Hidden Gems: Rolex Deals in January 2024

Hidden Gems: Rolex Deals in January 2024

For this installment of Hidden Gems – our biweekly series highlighting the best deals in used Rolex – we have an Explorer doppelganger, a Cellini you probably don’t know, and a hyped-up Datejust that keeps getting cheaper. Let’s get into it.

Everyday Watch: Rolex Air-King ‘Quarter Arabic’ (Ref. 114200)

Rolex Air-King 114200

Image Source: debonarwatches.com

This pick is small-wrist friendly, but not small-wrist exclusive. The 34mm Air-King – the model’s standard size for 71 years – looks great on just about any wrist. Some references, including versions of the 114200, feature ‘quarter Arabic’ numerals at ‘3’, ‘6’, and ‘9’, just like the Rolex Explorer. These iconic numerals are hyper-legible, super sporty, and make for a perfect everyday dial. With the modern Rolex caliber 3130 and 100 meters of water resistance, it’s hard to find any shortcomings of the Air-King ref. 114200 , especially for its price.

Rolex Air-King 114200

Image Source: hqmilton.com

Available in silver, white, and blue dials, the Rolex Air-King 114200 ‘Quarter Arabic’ can be had for around $6,000, depending on condition and extras (box, papers, links, etc.). Of course, a near-identical 36mm Explorer (e.g. ref. 114270) features the same movement and hovers around the same price point. However, the ‘Quarter Arabic’ Air-King watches give you the iconic ‘3’, ‘6’, ‘9’ numerals with the optionality of silver or blue dials: something you just can’t get from the Explorer. This watch’s size and simplicity make it a great candidate for your everyday watch.

Dress Watch: Rolex Cellini ‘Cestello’ (Ref. 5330)

Rolex Cellini Cestello Ref. 5330

Image Source: ocwatchguy.com

If you’ve kept up with Hidden Gems, you know I’m a big fan of Rolex’s now-discontinued Cellini line. This line of dress watches was bursting with character. From the rectangular Art Deco Cellini Prince to the hinged-lug ultra-thin ‘Cestello’, Rolex didn’t hold back in their departure from the Oyster case; these are some seriously interesting watches. My pick this week is the aforementioned ‘Cestello’ ref. 5330: a 36mm, ultra-thin (6.4mm), hand-wound Rolex with hinged lugs. That’s right – the Cestello’s lugs freely hinge to accommodate a wide spectrum of wrist sizes. This watch is available in yellow, white, and rose gold with a number of dial variations: white, blue, Mother of Pearl, Roman numerals, partial-Arabic numerals, etc.

Rolex Cellini Cestello 5330

Image Source: ocwatchguy.com

In the realm of dress watches – a realm that can get repetitive with its usual suspects (Tank, Reverso, etc.) – The Rolex Cellini ‘Cestello’ stands out as extremely unique, eye-catching, and comfortable. All variations can be had for less than $10,000, with most landing in the $5,000-$7,000 range.

Fun Watch: Rolex Datejust ‘Palm Dial’ (Ref. 1262XX)

Rolex Datejust Palm Dial

Image Source: windvintage.com

Rolex’s palm motif dial was released in 2021 with the Datejust 1262XX. Such a colorful, busy dial motif was surprising from the brand at this point. Little did we know, the palm motif was just the tip of the iceberg for wacky 2020s Rolex designs. As you can imagine, this Datejust’s reception was very mixed; people loved it or hated it, but either way, they were talking about it. Naturally, this polarization led to price increases: like every other Rolex at the time, the palm dial Datejust reached exorbitant values in spring of ‘22. Luckily, prices have come back to Earth.

Available in numerous configurations – smooth or fluted bezel, Jubilee or Oyster bracelet, and diamond or lumed white gold indices – the palm dial Datejust can be had for close to its retail price ($7,700 - $16,200, depending on config). If you like the look of this dial, it's hard to find a better vacation watch. The palm dial Datejust is about as fun as it gets.

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