Hot pre-owned watches to set your sights on in 2022

Rolex Air-king with blue dial

Part of the joy of watch collecting is the hunt. And with the pre-owned Rolex market, always be prepared for some gems to come up for sale. Even with the inflated prices, scouring the web can yield some good results if you know how to shop. Here’s a rundown of some of our finds.

Photo by HQ Milton

The 3-6-9 Arabic dial Oyster Perpetual in 36mm is a widely available Rolex model on the pre-owned market that can be purchased at under $7K. If you are lucky enough to find the blue dial version, you have scored one of the coolest sport watches. It’s similar to the Explorer I, but has stick hands instead of Mercedes hands. It’s a very versatile watch that subtly stands out.

Photo by Monochrome Watches

The white dial ceramic Omega Seamaster always appears to be on our radar. For under $5,000 you get a handsome 41mm case with a highly accurate Master Chronometer movement. The white dial version of this popular watch stands out with dark-framed indices making it very easy to read. The ceramic bezel insert provides just the right amount of shine.

Photo via Chrono 24

As we’ve consistently seen, older Rolex Datejust models continue to be a solid buy heading into 2022. There’s something about these five-digit models that identifies the wearer as an individual who has classic style and knows about tradition. You can find quick-set date models on both Oyster and Jubilee bracelets in great used condition for just around the $6K mark. Don’t think of a tritium dial or acrylic crystal as negatives in this case, as you probably have enough modern watches in your collection and these throwback features add diversity to your rotation.

Photo by the Daily Diogo Costa

If you have your heart set on a true sport watch that’s around 40mm in size, may we suggest searching for a five-digit Sea-Dweller or Explorer II. We found a 16600 highlighted with tritium hands and drilled-through lug holes for under $10K. The Sea-Dweller of this era is, of course, selling for almost double compared to prices from a few years back, but we all simply have to accept this new market. Black-dialed Explorer II lives in the same range (just around $10K) and can be found relatively easily. This era of Rolex watches has what some watchmakers deem the best Rolex movement of all time in terms of dependability.

If you are strictly in the look and feel of modern Rolex watches, we get it. In that case it would probably be best to buy when the prices come down, which might never happen. The interest in Rolex with social media and celebrity influence may continue to influence the scarcity and prices for many years to come. 

Just this week when Steph Curry broke the NBA all-time three pointer record he gifted his teammates Andre Igoudala and Draymond Green new Rolex watches, further cementing Rolex watches as the ultimate status symbol.

Shop a selection of aftermarket straps for your current Rolex collection here.

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