Hidden Gems: Undervalued Rolex in March 2024

Hidden Gems: Undervalued Rolex in March 2024

For this installment of Hidden Gems – our bimonthly series highlighting undervalued picks from the preowned Rolex market – we have a discontinued icon, a collectible two-tone GMT, and a dual-time beauty that’s not a GMT-Master nor a Sky-Dweller. 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 Turn-O-Graph 116264

Despite its storied history, Rolex’s Turn-O-Graph model could be considered a hidden gem in and of itself. This was Rolex’s first-ever watch to feature a rotating bezel, serving as the precursor to the iconic Submariner dive watch. Touted by Rolex in the 1950s as “the simplest stop-watch ever”, the Turn-O-Graph offers an easy solution to measure elapsed time with its 60-minute bezel, be it for cooking, parking, phone calls, etc. The Datejust Turn-O-Graph has seen three generations, all separated by years of discontinuation. The four-digit reference generation lasted from 1953 to 1959, the five-digit generation from 1977-2000, and the six-digit generation from 2004-2011. 

Currently listed on Bezel for $7,690

The present example is a product of that final generation, defined by its fluted bezel and red accents via the date, seconds hand, and ‘TURN-O-GRAPH’ dial text. Equipped with Rolex’s COSC-certified caliber 3135, this dead-reliable modern Rolex is available in numerous color/material configurations, most well under $10,000. My personal favorite is this black dial variant on an Oyster bracelet. The splashes of red on black are timeless and definitively Rolex. The white gold fluted bezel elevates this otherwise-steel watch’s appearance, but is balanced out by its casual Oyster bracelet. Frankly, if I had this watch, I’d have a hard time wearing anything else. Currently available for $7,690 on Bezel, this discontinued modern Rolex is nothing short of a great deal, especially in such clean condition.

Rolex GMT-Master Two-Tone Rootbeer “Nipple Dial” 16753

Beginning with the first ever GMT-Master reference (6542), Rolex offered their dual-timezone travel watch in a brown color configuration. As many GMT-Master variants do, the watch eventually received a soda-themed nickname: the “Root Beer”. For simplicity’s sake, I like to separate the Root Beer into two groups: the first containing four and five digit references (vintage), and the second containing six-digit references (modern). The first group contains watches with brown dials in either solid or two-tone yellow gold. You’ll see these watches equipped with all-brown or brown-and-yellow bezel inserts. The second group, which we featured on Hidden Gems a few weeks ago, contains modern “Super Case” watches with black dials in either solid or two-tone rose gold, all featuring brown-and-black ceramic bezel inserts.

Currently listed on Bezel for $11,995

The present example – a beautiful reference 16753 from the 1980s – is somewhat of a middle child from that first group. It’s not the first-ever Root Beer, but it’s not a GMT-Master II, and it’s certainly not modern. That said, it has modern creature comforts like a quickset date function, but exudes vintage charm with its all-brown 24-hour bezel and what many refer to as a “nipple dial”. Nipple dials – defined by their conical hour indices and only ever featured on select Submariner and GMT references – were phased out during this reference generation, making this particular 16753 a very special watch. Due to its skinny lugs, modest 40mm (really more like 39mm) case diameter, and majority steel surface area, this could easily be an everyday wear. Currently available on Bezel for $11,995, this watch poses some serious value as a truly collectible – and truly wearable – Rolex GMT-Master.

Rolex Cellini Dual Time 50529

One year ago, almost to the day, Rolex scrapped their Cellini line of dress watches in favor of their “new” Perpetual 1908. I use the word new in jest because of the 1908’s undeniable similarities to Cellini; many posited that the watches even used the same cases. Regardless, the now-discontinued back catalog of Cellini dress watches is chock full of value, especially complicated examples with no modern counterparts. Put simply, if you want a complicated Rolex dress watch, you have no choice but to look to the past. 

Currently listed on Bezel for $13,895

The Rolex Cellini Dual Time Features a 6 o’clock subdial with an entirely separate 12-hour time readout: hour hand, minute hand, and 9 o’clock day/night indicator. When setting the time, both dials are in sync, but the primary hour hand can be independently adjusted, jumping like that of a GMT-Master II (without stopping the movement). These watches are only available in precious metals: yellow, rose, or white gold. My personal favorite configuration is this white gold variant with a black dial. Given its case material and mechanical prowess, this is a pretty stealthy watch. Originally retailing for a hair under $20,000, this example, currently available on Bezel for $13,895, feels like an absolute steal.

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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