If you’re at all familiar with Rolex watches, you will no doubt know that it is a struggle to find certain models in boutiques. Stainless steel sports models are pretty much sold out in retail shops and waitlists are years-long. Thankfully, there’s the secondary luxury watch market, which not only offers current-production used Rolex watches but discontinued models too. This means a bigger assortment for customers–plus some very good deals too. The great thing about Rolex is that its watch designs have not changed that much over the decades. So, if you love the look of a steel Submariner but simply cannot find a current model in stores, then you can opt for a discontinued model in the pre-owned market with a very similar style. With that in mind, here are our top picks for the best used Rolex watches to buy right now.
Rolex Yacht-Master 16622
Rolex first introduced the nautical-inspired Yacht-Master in the 1990s. Although it is undeniably a sports watch, the Yacht-Master is in many ways more luxurious than other Rolex Oyster Professional models. For instance, when the collection made its debut in 1992, Rolex opted to launch the collection with a solid 18k yellow gold model. Less than a decade, later, Rolex unveiled Rolesium versions of the Yacht-Master, including the ref. 16622 we see here. In Rolex-speak, Rolesium is the marriage of platinum and stainless steel on one watch.
The Yacht-Master ref. 16622 sports a 40 mm Oyster case in stainless steel and water-resistant to 100 meters. On top of the case is a rotating timing bezel crafted from 950 platinum. A particularly attractive design trait of the platinum bezel is the mix of finishes–the background has a sandblasted texture while the raised numerals are high polish. The sandblasted platinum texture carries over onto the dial, where we see the customary Rolex sports watch hallmarks like Mercedes-style hands, lume-filled hour markers, and a date window. For the final sporty touch, the watch is fitted with Rolex’s famed Oyster bracelet, also in stainless steel.
While the brand has since replaced the platinum and steel Yacht-Master 16622 with newer models, the new ones look remarkably similar to the older versions. They share the same dimensions, materials, and design–which makes the 16622 one of the best used Rolex watches to pick up right now.
Rolex Submariner 16610
Among Rolex’s pantheon of hits, the Submariner still stands out as the greatest of all time. Since its introduction in the 1950s, Rolex’s signature dive watch has undergone a bevy of enhancements and modifications, yet still stays true to its fundamental design traits that make it so appealing. Although the watch was originally conceived as a tool watch for scuba divers, the popularity of the Submariner has gone well beyond that particular audience to become one of the watch world’s must-have models.
In the mid-2000s, the Submariner collection underwent its most drastic facelift yet with the introduction of a bulkier case, bolder dial, heavier bracelet, and ceramic bezel. Yet, for those who prefer the classic Sub style, then the stainless steel Rolex Submariner Date 16610LN hits all the right notes. The 16610 features a 40 mm Oyster case water-resistant to 300 meters topped with a black unidirectional dive bezel in aluminum. The black dial is unmistakably Rolex with its mixture of round, rectangular, and triangular hour markers filled with luminescence, in addition to the familiar Mercedes-style center hands.
The last of the classic diver models in the brand’s archives and still available for well under five figures; so the steel Submariner 16610 is one to consider if you’re looking for one of the best used Rolex watches in today’s market.
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710
Did you know Rolex no longer makes GMT-Master II watches with a black bezel? That’s right; if you look at their current lineup of new generation GMT-Master II watches, there are no options for ones with a mono-colored bezel–which is a shame because the famous pilot’s watch looks great with a 24-hour bezel in classic black. But there’s always the secondary market, where you can still find the handsome stainless steel GMT-Master II ref. 116710LN for sale.
The GMT-Master II 116710LN made its debut in 2007 and at that time, it was the first stainless steel GMT-Master model fitted with a ceramic bezel. Rolex only introduced the modern scratch and fade resistant Cerachrom ceramic bezel two years earlier on the yellow gold GMT-Master II. Therefore, fans of stainless steel Rolex watches were delighted to see this one released. Of course, the bezel isn’t just for looks but it is how wearers of the GMT-Master II watch can read a second time zone using the green 24-hour hand on the dial.
A beloved Rolex model with a history that dates back the 1950s, this GMT-Master II clad in stainless steel, fitted with an Oyster bracelet, and topped with a black ceramic bezel is an understated version that will always remain in style.
Rolex Datejust 116234
Is there a luxury watch as classic, versatile, and practical as the Rolex Datejust? You’d be hardpressed to find one! A staple of the Rolex collection since 1945, the Datejust is an easy watch to wear every day and stay in love with forever. While the Datejust comes in so many different sizes and flavors, a stainless steel version with a traditional 36 mm case and dressy Jubilee bracelet is a timeless choice.
This particular Rolex Datejust ref. 116234 with a steel 36mm case, white fluted bezel, blue dial, and Roman numerals is no longer in production since Rolex recently unveiled a new Datejust 36 collection. Yet, as a recently discontinued Datejust model, it has everything you need from a modern Rolex: sapphire crystal, quickset date function, and robust bracelet design with the improved clasp (fitted with the Easylink extension system).
In short, if you’re on the hunt for a top-tier pre-owned watch, the previous generation Datejust in stainless steel is one of the finest used Rolex watches you can go for.