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Rolex Anniversary Watches: Top 9 Favorites

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Rolex Anniversary Watches

Rolex anniversary timepieces represent significant landmarks in the chronology of watchmaking, celebrating the brand’s lasting heritage. 

These watches typically exhibit unique designs or celebratory features that distinguish them from regular models. 

For instance, specific versions of the Rolex Submariner stand out with their distinctive bezel colors, such as the green “Kermit,” embodying both functionality and the rich history of Rolex’s craft. 

Introducing these special edition watches commemorates pivotal events in Rolex’s history, elevating their appeal as sought-after items among collectors.

History of Rolex Anniversary Editions

Rolex anniversary watches are special-edition timepieces created to commemorate significant milestones in the brand’s history. These timepieces are often distinguished by unique design elements or innovations that pay homage to the company’s legacy.

The tradition of releasing anniversary editions began with Rolex’s approach to celebrating its achievements and the enduring success of its iconic models. Over the years, these editions have become sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for their exclusivity and historical significance.

Key Rolex Anniversary Models

Here are 8 of the best Rolex anniversary watches every Rolex watch fan should invest in in 2024:

1. Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’- Stainless Steel, Black Dial ref. 16610LV

Rolex Submariner Kermit 16610LV

About

The Rolex Submariner Kermit ref. 16610LV celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Submariner line, a testament to the brand’s enduring legacy in dive watch innovation. It earned its nickname from the vibrant green aluminum bezel insert that stands out against the classic design.

It’s mostly an everyday watch due to its stainless steel makeup and green bezel. The black well-lit dial adds a nice masculine touch while proving useful for nighttime adventures.

Features

They include a unidirectional bezel with a green aluminum insert, a date window at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops lens above it, a black Maxi Dial with larger hands and hour markers, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial, and a water resistance rating of 300m.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2003-2010
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black, with luminescent Mercedes-style hands and round/triangular/rectangular hour markers
    • Bracelet – Oystersteel with an Oysterlock clasp
    • Bezel – Unidirectional rotatable, stainless steel, 120-click, with a distinct green aluminum insert with 60-minute graduations
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Self-winding mechanical Caliber 3135 movement with 31 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

The rarity and historical significance of the Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ make it a sought-after piece for collectors. Its appreciation potential is underscored by the limited production span and unique features.

Additionally, its price has increased by at least 50 percent on the pre-owned market between 2010 and January 2024.

2. Rolex Submariner ‘Starbucks’- Oystersteel, Black Dial ref 126610LV

Rolex Submariner 126610LV-002

About

The Rolex Submariner ‘Starbucks’ ref. 126610LV is a luxury men’s watch. It serves as an improvement of the ‘Kermit’, boasting a slimmer and larger case with slimmed-down lugs, new material for the bezel insert, and an updated movement.

Although many collectors argue it’s a flexible dive watch, it goes better with informal clothing due to its more relaxed design and Oyster bracelet.

Features

The main ones are a unidirectional rotatable bezel with a Cerachrom insert, a glossy black dial with Chromalight lume-filled markers, a stainless steel Triplock crown, an Oyster bracelet with a Folding safety clasp, and a bigger 41mm Oystersteel case.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2020
  • Case Size: 41mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black, with Chromalight lume-filled Mercedes-style hands and round/triangular/rectangle hour markers
    • Bracelet – Oystersteel, Oyster, with a Rolex Folding Oysterlock Safety Clasp with a Rolex Glidelock Extension System
    • Bezel – Unidirectional rotatable, Oystersteel, with a green Cerachrom insert with 60-minute graduations
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: In-house self-winding Caliber 3235 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

According to WatchBase, its price has increased between 2020 and 2024. It had a price tag of S$13,188 on September 1, 2020- which rose to S$14,638 on January 19, 2022, S$15,652 on January 10, 2023, and S$16,232 on January 1, 2024 so far.

3. Rolex GMT-Master II 50th Anniversary – Yellow Gold, Green Dial ref. 116718LN-0002

Rolex GMT-Master II 116718LN

About

The Rolex GMT-Master II 50th Anniversary ref. 116718LN-0002 was introduced to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolex GMT-Master series, renowned for its functionality and timeless design. It quickly became an iconic model for its unique aesthetics and Rolex’s craftsmanship.

It pairs excellently with a suit and tie, mostly because of its monochromatic Yellow Gold design and slim profile. The green dial brings a much-needed contrast.

Features

The anniversary model’s features include a bidirectional rotatable dial with 24-hour markings and a black Cerachrom insert, a green dial, a Yellow Gold case and bracelet, a patented Triplock locking crown, and a bracelet with brushed outer links, polished center links & polished edges.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2005
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Green, with luminescent polished Yellow Gold hands and rimmed hour markers
    • Bracelet – 18kt yellow gold, Oyster, with an Oysterlock double-locking deployant clasp with an Easylink 5mm extension link
    • Bezel – Bi-directional rotatable, with ribbed edges and a black Cerachrom insert with Yellow Gold 24-hour markings and graduations
  • Function: GMT, Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 3186 movement, with 31 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

The reference number 116718LN-0002 may appreciate in value with time. For example, as per WatchBase, its price increased from S$42,391 on February 1, 2015, to S$44,493 on August 29, 2017.

4. Rolex Explorer II 40th Anniversary Orange Hand – Stainless Steel, White ‘Polar’ Dial ref. 216570-0001

Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570

About

For the Explorer II’s 40th anniversary, Rolex produced the new generation ref. 216570-0001 with an orange-colored 24-hour hand as an ode to the original Ref. 1655 model. It features a larger 42mm steel case- 2mm bigger than previous Explorer II models, and a well-lit dial with larger hands and markers, making it ideal for everyday wear.

Features

The main ones are a white ‘Polar’ Maxi Dial with Chromalight, a high-visibility orange 24-hour hand, a fixed stainless steel bezel with engraved 24-hour indications, a larger 42mm steel case, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2011-2021
  • Case Size: 42mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White, with a ‘Polar’ background with Chromalight lume-filled larger hands and hour markers and a bright orange 24-hour hand
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel, Oyster, with an Oysterlock safety clasp
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, stainless steel, with 24-hour engravings
  • Function: GMT, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 3187 mechanical movement with 31 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

WatchCharts indicates its price has increased steadily between 2014 and 2020. It had a S$9,710 price tag on June 1, 2014- which rose to S$10,362 on February 1, 2015, S$10,797 from February 1, 2016 to October 10, 2017, and S$11,449 on January 4, 2020.

5. Rolex Daytona 50th Anniversary – 950L Platinum, Ice-Blue Dial ref. 116506-0002

rolex daytona platinium 116506-0002

About

The Rolex Daytona 50th Anniversary edition ref. 116506-0002 celebrates half a century of the Cosmograph Daytona’s existence. It’s renowned for its exclusivity and its association with high-performance motorsport. 

Its rugged design, chronograph complication, and Oyster bracelet stress its standing as a luxury sports watch suitable for everyday use.

Features

This special edition Cosmograph Daytona boasts a range of premium features including a unique ice-blue dial, a monobloc Cerachrom bezel in chestnut brown with a tachymeter scale, baguette diamond hour markers, a 950L platinum case and bracelet, and subdials at 3,6 and 9 o’clock.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2013-2023
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Ice-blue, with sunray finish, and polished White Gold hands and 11 baguette diamond hour markers with Chromalight lume
    • Bracelet – 950L platinum, Oyster, with Oysterlock double-locking deployant clasp fitted with the patented Easylink 5mm extension link
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, 950L platinum, with a chestnut brown Cerachrom insert with a tachymeter scale
  • Function: Chronograph, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Tachymeter
  • Mechanism: Rolex’s caliber 4130, a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with 44 jewels, a 72-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

Its price has increased by at least 35% between 2016 and January 2024. Experts expect the amount to be even higher before December 2024 considering it’s a discontinued piece and has a long history.

6. Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary – Everose Gold, Olive Green Dial ref. 228235-0025

Rolex President Day-Date 228235

About

The Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary ref. 228235-0025 is a special edition timepiece that was introduced in 2016 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Day-Date, which was first launched in 1956. It’s known for its distinctive green dial, a color that has become synonymous with Rolex’s brand identity.

It screams sophistication from its case to its bracelet, making it a dress watch ideal for formal occasions.

Features

They include a distinctive olive green dial, Roman numeral hour markers, a President bracelet, a full day display at 12 o’clock, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a fluted bezel.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2016
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Olive green, with Everose Gold-tone hands and Roman numeral/index hour markers
    • Bracelet – 18ct Everose Gold, President, with a concealed folding Crownclasp
    • Bezel – 18ct Everose Gold, fixed, fluted
  • Function: Day, Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Powered by Rolex’s Caliber 3255, a self-winding mechanical movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

WatchBase indicates its price increased between 2016 and 2024, with a value of S$50,145 from February 1, 2016, to August 11, 2016, before rising to S$54,058 on January 17, 2020, and S$62,609 on January 4, 2024, so far.

7. Rolex Milgauss 50th Anniversary – Stainless Steel, Black Dial ref. 116400GV-0001

Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV

About

The Rolex Milgauss 50th Anniversary ref. 116400GV-0001 was introduced to mark the model’s 50th anniversary with its distinctive black dial and green sapphire crystal. It is renowned for its unique ability to withstand magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss, a feature that originally catered to scientists and engineers.

The standard ref. 116400GV-0001 is one of those Rolex sports watches that border between formal and casual. Its case, bezel, and bracelet give a relaxed vibe. Meanwhile, its black dial and unique crystal allow it to fit in a more serious environment.

Features

This model features a green sapphire crystal above its black dial, an orange lightning bolt second hand, a polished smooth bezel, orange Arabic numeral markers after every five-minute interval on the dial’s outer minute track, and orange indices at 3,6 and 9 o’clock.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2007-2023
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black, with Chromalight lume-filled hands and index hour markers
    • Bracelet – Oystersteel, Oyster, with an Oysterlock safety clasp
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, Oystersteel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, and Seconds
  • Mechanism: It’s powered by Rolex’s Caliber 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement with 31 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

According to WatchBase, its price has increased consistently between 2015 and 2023, starting at S$10,507 on February 1, 2015, and rising to S$10,942 on August 29, 2017, S$11,449 on January 4, 2020, S$12,609 on January 20, 2022, and S$13,478 on January 13, 2023.

8. Rolex Explorer II 50th Anniversary – Oystersteel, Black Dial ref. 226570-0002

Rolex Explorer II Ref. 226570

About

The Rolex Explorer II 50th Anniversary ref. 226570-0002 is one of two luxury tool watches (the other being the ‘Polar’ dial ref. 226570-0001) Rolex released in 2021 to commemorate the Explorer II’s 50th anniversary. In true Rolex Fashion, nothing much has changed from the previous update’s design except that it’s a hair thinner than the original ref. 1655 at 12.55mm and has a wider bracelet.

Its sturdy design, Oyster bracelet, and playful dial make it more of an adventure watch than a boardroom accessory.

Features

They include an inverted triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock, an entirely new generation movement with a Chronergy escapement, a black dial with polished White Gold hands and indexes, and a date aperture at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops magnifier lens above it.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 42mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black, with Chromalight V.2-filled polished White Gold hands and indexes, and an orange GMT hand and a bright orange arrow-shaped 24-hour hand
    • Bracelet – Oystersteel, Oyster, with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp along with the Rolex Glidelock extension system
    • Bezel – Fixed, smooth, Oystersteel, with 24-hour engravings
  • Function: GMT, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: The Rolex Caliber 3285 self-winding movement with a Chronergy escapement, 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

This modern watch appreciates in value with time, as WatchBase indicates. It went for S$11,739 on April 6, 2021, before rising to S$13,043 on January 19, 2022, S$13,986 on January 13, 2023, and S$14,565 on January 2, 2024.

9. Rolex Sea Dweller 50th Anniversary – Stainless Steel, Black Dial ref. 126600-0001

rolex sea-dweller watch 126600-0001

About

The Rolex Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary ref. 126600-0001, was introduced in 2017 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Sea-Dweller, which was launched in 1967. It may be made from the same metal as its predecessors but it brought several updates and new features to the iconic dive watch, such as a larger 43mm case and a higher water resistance rating (1,220m).

Features

The main ones are a larger, redesigned 43mm case crafted from steel, a unidirectional rotatable bezel with a black Cerachrom insert, a helium escape valve, a bright red ‘SEA-DWELLER’ logo on the dial, a thicker sapphire crystal over the dial, and a titanium caseback.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 2017
  • Case Size: 43mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Matte black with large luminescent hands and hour markers and red “Sea-Dweller” text
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel, Oyster, with an Oysterlock safety clasp and Glidelock extension system
    • Bezel – Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in black ceramic, numerals, and graduations coated in platinum
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Powered by Rolex Caliber 3235, a self-winding mechanical movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Why You Should Invest?

The 50th Anniversary Sea-Dweller ref. 126600-0001 is a collectible due to its milestone significance, limited production, and its ability to appreciate in value with time.For instance, WatchBase reveals its price increased between 2017 and 2023, starting at S$15,145 on June 17, 2017, and rising to S$16,087 on January 4, 2020, S$17,826 on January 20, 2022, and S$19,203 on January 13, 2023.

Summary

The following table highlights the Rolex anniversary watches above, plus their key features, retail, private market, and pre-owned prices:

ModelKey FeaturesRetail PricePrivate Market PricePre-Owned Price
Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ ref. 16610LV• Unidirectional bezel with a green aluminum insert
• Date window at 3 o’clock with a Cyclops lens above it
• Black Maxi Dial with larger hands and hour markers
S$8,614S$18,673S$20,965
Rolex Submariner ‘Starbucks’ ref 126610LV• Unidirectional rotatable bezel with a Cerachrom insert
• Glossy black dial with Chromalight lume filled markers
• Bigger 41mm Oystersteel case
S$14,536S$20,280S$21,600
Rolex GMT-Master II 50th Anniversary ref. 116718LN-0002• Bidirectional rotatable dial with 24-hour markings and a black Cerachrom insert
• Green dial
• Yellow Gold case and bracelet
S$52,486S$55,900
Rolex Explorer II 40th Anniversary Orange Hand ref. 216570-0001• White ‘Polar’ Maxi Dial with Chromalight
• High-visibility orange 24-hour hand
• Fixed stainless steel bezel with engraved 24-hour indications
S$11,238S$12,265S$13,900
Rolex Daytona 50th Anniversary ref. 116506• Unique ice-blue dial
• Monobloc Cerachrom bezel in chestnut brown with a tachymeter scale
• Baguette diamond hour markers
S$118,845S$128,545S$146,900
Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary ref. 228235-0025• Roman numeral hour markers
• President bracelet
• Full day display at 12 o’clock
S$55,855S$62,807S$65,435
Rolex Milgauss 50th Anniversary ref. 116400GV-0001• Green sapphire crystal above its black dial
• Orange lightning bolt second hand
• Orange indices at 3,6 and 9 o’clock
S$12,517S$12,866S$14,895
Rolex Explorer II 50th Anniversary ref. 226570-0002• Inverted triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock
• Upgraded movement with a Chronergy escapement
• Black dial with polished White Gold hands and indexes
S$12,988S$14,747S$15,200
Rolex Sea Dweller 50th Anniversary ref. 126600-0001• Larger, redesigned 43mm steel case
• Helium escape valve
• Bright red ‘SEA-DWELLER’ logo on the dial
S$17,833S$17,362S$17,500

Why Collect Rolex Anniversary Watches?

Here are some of the factors that make Rolex anniversary watches appealing to most watch collectors:

  • Rarity: Anniversary editions are typically produced in limited quantities, making them scarce in the market. This scarcity can lead to increased demand and potentially, a higher value over time.
  • Historical Significance: Models like the Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ not only signify a milestone but also often introduce design changes or feature unique elements that set them apart from standard models.
  • Investment Value: While there’s no guarantee, the unique nature of anniversary models can result in a noteworthy appreciation in value, making them attractive pieces for those looking to diversify their investment portfolio through collectibles.
  • Craftsmanship and design innovation: For instance, the use of the color green in anniversary models is a subtle nod to Rolex’s brand color, giving them an understated but recognizable distinction.

The appeal of Rolex Anniversary watches to collectors is multifaceted: They’re treasured for their exceptional quality, potential for long-term value, and as a physical representation of Rolex’s storied history. This combination of factors fortifies their status as highly coveted pieces in the world of horology.

Investment Potential

Rolex anniversary watches have long been regarded as strong investment pieces due to their limited supply and unique features that distinguish them from standard models.

The following are some characteristics that determine their investment potential:

  • Scarcity & Demand: Anniversary editions, by nature, are produced in limited quantities which can fuel demand among collectors and investors alike. For example, the Rolex Submariner references, like the Ref. 116610LN, are particularly sought after.
  • Appreciation Trends: Tracking the market performance of previous Rolex anniversary models can provide insight into potential appreciation. Certain models like the Rolex Sea Dweller ref. 126600-0001 and the Rolex Explorer II ref. 226570-0002 have seen noteworthy increases in value over time.
  • Condition, market conditions, and the ability to authenticate the watch: Collectors often place a premium on watches that have been well-maintained and come with original parts and documentation.

With Rolex’s reputation for crafting durable timepieces that retain their appeal, investing in an anniversary model is typically seen as a more secure proposition compared to other luxury watches. 

The combination of brand reputation, model rarity, and intrinsic quality makes Rolex anniversary watches a compelling option for those looking to diversify their investments into tangible assets.

FAQs

1. What year was the 50th anniversary Rolex Submariner?

2003 marked the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Submariner. To celebrate, Rolex introduced a special version of the timepiece with distinctive features, like the green bezel insert, which has become a hallmark of the anniversary edition.

2. Will a Rolex last 100 years?

A Rolex is designed for durability and longevity. With proper care and regular servicing, it is possible for a Rolex watch to last 100 years or more, being passed down as a treasured heirloom across generations.

3. Which is the most expensive Rolex watch?

The most expensive Rolex watch sold to date is the Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, auctioned for S$23.9 million in 2017. Rolex watches often fetch high prices due to their iconic status, quality, and history.

4. How much is a Rolex Daytona 2023?

As of 2023, the price of a new Rolex Daytona can vary widely depending on the model, materials, and availability. Prices generally start from around S$17,482 and can significantly increase for special editions or models made from precious metals.

Conclusion

Rolex anniversary timepieces hold a prestigious position in the world of horology. Known for their enduring quality and iconic design, they celebrate milestones with a nod to the brand’s rich heritage. 

They represent more than just precise timekeeping; they symbolize history and achievement, with each edition often introducing subtle, yet distinguished features.

Key Takeaways

  • Rolex anniversary watches are special edition timepieces that commemorate significant milestones in Rolex’s history.
  • Rolex anniversary watches are strong investment pieces for their limited supply, unique features, and ability to retain or appreciate in value with time.
  • Proper care and regular servicing of your Rolex anniversary watch can make it last for 100 years or more.

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