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Zaeger
October 26, 2020

Rolex buyer’s guide Australia: watches for sale, key features and prices

Looking to buy your first Rolex? Then you need to read our Buyer’s Guide which covers all the Rolex models for sale in Australia. This article will help you get an overview of each model with a focus on key features, what makes them so special and last but not least, how much you can expect to pay for a pre-owned Rolex

Which Rolex should I buy?

The first thing to know is that Rolex divides their range into ‘Classic’ and ‘Professional’ models which are generally dress and sport watches. The current range of Classic timepieces are:

  • Rolex Datejust
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual
  • Rolex Day-Date
  • Rolex Sky-Dweller
  • Rolex Cellini

    The Professional range are ‘active’ or ‘sport’ models for diving, flying, yachting or motor sport include:
  • Rolex Explorer I & II
  • Rolex Air-King
  • Rolex Milgauss
  • Rolex Submariner
  • Rolex Sea-Dweller
  • Rolex Yacht-Master
  • Rolex GMT Master II
  • Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
A selection of Rolex models

How much does a Rolex watch cost?

If you are looking at your first Rolex, or wondering what the cheapest Rolex watch for men is, you may like to read our article, How much is the cheapest Rolex watch?, which covers the entry level models from the brand. 

Depending on the model you can pay anywhere from as little as $5k for a pre-owned Rolex Datejust, $6k for a Ladies Rolex Oyster Datejust or $10k for a new Rolex Air-King. 

You can pay anywhere from as little as $5k for a pre-owned Rolex Datejust, $6k for a Ladies Rolex Oyster Datejust or $10k for a new Rolex Air-King

Move up to Rolex Submariners and pre-owned versions will cost you anywhere from $15k (no date) depending on the reference and age, which is the same price bracket for a Rolex Cellini or Rolex Yachtmaster. 

The next price bracket up is for watches like a Rolex GMT Master II, around $26k in stainless steel with a jubilee bracelet, or the much in demand Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’ in stainless steel with that killer green dial. Dig a little deeper into your wallet and you can spend a lot more on a Rolex Sky Dweller in yellow gold ($54k) or a Rolex Daytona in rose gold with a black index dial ($55k). 

Of course these prices are approximate, and they do and will change over time and according to market forces. As you may know there is strong demand for Rolex timepieces – so don’t be surprised to be quoted a price higher than the list price for a mint, pre-owned version. 

Why are Rolex so special?

The first thing you need to know is that Rolex manufactures everything in-house – and when we say everything we mean it. Most other brands source some or all their parts from third party suppliers. A good example of this is the movement – the magic internals that makes a watch tick, where Swiss brand Lemania was once an industry heavyweight who supplied the movement for Omega’s iconic Moonwatch. 

This is reflected in the marketplace, where most models retaining or even increasing in value. The current market value of most professional models are above retail prices – and good luck trying to get onto a waiting list – some are 10 years long – at an official dealer. This also explains why the secondhand or pre-worn market is so healthy, with fans willing to spend more than the list price for many models.

Rolex bezel detail on a Submariner

Rolex is often accused of keeping a tight lid on production, and spare parts, to control prices and keep demand ticking over. So if you are desperate for a particular model, and want to jump the queue then be prepared to pay for it – often more than it’s official listed price.

Current Rolex models for sale in Australia and New Zealand

Let’s get into the current Rolex range on sale in Australia and New Zealand, starting with the Classic range.  

Rolex Classic Range: Buyers Guide

ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL

Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection

The Oyster Perpetual is where it all began for Rolex when they manufactured the world’s first waterproof watch way back in 1926 – eat your heart out Casio G-Shock! Along with the Datejust the Oyster is the most affordable watch in the Rolex range. Today the iconic gold crown adorns the uncluttered dial – available in a range of colours, in a corrosion resistant Oystersteel case that houses the in-house self-winding caliber 3130 which carries official Swiss chronometer certification. Available in a wide range of case sizes, from 26mm (ladies) to 39mm.

Reference: 114300

Movement/calibre: 3132, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links in Oystersteel

Killer feature: Pure Rolex simplicity, and the price

Pricing: You can expect to pay in the region of $10,000 for a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, depending on the case size,age and condition.

Buy a Rolex Oyster Perpetual if you…want to own a Rolex without pawning a body part!

ROLEX DATEJUST

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

The Rolex Datejust – or Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust – to give its full name, is the brands entry level timepiece, and makes a perfect introduction to the brand. Like the Oyster Perpetual it is a mainstay that has been around since 1953, and is all about showcasing what Rolex does best – executing a superlative timepiece. You can also get a Datejust encrusted with pearls or jewels – just be prepared to pay a lot for one. In terms of case size, the Datejust is available in 31mm (ladies) all the way up to 41mm. 

Reference: 126234

Movement/calibre: 3235, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links in Oystersteel

Killer feature: That broad hour hand!

Pricing: Expect to pay anywhere from just over $6k for a Rolex Datejust 31 in stainless steel, to $18k for a Rolex Datejust with a mother of pearl diamond dial, with plenty of models in between these two price points. 

ROLEX DAY-DATE

Rolex Day-Date

Add a day and date to an Oyster Perpetual and you get a Day-Date, simple as that. But Rolex go all out with a range of high-end cases in 18k gold and platinum – and you can also opt for Everose gold with diamonds. In terms of case sizes you have options of 36mm or 40mm, and it also comes with its very own bracelet – the President.

Reference: 228206

Movement/calibre: 3132, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: President, semi-circular three-piece links

Killer feature: Platinum and diamonds, baby!

Pricing: Day-Date pricing varies a lot, depending on the case size, material and what jewels you want – so anywhere in the region of $9k to $45k+ for pre-owned.

Buy a Rolex Oyster Perpetual if you…want a timeless classic.

ROLEX SKY-DWELLER

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Rolex’s Sky-Dweller is the brand’s most complex watch, boasting dual time zones and an annual calendar so you can also track the passing of the months. It comes in a variety of models – like this chocolate version, as well as in yellow gold and rose gold variants – all in a standard 42mm case. Like any Rolex, prices vary a lot depending on the material of the case – so choose according to your budget. 

Reference: 326933

Movement/calibre: 9001, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, dual time zones, annual calendar

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links

Killer feature: Dual time and a calendar

Pricing: Expect a Rolex Sky-Dweller to cost in the region of $15k for a basic model, and a lot more for a yellow gold ($54k)

Buy a Rolex Sky-Dweller if you…are a world traveller.

ROLEX CELLINI

Rolex Cellini

The Cellini is Rolex’s dress watch, with a variety of models including a Moonphase and Dual Timer, but also with simpler dials that, ‘celebrates the eternal elegance of traditional timepieces with a contemporary touch’. Here all the workmanship is contained in a 39mm dial, which are available in a range of precious metals, with a variety of movements depending on the model.

Reference: 50509

Movement/calibre: various with perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: Leather 

Killer feature: That flared crown…

Pricing: Expect a Rolex Cellini with a white dial in Rose Gold to cost in the region of $18k for a basic model, and a lot more for a more complex Moonphase ($30k+).

Buy a Rolex Cellini if you…are all about understated style

Rolex Professional Range: Buyers Guide

If the classic range is not quite right for you then look at the Professional timepieces, but be prepared for a step up in price. These are the current Rolex models for sale in Australia and New Zealand.  

ROLEX EXPLORER 1 and II

Rolex Explorer

Made famous as the first watch up Everest on the wrist of Sir Edmund Hillary, this has strangely not translated into sales for the Rolex Explorer – like it has for Omega’s now iconic Speedy Moonwatch. It flies under the radar of bigger cousins like the professional series Sub and GMT, and most Explorer fans like it this way. With a smaller case size (42mm), simple design and the distinctive numerals at 3,6 and 9 – understated is perhaps the best description for this underrated watch. The current model is the Rolex Explorer II (Type II), available with a white or black dial – and featuring a 24 hour display, second time zone, instantaneous date and stop-seconds. It is actually designed with speleologists – or cave explorers – in mind, but most people will likely never see the inside of a cave. If you come across the Explorer I (Type I) expect to drop to a slightly smaller 39mm case. 

Reference: 216570

Movement/calibre: 3187, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links in Oystersteel

Killer feature: That broad hour hand!

Pricing: Depending on the model, a Rolex Explorer sits just above a Datejust in terms of pricing – anywhere from $10,000 for an unworn or fine condition model. For vintage, start saving now!

Buy a Rolex Explorer if you…like flying under the radar.

ROLEX AIR-KING

Rolex Air-King

The Rolex Air-King is another model that flies – excuse the pun – under the radar. It’s not a hugely popular model, but that is not to say it is not right for you. With a low key mid-size 40 mm case in 904L steel and a distinctive black dial featuring its heritage is an aviators timepiece. Look closer at the simple dial and you will see large 3, 6 and 9 hour numerals – with second marker numerals in between – a feature you will either love or hate. It has also been around since the 1950s, and as a certified Swiss chronometer, it boasts high-precision and has passed the relevant Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests.

Reference: 116900

Movement/calibre: 3131, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding with a magnetic shield to protect the movement

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links in Oystersteel

Killer feature: That green second hand

Pricing: Expect a pre-owned Rolex Air-King to cost in the region of $10k. 

Buy a Rolex Air-King if you…like flying under the radar!

ROLEX MILGAUSS

Rolex Milgauss on an Everest band

This is another Rolex model that you won’t see on many wrists, but that doesn’t mean it is not a special timepiece. The Milgauss is simple, elegance personified in a way only Rolex can pull off, with an electric blue dial, green sapphire crystal – and a distinctive lightning-bolt-shaped seconds hand. The model debuted in the 1950’s with a USP of exceptional resistance to magnetic fields, and this feature continues to this day. At 40mm this is a perfect size watch if larger models are not quite right for your wrist. 

Reference: 116400GV

Movement/calibre: 3131, perpetual, mechanical, self-winding with a magnetic shield to protect the movement

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links in Oystersteel

Killer feature: That orange lightning-bolt-shaped seconds hand

Pricing: Expect a Rolex Milgauss to cost in the region of $10k or more. 

Buy a Rolex Milgauss if you…want something a little different

ROLEX SUBMARINER

Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’

What is there left to say about the iconic Sub – or to give its full name: the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Submariner? It comes with a 40 mm in 904L steel with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system – for a perfect fit. Other options – at different price points, include date/no date, two tone and a variety of different dial and face colours. This includes the much-in-demand ‘Hulk’, which has a green dial and face, and the ‘Kermit’, which has a black face and green dial.

Reference: 3135 (date); 3130 (no date)

Movement/calibre: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding 

Bracelet: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system

Killer feature: Everything!

Pricing: Expect a pre-owned, ‘standard’ no-date Submariner to cost anywhere from $9k to $14k, or $28k for a Rolex Submariner Hulk (green bezel), or $17k for a Rolex Submariner Two Tone Blue Dial.

Buy a Rolex Submariner if you…want to own the most iconic watch on the planet!

ROLEX SEA-DWELLER

Rolex Sea-Dweller

With the Sea-Dweller – or Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea – you are into serious sports watch territory, even more so than the Sub. This baby is built to take just about anything – and it shows, as it is Rolex’s largest watch. Also known as the ‘James Cameron’, whose version of this watch has a slightly different dial. It also comes in an 18CT yellow gold version, if that is your thing.  

Reference: 126660

Movement/calibre: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding 

Bracelet: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system

Killer feature: The ability to go deep!

Pricing: Expect an unworn Sea-Dweller Deep-Blue (James Cameron) to cost in the region of $24,995.

Buy a Rolex Sea-Dweller if you…want to go really deep

Rolex YACHT-MASTER

A trio of Yacht-Masters

Own a yacht or just want to imagine you do? Then a Rolex Yacht-Master is the next best thing. You have two versions to choose from, the original Yacht -Master could be mistaken for a Sub at a glance, but look closely and you will notice the bezel rotates both ways – bidirectional. The Yacht-Master II features a regatta chronograph with 10 minute countdown timer, and comes in a variety of finishes, including a rather fetching Oystersteel and Everose gold version, which offsets the blue perfectly. 

Reference: 116688

Movement/calibre: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, regatta chronograph 

Bracelet: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp

Killer feature: Countdown bezel

Pricing: Expect a pre-owned 2018 Rolex Yacht-Master II with Oystersteel and Everose gold to sell for in the region of $30,500. You will pay less for a Yacht-Master I, in the region of $19,995 for a pre-owned stainless steel with a blue dial and platinum bezel. 

Buy a Rolex Yachtmaster if you…have a super yacht or don’t!!

Rolex GMT MASTER II

Rolex GMT Master II ‘Batman’ or ‘Night & Day’

When we get to the Rolex GMT Master II you start to have a watch that competes with the Sub for all the attention. And with the GMT it’s all about the bezel, which comes in a variety of colour combinations nicknamed ‘Pepsi’ (red and blue), ‘Coke’ (red and black) and ‘Batman’ or ‘Night & Day’ (blue and black). Originally developed for pilots, this is a versatile watch you can wear with jeans or a suit and looks awesome with a jubilee bracelet. One of the most popular professional models and a close rival to the Sub for most popular watch – always in high demand. 

Reference: 126710

Movement/calibre: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, GMT function 

Bracelet: Jubilee, five-piece links

Killer feature: That bezel, no matter the colour combination

Pricing: Expect a pre-owned Rolex GMT Master II (Two Tone Dial) to cost anywhere from $20,095 with box and papers. The Batman version, pre-owned and with box and papers could cost anywhere from $25,995.  

Buy a Rolex GMT Master II if you…are all  about that bezel!

ROLEX DAYTONA COSMOGRAPH

Rolex Daytona Cosmograph

The fact that Paul Newman’s timepiece sold for an astronomical amount of money means that you are also going to pay a premium for a current model. This is a watch designed for race car driving – the ultimate sports chronograph according to Rolex – but hey, this model will look good no matter what you are doing. It comes in a few different case/bracelet combinations – and they all look stunning, including white gold, Everose gold, yellow gold and Oystersteel. There are also a handful of different dials, and we are partial to the white/panda and black versions. 

Reference: 116509

Movement/calibre: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links

Killer feature: That chrono dial!!!

Pricing: Expect a pre-owned Rolex Daytona in stainless steel with a black dial (40mm) to cost anywhere from $26,995, or a Rolex Daytona in rose gold with a black index dial in the region of $55k.

Buy a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona if you…are feeling flush.

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. If you are looking for another brand, why not browse our range of Omega watches – which are more affordable and the same Swiss quality.