You might have started your own collection of dress watches, chronographs, diver’s watches and so on. Rolex is one such brand which everyone wants to have at some stage of their lives.
When you are thinking about buying a Rolex, you are already talking about the top end of luxury watches. So it is not a bad idea to start with the cheapest Rolex, to get a feel of this brand. Cheapest here doesn’t mean inferior! We are referring to a model which is one of the most affordable, yet will give you the luxury of a Rolex.
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Which is the cheapest Rolex model?
Price wise, it is the Air-King model. The Air-King is an aviator model with a 40mm case, black dial, and solid steel markings. It has bigger and prominent 3, 6 and 9 number markings. It also has great solid steel hands and a minute hand that is green in color.
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- Cheapest Rolex
- Looks great and has a great vintage Air-King writing
- Doesn’t stand out as a Rolex brand in terms of looks
- Doesn’t have a date window
- The bezel is not impressive
So which one is the 2nd cheapest?
It is the Rolex DateJust. This model is an enhanced version of the old DateJust watch when Rolex introduced the date window in a Rolex. Over a period of time, the aesthetics are pretty much same and retained to main heritage value.
This watch is available on Amazon at the below link.
- One of the cheapest Rolex models
- Date window
- Doesn’t stand out as a Rolex brand in terms of looks
Then which one should you go for?
As we have already seen the Air-King and DateJust are good models. But in terms of looks and added functionality, they don’t stand out.
Also, if you are buying a Rolex, you should look at these pointers.
- The model should not be sober. It’s a Rolex after all. It should look great on your wrist and clearly STAND OUT.
- The case size should be a substantial and not too small.
- The bezel should be eye-catching. It should have some additional features like 24 markings, tachymeter etc. These features make the watch look eye-catching.
- The model should have at least a date window. Why not? After all, you will be paying a considerable price.
- The hands and the markings should be stylish.
The model meeting and cracking these criteria is the Rolex Explorer II. It would also be the cheapest after Air-King and DateJust models.
A closer look at the Rolex Explorer II
This model exemplifies the deep relationship between Rolex and exploration. Since the late 1920s, Rolex has been using the world as a testing ground for its watches under extreme and hostile conditions. That’s the reason, Rolex watches are so reliable, robust and precise. For more on Rolex History, read this page.
The Explorer model is inspired by Rolex’s decades of experience in the Himalayas. It pays tribute to the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary. This expedition was equipped with Rolex Oyster Perpetual chronometers. Since then, it has been the go-to watch for expedition and mountaineering.
While the Explorer was made for the mountains and had no date window, the Explorer II was made for cave explorers. Not just cave explorers, but even volcanologists, polar and jungle explorers use it.
Explorer II has date window and a 24-hour orange colored hand. This hand moved on a 24-hour scale. The bezel is 24 hours graduated and fixed. These innovations were very important for explorers to distinguish between day and night.
Imagine these explorers spending days in caves. With almost no sunlight for days, a watch like Rolex Explorer II was the only ‘sun’ for these explorers. Using the orange hand, they could easily tell if it was 12:00 noon or midnight.
Even if you are not an explorer, you could keep this one for its stylish looks and persona. This Rolex could be clubbed with practically any type clothing.
Solid craftsmanship and premium materials used
Rolex uses 904L stainless steel for all its steel watch cases. This material was only used by high‑technology, aerospace and chemical industries. This steel is anti-corrosive and could be compared with precious metals. So you could be sure that your watch will not lose its sheen even in the harshest weather!
The bracelet for the Explorer II is a perfect amalgamation of design, function, and aesthetics. It is super comfortable to wear and is equipped with an Oysterlock folding clasp, which prevents accidental opening. The exclusive Easylink comfort extension link, allows the wearer to effortlessly increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm.
The dial is beautifully white, largely made by hand and has hour markers made from 18 ct gold to prevent tarnishing. These hour markers are bordered by shining black lacquer. The fixed bezel has 24-hour markings designed for explorers.
The Explorer II is equipped with the caliber 3187, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Apart from the conventional hour, minute and seconds hands, it features a 24-hour hand (bright orange) to indicate the 24-hour clock. It also gives you the option of a 2nd time zone as well.
The 3187 uses Rolex exclusive Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers, making the watch virtually shockproof and a survivor in the harshest conditions. Like all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3187 is a certified Swiss chronometer, which makes it immaculately accurate.
MODEL NUMBER – 216570
- MODEL CASE – Oyster, 42 mm, steel
- OYSTER ARCHITECTURE – Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
- DIAMETER – 42 mm
- MATERIAL – 904L steel
- BEZEL – Fixed, 24-hour graduated
- WINDING CROWN – Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system
- CRYSTAL – Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
- WATER-RESISTANCE – Waterproof to 100 meters/330 feet
- MOVEMENT – Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
- Caliber – 3187, Manufacture Rolex
- FUNCTIONS – Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. 24-hour display. 2nd-time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand. Instantaneous date. Stop-seconds for precise time setting.
- OSCILLATOR – Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers
- WINDING – Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor
- POWER RESERVE – Approximately 48 hours
- PRECISION – -2/+2 sec/day, after casing
- BRACELET – Oyster, flat three-piece links
- BRACELET MATERIAL – 904L steel
- CLASP – Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link
- DIAL – White
- DETAILS – Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence
- CERTIFICATION – Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)
Where should you buy your Rolex Explorer II?
Rolex doesn’t sell online. It has authorized physical shops.
But there are a number of dealers that sell Rolex watches online. These dealers typically buy overstocked models and sell them a bit cheaper. The only catch is that they offer their own warranty.
This watch is available on Amazon using below link.