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ROLEX BLOG

Unisex Rolex Watches: The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Midsize Models

September 10, 2020

BY Paul Altieri

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Rolex watches for men have always been a staple accessory for those looking to create a strong, professional look that offers both style and functionality. And since the early days of the brand’s beginning, these meticulously handcrafted timepieces have been strapped on for casual and formal occasions, as well as on the job – whether you’re a scientist wearing a Milgauss or a spelunker sporting an Explorer II. It’s also safe to say that for decades, women have been reaching into their man’s watch box to borrow his timepiece. Women have also been buying men’s Rolex watches of their own for decades, as many are attracted to their larger stature and an often wider selection of aesthetics.

You can make the argument that any Rolex watch is a Rolex unisex watch. For example, both men and women race Yachts, and the incredibly sophisticated and professional Yacht-Master II works just the same on a man or woman’s wrist. Additionally, the days of women wearing mostly dainty gem-encrusted timepieces are long gone. Instead, women are wearing more men’s models than ever before – even to the point where Rolex now produces variations of traditional men’s watches that embrace more feminine styling. With all this in mind, we wanted to create a guide to the most popular unisex Rolex watches – the models most beloved by both men and women for their elegant, enduring style and precision.

Unisex Rolex Watches

Unisex Rolex Yacht-Master 37 Everose Gold

Unisex Rolex Key Features:

– Versatile case sizes (typically between 31mm and 40mm)

– Gender-neutral dial colors

– Optional gem-set dials and bezels

– Often offered as a reduced-size model within an existing collection

– Same features/functionality as full-size models

Click here to learn more about a few of our favorite unisex Rolex watches.

Rolex Unisex Watches

The Breakdown: Men’s vs. Women’s Rolex Watches

Rolex has never outright created a “unisex” watch. Like most manufacturers, Rolex has separate men and women’s collections. However, recently, we’ve seen a shift from Rolex, displaying what would typically be considered men’s watches under the “women’s” category on its website – a subtle nod to the trend of women wearing larger watches. However, we’ll circle back to this, because it’s really important to understand the difference between the men’s and women’s collections (and the middle ground between the two) before we explore the different unisex Rolex watches.

Men’s vs. Women’s Collections

The most striking difference between the men’s line and the women’s line within Rolex’s catalog is the breadth of the collections. Rolex has three distinct collections: Oyster Perpetual Professional, Oyster Perpetual Classic, and Cellini. The men’s watches – by far – dominate these collections. Today, the men’s watches span all three collections. However, the current-production women’s Rolex watches are only part of the Oyster Perpetual Classic collection.

Men’s Rolex Watches

– Oyster Perpetual

– Datejust

– Day-Date (President)

– Sky-Dweller

– Cellini

– Yacht-Master II

– Yacht-Master

– Air-King

– Milgauss

– Explorer II

– Explorer

– GMT-Master II

– Sea-Dweller

– Submariner

– Daytona

Women’s Rolex Watches

– Lady-Datejust

– Lady President (Lady-Datejust with President bracelet)

– Pearlmaster

– Lady Yacht-Master (discontinued)

Unisex Rolex Datejust Watches 36mm

Men’s vs Women’s Sizing

When it comes to sizing, women’s watches are significantly smaller. Today, Rolex’s current collection of ladies watches clock in at 28mm in size. However, throughout Rolex’s history, the brand has released a variety of women’s watch sizes, as small as 24mm and as large as 29mm. It is also important to note that women’s vintage cocktail watches have measured in as tiny as 15mm; however, these are not part of the Oyster Perpetual line.

Concerning men’s Rolex watches, the sizes are often significantly larger. The men’s sizing technically starts at 31mm and goes as large as 44mm for the Deepsea Sea-Dweller. The other men’s Rolex sizes are 34mm, 36mm, 37mm, 39mm, 40mm, 41mm, 42mm, and 43mm. However, some vintage or now-discontinued models clock in at various in-between sizes like 35mm or 38mm.

Men’s vs Women’s Bracelets

On both men’s and women’s Rolex watches you will find the classic Oyster, the dressy Jubilee, and the regal President bracelets. On the women’s Pearlmaster watches, you will exclusively find the elegant five-link Pearlmaster bracelet which was launched alongside the Pearlmaster in 1992. However, the Pearlmaster is now considered a unisex watch and also features this bracelet exclusively. Only one other time the Pearlmaster has been used on another watch and that was for the ‘Masterpiece’ series which were ultra-luxurious Day-Date watches paired with Pearlmaster bracelets.

A Turning Point: What Rolex Considers Unisex Today

Like we hinted at above, Rolex is embracing the idea of unisex watches. While Rolex hasn’t come outright and said “this watch is a unisex model” – over the past few years, the brand has made decisive choices that clearly embrace both genders by finding the middle ground between size and design for both sexes. To bridge the gap, two big decisions have been made.

1. Women’s sizing is larger

Today, the Lady-Datejust and Lady President clock in at 28mm, the smallest Pearlmaster measures 34mm (there is also a 39mm model available). That’s a huge jump from previous ladies Rolex watches which often sat around 24mm to 26mm. Of course, the dainty cocktail dress watches have always been significantly smaller, but the Oyster Perpetual Classic models have typically always been in the mid 20cm range. Today, this shift to 28mm and 39mm is a direct reflection of the changing tastes on the women’s market, with Rolex heavily leaning towards bolder sizing.

2. Mid-sized Rolex watches are marketed as unisex

When you go to the Rolex website and click on their “women’s” watches something interesting happens. First, you see the petite 28mm Lady Datejust and Lady President models, but also the Oyster Perpetual 31mm and the Datejust 31mm. Both the 31mm Oyster Perpetual and Datejust appear on the men’s pages as well, showing the crown’s shift towards creating timepieces that appeal directly to both sexes.

You’ll also notice that the some of the latest Pearlmaster 39 models are also missing from this page. We find this interesting, as they clearly still appeal to women; however, given that the Lady-Pearlmaster is no longer part of the brand’s catalog, Rolex felt the need to distinguish between certain options within the 34mm and 39mm ranges – both of which offer ample options for gem-set dials, bezels, and bracelets.

Unisex Rolex Oyster Perpetual Red Grape Dial

The Middleground: Unisex Rolex Watches

While Rolex has only officially (unofficially) declared a small handful of their men’s Oyster Perpetual Classic watches as unisex (by categorizing them under women’s watches on their website), there is a wide range of mid-sized watches across all three Rolex collections which both men and women love wearing these days.

Our disclaimer here is that today, any vintage or contemporary Rolex watch can be unisex. With men and women embracing different sizes and designs, either sex can get away with wearing whatever they want. But here, we wanted to specifically highlight watches that both men and women are leaning towards these days within the pre-owned, vintage, and retail Rolex collections. You’ll notice that these watches are all in the mid-size range (from 31 to 40mm), which sits beautifully on almost any wrist and makes the right impression on both men and women.

Size Guide: Rolex Unisex Watches

Datejust 31, 36 31mm, 36mm
Date 34 34mm
Oyster Perpetual 31, 34, 36 31mm, 34mm, 36mm
Day-Date 36, Day-Date 36mm, 40mm
Yacht-Master 37, Yacht-Master 40 37mm, 40mm
GMT-Master II 40mm
Daytona 40mm
Submariner (pre-2020) 40mm
Cellini 39mm
Pearlmaster 34, 39 34mm, 39mm

Unisex Rolex Datejust 36mm Jubilee Bracelet

Unisex Datejust

The Rolex Datejust, featuring its iconic date mechanism, has always had a timeless and rather androgynous appeal. Featuring clean, classic lines, an easy to read face, and the durability that comes with an Oyster case, both men and women have leaned towards the Datejust collection for its ability to perfectly pair form and function. The Datejust 31 is unique because it clocks in bigger than the normal Lady Datejust while still featuring some models with outright feminine-leaning features, like pink, purple, or mother of pearl dials. However, the rest of the 31mm collection is quite unisex, featuring a slew of two-tone, gold, and stainless steel models with dials that range from blue with Roman numerals to green with stick hour markers. While this 31mm Datejust will sit larger than a typical Lady-Datejust on a woman’s wrist, it also gives men a smaller option than the standard 34mm and 36mm models.

The current 36mm Datejust follows a similar pattern, featuring alloys like Everose which actually have a far longer history being associated with men’s dress watches than women’s timepieces. The Datejust 36 also boasts a wide variety of dial colors and variations that are inclusive for both sexes. The 36mm Datejust is the classic, original size created for men, so we already know this size sits well on their wrists. However, the 36mm gives women a really great option of a more substantial timepiece that still isn’t overpowering – which matches the ethos of the Datejust quite well. For men, this has also proven to be a go-to size, with the newer 41mm option now also available for those who either require a larger watch or simply just want to make more of a statement.

Unisex Oyster Perpetual

The Oyster Perpetual is the Rolex collection with the most universal appeal. Featuring a clean face unobstructed by day or date mechanisms, sub-dials, or complicated bezels, the Oyster Perpetual is the epitome of timeless, simple style. Throughout its history, Rolex has introduced a plethora of designs for the Oyster Perpetual for both men and women. However, recently the lineup has become increasingly unisex, with all of the mid-sized watches (31mm, 34mm, and 36mm) featuring dial colors that appeal to men and women.

As of 2020, Rolex has introduced a new, colorful line of Oyster Perpetual models. The unisex 31mm, 34mm, and 36mm models all feature more subdued or classic colors like grey, gold, silver, blue, and black. However, they also feature bright colors like Yellow, Green, Coral Red, Turquoise, and Candy Pink, which are seriously turning heads this year. Some enthusiasts think that these colors are meant to attract more women, but half the new lineup is quite unisex in color, leading many experts to say the new colors are to entice a younger audience or appeal to collectors who already have a number of more classically styled pieces in their watch boxes. This younger audience that Rolex may be trying to appeal to is far less concerned with the traditional titles of “men’s” and “women’s” watches than ever before. Plus, the days of assigning gender to color are long gone. Remember Millennial Pink, everyone?

Unisex Day-Date

The original size of the Day-Date is 36mm, and Rolex has never released a women’s version of the watch. Consequently, the 36mm Day-Date has been rather unisex in more recent years, and a number of female celebrities choose Rolex Day-Date 36 watches for their iconic and bold styling. Today the 36mm Day-Date could be considered a unisex Rolex watch; however, it is valid to say that just a few decades ago, the 36mm case sizing would have been considered radically large for a lady’s wrist.

However, times change and so do styles. Today, men and women love to strap on the perfectly fitting 36mm Day-Date President. And while many men are reaching for the new Day-Date40 with its larger 40mm case diameter, some women even often opt for this bold, enlarged version of this classic, historical timepiece.

Unisex Yacht-Master

Rolex previously produced a women’s Yacht-Master but eventually discontinued it. However, what eventually replaced it was quite a beautiful, mid-sized 37mm Yacht-Master that appeals to everyone. This watch’s original iteration is masculine, modern, and elegant in all the best ways featuring a matte black ceramic bezel, luxurious Everose gold case, and durable black Oysterflex strap. It is the high contrast of durability and elegance, light and dark, that gives this 37mm watch an enduring, universal appeal. Eventually, Rolex upgraded the line to also include both Rolesium (steel and platinum) and Everose Rolesor (steel and Everose gold) models. There’s even a diamond-paved dial for those who really want to splash out.

Most options available for the standard size Yacht-Master 40 are also available for the unisex 37mm model; however, Rolex also offers a version of the 40mm Rolesium Yacht-Master that features a vibrant blue dial with a red seconds hand that is not available on the Yacht-Master 37. With that in mind, despite 40mm being the classic size of Rolex’s sports watches for men, it is not so large that women cannot wear the Yacht-Master 40 too, and there are a number of women who wear the full-size 40mm Yacht-Master, rather than one of the unisex 37mm options.

Unisex GMT-Master II

The GMT-Master II clocks in at 40mm, which is on the larger size for what you typically see on a women’s wrist. However, this Oyster Professional watch is a status symbol for anyone who wears it, and its rich history and striking aesthetics are instantly recognizable by any collector. The 40mm sizing lends itself to that beautiful bezel that comes in a variety of colors, like black and red (aka Coke), blue and red (aka Pepsi) or blue and black (aka Batman).

Many collectors prefer the vintage GMT-Master watches, with the GMT-Master II stretching back to the 1980s with an aluminum bezel, and the original vintage GMT-Master models going all the way back to 1955. Some of the earliest GMT-Master models even have these wonderful faded bezels (sometimes referred to as “ghost bezels”), where the colors have faded and transformed – like from red to fuchsia. Today, the black and blue “Batman” bezel is also incredibly popular among both men and women, as the sharp color combination is really easy to tie into literally any wardrobe. At the end of the day, both vintage and modern GMT-Master watches really have universal appeal – all the person really has to be into is traveling, aviation, or just a really cool bezel.

Unisex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona has never been released as a women’s watch, so the men’s version is the only one that existed. However, this iconic, luxurious watch has long been worn and coveted by both sexes due to its status and exclusivity. Today, the Daytona is so hard to buy on the retail market, that people can be on it for years waiting to get the chance to buy the watch that they want. With so few Daytona watches being produced a year (relative to demand), collectors of both sexes anxiously wait for their chance to own one. However, savvy men and women often head to the second-hand market to get their hands on a Daytona without the waiting list.

As you probably know, vintage Daytona watches are among the most valuable on the planet. You may recall Paul Newman’s Daytona going for $17.8 million a few years ago. So, many collectors also seek out these incredibly rare and valuable vintage Daytona references for their value and collectibility. However, it’s important to note that these vintage Daytona’s clock-in smaller than the current production models, with cases that measure 37mm. Because of this smaller size, women find it exciting, fun, and easy to jump into the vintage Rolex Daytona market. Incredible value means universal appeal when it comes to the Daytona, and its versatile case sizing guarantees that it works well on nearly every wrist.

Unisex Submariner (pre-2020)

In 2020, Rolex updated the Submariner line to 41mm, which takes the watch just outside the unisex/midsize watch range, but only just slightly. However, before the new launch this year, the Submariner clocked in at 40mm, making it the perfect companion for both male and female divers. With that in mind, the sporty and utilitarian feel of this watch hasn’t always been attractive to women watch enthusiasts. Women’s styles have evolved, especially in favor of color, and the Submariner does that oh so well.

We find that the blue bezel Submariner watches, in addition to the green Submariner models (like the Hulk and the Kermit) are incredibly popular among men and women. The sizing of 40mm sits robustly on the wrist and the accent of color makes this watch pop even more. The Rolex Submariner has so much sturdiness, style, and history that it appeals to collectors of all kinds, making it one of the top Rolex unisex watches to collect – despite being an outright men’s model. It also helps that just like the Daytona, the Submariner is one of the most valuable Rolex watches to collect. While its 40mm sizing may be too large for certain wrists, the universal appeal of the Submariner guarantees that it remains a popular watch for members of both sexes.

Unisex Cellini

Since the Cellini collection was launched in the 1960s, Rolex has created a wide variety of both men’s and women’s dress watches in various sizes. However, today’s current Cellini collection is centered around a single, unisex model that appeals to both sexes with its fine alloys and versatile 39mm case. Featuring a domed and fluted bezel, minimal dial, elegant hands, and a timeless leather strap is the epitome of luxury for every collector with discerning taste.

However, this isn’t the first Rolex Cellini to boast a unisex feel. Throughout the history of the collection, the Cellini has been offered in a wide range of styles, with many appealing to both men and women. Always crafted from precious metals and designed with elegant styling in mind, the Rolex Cellini collection appeals to a wide range of individuals, including both men and women. When it comes to the modern Cellini watches, anyone would be lucky to add one of these fine, luxury timepieces to their collection, and its 39mm case will work well on a wide range of different wrist sizes.

Unisex Pearlmaster 34, 39

While the Rolex Pearlmaster was first launched as a women’s timepiece in the 1990s, today it has been reimagined as a blingy, stunning unisex timepiece for those who want to make a statement. Available in both 34mm and 39mm, the sizing sits perfectly on both men’s and women’s wrists. Plus, these Pearlmaster watches – which are always forged out of precious metals and outfitted with diamonds and gems – don’t need to be enormous to make a statement. In fact, the sizing is entirely secondary to all of those expertly-set gems.

Not everyone is a fan of diamond-encrusted watches, but for those who are, the Rolex Pearlmaster is an obvious choice. In the past, Rolex offered Pearlmaster watches with varying degrees of gem-setting, but at the present time, full diamond-paved is the only option. Regardless of whether you opt for the 34mm or 39mm model, you will be getting one of the most iced-out Rolex watches currently available, and it is guaranteed to look great on both male and female wrists.

Unisex Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium

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2 Responses to “Unisex Rolex Watches: The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Midsize Models”

  1. Paul Thorpe says:

    Great stuff – fashion aside and merely relating to aesthetics for man or woman (or other) rule of 5 is good sizing guide – eg watch diameter is 1/5th of wrist circumference.

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