Rolex is arguably the king of tool watches. From the iconic Submariner to the uber-useful GMT-Master II, from the unobtainable Daytona to the obscure yet beloved Explorer II, Rolex has flexed its might across the spectrum of functional stainless steel watchmaking. Diving and exploring, travelling and racing, Rolex has produced a stainless steel watch that is more than up to the task, and then some. We've put together 12 examples from Rolex that more than fit the bill of being the ultimate purpose-built stainless steel watch.
Rolex Explorer II
Tried and tested, the Rolex Explorer II has enjoyed several renaissance years and has quickly risen to the top of almost every Rolex fan-boy's wish list. As difficult to get as any other piece on this list, that's for sure.
The Air-King's stock has quickly and quietly risen over the past few years. Now considered as a must have stainless steel Rolex, it's polarising and very untraditional look has made it extremely desirable.
The quintessential Rolex to have in 2021, the Daytona's demand far surpasses its supply and as such has become one of the most sought after watches in the world.
Rolex Submariner "Hulk"
As desirable as they come the green Rolex Submariner affectionately dubbed the "Hulk" is many a Rolex stainless steel watch aficionado's pipe dream.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
By far one of the simplest and most beautiful stainless steel Rolexes, this particular model of the Oyster Perpetual is a cut above the rest of the collection.
Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea
With its 3,900m water resistant rating, the Sea Dweller Deepsea is one of the all-time greats of stainless steel Rolexes, with many collectors willing to part with a piece of their soul for it.
Unashamedly one of the best watches ever produced and as iconic in stature as it is in pop culture, the venerable Rolex Submariner is the stainless steel watch to have, period.
Rolex Datejust "Wimbledon"
Classical in its design, functional in its execution, the Rolex Datejust "Wimbledon" is another stainless steel model that's becoming more and more popular as the days go by.
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batgirl"
With its new jubilee bracelet, the GMT-Master II has seen a meteoric rise in demand and in wait-list times. So much so that people are happily putting their names down for a 5-year wait.
Rewind a decade ago, and the Sky-Dweller was but an afterthought. Fast-forward back to 2021, and what we know of the Sky-Dweller is that as far as stainless steel Rolex watches are concerned, you're looking at the apex predator. Distinguished, omnipotent and absolutely untouchable.
Rolex Daytona "Panda"
While I prefer the black dial version, the white dialled "Panda" Daytona is still a supremely impressive stainless steel Rolex that is as, if not more, difficult to get than its black dialled brother.
One of my favourite stainless steel Rolexes next to the black dialled Daytona and the Submariner, the Sea-Dweller with its red insigna is a truly hardcore piece of stainless steel watchmaking.
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