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Watch Review

Mid-Size Rolex Watches That Suit Any Gender

Paul Altieri

His and hers, men’s and women’s, this sort of nomenclature is slowly fading from watchmaking. Sure, you’re unlikely to ever see a man rocking a 28mm watch with a diamond-set bezel, just as much as you’re unlikely to see a woman rocking a massive 49mm Breitling chronograph. With the way watches are trending lately, there is now a hefty pack of mid-size watches out there that are equally suited to any gender; watches that can be shared between a loving couple, whether his and hers, his and his, hers and hers, and so forth. Rolex watches have long been available in an assortment of case sizes, so they’re a prime candidate to look at for a list like this one.

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Datejust 116200

Rolex Datejust 116200

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Rolex Datejust 116200

Of the pack, the classic Rolex Datejust in just about any configuration is a no-brainer. I’m especially fond of the reference 116200 for a handful of reasons. First off, the smooth bezel variant is a little less traditional and more understated. Second, it’s a new enough reference that it runs the Superlative Chronometer certified Caliber 3135 self-winding movement. Lastly, at 36mm across its a comfortable size for just about any wrist. This past year Rolex updated this specific model to the new Caliber 3235 and a slightly more slender case, but in the process they edited out one minor detail that previously stood out on this reference – its railroad style minute track which runs outside its hour indices.

 

Rolex Explorer 14270

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Explorer 14270

When compiling this list, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the Explorer, so long as we’re aiming to stay under the 40mm case diameter mark. Of course, there’s the origin story of the first explorer reference going up Everest, as well as the general longstanding collectibility of the Explorer line as a whole, but take that all away and you’ve still got a very appealing watch. A 36mm case surrounds a highly legible black dial with bright glowing luminous indices – of course featuring the classic 3-6-9 Arabic numeral layout that has always been a part of its design DNA. Though more utilitarian in design, it’s also an easy one to dress up or dress down by throwing it on a leather or NATO strap.

 

Rolex Yacht-Master 268622

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Yacht-Master 268622

Frankly, when this mid-size version of the Rolex Yacht-Master came out, I was disappointed that it wasn’t on offer in the larger 40mm case size, however, I’ve grown to love the more compact and funky watch. That subtle pop of neon blue on its seconds hand and text stands out perfectly against its dark rhodium dial. The 37mm diameter sports watch feels a touch smaller at first, as its dial is more compact than other offerings on account of its bezel; however once on the wrist, the size doesn’t feel out of place in the least. Just like its 40mm counterparts, this Yacht-Master features a stainless steel case and bracelet, with its bezel made out of platinum with pronounced relief engraved timing indices.

 

Rolex Air-King 14000

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Air-King 14000

We had to get the Air-King into the mix here, though we’re opting for an older reference that’s more similar to the Explorer on our list than the current production 40mm Air-King out there. A sunburst royal blue dial, applied polished 3-6-9 indices, and a mostly brushed case and bracelet (other than its polished bezel) make for an interesting aesthetic mix. Similarly to the Explorer again, this one will walk the fine line between business and casual quite easily, though at 34mm across, it is the most compact of our mid-size selections thus far. Its compact sizing also impacts its market price these days, making it a respectable bargain; you’ll typically find the Air-King 14000 and similar references selling for less than $4k in current market conditions.

 

Rolex Day-Date President 228206

Mid-Size Rolex Watches - Day-Date 228206

At 40mm, this Rolex Day-Date reference can not really be considered a mid-size watch, and it is the largest offering that we’re throwing into the mix here; however there’s something so charming to its geometric textured ice blue dial that it really feels like the kind of watch that everyone and anyone should wear – if they have the means. You’re looking at a platinum cased beauty here with some serious heft to it, powered by the Rolex Caliber 3255. This was one of the earlier Rolex watches featuring the new-generation 32xx series of movements to hit the market, which improved overall running characteristics as well as power reserve – bumping up to more modern standard of 70 hours.

Paul Altieri

With over a decade of experience as a journalist and editor covering the watchmaking, the automotive industry, and other lifestyle topics, a general obsession with mechanical creations remains the common thread. Having worked for a broad range of industry and general interest publications throughout the years, Justin has developed a sincere appreciation for a wide range of watch brands and styles, as well as an ever-growing interest in the vintage watch market.