10 Best Vintage Rolex Watches for Collectors, Enthusiasts

Rolex has been a household name since its establishment for all the right reasons. The legendary Swiss luxury watch company has an aura that gets better with time. In fact, its crown is among the most recognized symbols globally!

It’s been producing eye-catching timepieces, but it was between the ‘50s and ‘80s when the Crown was enjoying a creative streak. Its timepieces wowed watch enthusiasts with practical complications like the GMT and waterproof cases.

Here are some of the brand’s collection of vintage Rolex watches every collector and enthusiast should own:

1. Rolex GMT Master – Oyster, Black Dial Ref. 1675

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$5,931
  • Market Average: S$25,621
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$31,208

They include a water resistance of 50m, a domed crystal with a Cyclops magnifier, an automatic Caliber 1575 movement, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a larger triangle on the tip of the 24-hour hand.

  • Production Year: 1967-1980
  • Case Size: 38mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: ‘Mark 1’ matte black dial with large indices with Tritium luminous material
    • Bracelet: 78360 Oyster bracelet with 580 end links
    • Bezel: Rotatable aluminum two-toned (blue and fuchsia) Fat Font bezel with a special 24-hour insert
  • Function: GMT, Date, Hour, Minute, Second
  • Mechanism: Automatic 1575 movement with 25 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and 19,800 a/h frequency

Its market price rose from S$23,611 on May 14, 2022, to S$26,512 on November 1, 2022.

About

Rolex created the first GMT Master timepiece upon request by Pan Am pilots. They needed a watch that would simultaneously keep track of several time zones- home’s and the place they’d be heading to. The GMT Master 1675 1967 model (Pepsi ‘Pink Panther’) served this purpose perfectly.

It has an Oyster case, a matte black dial with white text (matte dials , rounded crown guards, a rotatable aluminum bezel, a Plexiglass crystal, and an Oyster bracelet.


2. Rolex GMT-Master II – Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 16760 (Fat Lady)

Rolex GMT-Master II 16760 (Fat Lady) black dial

  • Retail Price: S$3,242
  • Market Average: S$20,061
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$24,091

It displays three time zones at once, thanks to its advanced movement. It also showcases 18K white gold around the indices and has a bi-directional revolving bezel, a Twinlock screw-down winding crown, an independently adjustable hour hand, a Cyclops lens over the date aperture at 3 o’clock, a water resistance of 100m and an automatic Caliber 3085 movement.

  • Production Year: 1983-1988
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Matte black dial with Tritium luminescent material
    • Bracelet: 78360 Oyster flip-lock bracelet with 501 end links
    • Bezel: Bi-directional steel two-toned (black and red) bezel with a 24-hour insert
  • Function: GMT, Date, Hour, Minute, Second
  • Mechanism: Self-winding rhodium-plated Caliber 3085 movement

Its market price increased from S$19,645 on May 24, 2022, to S$22,144 on July 15, 2022. Experts believe the prices will go higher by December due to the timepiece’s demand.

About

This breathtaking piece with an unconventional moniker is beautiful inside and out. This GMT Master II boasts a thicker-by-5mm stainless steel case, larger crown guards, wider bezel (hence the cringy ‘Fat Lady’), matte black dial with a nice light cream lume, a rotatable black and red bezel, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and an Oyster bracelet.


3. Rolex Sea-Dweller Double Red – 316L Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 1665

Rolex Sea-Dweller Double Red 1665 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$4,870
  • Market Average: S$38,331
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$47,214

Some of them are a helium escape valve (HEV), a Plexiglass crystal protecting the dial, a rotatable black bezel, water resistance of 610m, a date window at 3 o’clock, and an automatic Caliber 1575 movement.

  • Production Year: 1967-1977
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Mark I matte black, with Tritium and dot hour markers
    • Bracelet: Oyster No.93150 bracelet with No.585 end links and diver’s extension
    • Bezel: Rotatable black, marked to 60 minutes
  • Function: HEV, Date, Hour, Minute, Second
  • Mechanism: Certified chronometer (COSC) self-winding Caliber 1575 movement with 25 jewels and a 48-hour power reserve

It’s faring amazingly well on the financial front. Its market price increased from S$27,220 on May 16, 2022, to S$38,331 on November 11, 2022.

About

The Rolex Double Red 1665 got its name from the fact that its dial had two red lines of writing: SEADWELLER, SUBMARINER 2000. 

It has a waterproof stainless steel case, a black acrylic bezel, a matte black dial, an acrylic domed (Plexiglass) crystal minus the famous Cyclops date lens, a solid caseback with the word ‘Rolex’ printed horizontally and a matching stainless steel bracelet.


4. Rolex Submariner – Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 5513

Rolex Submariner 5513 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$2,717
  • Market Average: S$19,782
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$22,070

Some of them are pointed crown guards to shield the watch’s winding mechanism, a golden dot detail at the 12 o’clock position, water resistance at 200m, an acrylic crystal, a screw-down caseback with no engraving, and an automatic Caliber 1530 movement.

  • Production Year: 1962-1989
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black, glossy gilt 2-liner dial with radium lume and gold-colored signatures, hour markers, and hands
    • Bracelet: Oyster, with a thin and easy-to-use folding clasp
    • Bezel: Robust, aluminum, and unidirectional
  • Function: Time With Running Seconds, Elapsed Time Bezel
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 1530 movement, which features 17 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and an average frequency of 18,000vph

Its market value increased from S$19,321 on June 20, 2022, to S$20,876 on August 17, 2022, revealing it’s still a keeper despite having a movement that isn’t a certified chronometer.

About

The Rolex Submariner is among the globe’s first purpose-built dive timepieces. The Submariner 5513 was equipped for the job with its stainless steel case, domed acrylic Plexiglass crystal, black maxi dial, pointed crown guards, black aluminum bezel, and a sturdy steel Oyster bracelet.


5. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona – Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 6263

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$119,510
  • Market Average: S$119,030
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$131,661

The main ones are a tachymeter scale, an acrylic Plexiglass crystal, silver sub-dials at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock, a manual wind Valjoux 727 movement, and a water resistance of 100m.

  • Production Year: 1971-1987
  • Case Size: 37mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black dial with silver subdials, red DAYTONA graving in relation to the 6 o’clock subdial, and black hands and hour markers
    • Bracelet: Rolex Oyster bracelet with folding clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed black bezel insert with a tachymeter scale
  • Function: Time with Running Seconds, 12-Hour Chronograph
  • Mechanism: The Valjoux 727 manual wind movement. It has 17 jewels and features a 21,600 BPH frequency and a 48-hour power reserve

It’s the final iteration from the first generation of manual-wind Daytona watches. Plus, its market price increased from S$126,068 on June 21, 2022, to S$130,775 on October 1, 2022.

About

Rolex produced the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 (Big Red) for professional speed racing. Its stainless steel case, black dial, black bezel with a tachymeter scale, second-generation screw-down pushers, screw-down caseback, and Oyster bracelet tell it all.


6. Rolex Explorer – Stainless Steel, Matte Black Dial Ref. 1016

Rolex Explorer 1016 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$4,414
  • Market Average: S$27,046
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$29,795

They include a screw-down Twinlock crown, an acrylic Plexiglass crystal, a signed case and movement, an automatic Caliber 1560 movement, 3,6 and 9 o’clock Arabic numeral markers, and a water resistance of 100m.

  • Production Year: 1960-1971
  • Case Size: 36mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black matte dial with sweep center seconds, luminous markers, and Mercedes-styled hands
    • Bracelet: Oyster bracelet with a deployant clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth steel bezel
  • Function: Time with running seconds
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 1560 movement, certified chronometer, beats at 18,800 BPH, has 26 jewels, and features a perpetual rotor and 48-hour power reserve

It’s the last Explorer to feature an acrylic crystal, making it a must-have among more watch enthusiasts. Moreover, its market price increased from S$22,561 on July 19, 2022, to S$27,046 on November 12, 2022.

About

The Rolex Explorer 1016 is a vintage gem that seamlessly combines a sports appearance with a dress wristwatch look. Its durable case is polished and satined and crafted from Rolex’s exclusive stainless steel. It also has a screw-down crown and back, a black dial, a steel bezel, and an Oyster bracelet.


7. Rolex Explorer II – Stainless Steel, Matte Black Dial Ref. 1655

Rolex Explorer II 1655 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$3,887
  • Market Average: S$38,742
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$45,675

Our top picks include its tonneau-shaped case, a date window at 3 o’clock, a Plexiglass crystal, a magnifying lens over the aperture, a Twinlock crown, a Caliber 1570 movement, an extra bright orange hour hand, a Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet, a water resistance of 100m.

  • Production Year: 1971-1985
  • Case Size: 38mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black matte dial with sweep center seconds, luminous hands, and luminous dagger and baton numerals
    • Bracelet: An Oyster bracelet with a deployant clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed, stainless steel bezel with 24-hour markings
  • Function: GMT, Chronograph, Date
  • Mechanism: Automatic Caliber 1570 movement, it beats at 19.8 KBPH and has 26 jewels and a 48-hour power reserve

It’s the first version of Rolex’s Explorer II collection. Plus, its market price rose from S$38,760 on May 17, 2022, to S$44,673 on October 9, 2022.

About

Fondly referred to as the ‘Freccione Era Explorer,’ ‘Steve McQueen Explorer II,’ and ‘The Orange Hand Explorer,’ Rolex created the Rolex Explorer II 1655 with potholers and speleologists in mind. It has a stainless steel case, a steel bezel, a black matte dial, a screw-down caseback, and a matching steel bracelet.


8. Rolex Submariner – Stainless Steel, Black Dial Ref. 5512

Rolex Submariner 5512 black dial

  • Retail Price: S$3,590
  • Market Average: S$27,923
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$33,199

Some of the Rolex Submariner reference 5512’s main ones are a domed crystal, water resistance of 200m, an automatic Caliber 1530 movement, Tritium luminous material, a screw-down crown, a Tritium dot beneath the 6 o’clock hour indicator, a bidirectional bezel, and crown guards.

  • Production Year: 1959-1979
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black gilt dial with Tritium lume, a poire squelette handset, and gold markers, minute index, and hands
    • Bracelet: Steel riveted Oyster bracelet with stamped clasp
    • Bezel: Unidirectional black bezel with aluminum insert numbered to 60 units
  • Function: Date, Hour, Minute, Second
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 1530 movement with 25 jewels and an 18.000 frequency

It’s a limited edition and was the first Rolex to have a crown guard. What’s more, its market value increased from S$25,730 on June 2, 2022, to S$28,868 on September 13, 2022.

About

The Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 has a smooth stainless steel case, pointed crown guards, a black dial with minimal clutter, a steel bezel with an aluminum insert, and an Oyster bracelet.


9. Rolex Oysterdate Precision – Stainless Steel, Silver Dial Ref. 6694

Rolex Oysterdate Precision 6694 silver dial

  • Retail Price: S$2,593
  • Market Average: S$3,931
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$4,720

The main ones are a date window at 3 o’clock, a Cyclops lens over the date display, an acrylic Plexiglass crystal shielding the delicate dial, ‘T Swiss T’ lettering at 6 o’clock, Tritium-crafted luminous dots, a screw-down crown, and a manual wind Caliber 1225 movement.

  • Production Year: Early 60’s to the late ’80s
  • Case Size: 34mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Silver, with raised baton, ‘PRECISION’ engraving, outer minute divisions, and luminous dot hour markers
    • Bracelet: Steel and Oyster, with a foldover clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth stainless steel bezel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes
  • Mechanism: Quartz movement

It’s a decent watch with high demand. Its market price increased from S$4,109 on June 14, 2022, to S$4,297 on July 23, 2022.

About

Looking for a simplistic vintage watch that packs an equal punch to that of the classic heavyweights in the Rolex lineup? Look no further than the Rolex Oysterdate 6694. 

It’s a nice watch with a minimalist yet eye-catching design with its polished stainless steel casing, clean silver dial, fixed smooth bezel, and smooth Oyster bracelet. It’s among the most affordable vintage Rolex watches. Plus, its smaller size allows it to be equally at home on a lady’s wrist as it would be on a gentleman’s.


10. Rolex Day-Date President – 18K White Gold, Orange Stella Dial Ref. 1803

Rolex Day-Date President 1803 Orange stella dial

  • Retail Price: S$5,690
  • Market Average: S$15,896
  • Secondary Market Dealer: S$18,302

They include a pie-pan dial, displaying the day of the week in full below 12 o’clock, a date display at 3 o’clock, a rich orange Stella dial, a fluted bezel, and an automatic Caliber 1555 movement.

  • Production Year: 1958-1977
  • Case Size: 36mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Orange Stella dial with 18K white gold Tritium-illuminated hands and hour markers
    • Bracelet: Oyster bracelet with slender foldover clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed, fluted 18K white gold bezel
  • Function: Day Indicator, Time with Running Seconds, Date Indicator
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 1555 movement, with 26 jewels, and a 42-hour power reserve

The Stella dial is scarce. As such, this piece will fetch you a significant profit. Moreover, the timer’s market price increased from S$16,811 on May 18, 2022, to S$18,034 on October 17, 2022.

About

The Day-Date President 1803 piece bears the enviable title because countless presidents wore it. It has an elegant Oyster case fashioned from 18K white gold (also available in yellow gold), an 18K white gold caseback, flat acrylic crystal, screw-down crown, 18K white gold bezel, and a luxurious Oyster bracelet.


At a Glance

The table below highlights the main points of our picks above.

Model

Key Features

Launch Price

Current Price

Pre-Owned Price

Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675

  • Water resistance to 50m
  • Domed crystal with Cyclops magnifier
  • Automatic Caliber 1575 movement

S$3,770

S$5,931

S$18,621

Rolex GMT-Master (Fat Lady) Ref. 16760 

  • Displays three time zones at once
  • Independently adjustable hour hand
  • Automatic Caliber 3085 movement

S$2,590

S$3,242

S$17,243

Rolex Sea-Dweller Double Red Ref. 1665

  • Helium Escape Valve (HEV)
  • Water resistance of 610m
  • Rotatable black bezel

S$4,110

S$4,870

S$81,247

Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513

  • Pointed crown guards
  • Water resistance at 200m
  • Automatic Caliber 1530 movement

S$1,480

S$2,717

S$23,450

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6263

  • Tachymeter scale
  • Silver sub-dials at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock
  • Manual wind Valjoux 727 movement

S$110,450

S$119,510

S$108,628

Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016

  • Screw down Twinlock crown
  • Automatic Caliber 1560 movement
  • 3,6, and 9 o’clock Arabic numeral markers

S$1,310

S$4,414

S$33,343

Rolex Explorer II Ref. 1655

  • Magnifying lens over the aperture
  • Caliber 1570 movement
  • Extra bright orange hour hand

S$2,620

S$3,887

S$17,945

Rolex Submariner Ref. 5512

  • Automatic Caliber 1530 movement
  • Tritium dot beneath the 6 o’clock hour indicator
  • Crown guards

S$2,875

S$3,590

S$29,043

Rolex Oysterdate Precision Ref. 6694

  • ‘T Swiss T’ lettering at 6 o’clock
  • Tritium-crafted luminous dots
  • Manual wind Caliber 1225 movement

S$1,460

S$2,593

S$5,283

Rolex Day-Date President Ref. 1803

  • Pie-pan dial
  • Displaying the day of the week in full below 12 o’clock
  • Rich orange Stella dial

S$3,840

S$5,690

S$22,760

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 is the costliest piece. On the other hand, the Rolex Oysterdate Precision 6694 is the most affordable vintage Rolex. 

Although the Rolex 6263’s tachymeter scale and Rolex 1803’s day-date and Stella dial are cool features, our favorite characteristic is Rolex 16760’s advanced movement and bi-colored unidirectional bezel. They allow pilots to keep track of three time zones simultaneously. Check out the full summary below:

FAQs

1. How Can You Tell if a Vintage Watch is Original?

It’s probably authentic if it has the appropriate movement, if the serial number on the case and bracelet are similar, if it doesn’t have any typos or fake-looking engravings on the dial or caseback, and if it isn’t oddly heavier than expected. You’re always safer asking an expert to verify it at the end of the day before purchasing.

2. Which is the Best Rolex Vintage Watch to Invest In?

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263. It’s one of the most popular sports watches among watch enthusiasts due to its rarity. It’s also linked to the famous American race car driver and actor Paul Newman. The Paul Newman Daytona can earn you lots of profit if it’s in working condition and reasonably good shape.

3. What Qualifies a Rolex Watch to be Vintage?

A Rolex watch is considered a vintage model if it’s been around for at least 30 years. Some timepiece experts raise the bar to a whopping 50 years or more.

Final Word

A vintage Rolex watch is a timeless classic that’s respected in the watch industry. The right one can complement your look, increase your financial horizon and enable you to enjoy some of Rolex’s best and rarest offerings. Happy watch collecting!

Key Takeaways

  • A vintage Rolex is a worthwhile investment since they increase in value over time.
  • A classic Rolex timepiece has unique features that modern ones don’t, like Tritium-lumed hands and an acrylic Plexiglass crystal.
  • Old Rolex timepieces were crafted from quality materials, enabling them to get better and more valuable with time.

Looking to buy or sell your luxury watches? Watch Book is your one-stop destination for trading Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tissot, Sinn, Zenith, and other luxury timepieces. Find your next watch today or list your item for free!

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