09.03.2022 - Rolex

The top 5 underrated Rolex watches

When it comes to Rolex, we all have our favourite models . But what about the ones who slip through the net?The quirky ones or the ones that didn’t quite fit the mould? 

But for serious collectors, it’s important to consider having watches that will increase in value. Here, we chat underrated models that could rate as potential investments over the long-term.


The new Air King 116900 is a bit Marmite. It’s 40mm in size which is pretty normal but the dial has an awkward layout.  It’s designed with the speedometer of a cockpit in mind. We think it’s rather cool but because it’s not typical of Rolex design, it gets a bit shunned- even by fans of the Swiss brand.

We like the striking green second hand and the bold lettering logo at 12 o’clock. Even the Rolex crown is in yellow. The quirky look certainly captures attention and it may be set to skyrocket in value if it goes out of production. It’s not hard to obtain either, which perhaps takes it out of investment reasons for some collectors.

Rolex Explorer

For the same cost as an Air King (well, not the newer two-tone ones) a Rolex Explorer at 39mm is a great option. The plain Explorer is certainly more basic than his big bro, (Explorer II) but is a great all-round sports watch.

Designed for optimal legibility even in the dark – a crucial feature for explorers – it was good enough for Sir Edmund Hillary, who wore a ‘pre-Explorer ‘to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. The watch Rolex provided for the trip was an Oyster Perpetual made in 1950 before there was such a thing as the Explorer. Only later would it be branded with ‘Explorer’ on its dial.  The Oyster Perpetual that went to Everest had a white dial, leaf hands and few of the design elements incorporated in today’s Explorer.

Rolex Yacht Master 

Rolex created the Yacht Master 126622 as a more luxurious model and it’s the only one with a platinum bezel. While it’s around £2000 more than a Submariner, you get your money’s worth with a gorgeous blue sunburst dial and much more bling. It has a stainless steel case and bracelet with a double lock on the clasp. 

While it’s 40mm and has a thinner case than a submariner, it could certainly be considered a unisex model. 

Rolex Submariner 16610

In its 22-year life span, the 16610 Sub was a great example of one of the globe’s most desirable diving watches.If you’re keen on a Submariner, this model wouldn’t be a bad shout right now with water resistance up to 300m. It does however have an aluminium bezel which isn’t scratch-proof. 

The very new 126610 has now taken over and now people are keen to get their hands on them, although through authorised dealers this is very tricky, leading to huge premiums in the preworn market. Inevitably, this means more and more people try to seek out the former model as a compromise but the hike in demand is sure to put a fair few pence on the vintage model.

Rolex Day-Date President 

With gold prices recently surging during the pandemic, gold Rolex watches may be good ones to keep in your collection. A safe investment, Rolex Presidents will never be considered dated and can only become more valuable as time goes by due to their gold content.

The 118238 is underrated but it’s sure to bring a great return on investment. For many collectors, it represents the point in the model’s history when it first started to adopt its modern present-day form.It was the first yellow gold 6-digit day-date watch.

Wearing much larger than older models due to wider lugs, it’s also heavier on the wrist due to a President bracelet which can only mean more gold. Although overlooked now, we envision this bold watch gaining great value.

Got a Rolex to sell?

If you’re interested in selling a preloved Rolex, we can offer you a competitive market value for your watch, subject to checks for authenticity and condition. If you’d like to chat more, contact our team.