Finding the perfect holiday gift can be a challenge. It’s not always easy to surprise your loved ones with a gift that will leave them absolutely speechless. That being said, you could always stun them with a Rolex. As the world’s leading luxury watch brand, it’s hard to go wrong.
There are two possible challenges you may have to overcome, however: First, is a Rolex the right watch for your loved one? Second, will you be able to get your hands on a watch from an authorized Rolex dealer?
Nearly every stainless steel Rolex is in high demand and practically unavailable to purchase without being put on a waiting list first. So you risk being disappointed if you walk into a Rolex dealer unprepared. To save you the stress of disappointed hopes, we’ve put together a list of Rolex watches that make ideal gifts and some ideas of where to buy them before Christmas.
1. The Iconic Choice: Rolex Submariner
Just a few weeks ago, Rolex introduced the newest generation of the Rolex Submariner to the world. The new Submariner is yet another step forward in the evolution of this icon. Rolex decided to get rid of the boxy “Super Case” with its fat lugs and return to a curvier familiar profile.
The brand with the crown also decided to increase the case size from 40 to 41 mm. In reality, however, the change measures just 0.5 mm, so it’s not that different after all. Furthermore, the watch is equipped with the new Rolex caliber 3230, which is a more accurate movement with an improved power reserve. Lastly, the bracelet was updated and made slightly wider.
The all-new steel Submariner with a black bezel comes with or without a date function. The Submariner Date also comes with a black dial and green bezel; this version is known as the “Kermit.” The only bad news is you cannot get any of the steel Submariner models at an authorized dealer. Demand is simply much greater than the available supply. If you would really like to buy one, you will have to check for listings online at Chrono24, but you will soon discover that they are offered at a hefty premium.
If that doesn’t sound like a good option for you, an alternative is to search for older Submariner models. That being said, prices for pre-owned Subs start at 7,700 EUR (approx. 9,000 USD), which isn’t far from the official list price of the current Submariner. If you look at Chrono24’s Watch Collection tool, a pre-owned Rolex Submariner No Date ref. 114060 is currently priced around 9,700 EUR (approx. 11,500 USD). In short, if you are set on buying Rolex’s biggest icon, expect to pay well above the list price.
2. The Extravagant Choice: Rolex Yacht-Master II
When Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master II in 2007, it was the most complicated model they had ever produced. The Yacht-Master II is a regatta chronograph that was developed with professional sailors in mind. It was the first mechanical wristwatch to feature a programmable, flyback regatta timer.
It is without a doubt a technically impressive watch, but its aesthetics are also pretty extravagant. The watch measures an imposing 44 mm and comes with a bright blue ceramic bezel and full dial. These characteristics mean the Yacht-Master II isn’t the perfect watch for everyone, but if you are looking for a watch with a striking presence and impressive features, the Yacht-Master may be the perfect choice for you.
The Yacht-Master II comes in stainless steel, solid yellow gold, and several two-tone varieties, including platinum and white gold and steel and rose gold. Whether you can get your hands on a stainless steel Yacht-Master II depends on the stock at your authorized dealer. Although the Yacht-Master II isn’t as hard to find as a Submariner or Daytona, it has increased in popularity over the last couple of years. Your chances of finding a two-tone or solid gold version are much better, but that also means paying nearly twice as much as you would for a new steel Yacht-Master II.
A quick search on Chrono24 reveals that there are plenty of pre-owned steel Yacht-Master IIs listed for less than 17,800 EUR (approx. 21,100 USD), the model’s current RRP. Prices for the steel ref. 116680, for example, are around 14,750 EUR (approx. 17,500 USD) according to the Watch Collection tool. So, if your local dealer doesn’t have a new model for sale, there is always the option of buying a pre-owned watch online and saving a bit of money in the process.
3. The Elegant Choice: Rolex Day-Date
Another icon from this brand is the Rolex Day-Date. If you are looking for the ultimate in luxury and class, the Day-Date is the watch for you. The Rolex Day-Date is only available in precious metals, which means it makes a very expensive gift. That being said, you’ll also be giving your beloved one of the most iconic watches in history.
The history of the Day-Date goes back to 1956. The original 36-mm watch displayed the day and date on the dial and was available in white, red, and yellow gold. Over the years, Rolex added a full platinum option to the line-up. Moreover, in 2015, Rolex added a larger 40-mm option to the Day-Date collection. Since the standard Day-Date is 36 mm, this model is a great choice for women. Men can choose between the 36-mm and 40-mm versions.
You will typically be able to buy a Rolex Day-Date at an authorized dealer. Since it is such an expensive watch – list prices start around 32,000 EUR (approx. 38,000 USD) for a 36-mm yellow gold version – it is not the most sought-after in the collection. What you must decide on, though, is your preferred precious metal, bezel color, and what language you prefer for the day display. An expensive watch like this one usually comes with options. Whether your local dealer has the specific option you want remains to be seen.
If buying a new Rolex Day-Date is beyond your budget, you could always opt for a pre-owned watch. On Chrono24, the classic yellow gold ref. 18038, for example, is currently selling for about 11,600 EUR (approx. 13,700 USD) according to the Watch Collection tool. There is, however, an even more affordable option: the Rolex Datejust. This model also makes a stylish statement, but is a bit more toned-down in its appearance and does not have the iconic combination of both a day and date display.
4. For Him and Her: Rolex Datejust and Lady Datejust
The last watch on our list of possible Rolex gift ideas is the Rolex Datejust. This model is just as iconic as the Day-Date and the Submariner, and it potentially plays an even bigger overall role for Rolex. Why? Because the Rolex Datejust is the brand’s entry-level model, making it the perfect introduction to the luxury world of the crown. Best of all, there is a wide range of possible watches to choose from for both men and women.
The Datejust debuted in 1945 to commemorate the brand’s 40th anniversary. Although the watch was first introduced in a solid yellow gold version, the brand quickly introduced a steel and two-tone steel and gold version of the watch. The Datejust is currently available in a wide range of different sizes from 31 mm to 41 mm. In addition to the standard Datejust, Rolex also offers a smaller, 28-mm Lady Datejust. Next to size, you can also choose from a number of dial colors, dial styles, bracelets, and bezels. If you are looking for the typical entry-level Rolex, this is the best option.
Datejust availability very much depends on your location and the exact version you are looking for. Both the 36-mm and 41-mm steel Datejusts are incredibly popular, so they will be more difficult to find. The good news is that the smaller sizes are often widely available, so you’re less likely to run into problems there.
An alternative to the Datejust is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Rolex presented new Oyster Perpetual models alongside the all-new Submariner. The Oyster Perpetual also comes in both men’s and women’s sizes and is available in a wide selection of colors. Reactions to the new Oyster Perpetual models have been overwhelmingly positive, so it might be hard to get your hands on one.
As mentioned, the hardest part about buying a Rolex is actually finding one at an authorized dealer. With limited production numbers and incredible demand, it can be tough to find your preferred Rolex. Remember, if you are unable to find your beloved Rolex at a dealer, you can always try Chrono24, but be prepared to pay a premium. Check out our Watch Collection tool to see an overview of current Rolex prices. At the end of the day, Rolex is the most popular luxury brand out there, so you can’t go wrong. Happy hunting!