We typically dive a bit deeper into one specific model or select several similar (or different) watches to compare. This time, however, we’re doing something a little different; we’re giving you an insight into what other watch enthusiasts are buying. Today, we’re sharing the top five bestselling Rolex watches on Chrono24. You may be surprised by which models come out on top – I certainly was.
Before we get to the watches, I just want to say that this list is not intended to advise anyone to buy a certain timepiece. We’re often asked for buying advice, but without knowing the person or his or her tastes, it’s an impossible question to answer. No one wants a world in which everyone is wearing the exact same thing. No matter what floats your boat, I personally think you should always buy the watch you love. Don’t feel like you have to pick the most popular model; instead, pick the watch that puts a smile on your face. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 Rolex watches sold on Chrono24:
Rolex GMT-Master II
While the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16710 is undoubtedly a very popular model, it is actually at the bottom of our top five. I was quite surprised to see this as it’s one of my favorite Rolexes. That said, I no longer have any in my own collection. I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this watch, to be honest. It is definitely a stunner, but when I owned one, I always wanted to change the configuration slightly.
The GMT-Master is sold in various combinations, making it a versatile watch. The watch has come on both Oyster and Jubilee bracelets at various points in time. Even the latest models are available on either bracelet, though the bezel colors have changed a bit. Models with reference numbers beginning with “167” are available with a black, red and blue, or red and black bezel. The version with the red and blue bezel – the “Pepsi” – is probably the most popular, while the version with the red and black bezel was aptly given the nickname “Coke.”
In terms of versatility, if you can get your hands on the other bracelet and two extra bezels, you would end up with a good number of options. This is one of the reasons I love this model so much. Over the years, I’ve owned a handful of GMTs. I now regret selling the last one, especially when I look at current prices. Between 2009 and 2014, the average price for a GMT-Master went up by roughly $1,700 (€1,500). Since then, prices have nearly doubled.
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN
The watch that I expected to be at the top of the list actually came in at number four. However, there was never any doubt about this model being in the top five. After all, it is by far one of the most iconic watches out there. I quickly learned that this timepiece works in nearly every setting after buying mine some years ago. There are a few watches that I wear quite frequently, and this is definitely one of them. The ceramic Submariner is so comfortable; you can easily wear it all day long.
The Rolex Submariner has been updated quite a few times since its debut in 1953, but it’s never lost touch with the original. If you ask me, it’s only gotten better. To be honest, I wasn’t completely on board when I saw this model launch in 2010. The slightly larger case and shiny ceramic bezel had to grow on me, but now I’m convinced. This watch basically takes all the good things from its predecessors and adds better features. The bracelet’s micro adjustment is a particularly nice feature. It gives you plenty of flexibility for changing conditions.
Prices for the ceramic Rolex Submariner haven’t followed the same trajectory as the GMT-Master II, but it has enjoyed a significant increase in value in recent years. Of course, price comes down to the watch’s condition and other delivery contents, but generally speaking, prices for this watch have gone up almost 50% in the last five years.
Rolex Submariner Date 16610
One step up on the list is the Rolex Submariner ref. 16610. As mentioned, the Submariner is an iconic watch that only gets better with age. This reference number is no different. Little had changed since its introduction in 1989 until its aforementioned successor entered the scene. The biggest aesthetic changes were the use of a solid Oyster bracelet and the lack of pinholes in the case starting around the end of 2000.
According to Chrono24’s data, nearly 100% of these watches are sold on a steel bracelet. This doesn’t really come as a surprise, considering it was only ever released on a steel bracelet. However, everything wears down at some point and not everyone is willing to fork over four figures for a new bracelet. In terms of dial color, about 95% of Submariners sold on Chrono24 have a black dial.
Rolex Explorer II
To be honest, this next watch took me by surprise. I didn’t expect the Rolex Explorer II to come in second place. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a seriously underrated Rolex model that has never really gotten the attention it deserves – perhaps we’re witnessing a comeback. Unlike the previous models, price increases for the Explorer II have been more steady over the years. Around 2010, prices shot up by 25% to about 4,500 USD (€4,000). Over the next eight years, prices slowly went up by around $1,100 (€1,000). Then, in 2018, prices jumped, landing somewhere in the $8,000 (€7,000) range.
As mentioned, I think the Explorer is an underrated Rolex. This could be due to its stainless steel bezel. Back in the day, I had one with a white dial, but it never got much wrist time. I don’t know if it was the look of the bezel or the fact that each and every scratch was instantly visible on it. Nevertheless, this watch is as reliable as you would expect from a Rolex. Dial color is apparently a moot point for the Explorer II; versions with white and black dials are equally popular.
Rolex Datejust 1601
Finally, we come to the bestselling Rolex on Chrono24. This one is not at all surprising. The Datejust was first introduced in 1945. That was some 75 years ago and eight years before the Sub – think about that. It was the first self-winding chronometer wristwatch with a date window on its dial. Today, the Datejust is the epitome of a dress watch, while the Submariner is the epitome of a sports watch. It is a well deserved first place on this list.
Produced between the late 1950s and 1970s, this particular Rolex Datejust is available in more variations than any other watch on this list. That may be one of the reasons why it is so popular. In terms of band choice, steel is by far the most popular at just over 55%. Leather comes in second with 25%, followed by two-tone metal at around 12%. Other options such as exotic leather or precious metal are rare.
In terms of dial color and case material, steel cases with silver dials are by far the most popular, accounting for almost 45% of all Datejusts sold on Chrono24. Next are two-tone cases paired with silver dials at just 15%. Blue and black dials barely account for 5%. While there are many other options out there, they don’t seem to be very popular. Prices have increased more steadily than those of other models, having roughly doubled since early 2009.
That’s it – the top five bestselling Rolex watches on Chrono24. Again, this list is purely informative. Buy the watch that makes you happy. After all, wearing a watch is for your own enjoyment.