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Watch Review

What Does a $50,000 Rolex Look Like?

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Paul Altieri

One of the many appealing things about Rolex is that the brand offers multiple price points, ranging from (relatively) affordable to sky-high. While prices for certain vintage Rolex watches can often reach into the six – and even seven-figure range, the vast majority of new Rolex watches cost anywhere between $5K and $50K. These prices are dependent on several factors, but the two most significant ones are the functions of the watch and the materials used in its construction. If you’ve ever wondered what a $50,000 Rolex watch looks like, then read on for some fantastic examples!

Rolex Sky-Dweller Reference 326938 – Yellow Gold

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326938 Yellow Gold

Sky-Dweller 326938 Key Features:

– Case Size: 42mm

– Materials: 18 Yellow Gold

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Annual Calendar, GMT Functionality

– Dial: Multiple Options Available

– Bezel: Ring Command, 18k Yellow Gold, Fluted Style

– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat w/ Cyclops Lens)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 9001

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

– Retail Price: $46,650 (as of June 2021)

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Sky-Dweller.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

It’s big, it’s complicated, it’s entirely constructed from solid 18k yellow gold, and it retails for $46,650 (as of June 2021). In terms of all-out statement pieces, it is hard to beat the 18k yellow gold Rolex Sky-Dweller reference 326938. Not only is the Sky-Dweller Rolex’s youngest collection, having only made its debut in 2012, but its advanced Caliber 9001 movement makes this annual calendar GMT watch one of the most complex models ever produced by Rolex.

If you look at the dial housed within the 42mm case, you’ll see the center hands for local time, an off-center 24-hour disk for a secondary time zone, a date window at 3 o’clock, and an innovative month indicator. Since there are 12 hours on a watch and also 12 months in the year, Rolex cleverly added a small window next to each hour marker that changes color to correspond with the current month. Plus, this being an annual calendar watch that automatically accounts for the different numbers of days in each month, the Sky-Dweller only requires a manual adjustment once a year – when February transitions to March.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 – White Gold & Platinum

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 White Gold Platinum

Yacht-Master II 116689 Key Features:

– Case Size: 44mm

– Materials: 18k White Gold and 950 Platinum

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Programmable Regatta Timer

– Dial: White w/ Luminous Hour Markers

– Bezel: Ring Command, 950 Platinum w/ 10-Minute Scale

– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 4161

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

– Retail Price: $48,150 (as of June 2021)

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Yacht-Master II.

Rolex Yacht-Master II

It is not just the dressy Rolex watches that have hefty price tags. Take the ultra-sporty Rolex Yacht-Master II ref. 116689 for instance, which retails for $48,150 (as of June 2021). With its robust 44mm case in solid 18k white gold, a matching white gold bracelet, and a Ring Command bezel made from 950 platinum, the reference 116689 is a substantial $50,000 Rolex sports watch with quite a bit of wrist-presence and an advanced purpose-built movement.

Similar to the Sky-Dweller, the Rolex Yacht-Master II is a young collection (first introduced in 2007) and it has an impressive complication that puts it among the most complex Rolex watches currently available. Thanks to the in-house Caliber 4161 movement, the Yacht-Master II has an adjustable countdown function that can be programmed anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. The countdown timer has both flyback and fly-forward functionality, along with a mechanical memory that saves your selected countdown value. At retail, the white gold Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 costs several thousand dollars more than its yellow gold counterpart, and at the present time, it is the most expensive Yacht-master watch currently available.

Rolex Daytona Reference 116505 – Everose Gold & Diamonds

Rolex Daytona 116505 Everose Gold Baguette Diamond Dial

Daytona 116505 Key Features:

– Case Size: 40mm

– Materials: 18k Everose Gold

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, 12-Hour Chronograph

– Dial: Sundust w/ Baguette Diamond Hour Markers

– Bezel: Fixed, 18k Everose Gold w/ Tachymeter Scale

– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 4130

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

– Retail Price: $45,600 (as of June 2021)

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Daytona.

Rolex Daytona

It is no coincidence that the most expensive Rolex watches are typically the precious metal editions of the brand’s most complicated models. Gold and platinum inherently cost more than stainless steel, and technologically complex movements require more components and are all-around more difficult and expensive to manufacture. Next to the Sky-Dweller and Yacht-Master II, Rolex’s third most complicated movement is the Caliber 4130 chronograph caliber found inside the Daytona, so it is no surprise that gold and platinum Rolex Daytona models are among the most expensive models in the brand’s catalog.

Prices for solid gold Rolex Daytona watches start out at about $10k less than the price of a gold Sky-Dweller and increase depending on the type of gold (white and Everose gold cost more than yellow gold), the bracelet style (gold bracelets cost more than Oysterflex bracelets), and the style of dial fitted to the watch (options such as meteorite and diamond hour markers naturally cost more). Excluding the ultra-costly platinum models, the most expensive standard-production Rolex Daytona watch is the reference 116505 in solid 18k Eversose gold that fitted with a matching Everose gold Oyster bracelet and a dial with baguette diamond hour markers – and which costs an impressive $45,600 (as of June 2021). With that in mind, just like virtually all Rolex Daytona models, expect to pay a premium unless you plan on spending some time on a waiting list, and prices for the Everose Daytona 116505 frequently reach north of $50k on the open market.

Although a decent number of platinum Rolex models will cost more than $50k, this price range still grants you access to many of the most expensive and exclusive models in the brand’s current lineup, such as solid gold editions of some of the brand’s most desirable and technologically advanced models. From dressy to sporty, a $50,000 budget taps into a wide range of different Rolex watches, and all of them offer slightly different takes on the classic statement piece, with each one built to last a lifetime.

Paul Altieri
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