Watch Buying Guide: Mid-Range Rolex Watches

Rolex is one of the few luxury watch brands in the market that does not need any introduction. Even casual wearers are aware of just how prestigious the label is. As the supreme symbol of luxury and status, it is only natural to assume that all of their offerings carry hefty and overwhelming price tags. However, that is not the case at all. 

Although most Rolex pieces fall on the expensive side of the spectrum, there are also mid-range pieces that exude just as much elegance and class. These watches are exactly what we will discuss today. Rolex mid-range watches may not exactly be cheap either, but they are more affordable options that also make for great items to collect and invest in. 

Without further ado, here are the best mid-range Rolex watches to consider for your collection.

Our Top Picks: 6 Best Mid-Range Rolex Watches

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1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 

front view of Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch
  • Case material: Oystersteel
  • Case dimension: Available in many sizes (28mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, and 41mm)
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 55 hours to 70 hours 
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters

For a dose of the best that Rolex can offer you, go for the iconic Oyster Perpetual. First launched in 1931, it is a gorgeous watch that truly defines what the brand is all about. The Oyster Perpetual series does not get as much recognition today due to the astounding popularity of Rolex’s professional watches. Nevertheless, all Oyster Perpetual timekeepers are extremely collectible and make great additions to any ensemble.

One of the best members of the collection is the Oyster Perpetual Ref. 126000-0001, which comes in an Oystersteel case and a matching bracelet with three flat links and a folding clasp. Aside from a polished fixed bezel and thick lugs, the watch also has a medium-sized crown with teeth-like edges for easier grip. Its lavish sunray silver dial features only luminescent baton hour markers and hands. Rolex also added a Chromalight display for greater visibility in low-light conditions. 

Powered by the Caliber 3230 perpetual automatic movement, this Oyster Perpetual watch has a 70-hour power reserve and accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day. It is also shock-resistant and water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters. 

Priced at around $6,000 USD, this Rolex watch can be tailored to all purposes. 

2. Rolex Milgauss

front view of Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV watch
  • Case material: Oystersteel
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 48 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters

The Rolex Milgauss is created for anyone with an interest in technology and engineering. Originally released in 1956, the Rolex Milgauss was developed to aid scientists and engineers in their work. It is a perfect balance of style and functionality, boasting great resistance to magnetic fields of over 1,000 gausses along with powerful and recognizable aesthetics that anyone would appreciate. Rolex also incorporates a strong magnetic shield made out of alloy into the Milgauss’ movement, which explains why it is always accurate and reliable. With its cutting-edge functionalities and visual appeal, the Rolex Milgauss definitely deserves a spot in your collection.

There are only two versions of Milgauss available in the market today. One of them is the Rolex Milgauss Ref. 116400GV, which comes in a 40mm Oystersteel case and a polished bracelet of the same material. Its cool black dial showcases luminescent baton hour markers and hands that all glow vibrantly in poor lighting conditions. All of the indices sport a beautiful white hue, except for the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock markers that come in a muted yellow color. In addition, the second hand takes the form of an orange thunderbolt. These pair well with the Rolex signature at 12 o’clock and the orange Arabic numerals, in five-minute increments, found around the outer rim of the dial. 

Moving on to the technicalities, this Rolex watch runs on a COSC-certified in-house Caliber 3131 automatic movement. This caliber has 48 hours worth of power reserve. It is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, which means that it is suitable for snorkeling and casual swimming. 

Perfectly redefining the essence of a contemporary tool watch, this mid-range Rolex timepiece retails at around $8,800 USD. 

3. Rolex Air King

front view of Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900 watch
  • Case material: Oystersteel
  • Case dimension: 40mm
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 48 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters

Released shortly after the Second World War, the Rolex Air King pays homage to the members of the British Royal Air Force and their sacrifices in the Battle of Britain. Boasting retro aesthetics, the Air-King is the only model from the brand’s renowned “Air Series” that remains in production today. Intricately designed with pilots in mind, it has a bulky build, a simple yet legible dial, and a high-performing caliber at its core. 

With its boyish design and fine construction, the Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900 suits men who prefer timepieces that steal attention in the most subtle way possible. It has a 40mm Oystersteel case paired with a shiny three-link bracelet. Much like other models from the brand, its bracelet is easily adjustable. You can reposition the links without needing any tools to achieve a better fit. This timepiece has a black dial that serves as a great backdrop to the large silver Arabic numeral indices, luminous hour and minute hands, and elongated bright green seconds hand. The dial also displays the hour markers in 5-minute increments, except for the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock markers. This adds some playful variety to the watch. 

Inside, this Rolex Air-King runs on a Caliber 3131 self-winding movement. It has an accuracy rating of -2/+2 sec per day and an outstanding 48-hour power reserve. This watch is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, which is good news if you like doing casual water sports activities. 

Retailing at around $7,700 USD, this piece is the ideal mid-range Rolex choice for anyone seeking a good, accessible Rolex experience.

4. Rolex Datejust

front view of Rolex Datejust blue dial watch
  • Case material: Available in various materials (Oystersteel, Yellow gold, Everose gold, White gold, Yellow Rolesor, Everose Rolesor and White Rolesor)
  • Case dimension: Available in many sizes (28mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, and 41mm)
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 70 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters

Originally introduced in 1945, the Rolex Datejust was the first self-winding and waterproof watch to have a date display. Exuding elegance and lavishness, the Datejust goes well with just about any ensemble. It may look like a plain, classic watch at first glance, but its features, particularly its engine, are far more advanced than you could imagine. Available in many sizes and stunning colorways, this Rolex watch best suits those looking for a timeless accessory they could proudly parade around.

One of the best variations you can get is the Rolex Datejust Ref. 126200-0006. Exhibiting a traditional and refined look, it has an Oystersteel case, which measures 36mm in diameter. The case is topped with a sapphire crystal that is both scratch-resistant and anti-reflective, allowing you to accurately track the time even while under direct sunlight. Adorned with luminous baton hour markers and hands with silver outlines, the gorgeous sunburst blue dial also features a large date window with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock. 

Powered by a Caliber 3235 automatic movement, this Rolex Datejust model has 70 hours worth of power reserve and an accuracy rating of -2/+2 sec per day. 

Priced at around $7,500 USD, this is a great mid-range Rolex watch. 

5. Rolex Explorer

front view of Rolex Explorer Ref. 124270-0001 watch
  • Case material: Available in Oystersteel and Yellow Rolesor variations
  • Case dimension: 36mm
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 70 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters

For those with a more adventurous side, the Rolex Explorer might be the answer to your prayers. Launched in 1953 to commemorate the success of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s expedition up Mount Everest, it is a fully-functional and well-designed tool watch that can withstand even the harshest conditions. This mid-range Rolex does not have any additional complications like date windows or chronographs Instead, this ruggedly handsome Rolex watch focuses on minimalistic timekeeping, and can effortlessly make you stand out with its sturdy build, stunning colorways and strategic dial layout. 

Although the yellow Rolesor version Rolex Explorer is undeniably pleasing to the eye, nothing beats the quintessential stainless steel model equipped with a minimalist dial. The Rolex Explorer Ref. 124270-0001 comes in a 36mm Oystersteel case paired with a polished link bracelet made out of the same material. The jet-black dial displays bold 3, 6, and 9 o’clock hour markers, which is the signature look of all Explorer models. It also features large baton indices, luminous hands, and Rolex’s signature in white. 

In terms of performance, this Rolex Explorer model relies on a Caliber 3230 automatic movement with 70 hours of power reserve. The same mechanism is also COSC-certified, so you do not have to worry about the watch’s longevity. 

With a price of $10,399 USD, this is the mid-range Rolex watch to check out if you are looking for a dependable and robust tool watch that can last you a lifetime.

6. Rolex Submariner

front view of Rolex Submariner blue dial watch
  • Case material: Available in various materials (Oystersteel, Yellow gold, White gold and Yellow Rolesor)
  • Case dimension: Available in many sizes (28mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, and 41mm)
  • Movement: Automatic, Mechanical
  • Power reserve: approximately 70 hours
  • Water-resistance: 300 meters

This rundown would not be complete without mentioning the wonders of the Rolex Submariner. This is one of the most recognizable pieces from the brand, all thanks to its stylish appeal, impressive water resistance capacities, and exceptional quality. Introduced in 1953, this watch is a great performer, both as a diver watch and for casual use. Expect to get tons of compliments while donning this robust and long-lasting piece on your wrist. 

The Rolex Submariner Ref. 126613LB-0002, commonly known as the modern Bluesy, deserves to be on your radar because of its bold yet attractive looks. It comes in a 41mm Oystersteel and yellow gold case, and a bracelet made out of the same material. As a true luxury sports watch, it has a handy unidirectional bezel. This bezel is adorned with gold Arabic numeral and baton markings, a Cerachrom insert in blue, and a luminous triangle at the 12 o’clock position. This allows wearers to efficiently monitor their diving time. Boasting a strategic layout, the royal blue dial consists of thick geometric hour markers, luminous Mercedes-style hands, and a date display at 3 o’clock. Its face also has a Chromalight display that gives off a bright blue-colored luminescence.

Powered by a Caliber 3235 perpetual automatic movement, this Rolex Submariner has a power reserve of 70 hours and a whopping 300-meter water resistance rating. 

Those of you who are looking for a beautiful and no-frills timepiece can cop this mid-range Rolex watch at $14,700 USD. There are also other variations that come with just Oystersteel parts, which you can get at around $8,000 USD only. 

Final Thoughts

The definition of mid-range differs from one individual to the other. That is why the watches we discussed above cover a relatively wide price range, although we have ensured that they are all accessible and not too exorbitant. While the price tags of all Rolex watches are certainly not a joke, this list proves that you can still get a high-quality and reliable piece from the brand without having to empty your pockets. You just have to conduct careful research on Rolex’s catalog, and then decide on the features and style that will greatly suit your way of life. We hope that you have found some exquisite mid-range Rolex options for yourself on this list.

If you are looking for other high-quality and chic Swiss watches to add on your shopping list and eventually into your collection, make sure to check out our comprehensive guides on the 30 Best Men’s Watch, Certina DS Action Diver, Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, IWC Portofino, and the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Photos from Rolex’s official website

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