Many watch enthusiasts would love to make a bit of money from buying and selling watches. Rolex is, without a doubt, the number one brand for making money on the watch market. Rolexes have significantly gone up in price over the last three to four years. This makes buying one a costly prospect these days, but are some models still flying under the radar? While there aren’t any Rolex models that go completely unnoticed, there are a few we think still have upward potential when it comes to price.
Of course, there are no guarantees, but we have made a list of five Rolex models that we think could appreciate in the long run. There are no quick wins when it comes to getting a serious return on your investment. This is just a selection of watches that will likely be more expensive in 12 months’ time. Some of our choices are quite obvious, and others might come as a surprise. Let’s dive into our list of top Rolex investments.
1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060
The Rolex Submariner is one of the most popular watches in the world. Prices for recent and current models have rapidly surpassed official list prices. That being said, the values of models from the previous generation are not as high as those for the current Submariner No Date ref. 124060. The Submariner ref. 114060 is the previous Submariner without a date function. Of course, this is the 40-mm Submariner with the so-called “Super Case” characterized by fat lugs. While many Submariner purists took some time getting used to the chunkier case, it has gradually become a popular timpiece.
Prices for the current Submariner No Date ref. 124060 start at around $13,500 and go up to $17,000 on Chrono24, but the prices for the previous generation remain significantly lower. These start at roughly $11,000 and top out at about $14,500. Buying the previous generation could potentially save you at least $2,500. It’s important to note that the current Submariner also features an updated movement in addition to the different case shape and slight increase in size (from 40 mm to 41 mm). However, with such a big price difference, it may be worth keeping an eye out for a Rolex Submariner ref. 114060.
2. Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 16600
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is not nearly as popular as its “little brother,” the Rolex Submariner. Rolex has also changed the Sea-Dweller over time. While the model used to measure the same 40 mm as the Submariner (with a thicker case for increased water resistance), the brand decided to take a different approach with the most recent iteration. The current Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 has a beefed-up 43-mm case and a different dial with a hint of red. While it is definitely a great watch, increasing the size has made it too big for many wrists.
If you prefer the 40-mm size and want to experience what made the Sea-Dweller a great watch in the first place, go for the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600. Rolex produced this reference from 1989 until 2009. While earlier models have a more vintage vibe, later models are very modern in both technology and appearance. The best thing is that these watches start at just under $9,500 and go up to $16,500, depending on their condition and whether they come with their box and papers. Seeing as the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 is such a key reference in the model’s history, it will very likely go up in price over time.
3. Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV With a Black Dial
The Rolex Milgauss is a bit of an oddball in the current Rolex line-up. The manufacturer originally developed this model for engineers and technicians who needed a watch that could withstand magnetic fields. You could even call it a bit of a nerdy timepiece due to its anti-magnetic properties, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see it’s anything but. It is actually the funkiest Rolex in the brand’s current catalog, starting with the green sapphire crystal that is scratch-proof and fade-proof to ensure perfect readability.
The green crystal, black dial, and orange accents – look at that orange second hand! – make this a very colorful Rolex. There is also a blue “Z-Dial” version available, but it is more popular and, therefore, more expensive. The version with a black dial has a list price of $8,200, but you can find some models on Chrono24 for less than that, making it one of the few Rolexes with an asking price below its list price. That being said, prices go up to around $13,000 for a new model with its box and papers. It seems logical that prices will go up for this watch, especially considering it is expected to be updated in the near future.
4. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 114300
Earlier this year, Rolex introduced the new Oyster Perpetual collection. With the introduction of the 41-mm Oyster Perpetual, the 39-mm Oyster Perpetual ref. 114300 was discontinued. The new collection turned out to be a big hit, and prices on Chrono24 for both models have gone up significantly in just a few short months. Prices for the previous generation, however, are still very reasonable. They start at just over $7,000 and go up to around $10,000.
At 39 mm, the previous-generation watch hits the sweet spot for many Rolex fans. It’s the perfect size for a wide variety of wrist sizes. Plus, these older models debuted with a selection of very funky dials. In addition to the normal gray version, the watch was also available with a blue dial with light green accents marking every five minutes and a stunning “grape” dial with red accents on its minute track. Rolex later added versions with a black or white dial. These tend to sell for higher prices but are still affordable compared to the current model. With the perfect 39-mm case size and a wide selection of dials, this is a true sleeper Rolex. Prices have been creeping up slowly, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon.
5. Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116710LN
The Rolex GMT-Master II is yet another iconic model that is very popular among Rolex buyers. Prices for the current “Pepsi,” “Batman,” and “Batgirl” models have gone through the roof recently. To give you an idea, the current GMT-Master II ref. 126710 BLNR has a list price of around $10,000 on an Oyster bracelet and slightly more on a Jubilee bracelet. However, if you look that reference up on Chrono24, you will find asking prices starting around a whopping $17,500. There are more affordable GMT-Master II options out there, but they will also definitely go up in price over time.
We think your best bet is the GMT-Master II ref. 116710 LN. This was the first GMT-Master II to feature a ceramic bezel. It is also unique with its solid black look with a hint of green in the form of the GMT hand. In fact, it’s the only GMT-Master in Rolex history to feature the color green. Thanks to these two characteristics – the stuff Rolex collectors love – this reference’s value will likely grow over time. You can currently get a GMT-Master II ref. 116710LN for prices of between $12,400 and $17,500. Considering its historical significance, however, that won’t be the case for long.
So, that concludes our list of five Rolex models with great investment potential. And now I have nothing left to say but happy hunting!