Rolex is not only the most valuable luxury watch brand in the world but also one of the most expensive brands, known for its iconic models that have become a status symbol for the rich and famous. Owning a contemporary Rolex tells a lot about who you are and what you’ve accomplished in your life.
Established in 1905, Rolex is so special because of the quality of its designs, the rarity of its materials and the brand’s impeccable production process that guarantees precise and accurate performances.
Five of the most expensive Rolex watches favoured by the rich and famous are:
ROLEX DAYTONA (STEEL)
Rolex issued the Cosmograph Daytona four years after the opening of the famous Daytona International Speedway, allowing race car drivers to keep accurate track of their laps speed due to the precision chronograph and the tachymetric scale on the bezel. Despite being a sports watch, the Daytona emanates elegant beauty and class. The most recent model of the Rolex Daytona was released in 2016, the first steel Rolex Daytona to feature a black ceramic bezel. This model is available with white or black dials and only available on the all steel Oyster bracelet. One can expect to pay anything between 22 000 USD (R330 000) and 60 000 USD (R900 000) for this watch.
ROLEX SUBMARINER (STEEL)
The first Rolex Submariner was released by Rolex at BaselWorld in 1954 as the first Rolex to feature the word “Submariner” on the dial, which became the recognisable dial lay-out of inverted triangle at the 12 o’clock position, baton 3, 6 and 9; and dot markers for the remaining hours.
The Submariner got momentum in 1962 when Sean Connery wore a Submariner reference 6538 in Dr No, the first James Bond film. The Rolex Submariner continued to evolve with the 16800 (1979) featuring a number of upgrades on previous versions including a sapphire crystal, the patented Triplock crown, a depth rating of 300m (1,000ft) and a ratcheted, unidirectional rotating bezel.
The Rolex Submariner 116610LN released in 2010 saw a massive upgrade on previous versions and the Rolex Submariner 126600LN was released in 2020. This version is powered by the Rolex Calibre 3235 automatic movement with 70-hour power reserve.
A Rolex Submariner can cost between 14 000 USD (R210 000) and 45 000 USD (R810 000).
ROLEX GMT MASTER II (STEEL)
The Rolex GMT Master 6542 was released by Rolex in 1954. In 1959 Rolex released the GMT Master 1675, which was in production until 1980. Rolex updated the design of the GMT Master in 1983 with the release of the GMT Master II 16760 which featured a sapphire crystal and updated 3085 automatic movements with quickset hour hand enabling the wearer to track a third-time zone.
This model was produced until 2007. Current versions of the Rolex GMT Master II include the 126710 BLRO Pepsi and Rolex GMT Master II 126710 BLNR ‘Batgirl’, both only available with the Jubilee bracelet and powered by the Rolex calibre 3285 automatic movement with date and GMT functions. Expect to pay between 16000 USD (R240 000) and 60 000 USD (R900 000) for this watch.
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The Rolex Sea-Dweller line is the result of years of collaboration with experts in the field of deep sea diving. During the 1960s, as the needs of divers evolved, so-called ‘ultra-resistant’ watches began to be produced. The 1665 Sea-Dweller originally had a depth rating of 610 meters which increased to 1220 meters with the Sea-Dweller 16660 ‘Triple Six’ released in 1977. Due to greater crystal thickness, integrated helium escape valves and thicker case, Rolex Sea-Dweller models were water-resistant at twice the depth of most competitors.
Today, watches in the Sea-Dweller range are resistant at depths of up to 1 220 metres while retaining all the elegance and class of a Rolex. Its high-class design and engineering are sure to impress, in the deep of the sea as well as at the most extravagant of events.
The current version of the Rolex Sea-Dweller SD43 / Sea-Dweller 43) was released in 2017 and is powered by the Rolex calibre 3235 automatic movement with 70 hour power reserve. At a cost of between about 15 000 USD (R225 000) and 50 000 USD (R750 000), it surely is one of the most expensive Rolex watches for the rich and famous.
THE ROLEX EXPLORER II
The Explorer II is expertly designed to suit adventurers, featuring a unique 24-hour hand with high performance shock resistance technology for the highest durability. It has a rapid hour hand setting function, enabling the wearer to switch quickly between two different time zones. Ad some modern aesthetics and updated movement, robust design and innovative technology, and the Rolex Explorer II is a sought after timepiece for the rich and famous.
The watch was originally designed for speleologists exploring the deep caverns below the earth’s surface and since its release in the 1950s, it evolved into the current Explorer II 216570 released in 2011. The rich and famous only have to pay between 11 000 USD (R165 000) and 15 000 USD (R225 000) to own an Explorer II.