Thursday 20 June 2024

Ultimate Guide To Rolex’s Current Watch Lineup In 2024

There’s hardly anyone unfamiliar with the fame and provenance of Rolex watches, but purchasing one is a novel experience for many. Buyers new to the landscape face challenges processing the myriad of information and the significance of various Rolex models. Even the ardent Rolex fans have problems keeping up. As of 2024, the watchmaking giant makes hundreds of references, allotted into different collections, each catering to different tastes, preferences, and purposes.
Ultimate Guide To Rolex’s Current Watch Lineup In 2024
If you find yourself in a whirlwind, here we’ve listed all the Rolex models available in the current Rolex lineup, making it easier to find the model that suits your wrists and style. But before that, let’s understand how Rolex categorises its vast catalogue.

Classic vs. Professional: Which is What?

Rolex has produced a plethora of notable watches, all of which fall into one of two major categories: Classic and Professional.

Classic Rolex watches are more of dress watches and weren’t developed for a specific purpose, like travelling or diving. On the other hand, Professional Rolex watches tend to be sportier or tool timepieces.

Among Rolex’s Classic watches, you’ll find the Datejust, Day-Date, Sky-Dweller, Oyster Perpetual, and 1908, which are dressy options suitable for everyday wear.

The Professional Rolex watches, like the Air-King, Submariner, Yacht-Master, GMT-Master II, Sea-Dweller, Cosmograph Daytona, Explorer, and Deepsea, are all built for a specific professional pursuit, be it driving, diving, or exploring.

However, this doesn’t mean the Classic Rolex watches are less well-built or serve less purpose. The Sky-Dweller is one of Rolex’s most complicated creations housed in the Classic collection.

Now that you know the segregation, let’s explore Rolex’s current watch catalogue, which is available for sale. We’ll also discuss their most distinguishing features.

Complete Guide To Rolex’s Current Watch Lineup For Sale In 2024

The Rolex Submariner is unarguably the most iconic and important dive watch ever born. Rolex launched it in 1953 as a more robust version of the already famous Oyster Perpetual by introducing an external diving bezel and a sturdy adjustable bracelet while keeping the automatic winding in place. The Submariner was the first watch with a water resistance of up to 100 metres, making it a favourite among water and diving enthusiasts.

Over the years, Rolex has continued adding impressive features to the Sub, such as a rotating bezel and an option to choose between the Submariner Date and No-Date, making it all the more versatile. Due to their easily recognisable design, what started as a diving tool has now become a fashionable item, with many sporting it during cocktails and in the boardroom.

Most popular Rolex Submariner references to consider:
  • Ref. 126613LB
  • Ref. 126618LB
  • Ref. 126613LN
  • Ref. 126618LN
  • Ref. 126619LB

When the Crown started sponsoring the motor races held at Florida’s famous beachside track, it put its name on the dial and the legendary Daytona was born. With a legacy as thrilling as the Florida racing tracks, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has carved an invincible mark in the industry since its introduction in 1963. Before the 1960s, Rolex was powered by third-party chronograph movements, but after the Daytona’s launch, it upped the case size and redesigned the dial.

The Daytona became most famous when Paul Newman’s wife gifted him a specially engraved Daytona with a creamy Bauhaus-inspired dial –now called the ‘Newman’ dial. It was auctioned in millions in 2017, making it one of the most expensive wristwatches ever sold. This particular event transformed how collectors viewed the Daytona, making all Daytonas’ old and new highly coveted.

Most popular Rolex Daytona references to consider:
  • Ref. 126506
  • Ref. 126529LN
  • Ref. 126500LN
  • Ref. 126503
  • Ref. 126518LN

Devised for deep-sea exploration, the Rolex Deepsea is the company's most extreme dive watch, with a mind-boggling water resistance of up to 3900 metres. It is equipped with the Ringlock system and designed to resist pressures at the most incredible ocean depths where no human can survive. The watches have a hefty appearance and are fitted with a rotatable bezel.

The Deepsea catalogue comprises only two steel versions and a newly launched yellow-gold variant. While it was categorised under the Sea-Dweller family for most of its life, Rolex made the Deepsea an independent line in 2024 with the release of an all-gold reference 136668LB, as aforementioned. It’s the only Rolex flaunting a mix of gold, titanium, and ceramic. There’s also the Deepsea Challenge with RLX Titanium construction—Rolex’s first-ever titanium watch.

Most popular Rolex Deepsea references to consider:
  • Ref. 116660
  • Ref. 136660
  • Ref. 126600
  • Ref. 16600
  • Ref. 136668LB

During the 1950s, when Pan American Airline’s pilots needed to track multiple time zones simultaneously, Rolex designed the GMT-Master. In 1982, Crown revamped the model to release the GMT-Master II with a new movement and adjustable local hour hand. The steel and gold models turned out to be big hits. To this day, the Rolex GMT-Master II enjoys a separate fan base and reserved eccentricity.

Over the years, the company has delivered numerous fascinating GMT-Master II versions in steel and gold and two-tone versions with Oyster and Jubilee bracelets. Additionally, the Rolex GMT-Master collection covers some of the brand’s most iconic models, like the Pepsi and Batman, which are extremely difficult to get in retail.

Most popular Rolex GMT-Master II references to consider:
  • Ref. 126710BLNR
  • Ref. 116710LN
  • Ref. 126715CHNR
  • Ref. 116710BLNR
  • Ref. 126710BLRO

The Sea-Dweller, as many call it, is a beefed-up Submariner released in 1967. It could go deeper for longer for commercial, exploratory, and research purposes. Rolex reconstructed the case, case back, and crystal to offer increased water resistance. Initially, the watch was designed to withstand water resistance of up to 610 metres, which was later increased to 1220 metres in 1978. It was also the first timepiece equipped with a helium escape valve, allowing helium to escape the watch without damaging it.

Over the years, Rolex has released several versions of the Sea-Dweller, each showcasing improved design and features. While on the outside, it might resemble a Submariner, at the core, each piece is very different.

Most popular Rolex Sea-Dweller references to consider:
  • Ref. 16660
  • Ref. 1665
  • Ref. 116600
  • Ref. 16600

Sir Edmund Hillary carried the Rolex Oyster Perpetual in his gear when he conquered Mount Everest in 1953. This historic feat ushered in a new OP model called the Explorer, which Rolex sold to new-age mountaineering enthusiasts. Thereafter, the Explorer became the most popular entry-level Rolex sports watch, and it remains so to this day.

Like all Rolex models, the Explorer also underwent its fair share of permutations. Still, the essence remains the same in all the variants, including the Ref. 14270, a popular vintage Rolex choice among collectors. The watch is highly legible and durable, as can be derived from its history and has a very compact fit on the wrist.

Most popular Rolex Explorer references to consider:
  • Ref. 214270
  • Ref. 14270
  • Ref. 1016
  • Ref. 124270

Rolex’s aviation-inspired model, the Air-King, has a simple yet bold design, ensuring that the pilots can check the time at just a glance during flights. The Air-King existed as the Oyster Perpetual long before Rolex printed ‘Air-King’ on the dial. Released in 1945, the Air-King was some ‘future’ watch at that time, and nothing said ‘future’ better than the beautiful commercial jets that allowed pilots to travel across the ocean in a jiffy during those times.

Today’s Air-King has one of the most impressive designs. The intermittent minute and hour markers on the dial resemble the dashboard instruments, as are the touches of yellow and green. The Air-King is the only Rolex model with a coloured logo on its dial. It’s the easiest-to-get Rolex Professional model in the market today.

Most popular Rolex Air-King references to consider:
  • Ref. 116900
  • Ref. 126900
  • Ref. 5500

The Explorer II was released in 1971 to commemorate Rolex's privileged relationship with exploration. Its classic design features a robust steel case, a black or white dial with a date display, an additional orange 24-hour hand, and a fixed bezel. The boldly luminescent orange GMT hand helped those living in caves keep track of the day and night. Today, the watch is no longer confined to spelunking activities but is a tool for adventurers.

The current lineup sees the Explorer II in an increased 42mm Super case, released in 2011 with Ref. 216570. It replaced the preceding 40mm case. While the model celebrates the original Explorer design from 1971, the extra two millimetres don’t really feel significant on the wrist, except when directly compared to the 40mm model.

Most popular Rolex Explorer II references to consider:
  • Ref. 226570
  • Ref. 16550
  • Ref. 16570
  • Ref. 216570

Rolex added the first date complication to its Oyster Perpetual models in 1945, completely changing Maison’s game in the watch realm. While the date changing itself during midnight might seem like a small thing now, it wasn’t so in the 1940s when it was considered unique and convenient. The watches came with a ‘Cyclops’ date magnifier for increased readability, which was also seen for the first time on a Datejust model.

Neither too sporty nor too dressy, the Rolex Datejust is the ideal timepiece for anyone who wants a watch to do it all. Robust to dive into the water and dressy for a wedding, the Datejust is that classic centrepiece model in Rolex’s wide catalogue. Another thing to note is that Datejust offers the broadest possible variety of watches to pick from, be it style, dial, bracelet or size.

Most popular Rolex Datejust references to consider:
  • Ref. 126231
  • Ref. 126300
  • Ref. 69173
  • Ref. 126233
  • Ref. 16234
  • Ref. 116200


A comparatively new addition to the Rolex catalogue is the Sky-Dweller, released in 2012. While some hate its passionate engineering, others find it a rebel choice, but none can deny Rolex’s mastery in displaying a clean and truly clever mechanism. The Sky-Dweller is indeed the ultimate watch for world travellers. It displays the local time and second zone time simultaneously using central hands.

What sets it apart is the Annual Calendar feature, showcasing the months through a small aperture that transitions to red at each of the 12 indicators. Unlike the Perpetual Calendar, which accommodates leap years, an Annual Calendar requires resetting once every year. Another distinctive visual function is the 24-hour GMT indicator located above 6 o’clock on the ring and the Ring Command bezel.

Most popular Rolex Sky-Dweller references to consider:
  • Ref. 326934
  • Ref. 326139
  • Ref. 326235
  • Ref. 326938
  • Ref. 326935

Rolex launched the Oyster Perpetual in 1950 as the epitome of durability and elegance. During its release, the watches were made highly water-resistant and automatically wound, a first-time combo that made them all the more popular. Perpetual does not mean the watch is always wound; the rotor oscillates 360 degrees around a central axis, hence perpetually winding. Since its release, the Oyster Perpetual has formed the basis for most other Rolex models.

Today, Rolex offers the Oyster Perpetual in many sizes and colours. The OP's classic and neat outlook—no complications, no date, no Cyclops, and no fluted bezel— perfectly presents Rolex’s iconic core values.

Most popular Rolex Oyster Perpetual references to consider:
  • Ref. 126000
  • Ref. 124300
  • Ref. 276200
  • Ref. 124200
  • Ref. 277200

In 1992, Rolex released an all-gold Yacht-Master watch that showcased increased sportiness and reduced glamour. This was quite the opposite of Rolex’s usual behaviour of creating bling pieces. This toning down of the Yacht-Master made it a sleeper model in the brand’s catalogue. Still, it is every bit as capable as other professional watches like the Submariner, to which the Yacht-Master bears a striking resemblance.

In 1999, Rolex offered the Yacht-Master in platinum, and since then, there has been no turning back for the model being released in all precious metals. However, we’re yet to see the Yacht-Master in an all-steel variation. Today, the Yacht-Master is available in 42mm, 40mm and 37mm, making it the most diverse Professional Rolex collection, which looks stunningly luxurious and durable on the wrist.

Most popular Rolex Yacht-Master references to consider:
  • Ref. 126622
  • Ref. 126621
  • Ref. 116655

ROLEX 1908
The 1908 is the youngest in the Rolex lineup and is a tribute to the first Oyster perpetual watches. It is the brand’s dress watch collection, where timeless style meets tradition, ensuring the timepieces transcend fleeting trends and have a timeless appeal. The 1908 stands apart from other Rolex collections for its exhibition case back, seconds sub-dial, and leather strap. It is the only Rolex piece that does not use the Oyster case.

Rolex released the first 1908 model in 2023 in white and yellow gold with a clean white or black dial. Even though it was the dressiest watch ever created by the brand, it didn’t make much noise initially. However, in 2024, when Rolex launched a platinum version with an ice-blue guilloche dial, the watch became a fan favourite.

Most popular Rolex 1908 references to consider:
  • Ref. 52509
  • Ref. 52506

Popularly referred to as the ‘President’s watch,’ the Rolex Day-Date is one of the most prestigious watches ever created by the Swiss watchmaker. Rolex released the Day-Date in 1956, with both the day and date boldly displayed on the dial. It also came fitted with a newly designed three-link bracelet that added to its appeal.

Soon after its launch, the watch became popular among multiple US presidents and hence was given the moniker ‘President’s watch. ’Also, the fact that the watch has only ever been made in precious metals makes it a symbol of power and wealth. The Day-Date is offered in a wide array of dial colours and sizes and is the second most easily recognisable watch next to the Datejust.

Most popular Rolex Day-Date references to consider:
  • Ref. 18038
  • Ref. 18238
  • Ref. 118239
  • Ref. 228238
  • Ref. 128238

All in All..

One of the most wonderful things about Rolex is that the brand offers watches for all budgets. Whether you're a seasoned collector who plans to sell Rolex for a lucrative value afterwards or a first-time buyer, there's a Rolex watch waiting to accompany you.

Though it is arguably the world's most popular watch brand, the prices don’t really exhibit that, unlike other recognised brands like Patek Philippe. But the real tiff is to find a popular Rolex model at retail. Many watches from the current Rolex catalogue are now scarce in the market, making it difficult for any discerning collector to get their hands on one.

But the good news is that Rolex watches are not rare, and you can source them from the secondary market. The brand produces over one million pieces annually, comprising almost one-third of the Swiss watch market. Moreover, there’s hope that the Swiss brand will soon expand its production, making the watches increasingly accessible for all. Till then, the secondary market is the way to go! However, don’t expect the prices to be any lower there, considering its 'Rolex' we're discussing.

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