For the last hundred years, Rolex has been setting new and higher standards for watchmaking. And while they’re known for their classic, timeless aesthetic, there are certainly some notable Rolex styles that have surprised us, captured our attention, and stolen our hearts. Here, we’re going to look at just a handful of the notable Rolex styles that have stood out over the years.
The Polar Explorer II
This watch is white-hot, right? The ‘polar’ face of the Explorer is one of the most iconic Rolex styles ever created; it’s also highly collectible. However, the Polar Explorer II is such an exciting watch because it was a total surprise – the original Explorer line featured only black dials, and Rolex only introduced the stark, new face after with the launch of the second generation of Explorer II watches. You can recognize this dial by its white face (of course), but also those luminous hour markers outlined in black – giving it a wonderfully monochromatic appeal.
With a bold green face and matching bezel, this watch broke through any notions that Rolex had gotten boring or complacent with design. The Hulk was released several years after their green 50th anniversary edition of the Submariner (nicknamed the Rolex “Kermit”) was greeted with much fan-fare. You can probably imagine the Rolex team saying, ‘if they like green, let’s double down on it!’ But they didn’t just slap on a green glossy dial and call it a day, they upgraded it with a beautiful ‘sunburst’ finish. The bezel was also upgraded from aluminum to green Cerachrom (ceramic), a major innovation at the time. The final result is this awesome, iconic look for a watch that’s already amongst the most popular in the Rolex lineup.
We could narrow this down to a specific Daytona – like the vintage ‘Big Red’ Daytona or something more modern like the “Rainbow” Daytona. However, the Daytona itself is so prominent within the watch community, the model as a whole has more than earned a spot on this list. With a face that you either love or hate, the Rolex Daytona is bold and unapologetic. Whether you’re looking at a ‘panda’ dial or something absurdly elegant for a sports watch, like a red gold case and matching bracelet, this watch seeks to push the boundaries of design. And with the Rolex Daytona amongst the most expensive pieces to buy on both brand-new and on the pre-owned market (think Paul Newman), it’s clear just how important this Rolex style has become amongst collectors.
Batman with Jubilee
The “Batman” – a nickname for the blue and black bezel GMT-Master II – has been a fan-favorite for several years now. But when Rolex finally decided to pair this moody-colored bezel with a dressy stainless steel Jubilee bracelet, the watch world kind of lost their minds. Some hate the combination, but a lot of people were ecstatic to see these two elements come together. It gives this watch, which is often worn as an everyday watch for many, a much more elevated look.
Pepsi, Coke, Root Beer (Any Soda Related) Bezels
Yes, this is another generalization here, but any Rolex with a bezel nicknamed after a kind of soda is going to be iconic. You’ll find them all on GMT-Master watches, which specifically feature two-tone bezels so you can easily distinguish day from night on the 24-hour gradient. As for what they stand for, “Pepsi” is red and blue, “Coke” black and red, and “Root Beer” is gold and brown. These bezels aren’t just notable within the watch world, they’re also highly collectible.
For more information on Rolex’s soda-themed GMT bezels, check out our YouTube video on the history of the Rolex GMT-Master right here.