Best Rolex Watches for Under $10,000

May 09, 2016

Closeup photo of Rolex Explorer II Case
Closeup of Rolex Explorer II Case
Rolex manufactures wristwatches that range in price from $5,000 to upwards of $100,000 US. The main determinants of their watch prices are the materials used for the bracelet and case, jewel and gem embellishments and the size of the watch. The majority of Rolex watch models priced under $10,000 are made from their 904L stainless steel alloy and include most of their popular professional models.

While taste and personal preference play a role in determining the best watches in any category, I narrowed this list down to the 6 Rolex models that offer the best value in this price range. (Note: All of the pricing information below is based on Rolex's suggested retail price in Swiss francs converted to USD based on current exchange rates.) For a list of the best Rolex models for under $25,000, click here. For a list of the best Rolex models for under $50,000, click here

Rolex Explorer II (Reference 216570)
photo of Rolex Explorer II Model
Rolex Explorer II Model (photo: Rolex)
The largest model on this list, the Explorer II features a 42 mm case and a unique white dial. With an orange 24-hour hand and a fixed 24-hour stainless steel bezel, this professional watch allows the wearer to set the time in two different time zones. The 24-hour hand also allows one to tell the difference between day and night time in areas that may lack daylight. Aside from its size, the legibility and luminosity of its dial distinguishes this model from others. The Explorer II retails for $8,076 and is also available with a black dial as shown in the closeup above.

Rolex GMT-Master II (Reference 116710 BLNR)
Photo of Rolex GMT-Master II 'Batman' or 'Bruiser'
Rolex GMT-Master II 'Batman' or 'Bruiser' (photo: Rolex)
The GMT-Master II BLNR, or Batman, is one of the most beloved Rolex models in this category. The unique two-tone 24-hour bi-directional bezel provides both utility and style, allowing the wearer to quickly set the time for a second time zone without using the winding crown. The polished center links on the Oyster bracelet are also a unique style feature that set this model apart from other professional models. The BLNR retails for approximately $8,746. (Check out my model comparison of the GMT-Master II (LN) and Explorer II for a comprehensive comparison of both models.)

Rolex Submariner Date (Reference 116610 LV)
Photo of Rolex Submariner Date 'Hulk' of 'Greenie'
Rolex Submariner Date 'Hulk' of 'Greenie' (photo: Rolex)
The Submariner Date is one of the most popular and recognizable Rolex models of all time. The watchmaker makes very little changes to this model through the years, making the green LV version especially unique. Aside from being a great looking dive watch, the Submariner tends to retain its value over time, making it a good investment as far as wristwatches go. The Greenie retails for approximately $8,846, which is $500 more than the black (LN) version. I chose the Greenie for this list because it is unique and will stand out more in the long run once Rolex stops manufacturing this configuration. (Check out my model comparison of the Submariner Date (LN) with the Deepsea for more info.)

Rolex Datejust II (Reference 116334)

Photo of Rolex Datejust II White Rolesor (photo: Rolex)
Rolex Datejust II White Rolesor (photo: Rolex)
The Rolex Datejust II is a classic model with a few new features in this latest configuration. The Datejust II has a 41 mm case, just slightly larger than the Sub and BLNR. With a fluted white gold bezel, it is the only model on this list to feature white gold, albeit just on the bezel. The size and aesthetic set it apart from the other watches in this price range - it is the only non-professional model included here. The Datejust II configuration shown above goes for approximately $8,943.

Rolex Milgauss (Reference 116400 GV)
Photo of Rolex Milgauss with D-Blue Dial
Rolex Milgauss with Z-Blue Dial (photo: Rolex)

The Rolex Milgauss is the professional model that stands out the most in terms of aesthetic and functionality. This model was designed for scientists who work in environments where magnetism can affect the accuracy of their wristwatch movements. The Milgauss is protected from magnetic fields of up to 1,000 gauss and this model configuration features an electric blue dial that gives the it a fresh and bold new look. The suggested retail price for the Milguass shown here is approximately $8,039.

Rolex Explorer I (Reference 214270)
Photo of Rolex Explorer I
Rolex Explorer I (photo: Rolex)
The final model on this list, the Explorer I combines the classic simplicity of the Oyster Perpetual model with the sporty look of Rolex's professional models. With arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9, the new Explorer I model features a very clear luminescent display. The combination of the black dial with the 39 mm stainless steel case gives this watch a modern and clean aesthetic. It is also the most affordable on the list, retailing for approximately $6,390. This timepiece is perfect for those who want a reliable, elegant wristwatch that isn't too ostentatious.

For an in-depth look at each of these models, browse the Rolex Models section of our Rolex Shopping Guide page. For information on Rolex's 904L Stainless Steel, visit our Tech page. 

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