Hidden Gems: Rolex Picks For March 2024

Hidden Gems: Rolex Picks For March 2024

For this installment of Hidden Gems – our bimonthly series highlighting favorites from the preowned Rolex market – we have a sub-$5k icon, the quintessential 5-digit diver, and a colorful, classy, currently-produced Datejust. Fully-authenticated listings for each watch are included courtesy of Hidden Gems’ sponsor, Bezel. More on Bezel and their in-house authentication after this week’s preowned picks.

Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz Ref. 17000

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely familiar with the quartz crisis, but I’ll provide a quick recap just in case. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the advent of battery-powered quartz watches rendered the less-accurate, more expensive, mechanical alternatives somewhat obsolete. This greatly impacted the watch industry and, as a result, the Swiss economy took a huge hit. Naturally, Swiss watchmakers banded together to save their storied industry, an effort that eventually led to the creation of the Swatch group. This effort also resulted in the first Swiss-made quartz movement: the Beta 21. Alongside 19 other Swiss brands, Rolex released a short-run of watches utilizing the Beta 21 movement: the Rolex Reference 5100, nicknamed the “Texan”. No more than 2,000 of these Beta-21-powered watches were made, and in typical Rolex fashion, they later opted for an in-house alternative. Enter the Rolex Oysterquartz.

Rolex Oysterquartz

Currently listed on Bezel for $4,985

Rolex’s in-house Oysterquartz watches come in two flavors: Datejust and Day-Date. Featuring an integrated bracelet design – something we haven’t seen from Rolex since – these watches have a distinctly ‘70s vibe while maintaining the Crown’s timeless design elements. Available in numerous configurations (case material, dial color, fluted or smooth bezel), the Rolex Oysterquartz is a true piece of horological history that can be had for less than $5,000 (depending on configuration). Currently, there is a two-tone Datejust Oysterquartz with a fluted bezel available on Bezel for just $4,985. At 36mm in diameter, this watch is versatile and understated without being boring. A true enthusiast’s pick, the quirky Oysterquartz represents good value in the preowned Rolex market.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 14060(M)

Speaking of enthusiast picks, the Rolex Submariner ref. 14060 is, to many, the quintessential 5-digit Rolex. The Submariner itself should need no introduction: it’s perhaps the most iconic watch of all time. Released in 1990 and manufactured through 2010, the Rolex Submariner ref. 14060 (and later in that range, 14060M) is the last Submariner without a date before the modern era (Super Case, Maxi Dial, ceramic bezel). What does this mean? Well, you get all the charm of a vintage Submariner without the expensive pitfalls of a truly vintage Submariner. The 14060 has an aluminum bezel, skinnier drilled lugs, and a beautifully-proportioned dateless dial all within a 40mm case. The caliber 3000 inside, being a modern Rolex movement, is readily-serviceable, accurate, and dead-reliable. If you love the look of this watch but want the best movement possible, the 14060M features near-identical aesthetics (one minor dial change) and a COSC-Certified caliber 3130, featuring a balance bridge and Breguet overcoil: technical improvements over the aforementioned caliber 3000.

Rolex Submariner 14060

Currently listed on Bezel for $7,495

For my money, the Rolex Submariner ref. 14060 (and 14060M) represents insane value at well under $10,000. If I were in the market for a Submariner, these references are where I’d look first. Currently listed on Bezel is a Submariner ref. 14060 for just $7,495. If you’d like to step up to the 14060M, the least expensive example on Bezel can be had for just $8,595. While these watches are categorically icons, and treated as such amongst enthusiasts, the pricing indicates to me that they’re still hidden gems in the broader watch market. 

Rolex Datejust Floral-Motif Ref. 278274-0036

If you frequent the Everest Journal, you may know about my affinity for this watch. Offered only in 31mm (for now), Rolex’s trio of Floral-Motif Datejusts feature gem-set dials depicting 24 flowers: 8 feature a sunray finish, 8 matte, and 8 grained. If your palms got sweaty when you read the word “gem-set”, don’t worry. With a small (like, very small) diamond set at the center of each flower, I truly think this is one of the most artful and discrete examples of a gem-set Rolex. The present configuration – steel and white gold Rolesor, blue floral dial, fluted bezel – is the most understated of the bunch, with others featuring yellow and rose gold, diamond bezels, etc. Given the size, floral motif, and gem setting, this product is clearly geared toward the ladies’ market, but as we’re seeing watch brands and consumers alike drop the labels and shift toward a more androgynous approach, you should never inhibit your choice of watch based on labels. Do you like the way it looks? Do you like the way it wears? It might be a match!

Rolex Floral Datejust

Image (left) Courtesy of Rolex. Image (right) Currently listed on Bezel for $12,775

As pointed out to me by Ryan Chong, Head of Watch Operations at Bezel, “there aren't too many examples in pre-owned condition available of this model as most are being happily worn”. On the secondary market for this watch, you’ll largely find unworn examples listed far above retail, sometimes approaching $20,000. Because it’s a current-production Rolex, you won’t find an example at or below retail, but as of publishing, there’s a pre-owned example available on Bezel for just $12,775. This is a great opportunity to get into this watch.

About Bezel

Bezel is the top marketplace for authenticated luxury watches. While they offer a vast collection of Rolex models, from which we feature our favorites here, Bezel lists watches from over 90 brands and counting. Each and every watch sold on Bezel goes through expert in-house authentication: an invaluable resource in the secondhand watch market. You also have access to a private client advisor from the Bezel concierge team: yet another expert who can answer your questions along the way. If you’re looking for a better way to buy and sell watches, be sure to install the Bezel app, or simply visit them at getbezel.com

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