Earlier this week, my colleague extolled the virtues of the Rolex OysterDate Precision, an entry-level Rolex that has evaded the surging of vintage Rolex prices. Given that you can usually find one for less than $3,000, it does make a great gateway’s into vintage Rolex ownership – though it is not, however, the only old-school Rolex you can find in that price range. Even some beloved chronometer-certified watches from the Crown can be had at a relatively low price – here are three you can get right now for around $3,000.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Circa 1981
What we like: With a sleek case and a dateless-dial, the Oyster Perpetual is about as simple as they come. This particular example looks to be in great condition with a pristine, shimmering dial and nicely-aged tritium lume. And at just $2,650, this is about as affordable as Rolexes come.
From the seller: Case shows light wear from use. Excellent silver dial with creamy markers and matching hands. Running at COSC spec.
Rolex DateJust Circa 1964
What we like: Aside from the Submariner, the DateJust is probably what comes to mind when you think of the word “Rolex.” The model is ubiqutous and that fluted bezel and cyclops date are unmistakable brand hallmarks. Fortunately, the DateJust remains one of the more affordable options, and this clean ’60s model comes in at under $3,000, even with its Jubilee bracelet.
From the seller: Case shows light wear for its age. Excellent no-lume silver dial with doorstop markers and matching dauphine hands. Running at COSC spec.
Rolex Air-King 5500 Circa 1982
What we like: The Air King might be one of the crown’s most underrated timepieces. Born to honor RAF Pilots (who chose to wear store-bought Rolexes over their own military-issued watches), the first Air King-branded watch debuted in 1945 and was both robust and simple, like many of the great pilots’ watches of the 20th century. This specific model is a 5500 reference that was in production for decades, with only a few refinements and upgrades made over the years.
From the seller: This particular vintage ref. 5500 pairs a traditional stainless steel Oyster case with a flat-link Oyster bracelet and secure Fliplock clasp. A black dial offers a handsome contrast and is topped with silver indices, hands, and a Rolex logo at 12 o’clock.