$16,450 – that’s the Australian recommended retail price of the Oystersteel Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN.
But, as I’m sure 99 per cent of people reading this are already patently aware, if you actually want to own one of these fabled watches, you can’t merely walk into an AD and pick one up.
No, if you want a “Panda” Daytona, you’ve got to venture into the slightly murky and occasionally insalubrious world of the grey/secondhand market.
And even then, the steel Daytona is almost an anomalous object, and if you do manage to find one, you’re paying at least $35K all day long.
In other words, it’s almost an effort in futility even entertaining the idea of one day having one slapped on your wrist.
This is the same story for the majority of Rolex’s Oystersteel Professional range – be it Submariner, GMT-Master II, Sea-Dweller … this list goes on.
However, there are certain steel “sports” watches in Rolex’s esteemed catalogue that you can still buy at retail, from a local authorised dealer.
Mind you, you’re probably not going to be able to merely walk in, see one on the counter and slap your plastic against the EFTPOS machine.
But if you put your name down on the “waiting list”/“expression of interest list” or whatever the hell else they’re calling it this week, and you’re patient and wait a few months, you can still buy these three Professional 904L steel Rolex watches:
Rolex Air-King ref.116900
Yes, there have been myriad things said about Rolex’s contentious Air-King ref.116900 since it was first released back at Baselworld 2016. But, for all the backhanded compliments and sniggering about its overly fussy dial design, let’s not forget that the Air-King is still a Rolex. That means the construction, finishing, attention to detail and heritage is all second-to-none. It would also be remiss not to remember that aesthetics are subjective – what looks awkward to some may be beautiful to others. And, rather importantly, you can still get your hands on this model with relative ease. $8250
Rolex Explorer ref.214270
This one still shocks the odd person when you tell them, but it’s true, it is entirely possible to purchase a Rolex Explorer ref.214270 from an authorised dealer in a timely fashion. For whatever reason, of late the Explorer just hasn’t been in demand the way other “sports” Rolex watches have been, which is highly curious, because the Explorer has a great many things going for it. For a start, its 39mm oyster case is bang on the money size-wise, so it’s eminently versatile. It’s also got the history — ever heard of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay? I rest my case. Anyway, if you’re after a Professional model Rolex and don’t consider the Explorer, you’re making a big mistake. $8700
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 ref.126622
Be in no doubt — the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 ref.126622 is one of the most underrated watches on sale today. It boggles the mind how this timepiece isn’t more revered in Rolex’s Professional range. Speaking anecdotally for a second, I used to sell Rolex for a time at one of the biggest authorised dealers in the Southern Hemisphere, and we could not give these watches away. Which is just so confusing, because the combination of sunray blue dial, red accents and 950 solid platinum bezel made this “Rolesium” clad timepiece quite breathtaking. And when comparing it to something like a Submariner, its 40mm case is so much slimmer, meaning it’s more versatile, unless you’re planning to go deep sea diving. These Yacht-Master 40s are out and about, and your won’t have much trouble getting you hands on one. $15,600