Whether you enjoy deep-sea diving, F1 racing, traveling to the North Pole, or spending your evening in high society, Rolex offers diverse timepieces with features that fit every taste. But what do classic models like the Submariner, Daytona Explorer, and Datejust truly stand for? In this article, Chrono24 will show you which model is the right one for you.
Submariner and Co.: Sporty and In Demand
You’d be hard-pressed to find a watch lover that doesn’t own at least one diving watch. With its Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and Sea-Dweller Deepsea, Rolex offers some of the most coveted representatives of this watch type. If you’re on the market for a robust, easy-to-read timepiece with a sporty flair, these models are a perfect choice.
Should you choose the Submariner, you’ll be getting a true icon with 60 years of history. What’s more, this series offers the greatest diversity of models. If you prefer a more understated look, you’ll appreciate the Submariner No Date. The omission of the date display lends this model a harmonious, even elegant appearance. For a throwback to the 1980s, take a look at the two-tone editions in stainless steel and gold. If you’d like to incorporate even more color into your timepiece, Rolex’s green “Hulk” or blue “Smurf” models are worthy investments.
Many of the design features that made the Submariner so popular are also key elements of the Sea-Dweller and Deepsea models. Rolex originally developed both timepieces for use in professional diving. Hence, the Sea-Dweller can dive to 1,200 m (120 bar, 3,397 ft), and the Deepsea is water-resistant to 3,900 m (390 bar, 12,795 ft). Both models additionally feature a helium escape valve, which is important for saturation diving. Even if you don’t plan on venturing into the depths of the world’s oceans, both timepieces make excellent “desk divers.” In particular, the Deepsea D-Blue – with its 44-mm diameter, 17-mm thickness, and blue and black gradient dial – makes for a very striking presence on the wrist. As a bonus, these eye-catching details offer an ideal conversation starter should you ever run out of things to talk about.
Daytona for High-Speed Lovers
Providing no less in conversational material is the Cosmograph Daytona. This cult chronograph is a true emblem of racing. It’s the perfect timepiece for watch lovers with gasoline in their veins. Next to the Submariner, the Daytona is one of the most popular sports watches from this Genevan luxury watch manufacturer – and with good reason. The Daytona’s key features include a tachymeter scale on the bezel and three subdials for the small seconds, minute, and hour counters. The selection of models is vast, ranging from vintage watches with the charm of bygone days and platinum, gold, and two-tone models to extravagant timepieces like the Daytona Rainbow, whose bezel is adorned with precious stones in all the colors of the rainbow.
For sailing enthusiasts, Rolex offers a chronograph specially designed for regattas: namely, the Yacht-Master II. This watch’s chronograph is engineered to function as a programmable countdown timer. The countdown can be set to up to 10 minutes and is represented by an additional central hand. This function allows skippers to precisely time the start of a yacht race. Despite the 44-mm case, the combination of a white dial with red and blue highlights with a blue bezel lends the Yacht-Master II its maritime feel. The watch is available in stainless steel, two-tone, and gold models.
Rolex GMT Watches: Perfect for World Travelers
If you’re more of the globetrotting type or communicate extensively across multiple time zones, you should take a look at Rolex models with GMT function. The epitome of this category is the GMT-Master. Originally designed for pilots of the iconic Pan American World Airways, the watch has since become an absolute cult timepiece. Thanks to its extra hour hand and bidirectional rotatable 24-hour bezel, the watch can display up to three time zones at once. The model with the blue and red “Pepsi” bezel is an especially popular variation, alongside the blue and black “Batman” and the black and red “Coke” variations.
The Explorer II is another Rolex classic with two time zones. The large orange GMT hand and the 24-hour bezel made of brushed stainless steel are just some of this watch’s most distinctive features. Unlike the GMT-Master, the Explorer II does not have a rotatable bezel, meaning it can display only one additional time zone. Rolex initially developed this watch for cave and polar researchers, who could quickly lose track of time while working underground or during long polar nights. The extra 24-hour display of the Explorer II was designed to address this problem.
The GMT-Master and Explorer II are explicitly designed as sports watches. While both watches pair easily with a suit and tie, more formal occasions call for a different model: the Rolex Sky-Dweller. For this timepiece, Rolex adopted the baton hands, dial design, and fluted bezel of what is probably the brand’s most famous dress watch – the Datejust. Added to this ensemble are several technical refinements, such as an annual calendar and a special GMT display. This latter element is shown in an off-center disc in the lower half of the dial, giving the watch a modern flair. The Sky-Dweller looks especially elegant when paired with a three-piece Oyster bracelet with polished central links. But when combined with the Oysterflex bracelet coated in black Elastomer, the Sky-Dweller also works well with jeans and a polo shirt. If you’re not familiar with these Rolex terms yet, read through our ABCs of Rolex series to learn more.
Rolex Dress Watches: Elegant and Stylish
Speaking of dress watches: with the aforementioned Datejust and its sister model, the Day-Date, Rolex has two timeless dress watches in their catalog. You can’t go wrong with either of these timepieces. They have the requisite elegance for formal occasions, but their sporty look makes them a perfect finishing touch to more casual outfits as well. It’s no wonder that these watches have been the go-to choice of the rich and powerful for decades.
However, if you’re hunting for an even more formal dress watch, you should browse through the current Cellini collection. A distinguishing feature of these watches is the double bezel; while the lower half is delicately fluted, the upper half is domed and polished, lending the watch its unique look. The guilloché dials, with their intentionally understated design, are another highlight of Cellini watches. Applied line indices serve as hour markers, and the narrow sword hands are exemplars of the finest craftsmanship. Alongside classic three-hand models, the collection also features watches with complications, such as a decentralized date subdial, a second time zone, or a moon phase display. High-quality leather straps ensure the watch remains securely on the wrist.
If you prefer more uniquely shaped watches, vintage Cellini models can be an interesting choice. Especially during the 1970s and 80s, Rolex produced watches with rectangular, oval, or cushion-shaped cases in the series. A particularly unusual example is the Cellini King Midas, which looks as if it has emerged from the set of a science fiction movie.
No matter which Cellini you choose, one thing is for sure: With this timepiece, you’ll have not only an elegant dress watch but also a Rolex that you don’t see every day.