9 currently – in 34mm, 36mm and 41mm sizes

How much does a Rolex Submariner cost?

Rolex Submariner Two Tone Blue Dial

Got to have a Sub? If you are after the ‘standard’ no-date Submariner expect to pay anywhere from 12k-24k – depending on the condition of the watch and if it has papers and a box. This price range will escalate if you are after a more sought after reference/movement – including anything vintage or a ‘colour’ model. This includes the Rolex Submariner Hulk – green bezel and face – which can fetch in the region of $40k for a mint condition example with box & papers. The same goes for a Rolex Submariner Two Tone Blue Dial which is in the region of $25k for a pre-owned mint example.

What about other Rolex models?

Rolex Cosmograph

Sure, Rolex has other highly desirable models in its range – but don’t expect them to come cheap.

For a sporty Rolex Yachtmaster Blue Dial expect to pay in the region of $26k new, or if you want a dress watch then a Rolex Cellini White Dial 18k Rose/White Gold is in the region of $21k. Expect to pay in the region of $30k for Rolex Sea-Dweller Deep Sea (James Cameron) or a Rolex GMT Master II – the so-called Batman. Last but not least how about a Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Black Dial (ceramic bezel) – yours for around $65k.

Looking to buy your first Rolex or add one to your collection? Get in touch and we will try our very best to find the right Rolex for your wrist. With showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney you can also try before you buy. Already have a Rollie, then explore 7 other luxury watch brands you need to shortlist.