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Sport an Elegant Vintage Rolex Watch

The name Rolex is synonymous with style, quality, and luxury in the field of watchmaking. Since the company was originally founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, the Swiss luxury giant has produced an extraordinary number of beautiful watches. You can get Rolex vintage watches of your very own if you know what to look for.

What are the oldest vintage Rolex watches you can find for sale?

It's exceedingly rare to find a vintage Rolex for sale that was manufactured before the 1930s. Watches that are that old are highly coveted collectors' items, as they are emblems of the very earliest years of the Rolex brand. If you look hard enough, you should be able to find classic Rolex watches made in the 1930s and 1940s. Watches from the 1950s and 1960s are also fairly common.

What are some overall features of vintage Rolex watches?

Here are some overarching features that you can expect to find in classic Rolex watches across all of the different available models:

  • Strap: The older the vintage Rolex you choose to buy, the more likely it will be to have a leather strap instead of a metal one. Rolex has been around long enough, though, that a substantial portion of its classic watches have gold or even stainless steel straps. Some, like the Lady-Datejust, use rose gold. Generally speaking, if a Rolex was made before the 1970s, it almost certainly has a leather strap.
  • Cases: The cases of vintage Rolex watches are made of some kind of metal, usually stainless steel with some gold around the bezel or on other parts of the case. Most cases are circular, though women's vintage Rolex watches typically have either square or rectangular cases. Old watches generally do not have things like fluted bezels or chronographs, but some may have some diamond studding.
  • Gender: There are vintage Rolex watches available for both men and women, though a few watches are unisex.
What should you look for in a vintage Rolex?

Vintage Rolex watches will typically be decades old, so you'll want to do everything you can to ensure that the one you have your eye on is in good condition before getting it. Especially old watches will show some signs of age, like creases or signs of wear on the leather strap, yellowing along the face, or some scratches and imperfections on the case. Rolex's superior craftsmanship gives the watches tremendous resilience, though, so even very old watches will generally be in excellent condition.

Vintage Submariner Vintage Oyster Perpetual Vintage Tudor Vintage Omega
Cases Circular with chronographs; 40 mm Circular Circular Usually circular, but sometimes square
Metals Stainless steel Gold and/or stainless steel Gold and/or stainless steel 18k gold, 14 gold and stainless steel
Waterproofing Up to 1,000 feet Up to 330 feet Up to 330 feet Up to 330 feet
Strap Types Stainless steel Usually leather, but sometimes stainless steel Stainless steel or leather Usually leather, but sometimes stainless steel
Bezel Types Stainless steel with numbers for timing Smooth stainless steel, or none Smooth stainless steel Smooth stainless steel, or none
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