If you’ve casually browsed all of Rolex’s models catalog, you may have felt a bit overwhelmed by the number of metal, case, bezel, dial, and band varieties. Although there’s currently 14 established model families, there’s hundreds of permutations when you consider all the options.
We see how it can be confusing to navigate and learn about all the models. For this reason, we’ve chosen to go ahead and narrow it down a bit. In one segment, we’ve broken down the Genevan watchmaker’s catalog into the types of watches that they offer:
In the other, we’ve covered the different types of bracelet that are available. Luckily, these are not quite as numerous. At the end, once you’re familiarized with the different Rolex watch types on this page, you’ll have a much greater understanding of the catalog as a whole.
Types Of Rolex Watches
Officially, Rolex splits their offerings into two large categories: Professional and Classic watches. We think these are a little vague, so we’ve expanded on them for your consumption.
Alternatively, if you’re more interested in the different Rolex band types that are available, keep scrolling! We’re covering those next.
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Rolex Watch Bracelet Types
In this section, we will be reviewing the individual Rolex bracelet options that exist today. You may skip down directly to a specific one with the following quick-links:
- The Oyster Bracelet
- The Jubilee Bracelet
- The President Bracelet
- The Pearlmaster Bracelet
- The Oysterflex Bracelet
The Rolex Oyster Bracelet
The Oyster bracelet is the Genevan watchmaker’s oldest bracelet style, and therefore the most perfected and advanced.
It is recognized by its 3-piece link construction which can either be completely satin-finish or with a polished center. Furthermore, the band is offered in two-tone with polished gold center links, as well as in full precious metal.
This bracelet has employed many different types of clasps in the past, though they have always been “folding” clasps. Over the last couple of years, Rolex has released highly-engineered clasps like the Glidelock and Oysterlock clasps which facilitate use, increase security on the wrist, and allow for micro-adjustment of bracelet size without having to use any kind of tools.
Some models that use this bracelet:
- Oyster Perpetual
- Yacht-Master II
The Rolex Jubilee Bracelet
The Jubilee bracelet is the quintessential Rolex Datejust bracelet. Where the Oyster bracelet imparts a sporty essence to a Rolex watch, the Jubilee brings the elegance and flash.
Its five-link construction, each with a half-moon shape, offer plenty of surfaces for light to reflect. The design also allows for independent movement of one link from another, further enhancing the shimmering effect. Certainly, the Jubilee bracelet is remarkably fluid due to the numerous points of articulation.
Additionally, it can be equipped either with an Oysterclasp or Crownclasp, and be crafted in Oystersteel, two-tone, and less often in full precious metal.
Overall, the Jubilee is much slimmer, refined, and formal than the Oyster bracelet. This is why it’s broadly dispersed through the dressy Datejust line. Don’t let the looks fool you, though. The bracelet is extremely durable, especially the most recent versions which no longer possess hollow center links.
In short, all of these factors make the Jubilee one of Rolex’s most comfortable, sophisticated, and beautiful bracelet types.
Model that uses this bracelet:
- Datejust (in all of its case sizes)
The Rolex President Bracelet
The President bracelet is perhaps the most famous type of Rolex bracelet. So much so, in fact, that the Day-Date is often erroneously referred to as the “Rolex President”.
The President was introduced along with the Day-Date in 1956, and since then has remained the hallmark of the model. The bracelet possesses a 3-link construction, slightly similar in looks to the Jubilee above. Furthermore, it’s always crafted of a precious metal, whether that be platinum, yellow gold, or Rolex’s Everose rose gold alloy.
In the past, the individual links of the President bracelet were hollow, and metal pins were used to hold it together. These pins would degrade over time, and cause the bracelet to “stretch” (see examples on Google) and sag or droop when it was held horizontally.
Recently, Rolex has started using full (not hollow) links for the President bracelet. They’ve also resolved the stretch issue by implementing ceramic sleeves around the pins. These ensure that the bracelet will never stretch or wear down internally. As a result, the look and performance of the bracelet will not be degraded over time, even on the most active wrists.
Finally, this bracelet type is always accompanied by the self-concealing Rolex Crownclasp. This makes for a particularly attractive and undisturbed chain of links, from lug to lug, all around the wearer’s wrist.
Some models that use this bracelet:
- Day-Date (in both 36 & 40mm versions)
- Some ladies’ Datejusts in previous metal
The Rolex Pearlmaster Bracelet
The Pearlmaster is the least know of all types of Rolex bracelets. This may be due in part to the fact that it’s used exclusively on the Pearlmaster, a model line that’s already kind of obscure in Rolex’s catalog.
Like the Jubilee, the Pearlmaster is five links across, though these boast a very different shape. They have rounded edges on the flank of the bracelet, and the links themselves are long and oblong in profile.
The exposed top surface of the links are often in high-polish, though they also serve as perfect real estate for setting diamonds. Indeed, the brand does this skilfully and regularly on the Pearlmaster model line.
The only models to use this bracelet are the Pearlmaster models (part of Datejust collection).
The Rolex Oysterflex Bracelet
The Oysterflex bracelet is the most recently conceived bracelet type from Rolex.
I know what you’re thinking – it’s a rubber strap, and not an actual bracelet. Well, Rolex themselves call it the Oysterflex bracelet, so we will follow their lead.
It seems there’s a metal component integrated inside of the black elastomer material itself, which gives the bracelet rigidity and durability. There’s also a “cushion system” on the underside of the band which raises the bracelet off the wrist slightly, and avoids the sweating that often comes from rubber strap wear. Lastly, the Oysterflex is offered with an Oysterlock clasp, and only on specific white gold or yellow gold models, at least for the time being.
The thorough design of the Oysterflex makes it one of Rolex’s most comfortable bracelet types in the catalog and possibly the best rubber strap in the entire industry.
Some models that use this bracelet:
Types Of Rolex Watches
The Entry-Level Rolex
The entry-level category is just that, the group of Rolex watches to consider when you’re trying to get your feet wet. Maybe you don’t want to spend a significant amount of money on a Rolex watch yet, as you’re not quite sure if it’s your thing.
You can expect to encounter models crafted completely from Oystersteel, including the case, bezel, and bracelet. As far as complications, there won’t be more than time-only watches. This is adequate if you’re getting started in the world of Rolex, or even in the world of luxury wristwatches as a whole.
Within this category lies the Oyster Perpetual family of watches exclusively. It also happens to be Rolex’s most affordable model family, and appropriately so.
Nevertheless, the lower price in no way indicates a lack of quality; it is a Rolex, after all. This fact by itself commands an unparalleled standard of watchmaking and engineering, the same that has helped Rolex attain worldwide prestige.
Dial color and case options are extremely varied, more so than most other Rolex model lines. A clever play from the brand indeed, as it allows just about anyone to find a model that endears them.
List prices top out around $6,500 which, considering the timepiece offered, is a lot of bang for your buck. Even an entry-level Rolex like the Oyster Perpetual will last for the next 100 years. How many other things can you say that about?
The Professional Rolex category encompasses the different types of Rolex models that were designed for professionals in varied fields, namely commercial divers, pilots, and scientists. The obvious tools for these pros include the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master II, and Milgauss watches.
These type of Rolex models were the results of the brand’s extensive research into solving real-life problems for real-life professionals throughout the 20th century. Divers needed watches that could handle their extreme work depths. Pilots needed to easily track the time in far off time zones. Scientist needed timepieces that wouldn’t magnetize and lose track of time.
These watches have been upgraded and retooled for so many decades, that it’s hard to believe they could still get better. Nonetheless, the brand continues to surprise year after year.
If you’re looking to get your hands on one of these timekeeping icons, it’s not going to come cheap. List prices start around $8,200 and climb steadily from there, especially since two-tone and precious metal options are also available.
Ultimately, you’ll be getting a watch of exceptional quality at a fair price in the most popular style of the last two years, the steel Rolex sports model. The only question now is… How long is the waitlist?
The Suit Rolex
The Suit category of Rolex timepieces are the ones you reach for when you’re putting on your Sunday Best. You certainly want to impress, and require a horological masterpiece on your wrist.
Here is where the brand really begins to shine with their eternal Datejust, their classic Day-Date, and their sleek Cellini.
With a Suit type of Rolex, it’s almost guaranteed to get a taste of Rolex gold. Whether it be the 18K white gold fluted bezel of a Datejust, the 18K yellow gold President bracelet of the Day-Date, or the Everose case of a Cellini Moonphase. There’s plenty to choose from, and it’s all good.
Of course, the precious metal comes with a price; models begin around $9,000 and quickly rise. Then again, you’re wearing the ultimate dress watch, a product of millions of dollars and years of leading-edge R&D, made by the most reputable luxury watch brand. If it’s on your wrist, you can be sure it’ll be noticed.
The Sophisticated Rolex
The Sophisticated category is reserved for the highest echelon type of Rolex watch. Therefore, these timepieces boast the most advanced complications the brand has to offer along with the most coveted styles. We’re talking about the Yacht-Masters, the Sky-Dwellers, and the seemingly unobtainable Cosmograph Daytona.
These are serious statement pieces. The best part is that they’re still sports watches, formulated by the brand to withstand any knocks it may face.
The Sophisticated Rolex watch often makes for an ideal one-watch collection, though if you’re this far into watches, there’s probably been some other purchases along the way. Regardless, these timepieces will go with you from the office to the jet (or yacht) through until your feet touch the sand.
At every step, they add a luxurious touch to your ensemble, whether its a blazer and oxfords or shorts and flip-flops. These watches range in price from $11,800 for the basic Yacht-Master 126622 through to gold Daytonas covered in diamonds that sell for north of $100k.
For those out there who aren’t scared to wear their watches everywhere, even when it’s a luxury wristwatch, there exists a type of Rolex for them: the Beater.
The watches in this category are models with sporty styling that endears them to just about any outdoor setting. Additionally, they’re not oversized, as that can easily become cumbersome on a long trek. They’re also uncomplicated, horologically speaking, as more functions generally mean more trouble when the watch takes a knock.
Included in this group are the Air-King, the Explorer I, and the Explorer II varieties. All of them designed for travelers, pioneers, and adventurers. All of them resistant to 100m, with generously lumed and legible dials. Naturally, all are also COSC-certified chronometers, for the times when precision is key.
Externally, most possess a brushed finish throughout. Undeniably, this goes a long way in concealing knocks and scratches unlike a high-polish surface.
With the intended use and activities for these watches, there’s no gold going around. This is fair and on par, considering they range from $6,200 to $8,100. Either way, if you’re chasing after one of these, you’re not looking for bling. You want a workhorse, and there just may not be better ones out there than these.
Now that you’ve gone through our breakdown of Rolex’s watch types, make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more watch reads, you can jump into our other popular watch pages below:
- The Most Affordable Rolex Watches For Men (Pre-Owned And New)
- $17.75 Million & Other Outrageously Expensive Rolex Models
- Rolex Comprehensive Brand Guide: History & FAQs
- Are There Any Luxury Chinese Watch Brands?
- The Best Dive Watches Out Now
"I was having a hard time wrapping my head around all of Rolex's styles. This guide did a good job breaking it down for me. Thanks!"Rating: 5.0★★★★★