The BeckerTime Holiday Shopping Guide
Just one of the many wonderful things about having a watch lover in your life is that there is never that sense of panic come holiday time when you’re trying to think what gift to get them.
There is a near-limitless supply of potential options you can go for, from books to winders and from artwork to cufflinks.
However, if you want to give a present that will not only last a lifetime and beyond but will also win you more Brownie points than you’ll know what to do with, then gifting that special someone a preowned Rolex watch is the way to go.
Chances are though, your horologist has a type—they might have a penchant for dive watches, dress watches, gold watches, GMT watches, etc. and the trick is deciding which one to get.
Fortunately, the crown has a model in their arsenal which is perfect for everyone. Below, we have selected some examples from the Rolex portfolio you can pick up today at BeckerTime.
If They Like Solid Gold Watches
The Rolex Day-Date
If there is a quintessential solid gold Rolex, then it is the Day-Date. Its alternative nickname of The President tells you everything you need to know about the appeal of this legendary piece; this is the watch worn by more of history’s greatest figures than any other and it still stands today as the first port of call for all those who have genuinely ‘made it’ in whatever their respective field might be.
Yet, for all its pomp and circumstance, the accessibility of a preowned Day-Date is likely to come as a surprise. Prices start at under $10k for a pristine vintage example on a leather strap, and can be as low as $14k for one sitting on its eponymous gold President bracelet.
What’s more, there are a wide variety of dial colors and styles to choose from as well as the option to choose precious gemstones for the bezel or hour markers.
And if yellow gold isn’t your thing, check out the white gold and Everose examples as well for a more understated aesthetic.
The Day-Date has been the ultimate power watch for nearly 70-years, and this Christmas it could make the ultimate gift.
The Rolex Submariner
If the Day-Date is the daddy of all dress watches, then the Rolex Submariner is the last word in dive models.
Arguably the most important sports watch of all time, its visuals have been copied, emulated and counterfeited endlessly over the years, but there is still only one Sub.
Fortunately, that one Sub comes in a number of different guises.
While the steel version will always rule the roost, the solid yellow gold piece is an absolute showstopper, especially when it’s paired with a blue dial and bezel. The contrast between the gleaming precious metal body and the everchanging hue of the Sunray-brushed dial catches the eye like no other and ensures you’ll stand out no matter what company you’re in.
You could even opt for the Serti example, with its slate grey dial complemented by sapphires at the 12, 6 and 9 markers and round-cut diamonds for the rest.
A little taste of luxury for the world’s favorite dive watch.
If They Like Smaller Men’s Watches
The Rolex Air-King
The early millennium trend for bigger and bigger watches is currently being turned on its head as we see Rolex, and many other manufactures, releasing smaller versions of well-loved classics.
Suddenly, showing a bit of restraint is in and models are being reduced in dimensions for a slightly more modest style.
A vintage Air-King is the perfect choice if your watchophile likes the inconspicuous look but still wants the rock solid reliability for which Rolex is so renowned.
The ref. 5500 is a study in minimalist discretion. The 34mm watch comes in all steel and is usually faced with a silver dial, simple baton indexes and stick hands.
For a more modern option, something like the ref. 14000 or even the newer ref. 114210 offer a wider selection of colors and an up-to-date movement while still keeping those reduced dimensions.
Best of all, the Air-King has always been one of the least expensive entryways into Rolex ownership, and that has carried over on to the preowned market. You can pick up a genuine specimen for less than $3,500.
The Rolex Date
The Rolex Date is, despite the perplexing name, really the same as the world famous Datejust except in a 34mm case.
An ideal unisex choice, the model comes with a vast diversity in aspects such as bezels, bracelets and dials.
Often thought to only to have been made in steel, you can actually find plenty of two-tone and solid yellow gold pieces as well, and all at real bargain prices.
At BeckerTime, we have examples dating from as far back as the 1960s all the way up to those from the 2000s.
Like the Air-King, they are a more subtle take on the luxury watch, but benefit from all the same meticulous attention to detail and engineering prowess as is poured into the big names.
Wonderful watches with a more unobtrusive air, a Rolex Date might be the perfect fit.
If They Like Two-Tone Watches
The Rolex Yacht-Master
Rolex invented the idea of using contrasting metals in watch designs in the 1930s. By employing a steel case and introducing bezels, crowns and bracelet center links made from gold, they created a two-tone effect they would christen Rolesor.
Today, Rolesor Rolex watches make up a large proportion of models in a number of key collections, and the Yacht-Master range is one of them.
The watch itself was unveiled as a more opulent take on the Submariner, and one look at its shape and makeup will leave you in no doubt as to where it drew its styling inspiration. However, because it was never intended as a dive watch, it could be made slimmer and more comfortable as an all-day wear.
The ref. 16623, first released in 2005, displays the steel/yellow gold combo which is emblematically Rolex to great effect and, when coupled with a white dial, leaves a watch that really pops on the wrist.
Sturdy, luxurious and dependable, the Yacht-Master is Rolex at its best.
The Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz
If you want to gift something a little out of leftfield this year, why not take a look at the superb Rolex Oysterquartz?
The Oysterquartz models were Rolex’s answer to the Quartz Crisis of the 1960s and ‘70s, a devastating time for the mechanical watch industry which bankrupted two-thirds of Switzerland’s traditional brands.
In typical Rolex fashion, their answer to the predicament was to create some of the best quartz movements ever made themselves and to install them into watches full of the sort of retro 1970s chic which has come right back into fashion.
They released two versions, one based on the conventional Day-Date, the other on the Datejust. The latter was the only one to come in a Rolesor option, and it works beautifully here. The precious metal accents the whole design without overpowering, while the signature integrated bracelet lends a completely unique Rolex look.
A funky throwback design coupled with impossibly accurate timekeeping, the Oysterquartz Datejust is a striking option.
If They Like Out-and-Out Icons
Rolex GMT-Master II
Experimenting with the unorthodox is one thing, but sometimes we just want the classics. And not many others match the description as well as Rolex’s seminal dual time zone piece, the GMT-Master II.
It is to travel watches what the Submariner is to dive models; the one by which all others are judged. Starting life in 1954, it has been incrementally updated and improved upon over the last 70 or so years, and has always been exemplified by the color (or rather, two colors) on its bezel. Each arrangement has garnered an unofficial nickname, with the original blue and red now known as the ‘Pepsi’, with the black and red ‘Coke’, brown and gold ‘Rootbeer’ and blue and black ‘Batman’ all being added as time went on.
However, there have until very recently been examples with all black bezels available, and these, with their more under-the-radar stance, have long attracted those who like to remain incognito.
We have several of these pieces on offer here at BeckerTime, and they are fast becoming some of the most in-demand Rolex watches on the preowned market. An awesome variant of an industry-leading model, the GMT-Master II is a genuine icon.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller
We covered the Submariner earlier, along with its impact on the entire culture of watchmaking in the 20thcentury.
But the Sub’s bigger brother, the Sea-Dweller, is almost its equal in terms of desirability, while also outdoing it when talking about abilities.
It was invented to equip a new breed of diver, those who went to depths once only dreamed about and stayed there for incredible lengths of time. It was the watch that introduced the Helium Escape Valve (HEV) to prevent damage whilst depressurizing and its original water resistance rating of 2,000ft was quickly doubled to 4,000ft with subsequent versions.
Also unlike the Submariner, the Sea-Dweller has, until its latest iteration, avoided any hint of gentrification. It has always been made only from the toughest, most impervious steel—all the better for a life spent in the oceans’ unforgiving arenas.
The ref. 16600 is a definitive representation of the model. Released in 1988 and running for 20-years, all the classic ingredients are in place. It has a 40mm case, plain black dial and diver’s timing bezel with 60-minute scale, an HEV at the 9 o’clock and comes with a bombproof Oyster bracelet to keep it secure.
Now considered neo-vintage, the ref. 16600 is pure Rolex tool watch and among the most capable of its type even now.
An absolute gem of a watch, there is very little can compete with a Rolex Sea-Dweller.