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6 Best Entry-Level Rolex Watches for First-Time Buyers

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rolex entry level watches

When it comes to luxury watches, few brands can match the prestige and quality of Rolex. Founded in 1905, Rolex has built a reputation for producing some of the most iconic and sought-after timepieces in the world. 

While many Rolex watches come with a high price tag, the brand also offers a range of entry-level models that are more accessible to watch enthusiasts on a budget. 

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the six best Rolex entry-level watches, highlighting their unique features and benefits, and helping you choose the perfect timepiece to add to your collection.

Top Entry-Level Rolex Models in Singapore

From the icons like the Submariner and Datejust to more modern options like the Oyster Perpetual and Air-King, there’s something for everyone.

1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual – (S$8,500 – S$37,500)

rolex oyster perpetual

If you’re in search of a classic and timeless Rolex watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection is a great place to start. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a popular entry-level watch series offered by the brand. Here are the top 3 models in the OP collections that are considered entry-level.

  • Oyster Perpetual 41: This model was introduced in 2020 and features a 41mm case size. It’s the latest addition to the Oyster Perpetual series and provides a contemporary look with a range of dial color options. 
  • Oyster Perpetual 36: The 36mm case size is a popular choice for both men and women, and this model provides a versatile and timeless look. 
  • Oyster Perpetual 39: The largest option in the Oyster Perpetual series, the 39mm case size provides a more modern and bold look. It’s a great option for those who prefer a larger watch. 

2. Rolex Air-King – (S$4,407 – S$13,000)

rolex air king

The Rolex Air-King is a classic and elegant watch collection that showcases the brand’s aviation heritage. Designed for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, the Air-King offers reliable performance and timeless style. Here are the top 3 entry-level models in the Air-King collection:

  • Air-King 126900: The 2022 Rolex Air King, reference 126900-0001, is an updated version of the original 2017 model. This watch features a newly designed case, an upgraded movement (3230), and several other enhancements compared to its predecessor.
  • Air-King 116900: This model is the latest iteration of the Air-King collection, introduced in 2016. It features a 40mm case size, offering a contemporary look with its black dial and green and white accents.
  • Air-King Vintage 5500: A classic vintage model with a 34mm case size, the Air-King 5500 provides a timeless and versatile look. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a more traditional Rolex watch.

3. Rolex Datejust – (S$3,158 – S$50,317)

rolex datejust

The Rolex Datejust is not just iconic for its timeless design, but it is also known for being a robust and reliable watch. Rolex Datejust comes in a variety of styles and designs, so you can find something that speaks to your personal style. 

The options range from stainless steel models with various bezels to different precious metals such as yellow gold or platinum. You also have the option to pick between different dials, hands, and straps as well as choosing from different sizes (from 28 mm to 41 mm). Here are the top 3 entry-level models in the Datejust collection:

  • Datejust 36: The 36mm case size is a classic and timeless option for both men and women, featuring a variety of dial and bracelet options to suit individual tastes.
  • Datejust 41: This model offers a contemporary look with its 41mm case size, and a range of dial color options to choose from.
  • Lady-Datejust 28: Designed specifically for women, the Lady-Datejust 28 features a smaller 28mm case size and a selection of elegant dial and bracelet options.

4. Rolex Explorer – (S$5,891 – S$24,177)

rolex explorer

A watch built for adventure, the Rolex Explorer is beloved for its simple, rugged design. Rolex Explorer has become a staple for adventure seekers since its introduction in 1953. 

The Rolex Explorer collection is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration. Known for its durability and precision, these watches are designed to withstand extreme conditions while maintaining their elegance. Here are the top 3 entry-level models in the Explorer collection.

  • Explorer I 214270: The 39mm case size of this model offers a classic and timeless look, suitable for both men and women. It features a black dial with luminescent hour markers and hands for easy readability in low light conditions.
  • Explorer II 16570: With a 40mm case size, this model provides a versatile option for those who prefer a slightly larger watch. It includes a GMT function with an additional red 24-hour hand, making it an ideal companion for travelers.
  • Explorer II 216570: The largest option in the Explorer collection, the 42mm case size offers a bold and modern look. It also features a GMT function with a distinctive orange 24-hour hand, along with a date display for added functionality.

5. Rolex Submariner – (S$12,618 – S$54,893)

rolex submariner

While on the higher end of the entry-level range, the Submariner offers a sporty and versatile design. Known for its dependable water resistance, unidirectional rotatable bezel, and iconic aesthetics, the Submariner has been a staple in the Rolex lineup and a favorite amongst divers and watch enthusiasts.

  • Submariner No Date (Ref. 124060): This model features a clean and uncluttered design with no date function. It has a 41mm case size and is a favorite among Rolex enthusiasts for its simplicity and versatility.
  • Submariner Date (Ref. 126610LN): This model comes with a date function and a 41mm case size. It is a popular choice for those who want a functional and stylish watch that can be worn in various settings.
  • Submariner Date Hulk (Ref. 116610LV): The “Hulk” is a 40mm Submariner model with a distinctive green dial and bezel. Its bold color and design make it a popular choice for those looking for a unique and eye-catching watch.

6. Rolex Yachtmaster – (S$7,188- S$55,900)

rolex yachtmaster

If you’re looking for an entry-level dive watch with timeless design and reliable functionality, then look no further than the Yachtmaster. This classic Rolex watch is a favorite among sailors and water sports enthusiasts, but it can also work just as well as a dressy accessory.

The Yachtmaster watch is a perfect choice for those who seek luxury and functionality in an entry-level timepiece. It boasts several features that make it stand out from other watches in its class. 

  • Yacht-Master 40: This classic model features a 40mm case size and is available in various materials, such as stainless steel, Rolesor (a combination of stainless steel and gold), and Everose gold. Its elegant design and superb functionality make it a popular choice among yacht enthusiasts.
  • Yacht-Master 37: The 37mm case size is suitable for those who prefer a smaller, more refined watch. This model offers the same elegance and functionality as its larger counterpart, the Yacht-Master 40.
  • Yacht-Master II: The Yacht-Master II is designed for professional sailors, with a 44mm case size and a unique regatta chronograph function. This model showcases Rolex’s commitment to precision and innovation while maintaining the collection’s signature elegance.

Key Features to Look for in an Entry-Level Rolex

When considering an entry-level Rolex, there are several key features to look for to ensure you’re getting a reliable, attractive timepiece. These features include movement and accuracy, durability and water resistance, and timeless design and versatility.

Accessories

Consider what sorts of accessories come with your purchase. Many Rolex watches come with additional leather straps, or even boxes that can add value to your purchase. Some retailers may also offer discounts if you buy extra straps or other accessories along with the watch, so it pays to keep an eye out for these deals as well!

Movement and Accuracy

One of the most important aspects of any watch is its movement, which is the mechanism responsible for keeping time. Rolex is known for its precision and accuracy, and all its watches use mechanical movements. 

The most commonly used Rolex movements in entry-level watches are the Calibre 3130, 3132, and 3235, which offer excellent reliability and precision. Even at the entry level, you can expect your Rolex to maintain timekeeping accuracy within -2/+2 seconds per day.

Durability and Water Resistance

Rolex watches are built to last, with high-quality materials and thoughtful engineering that ensures they can withstand daily wear and tear. Some key features in entry-level Rolex watch that contribute to their durability and water resistance include

  • 904L stainless steel (Oystersteel) for the case and bracelet, which is highly resistant to corrosion and scratches.
  • Twinlock or Triplock winding crown system to provide an extra layer of protection against water ingress.
  • A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for the watch face.

Entry-level Rolex watches typically offer water resistance up to 100 meters, making them the diver’s watches suitable for everyday wear, swimming, and snorkeling.

Timeless Design and Versatility

A key aspect that sets Rolex apart is its commitment to timeless design and versatility. Entry-level Rolex watches usually feature simple and identifiable designs, making them easy to dress up or down for various occasions

Where to Purchase Your Entry-Level Rolex

When it comes to purchasing an entry-level Rolex, there are several options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this comparison table, we take a closer look at authorized dealers, the pre-owned and grey market, and online retailers.

OptionPriceAvailabilityBuilding Relationship with Authorized Dealers
Authorized DealersHighLimited, may have waiting lists for popular modelsYes, necessary to purchase a new watch
Pre-Owned and Grey MarketDepends, usually lower than authorized dealersWider selection, unique and discontinued modelsNo, can purchase from registered dealer in Singapore regulated by the Ministry of Law
Online RetailersVaries, typically lower than authorized dealersWide selection, convenience of online shoppingNo, can purchase from multiple sellers

Authorized dealers offer new Rolex watches with the standard Rolex warranty, but they typically come at a higher price than pre-owned or vintage watches. 

Additionally, due to high demand and limited supply, popular models may have long waitlists, making it challenging to purchase a watch from an authorized dealer promptly. 

So, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option or want to avoid waiting for a specific model, exploring the pre-owned market or online retailers might be a better choice.

Additionally, The pre-owned market offers a wider selection of watches at lower prices, and there’s no need to build a relationship with authorized dealers. This option allows you to easily buy your first Rolex without having to go through the process of building a relationship with an AD, which is often required when purchasing new watches from them.

Final Word

As a renowned luxury watch brand, Rolex offers a variety of entry-level watches that feature the brand’s signature quality and craftsmanship. From bold sports models to elegant dress watches, these timepieces represent an excellent starting point for budding watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Key Takeaways

  • Rolex offers a range of entry-level models that are more accessible to watch enthusiasts on a budget.
  • Pre-owned and grey market offers a wider selection of watches at lower prices and doesn’t require building a relationship with authorized dealers.
  • When considering an entry-level Rolex, look for movement and accuracy, durability and water resistance, and timeless design and versatility.

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