The BeckerTime Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
It’s fast approaching, folks! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about a gift for that special someone in your life, or even your spouse.
Of course, chocolates and flowers are all very nice, but if you really want to bank some Brownie points to see you through the rest of the year, why not go that extra mile and invest in a new watch for your significant other?
And if you want something to really demonstrate the depths of your commitment, there’s only one brand to choose.
Because, yes, true love is eternal; but a Rolex is eternal-er.
The Best Rolex Watches for Valentine’s Day
There really is a Rolex watch out there for everyone, so below we have put together a selection of superb his and her models.
But also, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s than to invest in watches to wear as a couple? Fortunately, Rolex has you covered there as well.
If He’s a Fan of the Classics
The Rolex Day-Date ref. 1803
For some, the quintessential iteration of the ultimate power watch, the ref. 1803 Day-Date first came out in 1959 and kept on going right up until 1978.
It was only the third generation of what had already become, by the late ‘50s, the most aspirational luxury watch on the planet. It was also the one that nailed down all the most important aesthetic details, with the elegantly fluted bezel, straight baton handset and classic sweeping curves all in evidence.
Inside, the Cal. 1555 drove the show up until 1967 when it was replaced by the Cal. 1556 which upped the frequency from 18,000vph to 19,600vph. After 1972, the Day-Date’s movement also got a hacking function to stop the seconds hand when the crown was pulled out, although it never got the convenience of a Quickset feature.
It was also the first of the Presidents to be given the now expected enormous variety of different dial colors and styles, meaning there is the perfect one out there for your special man, or indeed woman—the 36mm diameter solid yellow gold case is ideal for either audience these days.
Best of all, prices for this vital slice of horological history start at under $10,000.
If He’s the Adventurous Sort
The Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570
The Explorer II is about as close as we get these days to Rolex’s original remit; making luxury watches built to withstand just about anything.
While the likes of the Submariner and even the Sea-Dweller have gone down the gentrification route of late with solid gold or Rolesor versions, the Explorer II has been an exclusively stainless steel, bombproof creation ever since it debuted in 1971.
The ref. 216570 is the latest-but-one version of the model, released in 2011 and lasting until just a couple of years ago in 2021. It was the first of the breed to come out in a 42mm size, all the previous generations measuring between 39mm and 40mm.
Those added mills make it a thoroughly modern-looking entity, even though the reinstatement of the renowned Freccione, the bright orange stubby GMT hand, was a studiedly vintage touch from Rolex.
And it is credit to the brand that they have left the essence of the Explorer II alone for so long. The brushed metal, the big, heavy-looking bezel numerals and the general air of invulnerability have always marked it as the choice of the doer rather than the show-er. Whether you pick the black or polar dial, this is the piece for those who simply want the best watch of its type it is possible to have.
Prices remain surprisingly reasonable too. Expect to pay around $12,000 for an example in excellent condition.
If She Appreciates the Simple Things in Life
The Rolex Date ref. 79160
The Date series was one of those very under-the-radar collections which remained a mainstay in the Rolex portfolio for decades but never drew much attention to itself.
Essentially, both men’s and women’s versions were virtually identical to the all-conquering Datejust, except slightly smaller and with fewer dial, metal and bracelet options.
The ref. 79160 originated in 1999 and was part of the final generation of the ladies range before it was discontinued completely in the mid-2000s.
As a watch, this is about as simple and sophisticated as it is possible to get. A tiny 26mm steel case, with a smooth, polished bezel and a date window under a Cyclops at the three o’clock. It could be had on a plain three-link Oyster bracelet or the slightly more elaborate Jubilee, with its five-link construction.
Inside beat the Cal. 2235, a diminutive work of microengineering brilliance that holds the record for the most consistently accurate movement the COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, has ever certified.
Dial colors ranged from monochrome black and white, with a few more colorful options, such as silver, blue and salmon pink, coming later. Indexes were mostly plain baton or Roman numerals, although the occasional diamond marker versions were available.
All-in-all, the Date series is a wonderfully tasteful and somewhat missed inclusion in the Rolex canon and the ref. 79160 collection is a great gift for especially stylish ladies. Prices also start as low as $4,000 or so.
If She Lives For Two-Tone
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193
Rolex’s own bimetal concoction, known as Rolesor, mixes together stainless steel and gold to create a two-tone effect which enhances the look of many watches in their arsenal. Even so, it is not available across every collection but is instead confined only to those where a touch of extra opulence is warranted.
The manufacture’s entry-level offering, the ultra-minimalist Oyster Perpetual is one such series; a three-handed, no-date watch that has been part of the Rolex house since the 1930s.
The ref. 67193 is a miniscule and achingly stylish 24mm model, with steel making up the case and the outer links of its either Jubilee or Oyster bracelet, and 18k yellow gold forming the winding crown, the fluted bezel and the inner bracelet links.
Introduced in 1983, the collection lasted until the end of the 1990s and was powered by the Cal. 2130. The forerunner to the Cal. 223X movements in the Date watches we looked at above, the Cal. 213X calibers are also record holders in their own right. They have achieved the highest first time pass rate of any movements ever tested at the COSC.
As you would expect, there are several dial options. Gold, or champagne, works especially beautifully with the two metals, and black, white, silver and blue add their own personality to the watch as well.
An example of Rolex at its understated best, the ref. 67193 is a diminutive marvel.
If You Both Enjoy Life at Sea
The Rolex Yacht-Master ref. 16622 and ref. 169622
The Rolex Yacht-Master first came about in 1992 and was, if rumors are to be believed, originally intended to replace the long-running dive legend that is the Submariner.
Fortunately that blasphemy never occurred but it is not difficult to see the influences of the Sub’s design in the Yacht-Master’s makeup. Everything from the handset to the indexes to the bezel markings are strikingly similar, although as the YM was intended to spend its life above the ocean waves rather than under, and so only needed 100m of water resistance rather than the Submariner’s 300m, the case could be made slimmer and less bulky.
The model holds a number of firsts in the Rolex line-up. It was the first to be given the brand’s new rubber strap, the Oysterflex, in 2015, but long before that it also became the first sports watch from them to be made in three sizes, as well as being the first to wear an entirely new blend of metals; a steel case topped by a platinum bezel known as Rolesium.
Those last two bring us neatly to the 40mm ref. 16622 and the 29mm ref. 169622. Both were released in 1999 (alongside the 35mm ref. 168622) and each had a platinum dial as well to give an overall completely uniform look. The one pop of color, a bright red seconds hand, was just enough to liven up the whole visual.
As an example of ‘stealth wealth’ there have been few others from Rolex in recent times which have done it so perfectly. These his and hers models are effortlessly refined and backed by the brand’s faultless engineering which ensures they will last a lifetime and beyond.
But perhaps the most surprising aspect here is the price. The larger 40mm model can be had for around $10,000, while the ladies model starts at about $6,500. That, for platinum-accented Rolex watches, is truly exceptional.
If You Both Want Rolex’s Bestseller of All Time
The Rolex Datejust ref. 16234 and ref. 68274
Back when it launched in 1945, the Datejust was the flagship offering from Rolex—the first automatically winding, waterproof watch ever made to display the date.
Then, with the arrival of the Day-Date a decade or so later, the model took on a new role, that of the everyman (and woman) piece, one to be worn all day, every day, matching with whatever outfit the wearer had on.
It is this general purpose role, and the simply bewildering number of different versions in which it was offered, that has seen the Datejust top the Rolex bestseller lists for decade after decade. It also helped that it was made in a whole range of sizes designed to appeal to both genders.
It would be churlish to suggest that if you can’t find a Datejust to suit your exact tastes then you’re simply not trying hard enough, but there are so many out there—from the flashy and flamboyant to the understated and unassuming—that it doesn’t even seem possible.
The 36mm ref. 16234 and the 31mm ref. 68274 both ran from the late ‘80s into the early 2000s. They are actually Rolesor models, although you would be forgiven for not noticing straightaway. Unlike the two-tone effect we normally associate with the word, using either yellow or Everose gold for the precious metal parts, these have just a white gold fluted bezel. As such, the color is fairly unbroken between the two constituents.
Both run on highly accurate and long-serving in-house movements; the Cal. 2135 in the 31mm piece and the celebrated Cal. 3135 in the 36mm, considered one of the finest mass-produced calibers ever made.
There are, of course, no shortage of different dials on offer and either watch can be dressed up or down according to what suits. Both can be as subtle as a plain white or black dial with baton indexes or the elaborateness of a mother of pearl face studded with diamonds.
As a result, prices vary widely, but a starting point of around $6,000 for each is still a superb bargain.
Valentine’s Day, and the search to find the perfect gift, can be a source of stress and tension. But thanks to Rolex, there’s no need to buckle under the pressure. Take a look through our collection of certified authentic preowned pieces from the world’s favorite watchmaker and take home a treasure (or two) that can only land you squarely in the good books.