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09/09/2022
 5 minutes

3 Rolex Watches That Fly Under the Radar

By Donato Andrioli
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Did you think that every Rolex watch had a market price far above its MSRP? Nope! Here are three models that many watch enthusiasts pass over for the likes of the Rolex Submariner or Daytona. Each of these watches has something going for it. In fact, many of them are a bit more playful, daring, or uncompromising than their more popular siblings. As a result, these models don’t get the same attention as the Sub or GMT-Master II – not yet at least. In the world of luxury watches, a model’s fate can change in an instant, especially when it comes to special or unique timepieces. At the very latest, these “second-tier” Rolexes will suddenly be at the forefront of everyone’s minds if the manufacturer decides to discontinue them. Without further ado, here are three Rolex watches that are currently still flying under the radar of the wider watch community.  

Rolex Yacht-Master: A Maritime All-Arounder 

The Yacht-Master is a particularly unique Rolex. While most watch lovers will agree on that fact, the upscale-looking timepiece is somewhat of a second-class citizen in the Rolex lineup. It is quite rare to see this sailing watch in the wild. This is most likely due to the sheer boldness of the Rolex Yacht-Master 40. It could easily pass for a more luxurious version of the Rolex Submariner, and the model’s proximity to the famous diver is undeniable, but this timepiece is anything but an understated tool watch. The case is more elegant, has rounder edges, and is fully polished. The bezel is made of platinum and the Oyster bracelet has polished center links, both of which further underscore the model’s luxurious nature. The dial features a beautiful sunburst finish, and the second hand and model inscription offer colorful accents. The rhodium version with light blue accents is especially attractive. The 40-mm size is ideal for most wrists, and while the watch certainly has a certain presence when worn, its contours and slightly reduced dimensions give it a more elegant feel than the Rolex Submariner. That’s a good thing, actually, because the Yacht-Master 40 is a pretty loud watch with a much more playful look than most other Rolexes, not least due to its colorful accents. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, the character of this model is certainly refreshingly different. With prices starting around $16,000, it’s not exactly cheap, but its market price is certainly more reasonable than some other Rolex models, especially when you consider the official list price is just over the $12,000 mark. If the current Yacht-Master 40 is discontinued at some point and replaced with new color combos, prices are likely to rise even higher. This sailing icon is a unique specimen that certainly has the potential to increase in value in years to come. 

Although the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 is one of the most beautiful watches in the Rolex portfolio, it's a rare sight in the wild.
Although the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 is one of the most beautiful watches in the Rolex portfolio, it’s a rare sight in the wild.

Rolex Milgauss: The least popular Rolex?  

Watch fans have been speculating about the discontinuation of the Rolex Milgauss for two years now, but there it is, in the Rolex catalog. I’m honestly surprised it’s still around because the Milgauss is probably the least popular Rolex model in its current form. To be frank, I don’t think its proportions are on point. The 40-mm diameter is absolutely fine, but the lug-to-lug of 50 mm and 13-mm height are a bit too big for this type of watch. That aside, the Milgauss is a fascinating, unique watch, thanks to its dial and mysterious green sapphire crystal. The exclusive crystal almost glows around its edges and is made using a top-secret manufacturing process. The Milgauss’ dial features orange accents that coordinate perfectly with the distinctive lightening bolt-shaped second hand – a feature you certainly won’t find elsewhere in the Rolex catalog. Overall, the design is consistent for a watch that is dedicated to science and anti-magnetic to 1,000 gauss. 

If you’re interested in buying a Rolex Milgauss, I’d recommend checking out the version with a black dial. It has all the special features of this one-of-a-kind watch, but isn’t quite as daring as the Z-blue variant. The blue dial paired with the green glass and orange accents is just too much of a good thing. Another advantage of the black version is its market price. This watch is available starting at $9,500, but buyer beware: older models don’t feature the iconic green sapphire crystal. For this reason, I would prefer to spend a bit more and get the latest reference, the 116400GV. You can buy this timepiece for as little as $10,800, which isn’t far off Rolex’s official list price. 

The lightening bolt second hand and green sapphire crystal make the Rolex Milgauss stand out from the crowd.
The lightening bolt second hand and green sapphire crystal make the Rolex Milgauss stand out from the crowd.

Rolex Sea-Dweller: Forgotten sibling of the Sub? 

While the Rolex Sea-Dweller may not be quite as bold as the Rolex Yacht-Master 40, nor as unconventional as the Rolex Milgauss, it is hardly one of the most popular models from the brand with the crown. Current market prices for this professional diving watch are relatively close to the MSRP, and you can find numerous listings around the $15,000 mark. The reason for its comparatively low level of popularity probably comes down to its visual similarity to the Rolex Submariner – not to mention the model’s uncompromising nature. The Rolex Sea-Dweller is objectively better, more sophisticated, and more professional than the Sub, but it’s also larger and heavier. Measuring 43 mm across and standing more than 15 mm tall, it’s a sizable watch that won’t suit every wrist. However, if you have the wrists for it or just prefer larger watches, this professional diver could be right up your alley. 

The Rolex Sea-Dweller is an extremely robust timepiece with a lot to offer, including 1,220 m (4,000 ft) of water resistance. The Oysterlock clasp is not only equipped with the well-known Glidelock system, but also features the Fliplock extension system. The Sea-Dweller is the top choice for passionate diving enthusiasts, but even watch collectors who will never venture into the briny depths of the ocean should check out this model. It could easily pass as a standard, slightly larger Rolex Submariner at first glance, as it shares the same iconic design as the legendary diver, but the red inscriptions add that little extra something. I’m fairly sure collectors will be running out to pick up one of these in a few years.  

The Rolex Sea-Dweller is the iconic Submariner's bigger, bulkier, more professional sibling.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is the iconic Submariner’s bigger, bulkier, more professional sibling.

About the Author

Donato Andrioli

With the purchase of my Tudor Black Bay 41, I discovered a passion for mechanical watches. I am particularly drawn to iconic watches with long and exciting histories.

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