Rolex Picks Under $10k: Hidden Gems April 2024

Rolex Picks Under $10k: Hidden Gems April 2024

For this installment of Hidden Gems our bimonthly series highlighting undervalued picks from the preowned Rolex market – I decided to keep things under five figures. We have some absolute steals including a Polar Explorer with patina potential, an interesting Datejust for under $6k, and a current-production sports model trading under retail. Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Rolex Explorer II Tritium Dial (16570)

While the Rolex Explorer II ref. 16570 has represented strong value in the pre-owned market for years now, I’d like to revisit one variation in particular. Over its 20+ years of production, numerous variations of the five-digit Explorer II were made, beyond just dial color. One of the biggest binaries in the family comes in the form of luminous paint: Super-LumiNova or tritium. The latter was discontinued before the turn of the century due to its radioactivity. Unlike photoluminescent Super-LumiNova, tritium has a constant glow regardless of its exposure to light. Because of its radioactive nature, tritium paint breaks down over the course of years and decades, accelerated by heat and moisture, creating a unique patina that can range from a slight off-white to a deep pumpkin orange. Tritium 16570s are widely available, including the example below.

Tritium Explorer

Currently listed on Bezel for $8,165

Because of their patina and/or potential to patina, I consider tritium Rolex models as having their own unique selling point, especially in a reference run that eventually opted for Super-LumiNova. With the exception of the ultra-collectible “cream dial” serial run, the Explorer II 16570 mostly lives below the $10,000 price point. Super-LumiNova “Polar” (white dial) examples can be had for as little as $7,000, with tritium examples commanding a small premium at just over $8,000. If I were to buy an Explorer II today, I would certainly choose the 16570 and I wouldn’t hesitate to spend the extra ~14% and get an example with tritium. This slightly-radioactive luminescent material of the past is . . . of the past. Buying high-quality examples of tritium-laden Rolex watches will only become more difficult and expensive as time goes on. The pictured example can be had for just $8,165 due to some slight wear on the bezel.

Rolex Datejust 36 Gray Tapestry-Motif Dial (16234)

The five-digit Datejust is the gift that keeps on giving. With so many configurations on the market to choose from – dial colors, motifs, textures, bezel options, bracelets, movement architectures, etc – you have a lot of optionality well under the $10,000 price point. While I highlighted the 162XX generation in its entirety a few months back, I’d now like to highlight a specific example, a reference 16234 with a gray tapestry motif dial. The icing on the Datejust cake? Both iconic options: the fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet. 

Rolex Datejust Gray Tapestry

Currently listed on Bezel for $5,990

In addition to its charcoal gray hue, this dial features Rolex’s tapestry motif: thin vertical ridges spanning the entire width of the dial. While it looks fairly dark and matte in the listing pictures, these dials actually feature a radial sunburst effect that’s easily visible in the light. This finish gives the dial some serious range – it can look as dark as black and as light as silver, all depending on angles and lighting conditions. With a unique textured dial, fluted bezel, and Jubilee bracelet to boot, this Datejust is a steal at just under $6,000. If properly maintained (and maybe even if not), this watch’s caliber 3135 will outlive you.

Rolex Explorer in Yellow Rolesor (124273)

Two-Tone Explorer

Currently listed on Bezel for 9,395

“How could a current-production model be considered a Hidden Gem?”, you may ask. Well, not only is the two-tone steel and yellow gold Rolex Explorer 124273 the first-ever Explorer of its kind, pre-owned examples are consistently selling for under their retail price: a serious anomaly in the world of modern sport Rolex. For these reasons, I believe this watch is hiding in plain sight. Now, is it a gem? That’s for you to decide. While I prefer the all-steel Explorer myself, I like the two-tone version as much as I like most other two-tone watches. Aside from the historical significance of being the first-ever two-tone Explorer, I’d say this one comes down to personal taste. If you’re a fan of this reference, you have the unique opportunity to get your hands on one under retail, all while the watch is still in production (at the time of publishing, at least – it could very well be discontinued at Watches and Wonders in a couple days here). As of today, the least expensive example on Bezel is available for just $9,395.


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

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