Cheapest Rolex Watches – Buyer’s Guide Most Affordable Rolex

Oyster Perpetual 116000 White grape

Cheapest Rolex Watches – Buyer’s Guide Most Affordable Rolex

“Rolex” and “cheap” are two words that don’t really go together, nor are they commonly used in the same sentence. But there are definitely cheaper and more expensive options in the grand world of Rolex watches. Cheap will always be relative when talking about Rolex watches.

If you are looking to get maximum bang for your buck, you may want to look for Rolex watches that are still considered affordable and offer great value for money. Whilst Rolex watches are known to have increased a lot in value in the last couple of years, not all of them have skyrocketed in price. Some watches still remain relatively affordable.

What is the cheapest Rolex watch?

If all you want is a cheap Rolex watch and you don’t care about the design, condition, or size, the cheapest Rolex watches cost around 1000 dollars. If they are in poor condition, you may even find those that cost less than that.

The most affordable Rolex watches are almost always ladies’ watches. Now, if you’re a woman, that is great news because it means you can get a beautiful Rolex watch at a considerably affordable price. But if you’re a man, then obviously you need to look for a larger watch that suits your wrist.


Ladies’ watches

As mentioned, ladies’ watches are the cheapest Rolex watches you can find. This is true both for new Rolex watches and old – although the difference in price between a new and old can be huge.

The reason why vintage Rolex ladies’ watches in particular are the most affordable is primarily due to two reasons:

  • Many of these watches are tiny in size. Today, the size ideals have moved towards larger watches, both for men and for women. As such, they don’t appeal to a lot of women today. And since they have relatively low demand, the prices remain low.
  • The most affordable vintage ladies’ watches are not the classic and iconic Rolex designs such as the Datejust and the Day-Date. They are different models which don’t speak to everyone. Most women choose the Datejust or perhaps the Oyster Perpetual because they are the most iconic and distinct models. Many of the vintage Rolex ladies’ models look completely different from those and have designs that some people would say are somewhat outdated.

Non-professional watches

Rolex’s sports watches are the most popular and sought-after of all of Rolex’s models. This is true both for modern and vintage watches. And as such, the high demand for these timepieces also means that their prices are set accordingly.

As a starting point, you should note that the most affordable Rolex watches are non-professional models. This is true both for women and men, although Rolex doesn’t make (nor has made) any professional models specifically for women.

If you are looking for the cheapest Rolex watches, you should therefore look for non-sport Rolex watches.

Prices are always driven by supply and demand and because the demand for Rolex professional models is high, the prices continue to increase. A professional model will therefore never be the most affordable Rolex option.

Rolex Explorer 16570 Black Dial

Retail price VS market price and New VS old

To really understand Rolex watches and their prices, we need to understand the difference between the recommended retail price and the market price, as well as the difference between new and old.

The recommended retail price is the price that Rolex sets and expects its official retailers to follow when they sell brand-new watches. With that said, the retail price only applies to brand-new Rolex watches. And with this in mind, vintage and pre-owned Rolex watches are a completely different story because it is the market that sets the price for them, not Rolex. In recent years, many Rolex watches have gotten more expensive on the secondhand market due to scarcity and long waiting lists at the official Rolex retailers.

However, the most affordable Rolex watches are not modern, brand-new watches. The most affordable Rolex watches are timepieces that are a few decades old.

If we look at the most affordable Rolex watches in terms of the retail price, we have the Ladies’ Oyster perpetual 28mm. This has a retail price of about 5000 EUR/5500 USD. Most people would not call this affordable, but in Rolex terms, it is the most affordable watch in production. The retail price for most brand new Rolex watches ranges from about 8.000 to 10.000 EUR.

But if you are looking for the most affordable Rolex watches, you should not look at brand-new Rolex watches. Instead, you should look at old/vintage ones. Whilst Rolex watches are known to increase in price, some of them don’t increase in price anywhere near the same pace as Rolex increases its recommended retail prices.

126234 Silver

And because of this, some watches are perceived as very affordable when compared to their brand new counterparts. Moreover, this phenomenon that something costs more than the current recommended retail price is limited to just a few objects. It’s the exception, not the rule. 

For example, it makes sense that an old car costs less than a new one. With Rolex, this is not always true, but in many cases, it still is.

Let’s look at a few factors of why some Rolex watches are cheaper than others. There are in fact several different factors that affect the price of Rolex watches on the secondhand market. The most important is of course always the supply and demand. The good news is that if you’re not very picky and don’t have your eyes set on a specific model, you can get great value for money for certain Models.

The price span of Rolex watches is huge. Both for new and old watches. For example, the retail price for new Rolex watches starts at around 5500 USD as mentioned, and goes up to several hundred thousand.

For old Rolex watches, the span is even greater. The most affordable Rolex watches cost around 1000 USD and the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold was Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona which set a record for the highest-priced wristwatch ever sold at auction. It was sold for a staggering $5,475,000.

Rolex Air-King 14000M Blue Dial Fullset P-Serial


The condition will always affect the value of a timepiece. Naturally, the better the condition, the higher the price will be. If you’re fine with wearing a watch that is a little bit worn and has some scratches, then this is a great way to keep the cost down. In addition, it’s always possible to polish and clean up the watch shall you wish to. 

The condition is always an important factor regardless of what you buy so instead of looking for the most pristine, brand-new Rolex, look for an old watch with wear and tear to keep the cost down.


As mentioned, the size of Rolex watches tends to affect the value quite a bit. As the trend for wristwatches has moved towards larger watches, smaller watches tend to fall behind and not get as much attention. This is a great thing for you as it means that the prices for smaller watches on the secondhand market are kept lower than for larger watches.

Of course, this is with the assumption that you are actually able to, and don’t mind wearing smaller watches. For example, 36mm is considered a classic size, but if you look at 34mm watches, you’ll notice that there’s generally a big price gap between 36 and 34, even though the size difference between them is not huge. Normally, 34mm is considered the smallest a man can wear, unless we’re talking about a highly traditional and classical watch.

For women who like classic and feminine watches, this is great news because these are actually the ones that are the most affordable Rolex watches. 

On the contrary, if you have large wrists and need a larger watch, you have to expect to pay slightly more as larger sizes are more popular.

Rolex Explorer II 16570 Black Dial Mint Condition F-Series

Popularity and availability

Everything is driven by supply and demand. But for some Rolex watches, this is especially evident as the prices continue to increase year after year. Naturally, some Rolex models are more sought-after and collectible than others. Certain rare and unique timepieces will command a premium due to their rare nature and this is something to consider when looking for a Rolex watch. If you’re just looking for a nice Rolex timepiece, steer away from small details or things that make certain models more rare and sought-after.

Models that are more common and less rare will cost less than special timepieces with rare dial configurations or special details that were only in production for x amount of years, for example.


The material is always a factor that will affect the price of a Rolex watch. They are available in yellow gold, platinum, rose gold, and a few other materials. The most affordable Rolex watches are always made of stainless steel. Not only is this the most affordable material, but it is also the most commonly used material used. As such, steel watches are more common, meaning less scarcity.

Complications and functions

Last but not least, the functions are another thing that affects the price of a Rolex watch. Naturally, the more advanced and complicated functions a watch has, the more expensive it will be. Therefore, the most affordable Rolex watches are those that have no other function than to display the time. Add a date function and you can expect a higher price tag, add a chronograph function and you can expect an even higher price.

Your starting point if you’re looking for an affordable Rolex watch should be to look for a time-only timepiece that has no additional functions.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King 114200 2008

Most affordable Rolex watches

Let’s have a look at some of the most affordable Rolex watches, both for men and for women. Within a model line, there are many different references to choose from so we can’t go through each and every single reference. But with this list, you’ll have a great starting point of where to begin looking.

Rolex Air-King

We are of course talking about older Air-King models as modern Rolex Air-King watches are considered professional models and thus command a premium. The good news is that Rolex’s vintage Air-King watches are actually quite affordable in comparison. Old Rolex Air-King watches are 34mm in diameter and are thus popular both amongst men and women. The Air-King 14000 and 14000M are two classic timepieces with nothing more than the time yet with versatile, sporty designs. These timepieces have Rolex’s classic design and are well-made and have great quality.

Rolex Air-King 34 Oyster Blue Dial 14010 Fullset 2000

Rolex Cellini

Here, we’re primarily talking about older and vintage watches as modern Cellini watches tend to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Rolex has made a bunch of different Cellini models over the years and because this model line is not as popular as Rolex’s classic and most iconic watches, a lot of them are neglected. This naturally affects their price and gives many of them a rather accessible price point.

Now, you have to bear in mind that Cellini watches are designed as elegant dress watches and they also come in smaller sizes. But if you like traditional and elegant timepieces, you’ll get a great bang for the buck in the Cellini range. Women’s Cellini watches start at around 1800 USD and men’s watches at around 3000 USD. We can’t exactly call this cheap, but in a Rolex context, it certainly is considering the fact that Rolex’s modern Cellini models can cost tens of thousands.

Rolex ladies’ cocktail watches

 Cocktail watches for ladies are small, or rather tiny, classical ladies’ wristwatches. If you’re a woman who enjoys tiny wristwatches, you’ll be happy to hear that these are the most affordable Rolex watches on the market.

The fact of the matter is that you can find small cocktail watches for around 1000 dollars which is about as cheap as it gets for a Rolex watch. The catch is of course that they are very small and don’t speak to everyone as the trend has moved towards larger watches, both for men and for women. But if you like them, this is great news because you’ll be able to get a great bang for your buck.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

The Oyster Perpetual is Rolex’s most basic and simple model as it has no other function than time. The smaller the size, the more affordable it is but if we look at older watches, you’ll also be able to find 36mm watches that are affordable and are worn by many men.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual exists in many different sizes and is Rolex’s most classic and simplistic timepiece. Ladies can find small Oyster Perpetual watches for about 1500 USD but men need to pay at least 2500 USD for a 34mm version. One of the most affordable Oyster Perpetual watches for men is the reference 1002 which is 34mm.

As a general rule, the more modern the watch, the more expensive it is. This is true both for ladies’ and men’s Oyster Perpetual watches.

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