Mention the name Rolex and you will automatically think of luxury and ultra reliable watches. Considered as one of the most valuable brands in the world today, the company is the largest single luxury watch brand. It produces around 2,000 watches daily and has revenues in the billions of dollars.
Alfred Davis and Hans Wildorf established Rolex in 1905. Originally based in London, the company eventually transferred to Geneva in 1919.
Sports lovers will always see the Rolex sign in tennis grand slam tournaments, particularly in Wimbledon and in the Australian Open. The brand has been used in the most extreme of conditions. It went down to 10,916 meters when Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh dove the depth of the Mariana Trench in 1960. Both men sported a Rolex Sea Dweller Deep Sea Special at that time.
It has also gone way up when the chief guide of the Hillary expedition to the peak of Mount Everest wore the brand in 1953 during their assault of the world’s highest mountain. Tenzing Norgay, as well as other members of the team, was sporting Rolex Oysters on their way to the top, reaching an altitude of 8,848 meters.
The watch is a proven timepiece. Here is a list of the top ten most expensive watches made by Rolex.
1. 1942 Rolex Chronograph – $1.16 million
Only 12 pieces of this 1942 classic were made. Originally estimated to have a value of around $680 thousand, it went at a Christie’s auction for $1.16 million. The watch has a nickel finish and lever movement and silver matte dials. It features 17 jewels and pink gold Arabic and baton numerals. It also has outer minute divisions, blue telemeter, black tachymeter scales, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds, a 30-minute register, and a split second chronograph mechanism.
2. Eric Clapton’s 1971 Rolex Daytona - $505,000
Just like his guitars, Eric Clapton’s watch seems to be highly valued. The watch features a silver monochrome dial, a stark contrast to the more common design themes of Rolex that have different schemes. As a result, the watch was nicknamed Albino. The price of the watch in the market is around a hundred thousand, but Slowhand himself had worn this one, thus, the increase in its value.
3. Rolex GMT 116769TBR – $485,350
This is the most expensive watch that comes directly from Rolex. It features a wave diamond dial with luminous hour markers. The hands are luminous as well, though it is lined in black. The bracelet is made of white gold weighing 18 carats. Along with the sides, it is filled with diamonds. The self-winding, automatic watch features an Oysterlock clasp and can go down to 100 meters of water resistance. Even the case and locks are encrusted with 76 brilliant round diamonds.
4. James Bond 1973 Rolex 5513 – $450,000
The watch was used in the Roger Moore movie Live and Let Die. It has a white on black dial, and stainless steel body and strapping. And since it was used in a James Bond movie, it features a razor disc, buzz saw, and a magnetic field generator. Bond used the razor disc to remove a woman’s dress and the magnetic field generator to dodge a bullet. It sounds cool, but while you may try the watch to take off a woman’s clothing, you should do the wise thing and not try the bulletproof feature brought about by the magnetic field.
5. Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s Gold Rolex Oyster – $440,000
The first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, owned this watch. It was given to him in 1950 during India’s first ever Republic Day. The watch features an 18K gold dial with a map of India dated 26 January 1950 inscribed into it.
6. Rolex Platinum Pearlmaster 18956 – $276,000
This is a special edition watch that measures 39 millimeters. It features a baguette diamond bezel and bracelet. The dial is made of meteorite diamond. The double-quick set is made of sapphire crystal and has a hidden clasp. This watch was released in 2011 and comes with Rolex books, tags and leather wallet.
7. Paul Newman Ferrari Red Rolex Daytona 6565 – $267,203
Paul Newman was an American actor who starred in a 1969 movie called Winning, which was about racecar driving. A book about the actor released afterwards featured publicity still from the film in which Newman was wearing a Rolex Daytona. As Ferrari was known for its red color, Rolex designed a watch based on it. The watch is stainless steel coated with tritium and comes with a fat strap. It is winded manually and has 17 jewel components. The dial is 37 millimeters wide and has red enamel.
8. Steve McQueen 1967 Rolex Submariner – $234,000
Steve McQueen starred in the 1971 film Le Mans. He sported a Rolex Submariner that had automatic movement at its center and a COSC-certified chronometer. It was made of stainless steel and can work up to 200 meters below the water level.
9. Paul Newman Rolex Daytona – $106,273
This has always been one of the signature watches of the luxury brand. Its casing and dial are made of 14k champagne gold. The tachometer outside and the three interior sub dials were all fitted with black enamel to give the watch a contrast. The round case is 38 millimeters wide, and features sub dials for seconds, 30 minutes, and 12 hours. The hands are luminous and the main dial has accents to give it emphasis. The watch also features 17 jewels in its nickel finished lever movement. Only 200 units were ever built.
10. Rolex Submariner for Cartier – $100,000
Rolex created a couple of watches that was exclusively sold by Cartier in its Fifth Avenue shop in New York. The first one was the Double Red Sea Dweller that sold for $91 thousand. The second is this Submariner that is sold with matching archive papers and red box from Cartier that indicates the date of purchase.