Rolex’s Best Vintage Watches Till Date

Rolex is by far the most luxurious watch brand in the world. Whether its sales, reputation, or recognition, the Swiss brand always comes out on top. 


If someone is looking to buy a Rolex watch, their thesis must come down to two approaches. Should they go for a modern one or a vintage one? Modern Rolexes are without a doubt exceptional, but there’s just something about those vintage classics. So here are some of the best vintage Rolexes one should go for. 

Rolex Explorer REF. 1016

To start off the proceedings, we’ve gone with one of the most straightforward watches by Rolex, The Explorer REF. 1016. It does nothing special, just tells the correct time. This watch turned gazes because of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s summit of Mount Everest in 1953.

Although it must be said that in the year 1960, this timepiece really gained its true power. It is also the most famous Explorer model out there. 


Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Paul Newman”

Worn by the legendary actor Paul Newman himself, this Daytona is a masterpiece. Surprisingly, this watch once broke the record for being the most expensive watch. It was sold for around $18 million in an auction in 2017.

The main difference between a regular Daytona and Paul Newman Daytona is the dial. Newman’s Daytona has what Rolex likes to call “Exotic” dials. Daytona References 6262, 6264, and 6265 all share the same dials. These Paul Newman Rolexes are also one of the most expensive watches made by Rolex. 

Rolex GMT-Master REF. 1675

This Rolex is one of the dearest references ever. 1675 lasted in production from 1959 to 1980. During this time period, a lot of experiments were laid out on this watch. There are two variants of this reference that are loved by people. The early gilt-dial one and the later radial-dial one. They are not as expensive as you think, although five figures should be expected. 


Rolex Explorer II REF. 1655 “Steve McQueen”

This Explorer reference was first produced in 1971. Since then, it has found a fanbase of its own. It comprises a fixed 24-hour bezel and a bright orange GMT hand as well. In all fairness, this watch was particularly designed for people who worked in dark places such as mines or caves.

The “Steve McQueen” label beside it just enhances its value. Although truth is told, McQueen himself has never worn the Explorer 1655. However, his name stays intact with this magnificent timepiece. 

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