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Feature: 4 Rolexes more affordable now than in 2022

For those that were on the verge of treating themselves to a Rolex on the pre-owned market in 2022 but decided against pulling the trigger, this might be a good time to do so. We’ve picked a handful of models that are generally at a lower price point than this time last year. The high-end Daytonas and Day-Dates may still be selling for well over retail, but attractive deals can be found on these four Rolex favourites.


For all its tool watch capability and a fabled back-story featuring daring exploits in tough terrain, the Explorer is still considered an entry-level Rolex. That said, any reference from the past 20 years would have set you back around £8k-£10k back in 2022. Right now, a reference 114270, virtually identical to the current 124270 (the main difference is the latter’s slightly upgraded movement), can be found for under £7k—often with box and papers.

Air King

Before Rolex launched the new Air King, reference 126900, at Watches & Wonders 2022, the previous reference 116900 regularly sold in excess of £10k. Now that this reference is the “old” model, prices have somewhat relaxed. If you’re happy to forego the crown guard and a more aesthetically balanced dial—thanks to the ‘05’ replacing the single digit at 5 o’clock—then pick up one of these for £8-10k.


The Milgauss has never been among Rolex’s most in-demand watches but that didn’t stop it selling for up to twice its retail price in 2022. It’s now come down and the reference 116400 GV, with the blue dial and green-tinged sapphire crystal, sells in the region of £9-10k. This is a little over the retail price of £7,850. Given that the discontinued white-dial version tends to sell for significantly more, this could be a good time to buy a blue-dial Milgauss, with some predicting that Rolex could soon pull the plug on this model too.

Explorer II

If you’re looking for a great deal on an Explorer II, with its useful dual time zone and date function, the reference 16570 is always in plentiful supply. Manufactured from 1989 to 2011, this model was selling for £11-13k on the pre-owned market until the Great Price of Correction of 2022. Now they fall in the £7.5-9k bracket. Design-wise, the Explorer has changed little since 1985, although the movement in the current model has a much longer power reserve—70 hours rather than 48.

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