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A Guide To Buying Your First Rolex

A Guide To Buying Your First Rolex

Your first experience of buying your first Rolex is an event you will most likely never forget. But with so many out there, it can be a little overwhelming choosing the right one. The perfect Rolex for you will depend on several various factors, such as your budget, whether you want a new or pre-owned model, your desired size and what functions you require, just to name a few.

So, if you need some guidance, this guide will help point you in the right direction. 

This Is How To Buy Your First Rolex:

  1. Choose new, pre owned or vintage 
  2. Think about what size you want 
  3. Think about your desired material, band and bezel
  4. Choose the right model 

1.Choose New, Pre Owned Or Vintage

The first step is to decide whether you want a new, pre owned or vintage Rolex watch.

Buying a new Rolex is pretty straightforward; you pay full price and you get your authentic product. If you prefer the slightly worn-in look that a watch gets after it has been worn for 20 years+, a vintage rolex might be a better choice. For many years, vintage Rolexes were not very popular, but in recent years retail prices and interest in watches have spiked, leading to a subsequent rise in interest and the prices of vintage pieces. The third option is pre owned Rolexes, which are watches that are less than 20 years old. 


You will find that the pre-owned market is better stocked than even the most accommodating official Rolex retail store. Due to the brands soaring popularity and short supply of watches that are released each year, some waitlists for new models are extremely long or even closed. By searching pre-owned outlets, you will not only find just about all of the current production models, but it is also the only place where you can buy discontinued watches, whether they’ve been out of production by a few months or by a few decades.


In terms of the cost, you can typically save a significant amount of money by buying a pre-owned watch, compared to a new watch. Like anything, there will be a certain level of depreciation that occurs while you wear it, but will do so far less and far slower than a new one.  In fact, based on a number of factors, such as rarity or the overall desirability of the individual model, you could find that it even becomes worth more than what you paid for it in the first place. Some pre-owned and vintage examples have soared in value in recent years.

With that being said, some Rolex watches on the second hand market can very often be more expensive than buying a new Rolex, especially vintage, rare or very collectable pieces with limited numbers circulating. 

2. Think About What Size You Want 

As well as the age of the watch, you must also think about which size Rolex is best for you, as smaller models are usually cheaper than larger models. At present, the overall fashion trend is ‘the bigger, the better’. As a brand, Rolex is introducing ever larger timepieces and while bigger models are usually more valuable, you need to think about what suits you. If you are strongly built, a small watch may look odd, and if you have slim wrists, a large watch may look over-sized. Also, some models like the Submariner only come in 41mm, so if you have small wrists, it may not be the best choice for you.

If you are not sure what size watch is right for you, keep in mind that the watch should cover about two-thirds of the width of your wrist.

3. Think About Your Desired Material, Band And Bezel

Next up, you will want to think about your desired material and band for the watch. For Rolex, some of their most popular materials are made from stainless steel, simply because that is in line with the sporty character of the watch. It also happens to be the most sought-after material, it resists age exceptionally well, and it retains the most value.

Oystersteel is another popular material used by Rolex. While other watch brands use the steel alloy 316L steel, Rolex uses 904L steel, which they call  ‘oystersteel’ in order to separate it from the steel that their competitors are using. But what makes it different? Well, oystersteel is much harder and particularly resistant to corrosion and acquires an exceptional sheen when polished..

Alternatively, If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, there is something very special about a full gold Rolex watch like the DateJust model. Not only is it bold and eye-catching, but a full gold Rolex watch is known to be the ultimate symbol of success.

Don’t Forget The Bezel!

Once you’ve chosen the material, it’s time to think about the bezel and the dial. This is your first ever Rolex, so you might want to stay clear of anything too crazy and out-there such as bold details and flashy colours. This is because you’d be less likely to wear it as often. 

In terms of occasion, the general rule of thumb is to choose a light face for the day and a dark face for the evenings. But it’s best to take this with a pinch of salt as some styles only come in one colour, for example the Submariner or a GMT Master II are only available in a dark face. 

4. Choose The Right Model 

If you’re looking for a water-proof model, the great news is that basically all Rolex watches are water resistant enough for swimming or taking a shower with. Some models are however more water-resistant than others, for example the Submariner can withstand depths up to 300m, whereas the Air King Oyster Perpetual and Milgauss are waterproof to a depth of 100m.

Even with the Cellini, the watch is water resistant for up to 50 metres, so unless you have advanced swimming requirements, any Rolex will be suitable.

The Best First Rolex Watches To Buy 

If you still need a bit of inspiration choosing the perfect Rolex timepiece for you, below are some classic pre-owned options that are considered great beginner Rolex watches.

ROLEX 124060 Submariner 41mm Oyster Perpetual Automatic Watch - Black Dial 

The Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic and recognisable watches of all time. First released in 1954, the Submariner represented a historic turning point in watch making; it set the standard for divers’ watch. 

The Rolex Submariner of today carries many of the timeless design hallmarks of the original 1954 model, with an emphasis on peerless mechanical precision and dependable water resistance.


Although the Rolex Submariner has only been presented on a stainless steel Oyster bracelet throughout its production, the timepiece looks exceptionally good on many different strap types - from leather bands to One-Piece and rubber straps

ROLEX 116400GV Milgauss 40mm Automatic Watch - Black Dial 

The Milgauss is an iconic, modern classic in the Rolex portfolio, known for its magnetically-resistant feature set that makes it a particularly popular choice in the scientific community. 

Its design is handsomely understated, punctuated with instantly recognisable hallmarks like its stark orange 'lightning bolt' second-hand and the green sapphire crystal that pleasingly accents the dial beneath it.

Discover 5 of the best watch straps to suit the Rolex Milgauss here. 

ROLEX 69178 DateJust Ladies 26mm Automatic 18K Gold Watch - Ivory Jubilee Dial

This compact Rolex DateJust watch is an attractive ladies watch, combining a luxurious 18K gold case and bracelet with a reliable automatic mechanism; a perfect union of style and substance. 

The intricately-detailed dial comes in a subdued shade of champagne gold, letting the hands and indexes stand out for a high degree of legibility, while the magnified date readout adds to the timepiece's functionality.

View our complete Pre-Owned Rolex Watches here. 

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Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.