The luxury watch hobby has been called many things in the past, but cheap is certainly not one of them.
It’s also true that the forces of supply and demand play a large part in the prices paid for watches of all brands. Yet none other has risen as the Genevan watchmaking powerhouse, Rolex.
This should not come as a surprise, though. A watch brand recognized the world over for opulence and prestige didn’t achieve its status via accessible pricing and widespread distribution.
Fortunately, those in the market for an affordable Rolex need not despair. We’ve gone out and gathered some of the best examples and presented them on this page.
We start with the best value Rolex models that can be found on the pre-owned market. Alternatively, and since not all are comfortable with going pre-owned, we’ve presented the cheapest Rolex men’s model from the current catalog.
Lastly, we explain our methodology for seeking out the cheapest men’s Rolex and how you can continue the search on your own.
Cheapest Rolex Watches For Men
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Ref. 15200 – Pre-Owned [$3,400-10,000]
- Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph Ref. 1625 – Pre-Owned [$4,800-12,000]
- Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust Ref. 17013 – Pre-Owned [$4,300-11,000]
- Rolex Datejust Ref. 16234 – Pre-Owned [$5,100-14,000]
- Rolex Explorer I Ref. 14270 – Pre-Owned [$6,800-14,000]
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual – Varying Sizes – NEW – $5,300
This page was first published in August of ’19. If you haven’t been watching the watch space since then, you may have missed the fact that nearly all Rolex watches have not only increased in price, but they’ve done so at an ever-increasing rate. The watches featured on this page are no different.
Nevertheless, the nature of this trend means that the pre-owned Rolex models we feature here remain some of the most affordable Rolex models around. Indeed, “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
See Bespoke Unit’s Watch Reviews
In bringing this page up-to-date, we get the chance to demonstrate how each model has increased in price. Perhaps most importantly, we also get to highlight how waiting for a “dip” in prices can end up costing you a serious chunk of change.
Not ones to simply offer suggestions, we’ve also included a new section that will show you our preferred place for shopping for the cheapest Rolex watches for men.
For those unfamiliar with Rolex model numbers, one can tell by the list above that the cheapest Rolex models are generally older ones. This is due to them being less well-known in addition to the fact that many watch consumers don’t turn to pre-owned when buying.
Still, there is a ton of value, variety, quirkiness, and uniqueness to be found in the pre-owned watch market, which is why we recommend checking out eBay if you’re seeking both an authentic Rolex watch and to get the most bang for your buck.
Where To Buy The Cheapest Rolex Watches
If you’ve never purchased a luxury timepiece on eBay, or anywhere online for that matter, it’s easy to understand why. For most individuals, buying a watch is a big purchase. As a result, many feel apprehensive when it comes to sending a large sum of money to an unknown individual for a product that is sight unseen.
However, since the Fall of 2020, eBay has taken significant steps to ensure watch buyers feel safe on their platform. Markedly, they’ve achieved this by introducing the eBay Authenticity Guarantee and Escrow services. We’ve written about these before (previous link) but here’s the gist – most watches with a sale price over $2,000 are individually authenticated by a verified & trusted 3rd party before they are shipped to the buyer. If any issues are encountered, whether mechanical, related to authenticity, or even inaccurate listings, then the watch is returned to the seller and the buyer receives a full refund.
eBay was already one of the largest and most varied luxury watch marketplaces on the web. Add on the safeguard of the guarantee and you can see why it’s our preferred online platform.
Unfortunately, the same volume and variety that make eBay an ideal shopping center can also make it overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve outlined some of the filters you should apply if you’re searching for a cheap Rolex. They are as follows:
- Type “Men’s Rolex Watch” into the search bar
- Apply the following filters
- Sort by “Price + Shipping = Lowest“
You can use this link to reach a page on eBay that has all the above filters applied. At this point, all that is left is to start browsing. Feel free to apply additional filters that fit your needs such as Model, Dial Color, Case Size, Case Material, or any other ones to narrow your search even further. For instance, setting an upper limit on the price i.e. $7,500, will decrease the pool of candidates significantly.
You can also “Save this search” and eBay will send you email notifications with new listings that match your criteria; be warned, this can become overwhelming so make sure to use this feature once you’ve selected a very narrow set of filters/characteristics.
With the above filters, eBay currently displays more than 5,000 results, whereas on this page we’ve only presented 6 cheap Rolex models. Ultimately, the more time and effort you put into your hunt, the more likely you are to find a deal.
OK – enough talking, let’s get into the watches.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Ref. 15200
- Previous Price Range: $1,000-3,000
- Updated Price Range: $3,400-10,000+
Although the price range may make the Oyster Perpetual Date sound like a boring and uninspiring watch, it’s easy to see that its anything but.
This often-overlooked Rolex Date model actually brings a lot to the table considering the prices at which it can be purchased.
Of course, there’s the look of the pre-Super Case Rolex, made even more unique by its traditional 34mm size. Moreover, there’s a large assortment of dial options offering plenty of different styles.
The Oyster Date is also refined enough to wear formally, particularly in examples such as the blue sunray above. With its current pre-owned price, it’s also the Rolex you can actually wear like a sports watch knowing that since it’s already survived for 25+ years, it can probably take a bit more.
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph Ref. 1625
- Previous Price Range: $1,500-3,500
- Updated Price Range: $4,800-12,000+
The Turn-O-Graph was for a long time a sub-model within the Datejust line until its discontinuation in 2011. The reference 1625 highlighted here is one of the earlier versions from the 1960s.
The Turn-O-Graph AKA the Rolex Thunderbird is marked by its distinct rotating bezel. Indeed, the Datejust had a rotating bezel before the Submariner came to be, at least publicly.
While the 1625s you may find will probably be 50+ years old, the looks are surprisingly similar to that of modern Datejusts. Most notably the baton indices, the date with cyclops at 3, and the design of the three hands at center.
But there’s also the bit of character brought on by age and wear. There’s a reason why modern brands keep making vintage-inspired models even though true patina can’t be beat by the widespread “vintage” Super-LumiNova.
More than just an old-but-cool Datejust with a rotating bezel, the watch is the epitome of a timeless Rolex design. And at this price, they’re almost too good to pass up.
Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust Ref. 17013
- Previous Price Range: $2,500-10,000+
- Updated Price Range: $4,300-11,000
Yes, Rolex made quartz watches! When the quartz revolution swept the industry, Rolex also attempted to ride the wave. The result was the Oysterquartz Datejust.
A sign of the times when it was released, the Oysterquartz Datejust fuses the familiar Datejust dial and gold fluted crown with an integrated two-tone bracelet. It’s essentially a futuristic Datejust from the ’70s.
And an especially attractive one, too. While all-steel models exist, we think there’s something better about the steel and gold 17013. It may just be difficult to say no to Rolex gold, namely at this price.
After seeing everything that the Swiss watchmaker has conceived since the Oysterquartz demonstrates what a one-of-a-kind design this is from them, and why this may be one to hold on to if you pick it up.
Yet another historic Rolex watch, seemingly undiscovered by the masses. Although perhaps to our advantage, it’s not certain to remain that way for much longer.
Rolex Datejust Ref. 16234
- Previous Price Range: $3,000-5,000
- Updated Price Range: $5,100-14,000+
The ref.16234 Datejust is yet another older style of Rolex that puts forth various propositions that, quite honestly, can’t be had with a modern production example.
You may even find that some collectors will choose the older style of Datejust even when they’d be able to purchase one of the modern references. As we alluded to earlier, there’s just something special about how Rolex timepieces used to look, especially considering how much they have changed in the present day.
The Datejust 16234, as with many of the other affordable Rolexes on this list, offers plenty of options for all kinds of different looks. There’s a ton of different dials, from baton to numeral indices, along with many varied colors like salmon, and even textures such as that of the tapestry dial.
The 16234 also looks particularly attractive on a leather strap, and can even be sported on NATO or another type of fabric straps. The watch can easily dress up or down right along with you, making for the ideal affordable option when looking for an everyday and every activity Rolex timepiece.
Rolex Explorer I Ref. 14270
- Previous Price Range: $4,400-7,000
- Updated Price Range: $6,800-14,000+
The ref. 14270 is an ancestor of the current Rolex 124270 (Retail $7,200), with its aesthetic offering a similar profile to the Datejust but with a much sportier look.
It boasts the first lacquer dial of the Explorer I line, along with white gold indices and white gold Mercedes hands, both of which are lumed. The lume can vary with the age of the watch, and make for some very attractive patina.
On patina: we previously discussed the same occurrence in our review of the Rolex Explorer II 16570 Polar. Since the watch was produced during Rolex’s transition period from Tritium luminous to Super-LumiNova, there’s a ton of choice with regards to the weathering of the luminous.
Examples from the earlier production years will show a highly-desired orange discoloration on its luminous. This effect further enhances the vintage character and feel of the watch, making each example much more unique.
Naturally, the better-looking patina will come with a higher price and, as the most unique examples are stored away by collectors, even the less-desirable ones will see a sharp increase in price.
Cheapest New Rolex In The Men’s Catalog
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watches – Varying Sizes [MSRP > $5,300]
Before 2020, Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line was one that had seen itself completely overshadowed by the most popular models like the Submariner and the GMT-Master. However, that all changed with the introduction of a whirl of new Oyster Perpetuals.
For some time now, the Oyster Perpetual has been offered in a number of different sizes. Yet, given that we’re talking the cheapest Rolex watches for men, we’ll concentrate on case sizes 34mm and larger.
The smallest of the Oyster Perpetuals, and the cheapest, is the 34mm reference 124200. However, the dial options are relatively limited for this model, and the slight increase in price is absolutely worth it if it means you can tap into the dial options offered for the 36mm model, the reference 126000 which retails for $5,600.
For instance, there’s a deep “Rolex green“; there’s also a bright yellow dial, a coral red, and even a turquoise blue that is quite reminiscent of Tiffany blue. These are available starting with the 36mm size and up to the 41mm size (reference 124300) which retails for $5,900.
The Oyster Perpetual ticks all the boxes to be part of the steel sports model craze: Rolex sports watch? Check. Steel Oyster case? Check. Steel Oyster bracelet? Check. Unfortunately for most of us, these new dial options have made them some of the hottest watches on the street. Like most other steel Rolex, they’re almost impossible to find at an Authorized Dealer. Naturally, if you turn to the second-hand market, you’ll have to pay a hefty premium to get your own.
The lower price point of these new Oyster Perpetuals should in no way indicate that they are of lesser quality than other Rolex watches that can be found higher up in the catalog. All the dials are finished to perfection with white gold hour indices and white gold center hands. The cases are perfectly finished in Rolex’s proprietary steel. Likewise, inside of each beats the latest generation of Rolex calibers possessing the most up-to-date components; these movements only differ from each other in name and size as they’re engineered to fit into the varied case sizes encountered within the Oyster Perpetual line.
In the past, the Oyster Perpetual was perhaps the most underrated Rolex sports watch for men. Yet, time has shown how anything branded with the Coronet is essentially unobtainium so, if you’re hoping to get a Rolex on your wrist, you’re gonna have to move swiftly.
Looking for more watch content?
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