For this installment of Hidden Gems – our biweekly series highlighting the best deals in used Rolex – we have an adventure-oriented everyday wear, a quirky rectangular dress piece, and an ultra-2000s watch with a pinch of precious metal. With the holidays quickly approaching, these could be perfect gifts for a significant other, (likely-grown-up) child, or even yourself! Let’s get into it.
Everyday Watch: Explorer 214270 39mm
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Hidden Gems is no stranger to a Rolex Explorer. The historical model has a laundry list of references, many of which pose unbeatable value and versatility. I think the Rolex Explorer is the perfect everyday wear: it’s legible, understated, and in my opinion, one of the most handsome watches of all time.
Positioned between its predecessor, the 36mm 114270, and the current references (36mm 124270 and 40mm 224270), the 39mm Rolex Explorer 214270 is a seamless blend of legacy and modernity. Its 39mm case size caters to modern tastes without sacrificing classic proportions: the goal of all vintage-inspired modern timepieces. If you like history, the 214270 was the first Explorer to deviate from a 36mm case size – a pretty significant move from the Crown. Long story short, if you want a bigger Explorer, you don’t have to join a “waitlist” for the 224270. The 214270 is the OG Explorer XL, and you can get one now for much cheaper than its modern 40mm counterpart.
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If you’re looking for value in used Rolex, it should come as no surprise that one-to-two-generations-old watches provide killer bang for the buck. The discontinued Rolex Explorer 214270 is priced around $6,000 and $6,500. This price is frankly amazing for what you’re getting. Aside from its lack of a Chronergy escapement (if you don’t know what that is, it’s not worth spending more money on), this is the modern Rolex Explorer. It’s hard to beat this watch as an everyday companion, especially at the price.
Purpose-Driven Watch: Rolex Cellini Prince
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For the amount of times I’ve chosen a dress watch as the “purpose-driven watch”, I should just make it the dress watch category. Either way, the Rolex Cellini Prince is my pick for the week. When life demands formal attire, you should have a watch fit for the occasion. The often-forgotten Cellini Prince line is a quirky collection of rectangular Rolexes produced from 2005-2014. Based on the 1928 Rolex Prince, the art-deco-inspired lineup has four references differing in their materials, finishes, and dial designs. All models include a two-hand 12-hour clock for the top two thirds of the dial and sub seconds for the bottom third. Interestingly enough, these were the first Rolex watches with sapphire casebacks: not this year’s Daytona, contrary to popular belief. With 100 meters of water resistance and modern Rolex build quality, there’s no reason that the Cellini Prince couldn’t also be your everyday watch.
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Depending on the case material (white, yellow, or rose gold) and dial variation you go for, a Rolex Cellini Prince can be had for between $8,000 and $15,000. While this might feel a bit steep for a discontinued (and frankly underappreciated) watch, you get what you pay for in terms of quality. The movement is masterfully-finished and, obviously given its shape, unlike anything Rolex has ever done. While these watches were a bit of a flop in the late 2000s and early 2010s, I could see them growing in popularity in the near future.
Fun Watch: Yacht-Master 16622
The Rolex Yacht-Master 16622, featuring a platinum bezel and dial, is an undeniably fun watch. If you’re interested in (or confused about) the Yacht-Master collection as a whole, I recommend reading my article Who is the Rolex Yacht-Master For? As a quick recap, the Rolex Yacht-Master is an ultra-refined, luxurious, comfortable sibling of the iconic Submariner. Offered in a number of precious metals and gem-set variations, the Yacht-Master lives up to its name with opulent configurations up and down its range of sizes (29mm, 35mm, 37mm, 40mm, 42mm). The case and lugs feature a dramatic curve, contouring the wrist better than the likes of a Submariner.
Why the 16622 when there are so many Yacht-Master references to choose from? For starters, this is the watch that I think of when I think “Rolex Yacht-Master”, and I believe I speak for a lot of people when I say that. The 16622’s embossed and textured platinum bezel is quintessentially Yacht-Master, and as a result, quintessentially 2000s. With the 16622, the platinum doesn’t stop there: the entire dial is also made of the heavy metal, resulting in some amazing interactions with light (hard to express with pictures). The red seconds hand and “Yacht-Master” text add a nice pop of color, further contributing to this watch’s position as the fun watch. With a screw-down crown and 100 meters of water resistance, this could also be your everyday wear.
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For enthusiasts seeking a touch of fun in their collection, the Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 is a great choice for around $8,000 to $9,000. Again, you’re getting a rock solid watch (as you should expect from modern Rolex) with some serious personality.