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The Everest Journal

by Aleta Saeger February 06, 2020 2 min read

Should you go for a classic aluminum bezel insert Submariner or wait for the brilliantly bold ceramic bezei insert version? 

A close friend of ours recently acquired two five-digit reference number Rolex sports watches, a Submariner Date and a GMT-Master II with a red and blue “Pepsi” bezel insert. This guy had previously owned only modern six-digit models include a Batman and Hulk, two of the most coveted Rolex sport models around. Before owning his two older models, he was completely enamored with the shiny, attention-grabbing looks of the glossy bezel inserts and wider, bolder cases shapes. 

And, of course, modern Rolex watches have far more solid feeling bracelets, which, on paper, are objectively better constructed and more advanced.

Modern or Classic Rolex? What to consider when choosing between a six-digit or five-digit Rolex

But then on the wrist subjectively, the older, looser-feeling bracelets with hollow center links are pretty comfortable. At the end of the day it’s really a matter of personal preference. We’ve never heard of any instances where the older bracelets have failed under use.

Blingier or more subdued?

There’s no doubt, modern Rolex watches are more noticeable. Many models have polished center links on bracelets and even the modern relatively demure Datejust case takes up more real estate on the wrist. After all, if you’ve invested a substantial amount of money on a wrist watch, you want some recognition for what you’re rocking. 

Not copping out here, but we have to say, many of team members here at Everest simply enjoy both classic and modern Rolexes and have representations of both in their collections. There aren’t too many true vintage Rolexes in that mix perhaps just due to the perceived requirement of more maintenance and care required for ownership. 

Modern or Classic Rolex? What to consider when choosing between a six-digit or five-digit Rolex

What’s nice about older Rolex models is they are often more recognized by fellow watch enthusiasts. “Cool, love your no-date Sub with lug holes!” Is the type of comments received by 1990s-early 2000s Rolex owners. And by nature, the less reflective look of these Rolex models we think hold up better under use and earning a few scratches. 

On the other hand, modern Rolex watches command serious “wrist presence,” which we won’t deny is a cool feeling to have. 

Modern or Classic Rolex? What to consider when choosing between a six-digit or five-digit Rolex

Personal style matters

The age-old mantra “buy what you like” is always a good guideline. What’s your personality? Are you more extroverted? Or do you prefer to fly under the radar? Have fun. Try on friend’s watches or visit an authorized dealer with a healthy selection of pre-owned pieces.  

As you put on a various watches, you’ll instantly know which ones sing to you. Trust you gut and as always, have fun. 

Aleta Saeger
Aleta Saeger

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