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The Cheapest Rolex you can Buy

Rolex is definitely not known for their cheap price point. Back in the day, there were often stories of people who found a Rolex in a thrift shop for 10 bucks, or found one in the old jewellery box of their grandmother. With the fame and publicity the brand Rolex has achieved now a days, the chance of this happening is slim to none. You finding a real Rolex for a few bucks? No chance. Relatively speaking, you can still find some ‘cheaper’ Rolex watches on the market. While cheap in the luxury watch market is still at least €1.000, we still want you to know which pieces are your entry-level Rolex watches. Let’s dive in to these models!

Feminine First: Lady Date

A well known fact about the market of Pre-Owned watches, is that woman watches are less sought after. Because of this, the cheapest Rolex on the market is a Women’s watch. This will be the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady Date. The Op Lady date is one of the first automatic wristwatches Rolex has produced, hence the term Oyster Perpetual. This watch comes in a 26mm case, with a smooth or fluted bezel. They come in Steel, or Gold/Steel (Two-Tone) and can be found on an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. Pricing wise, these can be found anywhere around the €2.500 and upwards, depending on the condition, bracelet and material it is made of. The Lady Date on Jubilee with a Fluted Bezel is probably one of the most desired configurations.

Hand wound Precision: Oyster Precision

Next up in line, you will find the first Rolex watch produced for men. This is the Rolex Oyster Precision. This is one of Rolex their manual-wound watches, and comes in a 34mm oystercase. The Precision models only feature an hand-wound movement, instead of an automatic movement. The 34mm width of the case is still on the smaller side. If you have beefy wrists, this would probably be too small to suit you well.  These watches can be found with different kinds of dial, from silver to a black gilt dial, or even with linen textured dials. A completely original piece on the steel Oyster bracelet sets you back around €3.000 to €3.500 depending on the condition of the watch. The chance of finding on of these pieces full-set are very small. These watches date back to the 70’s, and back then, keeping your box and booklets, is like keeping the booklets of your microwave today. 

The next Generation: Lady Datejust

The Rolex Lady Date models were followed by the first Lady Datejust models. The Datejust models still are in production to this day. The Rolex Lady Datejusts come in all different kinds of configurations. They are still 26mm in casewidth. And like the normal Datejusts, they can be found on Oyster or Jubilee, in Steel or Gold/Steel with a Smooth or Fluted bezel. What differs from the early Date models, is that the Datejusts come in many different dial configurations. They can be found with roman hour-markers, or even with diamonds. With white, silver blue or even red vignette dial colors. Plenty to choose from! When taking a look at the price, these 26mm Rolex Lady Datejusts start around €4.000 and can even set you back more then €5.000 for the newer, still 5-digit, but more desirable Lady Datejusts.

Cheapest Automatic Rolex for Men: Oyster Perpetual Date (Ref. 150x)

The cheapest automatic Rolex that you can find, that was produced for men, will be the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date. The reference numbers of these watches will be the 1500 for the smooth bezel, and 1501 for the ‘engine turned’ bezel. The bezel on the 1501 is the precursor of the fluted bezel as we know it now. This watch still features the 34mm Oystercase, so its on the smaller side of the market for men’s watches. The 1501 has a bezel with a tiny fluted pattern in it, and some thicker markers where the bezel meets the hour markers. This same bezel is also used on the Rolex Air-King ref. 14010. These watches are only found on the Oyster bracelet, which gives a more sporty look, but might disappoint the readers who are looking for a cheaper alternative for the Datejust on Jubilee with a fluted bezel. When taking a look at the price of these watches. You see that they can be found, smooth or fluted, anywhere in between the €3.000 and €4.000 mark. A cool watch, for a very honest price!

The Real Deal: Rolex Datejust (Ref. 160x)

One of the most iconic configurations of all the watches in Rolex their catalogue, is definitely a Jubilee Bracelet and Fluted Bezel combo. The first watch in this list for men, that features these specs, is the Rolex Datejust 36mm 1601. This is one of the most iconic Rolex watches, and can be found today for something around €4.000. This watch is the first that features more than 34mm in case width, because it is 36mm to the crown in width. It is found on the sought-after jubilee bracelet and the 1601 features a white gold fluted bezel. If you are not into the fluted bezel, the 1600 will do the job for you. Dial wise, they come in all different kinds, again. Some of the more desirable are the 1601’s with a ghost or linen dial. They cost a bit more then the others, starting at €5.000. Don’t worry, the silver or gold dial are beautiful as well!

Our verdict

In conclusion, delving into the realm of affordable Rolex models reveals a range of timepieces that offer a gateway into the world of luxury horology without breaking the bank. The notion of stumbling upon a Rolex for a mere 10 bucks, as anecdotes from the past might suggest, is now a rarity given the brand's widespread recognition. However, for those seeking an entry-level Rolex, there are still options that won't require a substantial financial investment. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady Date, with its 26mm case and various configurations, stands out as the most budget-friendly among Rolex watches, catering to a market where women's timepieces are less sought after. Moving on to men's watches, the Rolex Oyster Precision, Oyster Perpetual Date, and the iconic Datejust models present compelling choices at different price points, providing enthusiasts with the opportunity to own a piece of Rolex history without straining their wallets. Whether it's the hand-wound precision of the Oyster Precision or the classic appeal of the Datejust with its jubilee bracelet and fluted bezel, these more affordable Rolex models showcase the brand's enduring legacy and craftsmanship, making luxury watch ownership a tangible reality for a broader audience.

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