So far as contentious Prime 5 lists go, that is about as divisive a subject as I can consider. My Prime 5 Rolex watches EVER. And yeah, you actually do must SHOUT the “ever”. Why? As a result of in the event you go into a listing like this half-cocked, you’re going to misfire. You must be 100% satisfied (and bloody-minded at that) to even faux that you already know what the Prime 5 Rolexes in historical past are. Fortunately for you (and for the exercise within the feedback part, little question), I’m each these issues.
The humorous factor about anointing myself the worldwide arbiter of Rolex watches is that I don’t really personal one. I by no means have. I’ve at all times needed one, however these 5 watches are literally in charge for me by no means pulling the set off. Why? As a result of once you’ve seen such marvel, held such magnificence in your palms, felt the metallic kiss of perfection in your craving wrist, dropping round 10ok on a (barely obtainable) lookalike simply doesn’t wash. Not for me, anyway.
If I’d expanded this checklist by yet another place, the bicolor 36mm Datejust would have made an look. That can possible be my first Rolex due to its blessed ubiquity. However neglect that nonsense. There have been solely 5 slots. So right here they’re, in reverse order: Rob’s Prime 5 Rolex Watches EVER.
5. Rolex Daytona 6240
Yeah, I do know — a Daytona on the checklist and it ISN’T the Paul Newman. Huge whoop. The “Newman” dials solely received so widespread due to a bizarre accident that noticed a type of initially unloved references land on Butch Cassidy’s wrist. Their shortage (as a result of they weren’t produced in nice numbers) added gas to the hearth and right here we’re. Locked within the bizarro universe that treats a hammer value of almost 2 million for a failed watch design because the norm. Go determine.
I’m a Speedophile…
Everyone with style is aware of the 6240 period of Daytonas is the very best. You may quibble over large textual content, small textual content, black dials, silver dials, retailer names on the dial as properly or, in some circumstances, nothing however the phrase “Rolex” all you want. When you’re having that argument with somebody, cease, purchase one another a drink, and pat one another on the again. You’re each proper. This right here is the actual legend amongst legends. Select your taste as you’ll, however the configuration is to die for.
I’d settle for one challenger (however solely as a result of I’m a Speedophile). When you threw an early reference 6239 in there with a black dial, white sub-dials, a metal bezel, and a pump-pusher case (which jogs my memory of my very own Broad Arrow Speedmaster) I’d take heed to your argument patiently.
Then I’d inform you to purchase a 1998 Broad Arrow and a condominium in Tijuana as a substitute.
four. Rolex Day-Date Reference 228235
I’ll admit that this can be a ridiculous curveball, however please, hear me out. The Day-Date deserves to be on this checklist someplace. Even Rolex describes is as its most “prestigious” wristwatch. That’s excessive reward coming from the Crown. And whereas the total yellow gold Day-Date is maybe the traditional within the vary (and a beautiful, timeless selection ought to or not it’s yours), it isn’t the very best.
A lesser-known reference launched at Baselworld 2015, it barely will get any consideration.
I’ve been hung up on the Rolex gold and champagne dials for years. I used to be so obsessive about the combo I wouldn’t look anyplace else when attempting to choose a Datejust for myself. After which I noticed a “corrugated” face in RJ’s Pre-Owned Picks final week and it modified my life. I began on the lookout for different Rolexes with this type of show or adorned with vertical strains. And I discovered one. Pinstripe perfection in rose gold, no much less. The Rolex Day-Date reference 228235 is a killer. A lesser-known reference launched at Baselworld 2015, it barely will get any consideration. Don’t ask me why. I feel it’s the fourth-best Rolex ever made…
three. Rolex Explorer II 1655
Okay, okay. I’m reining it in now. You should have anticipated the 1655 to pop-up on this checklist, no? Nicely, let’s face it, it’s both touchdown on a Prime 5 or a Backside 5. It isn’t precisely “middle-of-the-road” in anybody’s e-book.
I do know it isn’t universally cherished. Some folks can’t stand the busy dial and assume it’s a headache incarnate. I feel it’s pure heaven. The diameter kicks the fashionable Explorer II’s bloated case to the curb. And that advanced lume sample? Nicely, it’s the stuff of goals. Fever goals, perhaps, however this one will endure for a lot of moons but. Good luck getting one in your wrist in the event you occur to agree with me.
2. Rolex GMT Grasp 6542
Let’s return to the start, all the best way again to 1954 when Rolex launched the GMT Grasp line. Overlook all the things you already know concerning the fashionable GMT Grasp II — the successor to this mannequin. Overlook it. Everybody has an opinion on that watch. Quite a lot of these opinions are unfavourable as a result of it’s the poster youngster for “managed shortage”. It’s a little bit of a sore level for many individuals who simply wish to purchase an excellent watch with a pleasant pink and blue bezel.
However think about in the event you might step via a door to 1954 when the very notion of watches being luxurious gadgets was alien. Think about you had been taking a look at this object as a useful device and nothing extra. Honestly, this watch is gorgeous in any context or any situation you drop it into. However I feel it’s actual majesty shines once you decouple it from the rampant BS that floods the watchmaking trade and also you simply take a step again and look it as a factor. It’s a triumph of texture and coloration. It’s the good marriage of type and performance. And it has a bakelite bezel.
Higher nonetheless? Its nickname is the “Pussy Galore”. This timeless moniker works on a number of ranges. For these of us who bear in mind the movie, it makes good sense. However it additionally works for Gen Z youngsters that most likely interpret it as a promise of issues to return, ought to they put on this watch to the health club (or wherever it’s they hang around lately… TikTok or no matter…).
1. Rolex Submariner 6536
For me, the Submariner 6536 from 1955 is the quintessential dive watch and the best factor that ever ticked. Monumental lume plots, a refined gold/white colorway on the black dial, slim, drilled lugs, a snug rivet bracelet, a no-nonsense bezel insert, and, better of all, no f—ing crown guards.
Once you sit this magnificence subsequent to a modern-day sub, it’s actually, very easy to see how Rolex received its status. It is usually truthful to query, upon totting up the noticeable variations between the present mannequin and 1955 model, whether or not the corporate’s fashionable merchandise can be anyplace close to as fascinating as they’re had been it not for the existence of fashions just like the 6536 within the again catalog.
…the best Rolex ever.
In the identical means that the notion of a model’s luxurious can penetrate your unconscious via sensible product placement, is our appreciation of contemporary Rolex watches ever fully free from the reminiscence of the model’s wonderful heritage? I’m not so certain it’s. And, with a few notable exceptions, that’s why I’m seeking to the previous for my first Rolex purchase.
The 6536 has a 6mm crown sitting there, proud as punch, on the aspect of the case. It offers the watch a way more pure character than the fashions polluted by crown guards. The 8mm crown of the 6538 is maybe much more superior, however borderline cartoonish. That and that alone handed the crown to the 6536, the best Rolex ever. However what do you assume?
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