Top 5 Rolex Watches with Exceptional Value Retention

One historic auction event that showcased the legendary status of Rolex was the sale of the ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona. This extraordinary timepiece fetched a jaw-dropping and record-breaking amount of S$23,552,951 at a prestigious Phillips auction in 2017.

Another Cosmograph Daytona, nicknamed “Paul Newman John Player Special” in 18K yellow gold, was sold in the same auction house for S$1,645,157. Rarity and high demand influence the prices of these used or pre-owned Rolex watches. 

For decades, it has remained true that investing in the right Rolex luxury watch can set you up for a great investment over time. If you’re looking for certain Rolex models that exponentially appreciate in value, this guide will introduce the top Rolexes you need to add to your collection. 

image from canva

Top Rolexes That Hold Their Value Best

At a Glance


Rolex Submariner

Rolex Daytona

Rolex GMT-Master II

Rolex Day-Date

Rolex Explorer II


37mm, 40mm, 41mm



36mm, 40mm



-Clean, uncluttered dial

-Comes in black, blue, and green, depending on the model

-Includes a date window at the 3 o’clock position on some models

-Protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal 

-Includes three sub-dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions

-Comes in white, black, green, and blue, among others

-Some may feature diamond-paved dials

-Signature ‘Maxi’ luminescent dial

-Date function at the 3 o’clock

-May come in silver, white, black, blue, champagne, and green, among others

-Feature stick markers, Roman numerals, or diamond hour markers

-Features a date window at 3 o’clock and a day window at the 12 o’clock position

-Large luminous hour markers

-Includes a date window at the 3 o’clock position

-GMT function


-Features an Oyster case

-Water-resistant for up to 300 meters (1,000 feet)

– Oystersteel, 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold, 18k Everose gold, and Everose Rolesor

-Equipped with a Triplock winding crown

-Oystersteel, 18ct gold, or Rolesor

-Waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet)

-Case back is hermetically sealed with a special tool exclusive to Rolex watchmakers

-18k yellow gold, 18k white gold, 18k Everose gold, and 950 platinum

-Utilizes scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Cyclop lens

-Fluted, screw-down case back

-Waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet)

-Crafted from Oystersteel

-Waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet)

-Case back is solid and screw-down

-Comes with a screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system


-Unidirectional rotatable bezel

-Scratchproof Cerachrom bezel insert

-Fixed bezel with a tachymetric scale

-May feature a bezel encrusted with diamonds or sapphires

-Made from Cerachrom

-Bidirectional rotatable 24-hour graduated bezel

-Graduations and numerals are coated yellow, Everose gold, or platinum

-Fluted bezel, smooth bezel, and gem-set bezel

-Fixed, 24-hour graduated bezel

-Made from highly durable 904L Oystersteel

-Features engraved dial numerals and graduations coated with platinum via a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process


-Oyster bracelet

-Made from 904L steel, 18 ct white gold, or 18 ct yellow gold

-Oysterlock clasp,diver’s extension link, and Rolex Glidelock system

-Oyster or an Oysterflex bracelet

-Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink comfort extension link

-Oyster bracelet

-Oysterlock clasp and Easylink extension system

-Plat three-piece links

-Composed of semi-circular links across

-Features a concealed folding Crownclasp

-Oyster bracelet

-Oysterlock clasp and Easylink comfort extension link



Calibre 3230

-70-hour power reserve


Caliber 4130

-72-hour power reserve


Calibre 3285

-70-hour power reserve


Calibre 3255

-70-hour power reserve


Calibre 3285

-70-hour power reserve

When choosing from the Rolex Submariner, Daytona, GMT Master II, Day-Date, and Explorer II models, buyers should carefully consider the varied specifications of each. From the size and dial to the case, bezel, and strap, these elements greatly differ across models, offering unique appeal and functionalities. 

Therefore, it’s vital for potential owners to inspect individual offerings within these models to ensure they’re choosing the right timepiece that meets their needs and style. This understanding allows for an informed purchase, delivering a Rolex watch that resonates with the wearer and their purpose. 

Meanwhile, we will further dive into each model on the table and why they come with great investment potential:

1. Rolex Submariner – A Diver’s Classic

The Rolex Submariner is a classic timepiece known for its durability and water resistance. This watch maintains its value over time since it’s built with high-quality materials like stainless steel and reliable movement. Many collectors prefer the classic Submariner models with no date complication for their simplicity.

The top pick from the Submariner line is the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LN. It retails for S$11,900 and may be resold in the secondary market for S$13,858 to S$59,424, depending on the materials used. 

The increased value of the timepiece is mainly factored by the watch’s condition, original documents, and demand. It’s clear as day that the Rolex Submariner is some of the collections that have appreciated over time. 

2. Rolex Daytona – A Racing Elegance

Known for its sleek design and chronograph functionality, the Rolex Daytona is another popular choice among watch collectors. Daytona watches come in various materials, such as stainless steel or gold, but often hold their value regardless of the type due to their iconic design. The ceramic bezel models, like the Daytona M116500LN-0001, are especially sought-after.

This striking timepiece may dictate a price of S$20,650 in authorized retail stores. However, once it lands in the secondary market, its value multiplies from S$46,082 to S$55,445.

Should you acquire this model or other highly sought-out Rolex wristwatches from the Daytona collection, keeping them in mint condition and servicing them is essential. This way, your watch could command higher prices in the market. 

3. Rolex GMT-Master II – The Time Zone Conqueror

The Rolex GMT-Master II is a distinctive watch with a dual-time feature or a 24-hour hand and rotating bezel for tracking a second time zone, making it popular among travelers and collectors. With its robust, versatile, and two-tone design, it’s no surprise that this GMT-Master II has maintained its value over the years.

It’s also popular, especially after the release of its 116710BLNR model, a.k.a. the Rolex Batman. Due to its appealing and sporty aesthetics, watch enthusiasts splurge around S$12,600 for a new timepiece or S$19,730 to S$120,351 if they want a pre-owned model.

Considering how big the difference is between retail and secondary market pricing, the Rolex GMT-Master II is indeed worth investing in. You may also consider buying the Pepsi 126710BLRO and the Sprite 126720VTNR Rolex sports watches to increase your investment’s worth.

4. Rolex Day-Date – Presidential Time Elegance

The Rolex Day-Date, dubbed the “Rolex President,” is a timepiece known for its day and date complications, adding to its functionality and appeal. Available in various precious metal options, such as gold or platinum, it’s a classy choice that signifies luxury. The demand soared for Day-Date watches when President John F. Kennedy and others sported certain timepieces. 

One of the most recognizable models would be the Rolex Day-Date 228238. It retails for S$53,900 and has a secondary market value ranging from S$47,170 to S$147,424, depending on the materials and designs. 

With its never-ceasing popularity, watch collections have the assurance that their Rolex Day-Date watches will remain competitive regarding their prices in the luxury watch market. 

5. Rolex Explorer II – An Adventurer’s Reliable Companion

With the Explorer II collection’s rugged design and bold look, these Rolex watches hold their value well. These are designed for adventurers and feature a 24-hour hand and fixed bezel to track a second time zone. The Explorer II is available in stainless steel, keeping it affordable yet robust.

If you’re captivated by its looks, the Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570 might perfectly suit your budget, taste, and preferences. Its retail price is S$11,100 but can be posted in secondary markets at competitive prices ranging from S$11,224 to S$55,133.

If you keep them in mint condition and their original papers are still available, you’ll be able to set a higher value on this specific watch model or other in-demand Explorer II watches. 

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Where to Buy a Rolex?

Rolex has a strict distribution network comprising Authorized Dealers (ADs) globally. These ADs are carefully selected by Rolex and are the primary sources of brand-new Rolex watches. In contrast, Grey Market Dealers (GDs) sell pre-owned Rolex watch models, including discounted, or obtained through alternative channels. 

While both are great sources of authentic Rolex luxury watches, each platform has different offerings for luxury watch buyers. You’ll learn their key features through the table below:


Rolex Authorized Dealer

Grey Market Dealer


Directly from Rolex

Secondary sources


Retail price set by Rolex

Depending on the market condition


Full Rolex warranty

In-house warranty 


Guaranteed by Rolex

Typically guaranteed, but varies



Like new in box, new, mint

After-sales Service

Available from Rolex

Depends on the dealer; usually offers repair and polish


Current Rolex line-up

May include discontinued models or rare finds

If authenticity, official warranty, and access to the latest Rolex models are of utmost importance, buying from a Rolex Authorized Dealer is the better choice. However, if finding discontinued or rare models at potentially lower prices is more appealing and you’re willing to accept certain trade-offs, the Grey Market Dealer might be a suitable option.

Final Word

Rolex watches, whether the Submariner, Daytona, GMT-Master II, Day-Date, or Explorer II, each carry distinctive features that set them apart. Potential buyers must understand these unique specifications and evaluate each model’s offerings so you can gradually collect the top Rolexes that hold the best value in the market.  

Key Takeaways

  • Rolex watches that hold their value feature brand prestige, iconic designs, quality craftsmanship, limited supply, popular demand, use of precious metals, and reliable mechanical movements.
  • Rolex watches offer significant investment potential due to their strong brand reputation, exceptional craftsmanship, and a market demand that consistently outstrips supply, resulting in increased value over time.
  • Going preowned for Rolex offers potential savings and access to discontinued models, while buying new ensures you get a pristine timepiece with a full manufacturer’s warranty.

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