Talking valuations and investment opportunities can be highly frowned upon within the watch community, as the majority of us are here to enjoy the hobby and collect watches that we like regardless of its value retention. While I personally like to live by this rule it’s also important to discuss the real life potential of having a few watches in your collection that can retain their value and sometimes even increase over time. Today we’ll take a serious look at some of the most underrated and more obtainable Rolex models that can serve as a store of value and even as a potential investment for long term holding.
A couple things to keep in mind when talking watches, or more specifically Rolex as investment, always remember to keep the original box and papers when buying the watch and if you’re very serious about using this as an investment venue then keeping the watch unworn and in mint condition will also help it retain or grow in value. You can still decide to wear the watch but chances are it won’t command the same valuation as an unworn model.
Air-King Ref. 116900 40mm
Debuting our list we have what is now considered “the odd one out” in the current modern Rolex watch lineup, it’s the new Air-King in the new 40mm size. This watch has an awkward dial layout that is not typical for Rolex, whome generally like to stick to monochrome or very reserved stylings. The new Air-King is designed to be a tribute to the Bloodhound LSR project, with it’s design looking very similar to the speedometer within the cockpit.
You’ll notice the use of an eclectic mix of colours on the new Air-King dial with implemenation of the anniversary Rolex green on the second hand, as well as on the Rolex lettered logo at 12’oclock, interestingly they also went with a clashing bright yellow for the Rolex crown above the lettered logo. This is a very unique watch for Rolex and has become divisive in the Rolex collecting community with some loving it and others hating the look.
The new Air-King also shares the same anti-magnetic case as the Milgauss, which is kind of chunky and thick making this watch a better fit on those with at least 6.75″ wrists and larger.
The weird and quirky styling of the new Air-King is catching the attention of collectors and speculators who think that once this model goes out of production its value can skyrocket. The fact that this models is also not overly difficult to obtain from a Rolex AD is also another reason why it’s made our list as one of the best and underrated Rolex watches to buy now for investment.
Milgauss Ref. 116400GV Z-Blue
The Milgauss is also another less appreciated model in the Rolex lineup, it has less demand than most other Rolex professional models. With less demand also comes less production quantities from Rolex, and when it comes to the Milgauss the Z-Blue is the special edition watch to get.
Sharing the same case as the Air-King mentioned above it’s the dial colour and crystal that make this one unique. The dial is a gorgeous deep turquoise sunburst blue that shifts beautifully in the light, a dial colour that has never been produced before on a Rolex watch. To add to the unique dial, the Z-Blue also has an anniversary edition crystal that has a Rolex green hue baked into it, the green can be viewed at an angle when looking at the watch and is unique to the Milgauss lineup. If you’re OK with a watch that wears slightly on the larger side, or if you’re looking for a collectors pieces this one should be on your radar as a potential investment. The wait times for this model can be slightly longer than usual due to lower production quantities because of less demand compared to the other stainless steel Rolex sports watches.
Explorer I Ref. 124270
The Explorer I from Rolex is a fairly well known and well regarded model in the professional lineup, it doesn’t carry any secrets and is widely loved by Rolex enthusiasts. It’s on our list as a potential investment pieces because it’s one of the easier professional models to obtain from a Rolex AD, it also happens to be the anniversary edition for the Explorer 1 so Rolex dropped the sizing from 39mm back down to its original size of 36mm, they also made some very minor changes on the dial as a tribute to the earlier classic Explorer’s.
The Explorer I is a general crowd pleaser because it does not do anything out of the ordinary, it has a basic monochrome layout is a conservative case size, it also shares the same hands as the Submariner but lacks the rotating bezel giving it a more refined classier look. This is the ideal one watch collection watch, but can be redundant or even boring in a multi watch collection. With that said it can potentially be an excellent Rolex investment choice since it’s a very popular model with a great heritage and is easily worn by nearly anyone.
Submariner No Date Ref. 124060
The Submariner with no date is the original Submariner, the one that started the trend of popular Submariners. It’s in my opinion one of the most beautiful watches in the Rolex catalogue, partly due to the lack of date window and cyclops. Because this Submariner does not sport the date window the dial has a special symmetry to it not found on the other Submariners or relatively similar looking GMT Master II’s. This could be very well the most well known Rolex or watch in the world, just owning one allows you to have a piece of its legacy and is certain to retain or grow in value.
The Submariner no date has been featured in countless films, one such being James Bond, and has often been worn by fashion icons for the last few decades. Rumour has it that the Submariner no date has a lower production quantity than the regular Submariner Dates, making it just a little more special as a collectors piece and investment grade Rolex.
Datejust Ref. 126234-0049 Blue Motif 36mm
Last but not least we have the only Rolex on the list that is not a Professional model, this is the iconic Datejust, but not just any Datejust – it’s the new model with the blue fluted brick motif dial paired with the fluted bezel and jubilee bracelet.
The standout feature of this watch is the never seen before blue fluted brick motif dial, making it a possible excellent value investment buy that should be a lot more obtainable than the above mentioned sports watches. This is a Datejust that in my opinion could rival the cult following of the coveted vintage linen dial Datejust. It’s a refined and elegant watch that can be worn for both formal and casual occasions making it very versatile. The Datejust in general is common Rolex model but this dial is something special and deserves a spot in any keen collectors watch box.