Tested To Be The Toughest: Best Durable Rolex Watches for Men

Rolex has always designed its watches for male clientele to be tough and rugged. Before, the pieces were all tool and less luxury. Now, the successful watchmaking brand has found a way to merge prestige and functionality in its latest offerings.

From smooth rust-resistant cases and practical complications to defiant movements that conquer harsh conditions, Rolex watches for men are the modern gentleman’s best outdoor companion.

Looking to explore the world with ease and look good while you’re at it? Here are some durable Rolex professional watches for men that are well suited for the task:

1. Rolex Explorer II – Oystersteel, Matte Black Dial Ref. 226570

  • Retail price: S$13,024
  • Market average: S$16,414
  • Secondary market dealer: S$16,961

They include a date aperture at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops magnifier lens over it, a fixed bezel, an independently adjustable orange GMT hand, water resistance to 100m, and an Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylock extension system.

Production Year: 2021

Case Size: 42mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Matte black, with all-white gold hands, applied markers, and Chromalight lume
  • Bracelet- Oyster, with a concealed attachment structure, an Oysterlock safety clasp and an Easylock extension system that allows for fast 5mm adjustments
  • Bezel- Steel and fixed, with darker 24-hour markers

Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds

Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 3285 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 4Hz frequency

Its market price increased from S$17,397 on July 23, 2022, to S$17,451 on August 27, 2022.

About

The Rolex Explorer II 226570 is the ultimate adventurer’s watch. It’s an update to the 216570 and was released to celebrate the Explorer II’s 50th anniversary. It features a slimmer well-polished case with trimmed lugs, a rich black matte dial, a steel bezel, a new and more exciting movement (for this particular watch), and a strong Oyster bracelet with a firm but comfortable grip on the wrist.


2. Rolex Sea – Dweller- Oystersteel and Yellow Gold, Black Dial Ref. 126603

  • Retail price: S$23,306
  • Market average: S$23,461
  • Secondary market dealer: S$24,440

Some of the main ones are a water resistance of 1,220m, a helium escape valve, a Caliber 3235 movement, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a Fliplock extension link and Glidelock extension system.

Production Year: 2019

Case Size: 43mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Black, with ‘Sea-Dweller’ in yellow gold, luminous dot indexes with yellow gold surrounds and hands and hour markers with Chromalight
  • Bracelet- Polished Oyster bracelet with 18K Yellow Gold center links and an Oysterlock safety clasp, Glidelock extension system and Fliplock extension link
  • Bezel- Unidirectional, rotatable Cerachrom bezel with yellow gold 60-minute graduations

Function: Chronograph, Date

Mechanism: Automatic Caliber 3235 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Its market value rose from S$24,428 on July 16, 2022, to S$24,506 on August 23, 2022.

About

The Rolex 126603 is a unique sports watch that dons elegance in addition to the Sea-Dweller’s usual serious look. It’s the first Sea-Dweller with a Rolesor (two-tone: Oystersteel and Yellow Gold) inclusion. It also offers a heftier but impressive presence on the wrist, fit for a skilled diver looking to venture into the deep seas in style.


3. Rolex GMT-Master II – Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 16710

Rolex GMT-Master II 16710

  • Retail price: S$7,883
  • Market average: S$18,382
  • Secondary market dealer: S$20,038

Some of the main ones are an extra red GMT hand with a white triangle, 3185/3186 Caliber movements, a bezel with 24-hour markers, a date window at the three o’clock location, and a bracelet with end links.

Production Year: 1989-2007

Case Size: 40mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Matte black, with Mercedes-styled hands and Tritium lume (1989-1997), Luminova (1998-1999), and Superluminova (2000-2007)
  • Bracelet- Oyster with solid end links and a safety deployant clasp, or Jubilee
  • Bezel- Aluminum, rotatable and bi-colored (blue and red) with 24-hour markers

Function: GMT, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date

Mechanisms: Automatic, COSC-certified Caliber 3185 and 3186 GMT movements. The 3185 has 31 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and a 28,800 BPH frequency. Meanwhile, the 3186 has 31 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and a 28,800 BPH frequency

It’s a versatile, vintage watch. Plus, its market price increased from S$20,690 on May 23, 2022, to S$21,044 on June 28, 2022.

About

Though a classic, the Rolex GMT-Master II (Pepsi) is as functional now as it was before. It’s a timepiece created for pilots, but its design allows it to blend effortlessly into any setup. It has a rugged steel case, black dial, aluminum bezel, screw-down crown, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and an Oyster or jubilee bracelet.


4. Rolex Submariner Date – Oystersteel and Yellow Gold Rolesor, Royal Blue Dial Ref. 126613LB

  • Retail price: S$20,153
  • Market average: S$23,923
  • Secondary market dealer: S$24,262

They include a Maxi Dial with Chromalight, a 3235 movement, a Triplock waterproof crown, water resistance to 300m, a bezel with a knurled edge, a luminescent capsule on the bezel’s 0 marker, a Glidelock clasp, a date window at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops lens over it, and a screw-down crown.

Production Year: 2020

Case Size: 41mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Royal Blue/Sunburst, with Chromalight-illuminated hour markers and white printing
  • Bracelet- Two-tone (18K Yellow Gold and 904L Steel) Oyster bracelet with polished middle links and a Glidelock clasp 
  • Bezel- Rotatable unidirectional blue Cerachrom bezel with 60-minute yellow gold graduations

Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date

Mechanism: In-house automatic Caliber 3235 movement with 31 jewels, 201 parts, a 70-hour power reserve, and 28,800vph frequency

The Rolex Submariner is among the most popular watch collections among watch enthusiasts. Plus, the 126613LB currently goes for at least S$23,000 on the pre-owned market and can have a waitlist of a year or more.

About

The Rolex 126613B is an update of the more modest 116613B. As is the norm for Rolex, it’s not about changing a timepiece but improving it. This version brings along some new and mouth-watering offerings, including an improved movement, a larger case, a more masculine dial and bezel, and smoother lugs and lines.


5. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King – 904L Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 126900

  • Retail price: S$10,183
  • Market average: S$13,055
  • Secondary market dealer: S$13,940

Some of them are an Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink comfort extension, crown guards on its svelte case, water resistance to 100m, a more modern self-winding Caliber 3235 movement, luminous 3-6-9 hour markers, and a Twinlock screw-down crown.

Production Year: 2022

Case Size: 40mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Black dial with Arabic numerals (addition of ‘0’ to the 5th minute), Chromalight lume-coated 3,6, and 9-hour markers and Mercedes-styled hands, and a green seconds hand
  • Bracelet- Three-link Oyster bracelet with an Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink comfort extension
  • Bezel- Fixed, smooth steel bezel

Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds

Mechanism: Automatic Caliber 3230 movement with 70-hour power reserve, 31 jewels, and the patented Chronergy escapement

It’s in high demand due to its limited production. Additionally, its price increased from S$16,323 on June 9, 2022, to S$16,332 on June 29, 2022.

About

This classy sports watch from Rolex is a handsome addition to your watch collection. Its minimal yet impressive improvements are enough to get the attention and admiration of every eagle-eyed connoisseur. From its polished crown guards to its smooth Bloodhound jet car-inspired dial, the 126900 deserves more than a glance in 2022.


6. Rolex Explorer – 904L Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 214270

Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270

  • Retail price: S$9,013
  • Market average: S$11,899
  • Secondary market dealer: S$12,227

Its most exciting characteristics are water resistance to 100m, a signed screw-down Triplock winding crown, a double Oysterlock clasp, a Caliber 3132 movement with a Paraflex shock absorber, and Rolex Explorer’s trademark- oversized Arabic numerals at the 3,6 and 9 positions.

Production Year: 2010-2016

Case Size: 39mm

Materials:

  • Dial- Black dial with steel rectangular illuminated hour markers. It also boasts longer luminous ‘Mercedes’ style Rolex hour and minute hands and a centered sweep second hand with a ‘lollipop’ counterbalance
  • Bracelet- An Oyster bracelet with a double Oysterlock clasp and Easylink system
  • Bezel- Fixed, smooth steel bezel

Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds

Mechanism: The automatic Caliber 3132 movement. It oscillates at a 28,800vph frequency and has 31 jewels. It features a Paraflex shock absorber mechanism and a 48-hour power reserve

It’s a limited edition, raising its demand among watch enthusiasts. Moreover, its market price increased from S$13,384 on June 13, 2022, to S$13,405 on June 22, 2022.

About

This is a simple-looking yet powerful gift from Rolex’s Explorer collection. Considering it’s a timepiece designed for adventurers, it has a rugged three-body stainless steel case, a matching durable steel bracelet, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the black dial, and a solid screw-down caseback.


At a Glance

The table below summarizes the major points of the durable Rolex watches in our picks above.

Model

Key Features

Launch Price

Rolex Explorer II Ref. 226570

  • Adjustable orange GMT hand
  • Water resistance to 100m
  • Date window at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops magnifier lens over it

S$8,450

Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603

  • Water resistance to 1,220m
  • Helium escape valve
  • Caliber 3235 movement

S$15,742

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710

  • Extra red GMT hand with a white triangle
  • Automatic Caliber 3185/3186 movements
  • Bezel with 24-hour markers

S$6,450

Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB

  • 3235 movement
  • Bezel with a knurled edge
  • Luminescent capsule on the bezel’s 0 marker

S$16,635

Rolex Air-King Ref. 126900

  • Crown guards on its svelte case
  • More modern self-winding Caliber 3235 movement
  • Luminous 3-6-9 hour markers

S$7,333

Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270

  • Water resistance to 100m
  • Caliber 3132 movement with a Paraflex shock absorber
  • Oversized Arabic numerals at the 3,6 and 9 positions

S$5,564

The most expensive timepiece on the list is the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603. Meanwhile, the Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 is the most affordable.

Our favorite feature is the Rolex GMT-Master II 16710’s bi-colored (blue for day and red for night) 24-hour bezel. This aluminum bezel enables users to read several time zones (local and not) simultaneously.

FAQs

1. Are Rolex watches durable?

A Rolex watch is extremely durable. A perfect example is its patented Oystersteel, or 904L Stainless Steel, which it uses for most of its watch cases. Oystersteel is highly resistant to corrosion and comprises molybdenum, nickel, copper, and chromium.

2. Which Rolex is best for everyday use?

It depends on your personal preference. However, we suggest tha Rolex Submariner Date 126613LB. Its smooth Oyster case and strong bracelet are ideal for the outside world. Plus, its versatile design allows it to pair with a wetsuit, tuxedo, or a tee and denim jeans seamlessly.

3. Will a Rolex last 100 years?

The most durable Rolex will last for many decades if maintained properly. As per Rolex, users should service their luxury timepieces after at least every ten years. During servicing, a professional watchmaker will disassemble the watch and movement, clean them, and reassemble them. They will replace them if need be.

Rolex pieces from the early years, such as the Rolex Submariner, have been passed down in a family from generation to generation. Serve your Rolex, and it’ll serve you for several lifetimes- or more!

4. Can a Rolex last 50 years?

A Rolex can last 50 years- even more! The key is buying your luxury timepiece from a licensed dealer and taking proper care of it. A well-maintained Rolex can remain fully functional accurately despite the duration. Vintage Rolex watches are testament enough to the pieces’ capability to pass the test of time.

Final Word

Rolex timepieces for men are durable as well as handsome. They have all the requirements to suit the modern man, from tough cases and modern movements to clean, clutter-free dials and innovative designs.

Key Takeaways

  • Modern Rolex watches for men are durable, luxurious, and functional.
  • Rolex makes its watches from high-quality materials, hence their durability feature.
  • Durable Rolex watches for men have an impressive pre-owned price, and their value increases over time-qualities that make them a worthy investment.

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