The most expensive wristwatch in the world is a 1968 Rolex Daytona. It belonged to the great Hollywood actor, racing car driver and director, Paul Newman. This Rolex sold for $17.75 million at auction – at today’s conversion rates, that’s around R263 million!
Fortunately, you don’t have to be multi-millionaire to own a Rolex. Entry-level watches like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual are available in South Africa for about R20,000.
Rolex Watches Priced Under R50k
If you are in the market for a Rolex, here are a few watches that currently sell for less than R50,000:
Rolex Air King
With sleek casing and a prominent minute scale for navigational time readings, the Air King is an aviators’ timepiece. It was launched in 1945 as a tribute to the World War II RAF pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain.
Although the Air King is often viewed as an entry level Rolex, it has a movement on a par with that of the Explorer. Vintage Air Kings are rare and expensive but more recent, pre-owned models retail for around R48,000 to R49,999.
The Rolex Datejust is the watch on which the brand was built. It was the first wristwatch to feature the date. It was also the first watch with self-winding capabilities, capabilities that allowed it to automatically update at midnight.
The Cyclops, a magnifying date bubble on the face, is the model’s most distinctive feature. The Datejust is a pioneer, and a time piece associated with Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill and the Dalai lama.
What can you expect to pay for a piece of horological history first launched in 1945? Anything between R45,000 and R50,000, depending on the year and condition of the watch.
As with its earlier predecessor, the Day-Date was a first in that it displayed both the date and the day. Rolex released the Day-Date in 1956, and it has been a best seller for the brand ever since.
It is a day to day wristwatch available in a wide range of casings – gold, silver and platinum. The more affordable, pre-owned watches currently sell for around R49,000.
Rolex Watches Selling for R125,000 Plus
Those of you with a bigger budget may well be able to afford some of the more iconic – and expensive – Rolex wristwatches.
Here are a few timepieces custom built for racing car drivers, deep sea divers and long-haul pilots:
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a distinctive wristwatch featuring a number of dials and counters. Professional racing car drivers use it as the ultimate tool to measure elapsed time, and average speeds, up to 400 kph!
It is a chunky, masculine watch, and a tribute to the Daytona Speedway, one of NASCAR’s fastest – and most dangerous – race tracks. The Cosmograph Daytona is in a class of its own, and you can expect to pay R250,000 and up for the privilege of wearing one.
Rolex Sea Dweller
The Sea Dweller is a testament to innovation. It is an ultra-resistant deep-sea divers’ watch that is waterproof to a depth of 1,220 metres. It is also fitted with a one-way valve to allow helium to escape during decompression.
A rotatable bezel allows divers to monitor dive and decompression times, and the hands are filled with luminescent material that emits a blue glow for maximised visibility. The Sea Dweller is available in South Africa for R125,000 and more.
Rolex GMT Master II
The GMT Master was designed in collaboration with long-haul Pan-Am pilots in 1954. It featured a fourth hand that allowed pilots to set the watch to Greenwich Mean Time, and use the rotatable bezel to set to a second time zone.
Rolex launched a new and improved version of the watch in the 1980s – the GMT Master II. In this edition, the watch has the ability to simultaneously reflect three different time zones. Prices for pre-owned pieces start at R165,000.
Do you own a Rolex? lamna offers short-term cash loans secured by high value assets – and we consider Rolex watches luxury assets. Call us on 086 111 2866 to find out how our asset-based loans work or apply online now.
Today’s best-known luxury watch brands are backed by centuries of craftsmanship. Find out more.read more
A simple guide to getting an asset-based loan against a watch in Johannesburg.read more
The long and interesting history of Rolex, the world’s most famous luxury watch brand.read more